Friday, March 30, 2012

Titanic Remembrance Teas planned at Stillwater Mansion

Page 1 of the New York Times, April 16,1912
There's little more than two weeks before the centennial of history's most memorable shipwreck, the Titanic, which sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 2012, around 2:20 a.m.

For moviegoers, director James Cameron has remastered his 1998 film "Titanic" to 3-D. That should be interesting, but if you're looking for something more intimate The Stillwater, 387 N.Water Ave., will be hosting a Titanic Remembrance Tea every Tuesday in April at 6:30 p.m.

The Ladies Tea Guild of South Eastern Idaho are helping to put the events on, but members of the public can make reservations by calling (208) 200-4473 or e-mailing

The first event, this Tuesday, will feature storyteller Teresa Clark presenting accounts of the Titanic's survivors and music by the White Star Orchestra.

My favorite account of the Titanic comes from book called "The Sway of the Grand Saloon: A Social History of the North Atlantic," by John Malcom Brinnin (Delacorte Press, 1971). Brinnin is mainly a poet, so I thought I might share a passage from his account.

The unsinkable ship, the most superb technological achievement of her time, the dreamed-of sign and symbol that man's mechanical skill would carry him into a luminous new world of power, freedom and affluence had become, in the words of one contemporary dirge, "the most imposing mausoleum that ever housed the bones of men since the Pyramids rose from the desert sand." Nothing had gone wrong. Everything had gone wrong. The odds on a ship such as the Titanic hitting an iceberg and foundering under the blow were calculated at a million to one. With devastating and absolute precision the Titanic and her officers had in the space of four days surmounted these odds. Designed to survive anything that man or nature could bring to bear against her, the great ship could not survive even the first voyage of the twenty-five or thirty long years of sea-going for which she was built.