Saturday, October 25, 2014

Digging Through Memories

I found one of my Mom's favorite 'treasures' today: a porthole off the SS Edmund Fitzgerald from a few years before it sank.

I know, there isn't any way to PROVE it was off the Fiztgerald, but that's the story and I'm sticking to it. You see, Mom and I had a tour of the Fiztgerald, many, many years ago. They even fed us breakfast at the galley (steak and eggs) because Mom gave the first mate a ride to the boat.

He'd bought something for his wife that he was having trouble carrying. Not sure what it was, but Mom offered to give him a ride. He was delighted to show us around this huge ore-freighter.

I wasn't very old, maybe 10 or 11, when we crossed the long gangplank onto this huge metal ship. I remember being so excited to actually step foot on an ore-freighter. I could see the water from the gangplank and it was a very long way down. 

I remember the long stainless steel counter we sat at and the taste of the grilled steak. Then we were given the tour. We went into the engine room, where the generators throbbed even when the ship was still. 

Then we got a peek into the hold, I remember seeing a little skid-steer being lowered in a huge steam shovel. The driver pushed the ore into the jaws of the shovels. It looked like a mouse, the hold was so big. 

The port-hole came later - I think my parents got it from another sailor - maybe even Dick Simes - one of Dad's golfing buddies. But because of the tour, Mom bought the port-hole, which is sold brass with 1/2 inch thick glass, it even has the aluminium outer cover.

I did't ask a lot for it. The point was not to cash in, but to pass on something interesting to a person who would display it. 

I've barely scratched the surface of the items that Mom left behind. Just as I've barely started publishing her stories. 

But this story is mine to tell. My own Tale of the Leeward Lounge.

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