A Few Questions Not Sure Where to Put This


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Holly Peterson

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I was thinking about maybe re-starting the Titanic novel that I'd given up on a couple years ago, and I have a few questions. I'm not sure where this should go, so if it ought to be moved, that's all right with me.

First of all, how would a steward react if they saw a third-class child had snuck into the first-class area? How would the first-class passengers react? Would they show exaggerated disgust, or just politely tell the kid to go back to their area?

Secondly, which lifeboat was the most lenient with letting men and older boys in? And which lifeboat was the most strict with not allowing older boys in? (Lifeboat 4, maybe?)

Lastly, does anyone know any books or sites that tell what life was like for a working-class person in Queenstown, Ireland, in 1912 or so?

Any help would be gladly appreciated!
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Dec 2, 2000
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>>First of all, how would a steward react if they saw a third-class child had snuck into the first-class area?<<

Can't speak to the Titanic specifically, but on most ships, stewards were remarkably adept at being where kids would try to sneak past the barriers and all it would take would be a disapproving look along with a pointed finger to hustle them right back where they belonged. Short of that, they would be escorted back.
 
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Holly Peterson

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Thanks, Michael! That's going to go great with my story.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Plenty of males in the boats aft on the starboard side. For strictness in keeping men and boys out, try No 14 on the port side. Lowe was threatening to shoot them, and that's as strict as it gets.
 

Ben Lemmon

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Hello again Alzbeta,

It's good to hear that you are writing again. It's always nice to have colleagues with the same interests. Anyway, I read that you were looking for a book that might document the life of a working-class person in Ireland. I'm not entirely sure (as I never read the full thing) but I believe that you would find some information in Twenty Years a-Growin'. It's an older book that's an autobiography of the child and teen years of the author. It was originally written in Gaelic but has been translated. That might help you in your story. Other than that, I can suggest nothing more than researching books on the topic. Amazon.com or your public library would be a good starting place. Hope this helps.

Bob, wasn't Lowe threatening to shoot them because they were rushing the boat by this time? Isn't that why he shot the gun alongside the ship as it was being lowered? Just thought I'd ask.

(Alzbeta, as a side note, you might also try The Hard Life by Flann O'Brien. Mind you, this is a satire, but it might help your research. Also, talk to George. He seems to know a bit about the subject.)
 
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Holly Peterson

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Thanks for everyone's help! If you don't mind, I have a few more questions.

In my story, there are a 12-year old girl and a 10-year old boy. They are alone on the boat deck and trying to find a lifeboat. They have been separated from their father and friends (the Goodwin family.)The girl wants to get her brother in a lifeboat and go back to look for the others.

The first lifeboat they go to won't let the boy in because he is deemed 'too old.' I was wondering, is this realistic? I know about Lowe at Lifeboat 14, but would a 10 year old really ever be excluded from a lifeboat? If not, my story has some serious problems with it that I have to fix.

So anyways, as the story goes, the boy is excluded from the lifeboat, but the girl manages to get him in the next one, but she either leaves to find her father or is told to wait for the next boat, as the boat is too full. If I go with the 'boat being too full' scenario, the boat would probably be Lifeboat 11, which was overcrowded. Here there is a problem - were there any lifeboats lowered before Lifeboat 11 which excluded young boys? If not, were there any other lifeboats that might exclude a 12-year old girl because they're overcrowded?

After that, a lot of other stuff happens, she can't find the Goodwins, but she finds her father, who puts her into Collapsible D.

Again, I greatly appreciate the help you have already given me, and look forward to your response.

P.S. Ben Lemmon, I read on some thread that you liked Star Wars. So do I! Star Wars is basically the center of my life. May the Force be with you!
 

Bob Godfrey

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It wasn't a question of whether a boy could be considered a man, but whether he could not be considered a child, and in England in 1912 boys and girls left school and began their working lives at the age of 13, and while the law still afforded them extra protection as 'young people' they were technically no longer children. Most of the crew members supervising the loading would have been working at sea and facing all of its hazards from the age of 12 or 13, and that would colour their judgements. But remember that nobody was waving ID papers, so what counted was not a boy's actual age but how old he looked. According to Minnie Coutts, crew members were reluctant to let her son Willie into a boat, and he was just 9.

A 12 year old girl might be turned away from any boat if it was full. That's what happened to Ruth Becker, for instance.
 

Allan Wolf

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Holly,

I'm in the midst of writing a book set on Titanic myself. (Hell, isn't everyone?) Mine is a YA book for Candlewick Press. I also have two characters, a sister and brother who are the same age as yours and meet with similar obstacles. Bob G's assessment is, as usual, right on target. Generally speaking, to get your young "man," rejected from a boat launched before lifeboat eleven, you should send him to any boat launched from the port side where Lightoller is in charge. Your girl could then cross the deck to get her brother into a starboard side boat where they were lenient about males young or old.

Also, I would check out the Lifeboat Launching Sequence as examined by the wonderful Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe. If your kids are upper class, the boy could easily get into one of the forward boats on the starboard side. If they are 3rd class, it may have taken them longer to reach the boat deck, so the aft port side boats would be more likely.

Remember that all the aft boats on both sides became increasingly full as the night progressed. As well, the chaos began to increase so your girl could easily be rejected from entering a full boat. Ruth Becker was rejected even from a boat even after her other family members had been seated!

All this to say that YES, it IS REALISTIC that a 10-year-old boy might be rejected. My own 10-year-old is already nearly as tall as me, and very mature-acting,

Anyway. Best of luck with the book!

An added note: Lowe was not firing his gun to keep men and boys from loading into boat 14. He was firing his gun as the boat was being lowered to keep anyone from jumping from the decks into the already overburdened boat.
 

Bob Godfrey

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I should just clarify for Ben that Lowe did indeed fire his pistol to discourage jumpers, but had earlier threatened its use (perhaps with less serious intent) to help persuade a boy to leave his boat. See this thread:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5811/66441.html

Alzbeta, keep in mind that you don't have to find a boat which really was full to justify the crew in charge turning people away on those grounds. Many of them overestimated the number of people in their boat, or considered that a fairly light loading was a safe maximum.
 

Ben Lemmon

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quote:

...so what counted was not a boy's actual age but how old he looked. According to Minnie Coutts, crew members were reluctant to let her son Willie into a boat, and he was just 9.
I know what you mean here, Bob. I know two boys, both around age 11. One of them is quite tall for his age and a bit more filled out than the other. The other one I am thinking of is quite a bit smaller and probably could still pass for a 8-9 year old. So I think I understand how two children the same age could be judged to be too old or too young. It really is something to think about when you are writing.

Alzbeta, you might want to reconsider using the Goodwin name. You can use them as a template, but I find that by using pseudonyms, you are granted more literary freedom. You have more flexibility in their characters. In my story, there is a child named Daniel Durwin, who is based on the second youngest Goodwin boy. However, by not referring to him by his actual name, I am granted a little bit of freedom in molding the character. Also, I am using Marshall Drew as another template, but I am referring to him as Robert Andrews. This is a good idea, and it was given to me by someone on the board (I think it might have been Bob, though I'm not sure). Also, have fun while you write, don't think of it as a chore. That makes it so much easier.

By the way, is the 10-year old boy based on one of the Goodwin boys?​
 
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Holly Peterson

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Thank you so much for all your help, which will make writing my story so much easier. However, I'd like to clarify a few points. The children are in third class, and from Ireland. The 10-year old boy is not based on the Goodwin boys. The Goodwins are separate characters in the story. Including them is deeply important to me because I feel a connection with them. I was never interested in the Titanic before I saw their picture and felt compelled to learn about them and the tragedy that ended their life. I am putting them in the story as a mark of respect for the family whose deaths introduced me to a whole new world. Plus, I'm NOT getting the story published. I'm just a teenager writing for fun. I'm such a procrastinator I probably won't even finish the book, anyways. Again, thank you very, VERY much for all your invaluable assistance.
 
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Holly Peterson

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Okay, I think I have it. How does this sound?

The children are in third class and are jolted awake by the collision. The boy starts cryinng, saying he's scared and has had a nightmare, etc,so the father takes him out onto the poop deck to see the stars, while actually asking crewmen along the way what's wrong. The girl is told to get dressed and remain alert, to wait in the cabin unless someone tells her to leave or she sees water.

She gets dressed but looks outside, wondering what has happened. She sees lots of people milling around in the hallway, asking a steward what's wrong. He says everything is all right and the passengers should go back to bed. A little while later, though, the passengers begin heading for the general room to see for themselves what's happened. The girl packs a few things, and follows them.

In the general room, there is much confusion as the passengers wait for official orders. Some begin to brave the journey to the upper decks, while husbands and wives tearfully cling to each other, saying that they won't be separated. The girl wonders what's taking her family so long. She finds the Goodwins, who won't budge until they know what's going on. They won't leave each other, although the girl begs them to come with her up to the top decks. They say they're going to wait together. Then her brother comes, saying he's been separated from the father.

This is the foggiest part. Do any of you know any possible way in which the two could be separated that doesn't reflect poorly on the part of the father (I don't want to portray him as some sort of coward who's irresponsible with his children and loses them)? I also want to add a note of panic to this situation. Could the boy have heard or seen something (ice chunks on the deck, maybe?) that enlightens the girl on what's happening? Could he have heard an officer or crewmember telling the truth of what's happened, or seen water in the hallways? I think this would also be a good time for John Hart or some other steward to arrive and say for women and children to come up with them. This way, the passengers will realize they have to get out of there, the Goodwins will refuse to parted, but urge the other two children to go with the steward and save themselves.

However this happens, the girl and boy start journeying to the upper decks, either by themselves or with John Hart. They arrive on the boat deck and the girl decides she'll get her brother in the lifeboat and then go back to look for her father. They arrive at Lifeboat 14, where Lowe doesn't allow the boy in (I'm thinking of incorporating the tale of the lad whom Lowe threatened with the gun in here; perhaps it could be her brother??? Is this a stupid idea?) After the boy is refused, the girl takes the boy across the deck to Lifeboat 13, which we know a) was crowded and b) allowed older boys in, such as 14-yr old Johan Svensson. The girl either chooses to stay behind or is told to as there isn't enough room.

I don't know what's going to happen from here, only that near the end she's going to find her father, and there's going to be some emotional scene where she doesn't want to be separated from him (she's already been separated from the Goodwins, her mother, who has been in America for several years, her brother, who is in another lifeboat, and her sister, who died of sickness back in Ireland) and doesn't want to lose him. He makes her go into Lifeboat D, the last boat. The ship sinks, the girl is sad, etc. She is reunited with her brother aboard the Titanic, and eventually discovers that her father has been saved aboard Collapsible B (I'm a sucker for happy endings, though it's not completely one, because the Goodwins are dead.)

Does this seem like a logical chain of events? Is anything innacurate? Does this accurately depict how a third-class passenger might have reacted? I know that many of them were told by the officers that nothing was wrong and thus stayed below decks, but I've also read accounts that say all the third-class passengers were steadily heading for the upper decks, dragging all their possessions with them.
 
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Holly Peterson

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PS. Sorry if I'm constantly irritating you guys, or if it seems I'm nagging you for information. The truth is I haven't been on these boards for a long time, and I've kind of forgotten some of the stuff about the Titanic! Thanks for all your help.
And PPS, its nearing the 1-year anniversary of my time on these message boards!
 

Ben Lemmon

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I can't speak for everyone on the board, Alzbeta, but you haven't been irritating to me at all. I would be surprised if someone else thought differently than me. I don't think you would have to worry.

About the separation, this would be easy. Imagine how many people are in Third Class. It would be easy for a father and son to be separated in the throng of passengers making their way to the public room. It's not an example of poor parenting. Parents oftentimes lose their children, whether it be in K-mart on an evening shopping run or in Walt Disney World during a family trip. However, when the family gets together, tell the reader where the father went. That way, all the readers' questions are answered. Other than that, I think you have a good chain of events, though I am far from being an expert about the subject.

If you want to add an amusing anecdote, I have an idea. Have your 10-year old boy character not make it onto the list of those who are saved because of some reason or another. This actually happened once. Marshall Brines Drew, the "feisty and independent" 8-year old from Second Class, found it much more important to have some hot chocolate and a doughnut rather than give his name to some old man with a pen and paper. As a result, his name was not on some of the first lists of survivors (or on the first lists of those missing). It would be a little humorous to add a similar situation. It would alleviate the dark mood proceeding the sinking.

Also, if you wouldn't mind a little more help, you can post parts of your story on the "Writing a New Book" thread. I would bet that more than just I would look over your writing for you.

Hope this helps...
 
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Holly Peterson

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Thanks for your kind and informative response! I'm relieved that the separation of the father and son will be both easy and accurate to write. I have heard that story about Marshall Drew, and take your word that such an occurence in that story will help add a note of amusement in such a dark time. I will be sure to include Encyclopedia Titanica in my bibliography when I write this story, though it's not going to be published.

I'll probably put some of this stuff into the Writing a New Book thread, if I have the time.

And thank you for being so ready to help. My worry over this issue probably stems from my asperger's syndrome. It's a slight mental disability similar to autism but not as severe, and the symptoms include depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clumsiness, and frequent unnecessary anxiety. I know I shouldn't fret so much about what others on the board think, but I just can't help it.

Thanks again to everyone, especially Ben, for their unending help with my project.
 
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Holly Peterson

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A few more questions, if nobody minds. Thanks for everyone's patience and support, helping me with my story.

The thing I'm completely in the dark about is where some things were situated on the Titanic. I know that in third class (which is the bulk of my story), the dining saloon was amidship on F-Deck, the smoking room was on the port side of the stern, on C-Deck, the public room was on the staboard side of the stern on C-Deck, and the cabins were on F-Deck and G-Deck. I also know that the major lifeboats in my story are located as follows: boat 14 is on the starboard side near the stern, boat 13 is opposite it, and boat D is right up near the bow, on starboard.(Please correct me if I'm woefully wrong, which I probably am.)

So the main characters' journey will take her from her cabins, to the public room on C-Deck, where she meets her brother who has just come from the poop deck, up to the lifeboats hopefully passing some locked gates like the ones Margaret Devaney and her two friends encountered, in order to add some excitement to the story, and onto the deck. Does anyone know the most likely route for the two children to take? I expect basically EVERYONE on this board knows more about the anatomy of the Titanic than I do.

I am wondering whereabouts the family's cabin should be. As they were a small family with only the father, the 12-year old girl and the 10-year old boy, I doubt they would be separated by gender (but if so, don't hesitate to tell me so!)It needs to be somewhere where they can be awakened by the crash. It also should be in an area where the passengers all woke up to see what was going on after the collision, and were told that nothing was wrong by the officers, but then left to go to the public rooms or seek out the top decks by themselves. Plus, does anyone knwo when these scenarios would take place? How long would the third-class passengers in such an area have to wait for instructions, how long would it be before they began to leave, seeing something was deadly wrong (perhaps seeing water in the hallways?) and when did John Hart come to the public room to take some of the third-class passengers to the boat decks. I was going to have the girl maybe go with him and his party, though if they arrived too late for the loading of lifeboat 14, then she'll have to go alone with her brother.
I was kind of hoping to have the girl witness the scenario that took place between Agnes Sandstrom, who is a minor character making several cameo appearances with her young daughters, and Augusta Lindblom. The latter woman was apparently so afraid she could not be coaxed to leave her room, and shut herself inside. I was wondering if it is known where these womens' cabins were, so I can situate my girl's cabin near it.

Sorry about the length of this post and the amount of questions. I really hope everything will work out so my story will make sense. And thanks to all for their help; I am very grateful.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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>>and the cabins were on F-Deck and G-Deck<< There were also some on D and E-decks.

>>boat 14 is on the starboard side near the stern, boat 13 is opposite it, and boat D is right up near the bow, on starboard<< 14 and D were port-side lifeboats.

>>It needs to be somewhere where they can be awakened by the crash.<< Single men were forward. Families and single ladies aft. Some families were on the port-side of E-deck so would not have heard the crash. The Sandstroms are on this list as perhaps being in room G-6 (?): https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/cabins.html

>>and when did John Hart come to the public room to take some of the third-class passengers to the boat decks<< Did he? - See here: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/joun-edward-hart.html
 
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Holly Peterson

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Wow ... I really got a lot of things wrong! Thanks for correcting me, Lester!

Have a nice day
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