How My Daughter And I Made Headlines Around The World – My Family Connection To The Titanic

23 Feb

I am asked about this story all the time, so if you’ll indulge me, I’ll take a little diversion from self-publishing this week to talk about my family connection to the Titanic.

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My daughter Alisa and I on the cover of the Independent

It all started on April 8th last year. Actually, it started 100 years before that, but I’ll get to that part in a minute! My parents have always been interested in the Titanic. Partly, because my Grandad, Edgar Maher was there to wave off the original Titanic in Cork, Ireland 100 years ago.

Here is a picture of my Grandad as he looked then, complete with sailing boat. You’ll have to forgive the quality of the picture, but it is over a hundred years old!

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Three years after seeing off the Titanic, he and his family took in survivors from the torpedoed ship, the Lusitania, when it was sunk by a German u-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale. Those weren’t the only disasters my Grandad was involved in. In 1947, he boarded a commuter train, then jumped off at the last minute, realising there was a faster one on another platform. The train he orignally boarded went on to crash into another train, killing 32 people in the South Croydon rail crash.

My family also had an ancestor on board the Titanic. His name was James Thomas Wood and he was a second class steward. His body was never found, and he left a widow, Sarah and two daughters.

Jumping forward to present day, my parents booked places for themselves on the Titanic Memorial Cruise, to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. And thinking of my Grandad, waving off the original Titanic all those years ago, I thought it would be fitting to dress up my kids in naval costumes to see them off.

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My son was two at the time of the cruise launch and spent most of the time running circles around my husband while we waited for my parents to board. My daughter, on the other hand was only eight months and content to stay in my arms. I thought dressing them up would be a nice surprise for my parents, but I wasn’t expecting the reaction my baby got from the passengers waiting to go on the ship. Someone came up and asked to take a picture with her, then another and another. Newspapers wanted to interview us. Camera crews filmed us. It just escalated from there.

We were on the BBC news when we got home that night. My 90 year old Nan got the shock of her life when she saw us! And the next day, we woke up to find that we were on the cover of the Independent. The picture was featured in dozens of other papers too, not just in England, but all over the world. I think my favourite was the Washington Post style blog. My daughter was only 8 months old and already she was a trendsetter!

Then I got an email from my local Rector to say he’d seen us on Yahoo news. My brother in Ohio confirmed that he’d seen it too and so had friends in Australia and other countries around the world. Ironically, the only people who hadn’t seen the pictures were my parents, as by now they were off on their trip. I’m just glad that this cruise ship had a happier journey than the original one and everyone returned safely from their trip.

Next week, I’ll be interviewing Vampire Queen, Jodie Pierce.

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One Response to “How My Daughter And I Made Headlines Around The World – My Family Connection To The Titanic”

  1. rami ungar the writer February 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    Wow, that’s pretty cool. Your grandfather sounds like a great guy, especially since he helped those people out on the Lusitana. I have a cousin in Israel who was a partisan during WWII. He’s definitely one of my favorite relatives, even though we’ve only met once.

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