Why not start the alphabet out with an enormous tragedy? It is my way.
My father was a sailor, serving in the Navy from 1951-1955. He once told me the story of passing the Andrea Doria while on the open sea, and I still struggle to get my brain around the idea of my humble, Hendrum-born father waving across a bit of ocean to a luxury liner which, within eighteen months, would become one of the worst maritime disasters since the Titanic.
Like pipe tobacco and Hank Williams, Sr., shipwrecks (and a healthy fear of scurvy, as a side dish) were an enormous part of my childhood. I’ve written on The Titanic here, and the Lusitania is something you can look forward to later this month. Unlike those two, though, the Andrea Doria was a ship my father had seen with his own eyes, traveling in waters alongside him. It was closer, then, to a shipwreck, than all the reading my little eyes could ever do, in landlocked Minnesota.
Perhaps “enormous tragedy” is too strong a word, as only 51 people died in the collision and aftermath. I guess I mean “enormous” in terms of “big ship.” It did make me grateful that my dad had been on a Navy vessel and not on the posh, three-swimming pool-having Andrea Doria.
But hey, no scurvy! Yay.