Humorous Stories


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May 8, 2001
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Hello! I thought it would be humorous to hear stories that we have encountered in our Titanic teachings, speaches or just conversations. I haven't been involved in Titanic circles for long and know some of you have some tales to top mine, but here goes.
Back in 1998, my daughters fifth grade class was getting involved in all the hooplah of Titanic, so I offered to give a small speach and answer questions that some may have. I had everyone fill out question cards so I could research it beforehand, and went in with my box of reproduction items to pass around, Eaton-Haas book under one arm and my Lynch book under the other for amminution.
The speach was a great success, and what was to be a twenty minute session actually ended up to be almost two hours, surprising even the teacher at the eagerness. We finally had to wrap it up due to the final recess of the day, and I was cleaning up as they walked out, but I had one girl come up to me when it was all over and ask "Were you on the Titanic?"
I think at the time I was 27........ I smile about it to this day. Anyone else?
Colleen
 
Jan 31, 2001
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Hello Colleen,

I suppose you could call my dad's approach to my interest in the Titanic humorous...I certainly find it that way.

Everytime my dad sees a ship on television or in a movie he says "Is that about That Ship?" "That Ship" is the name he has apparently adopted for the Titanic; it's "That Ship" I'm so interested in.

One of the strangest examples would be the night we were going to see Hannibal. I had mentioned to him that Biltmore Estate, which appears quite frequently in the film, was once owned by Mr. George Washington Vanderbilt, who had booked passage on the Titanic as a first class passenger but later cancelled.

My dad quite obviously took it that the whole movie was about Mr. Vanderbilt sailing away on the Titanic and then drowning (dont't ask me how he came up with that plot!!!). About halfway through the film, he whispered "When are they gonna board THAT SHIP?"

I couldn't help but laugh right there in the theater. I finally had to explain what the movie was actually about!

Perhaps I'm the only one, but I find this hilarious!
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Cheers,
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-B.W.
 

Tracy Smith

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Brandon, I've toured the Biltmore Estate and it's an absolutely fabulous house. You get a real feel for affluent Edwardian life when you visit. I can see JJ Astor being right at home here. If you are ever in Asheville, NC, this is a must-see.

This Vanderbilt also owned the mansion, The Breakers, in Newport, RI, BTW.
 
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Allison Lane

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This is sort of related, I guess...

Back in April my high school marching band went on our annual spring trip, this time to St. Louis, and while at Union Station my sister bought me a shirt that said "Titanic Swim Team 1912" on it from a novelty store. First of all I couldn't believe she'd found something like it! The next day I wore it to Six Flags and while in line for The Boss there was a guy behind us wearing the exact same shirt... In addition, I had two separate band parents come up to me and say that the shirt just seemed "right" on me, and neither of them knew that I was a Titanic enthusiast. Others went up to my mother and said the same thing. Needless to say it's one of my favorite shirts now...
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-Allison L.
 

Joshua Gulch

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A few years back, shortly after the release of Jimmy C's picture show, I was talking to a friend and the subject of Titanic was brought up. She liked the movie, but new nothing of the real history. She asked me how long I had studied Titanic, and I answered "about ten years," to which she responded...

"The movie wasn't even out then."

Needless to say, I had some explainin' to do.

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Josh.
 
May 8, 2001
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Cute! Brandon. I guess our parents just don't understand!! My dad had never been on the Queen Mary before, and thought that it was just another ship. He has pictures of it crossing the Atlantic during the Korean war and never gave it another thought. Finally we begged him to go and even bought his ticket. He had the BEST time and even later admitted that he had underestimated it by far and he learned more than he thought possible, and we didn't even take the captains tour.
Although I do have to admit that as an avid fisherman who grew up in San Diego, he spent allot of time looking overboard at the HUGE fish swimming around. We had to have H-salt fish and chips for dinner to satisfy the craving he had built up. Now when we are in Long Beach and see her, I see him think for a second and say, "Hey, let's have fish and chips for dinner"! This is over the squeeling of my three old proclaiming "Tye'Tannick! Tye'Tannick!" We must be a site for locals going down the road! Thanks for the smile! Colleen
 
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sherry otoole

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I am a big fan of James Cameron's Titanic and I own several other movies and books as well . I have 2 kids a boy whose 6 and a daughter whose 3. They both love the movie as much as I do. One day my husband took my 3 year old out to work with him to get his cheque and he stopped at a coffee shop near his work .Over time got to know some of the girls. he told my daughter to "say hi to Rose" well she didn't say hi she asked "Where is Jack? I thought it was really cute.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Here's a little story...
A month or two before Mr. C's movie came out, I was in a bookstore buying a Titanic book (can't for the life of me remember which one...no matter). There at the counter the salesman ringing me up started to give his opinion of how this up-coming film was doomed, a budget disaster, who would go see this "another Waterworld flop". I myself was of course intrigued, but wasn't sure of the reaction to this movie.
Well, we all know of the reaction!
So, after a few months, in the throes of "Titanic Mania", I was back in the same bookstore. Yes, to shop for books, but also secretly (ok, insert diabolical giggle here!) to "by chance" run into same "Mr. it'll be a failure" salesman.
How unfortunate for me he wasn't working there that day! Indeed, never saw him there again....

I sometimes wonder if, just on principle, he will always Hate that movie!

Yours-
Kris
 
Aug 29, 2000
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In 1987 a bunch of Boat People decided it would be fun to get together at the Philadelphia Maritime Museum in April- THS had a nice exhibit there at the time including the Astor lifebelt and deck chair. I was in charge of programming and refreshments. Remembering the nifty Titanic-shaped cake in the LONG version of SOS Titanic, I re-created it-pistachio shells for lifeboats, white chocolate chips (flat side out ) for portholes. Funnels of painted rolled cardboard with smoke candles inside (but only the first THREE funnels!!). On the way from Jersey to Philly, an ICE cream truck swerved across my path, the cake in the backseat, took a hit as I steered hard a'port! The starboard side had a long swipe bow to midships (the cake not the car!). It still appeared at teatime amid many chortles and chuckles- a tribute to verisimilitude they all agreed. Have made that cake countless times again- as well as the White Star burgee (with a Wilton flag-shaped pan), a Baked ALaska Iceberg and, Queen Mary cookies- yes there IS such a cookie cutter. Martha Stewart- are you listening?
 
May 9, 2000
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"Shrinking World"

It was somehow funny how I got this Rehorek iceberg photograph:

last year I offered some old mags with fashion by Lady Duff-Gordon in an US online auction. The seller of these Rehorek cards saw this and wrote me an email on English thinking this US-guy (me) would perhaps be interested in his cards. I answered on English as well. Then he saw that I was German. "Oh great", he wrote back, "I speak better German than English. In which town are you living?" I wrote to him that I am living in Munich. Now guess what: he has a friend in Munich, she had visited him while we were writing back and forth. Finally three days later I picked up the cards at his friends address - only some blocks away from my home...
 
May 8, 2001
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I'd love to see a photo of the Titanic cake, and the queen mary cookies would be a hit too. I didn't see anything like that on the Queen mary, so if you would point the direction, I would be grateful. My sons birthday is at the end of the month and it would be the neatest cake to make for him. (He holds the honor of most knowledgeable Titanic at his school) :)
Thanks for the funny stories. I am glad you were safe! Colleen
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Henning,

I just realized you are the same guy who sent me that great color copy of the "Lucile" advertizement from "Ladies Home Journal." You were too kind and now I owe you a favor. Just ask!

Your iceberg article is tremendous, btw! Sorry I didn't post a comment of praise earlier.

All best wishes,

Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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The Queen Mary cookies are actually a sugar-cookie type dough cut with a cutter shaped like a liner-I bought it at Mystic Seaport- but have seen it many places-it has the 3 stacks. I have done a chocolate dough (rolledcookie dough), piped on the white icing superstructure, dipped the funnels in red sugar-THEN just tip off the tops in melted chocolate (Nestles morsels nuked in a microwave about 30 seconds) to get Cunard's funnels- you can even pipe on the funnel bands in chocolate. I have made Titanic cookies by tracing a simple outline of her profile on cardboard, then using that as a template . At Christmas this works well on a gingerbreadhouse type dough using Royal Icing for the trimming. Nestles'butterscotch chip morsels make a great White Star buff funnel color. Re: cakes, For Marshall Drew's 80th birthday cake I used the 2 dimensional Titanic-flat on a plate. This is simple to cut out from a large sheetcake, then frost as usual-chocolate for the hull, vanilla icing for the superstructure. Nutshells make great lifeboats, white chips for portholes. Cut out flags for the stern and masts from paper and glue to a toothpick. I use shishkabob skewers for masts. Pretzels(the twisted thin kind) break into GREAT anchors. Check out the candy section in the grocery store to get ideas for trims. The 3D cake is harder. I start with two large loaf pan cakes (Entemann's butter pound cake can work here). With a VERY sharp paring knife trim the front to the distinctive knife-bow of the ship. It helps to have a picture of the ship in front of you. Then position the second loaf behind and carefully carve out the counter stern. The dense poundcake is best as it does not crumble. The superstructure can be added on with either Twinkies, or sections of poundcake- use icing as "glue"-Keep the lines simple. Thin whip licorice makes dandy railings. Frost the top with white icing, insert paper funnels, add masts, flags,portholes,etc. I float the cake on a sea of tinted coconut, insert small candles inside the funnels, Just before the grand entrance-lightand then blow out the candles-they will smoke for a minute. The White Star Burgee is easy- we did that for Walter Lord's 76th birthday. Use the Wilton cake pan for flags- tint icing red- a frosted white star cookie in the center. Use those "hockey puck" strawberry shortcakes" as a base for the iceberg baked Alaskas. Place a scoop of vanilla icecream, then seal in a cloud of stiffly whipped meringue,peaking the tops. Have your oven broiler set on low- then watching like a hawk- pop the bergs on a cookie sheet under the broiler till the meringue just turns pale and sets up. They can rest in the freezer waiting. Return to the freezer until time to serve. I see Phil sadly shaking his head.....
 

Mike Herbold

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Shelley:
You are truly amazing. Can't wait to have my sister-in-law, the only artistic Herbold, start working on this. I was going to kid you (like I always do with Maureen Zottoli) and ask for the microwave recipe, and you managed to work some of that in without me even having to mention it.
And, as a side treat, I now have something creative to do with my pretzels when sitting back and relaxing with a cool Bass Ale (my official Titanic beer).
Thanks for sharing your secret recipe. I just had a great chuckle thinking of the fun and havoc you could wreak as a home economics teacher.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Mike- I have also re-created the Second Class menu for survivors. Once Channel 10 in Providence sent a camera crew to film it- the lamb and mint sauce, etc. My daughters and I dressed in our 1912 finery and sang various Titanic pieces around the piano(12 "takes" of Autumn.) For the centerpiece I have an ice sculpture mold of an iceberg (altered from a duck mold) - the Revell Titanic model is just the right scale for the presentation. With the ice and ship set on an oval mirror- it made an amazing vignette which survived the hot filming lights. At the time my diningroom was done in a nautical motif with menus from famous ships lining the walls and the big oil of the iceberg on the wall
http://www.geocities.com/revdma2/backtotheboatroom.html
which I had painted at Marshall's studio.
I have recipes for the last dinner-I used to write a column called "Feasting Afloat"- and I collect ship's cookbooks- there are more than you would imagine from the cruise liners. I am certain there are those out there who must think all this the WORST in bad taste so I hesitate to mention it. I have written a cookbook with Lizzie Borden recipes called Teatime at Maplecroft- as yet unpublished. The Lizzie Borden paperdolls were however and I have been giving great thought to a Titanic Paperdoll collection (dresses from the Cameron movie of course). Yes- I just loved Home Economics but taught languages instead.
I believe one should surround oneself with their hobbies- I have stencilled Titanic clothing, rugs, shower curtains, port and starboard SNEAKERS, and muslin window curtains- and painted the door panels
http://www.geocities.com/revdma2/boatroom.html
Now I won't tell you about Lizzie's room HERE! Live what you love.....
 

Mike Herbold

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Shelley:
Thanks for the detailed message. My wife, bless her, read it, and commented "And I thought you were weird!" Then I reminded her about her fanaticism for the Denver Broncos, including blankets, wristwatches, trash cans, dolls, statues, plaques, playing cards, posters, coffee mugs, T-shirts, jerseys and jackets, shoelaces, ball caps, beach towels, and clocks, and she was quiet for a second. Then I told her that the gigantic poster of John Elway hanging over our bed made me feel less of a man, and that made her feel guilty, and she was quiet for another second. Then....

Ok, so actually, she's still asleep, but if she ever bugs me again about all my Titanic books, magazines, videos, models, puzzles, games, T-Shirts, blankets, beach towels, posters, drawings, plates, wind-up chimes, or breath mints, I'm gonna shove your message right down her throat, and tell her to bake me a Titanic cake.
Understandably Yours,
TitanicMan
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Er... I have Titanic over my bed, a Lizzie Borden mannequin (minus head) in the corner-and we won't even discuss Dracula in the hall.Never asked the Captain how that made HIM feel. Once he muttered "crazy...#@&^%(*!under his breath)... He ties flies by the hour, digs rock gardens in August and builds WWII planes NONSTOP- I rest my case!
 

Tracy Smith

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Shelley, growing up in Swansea, MA (about six miles from Fall River), and having the first name of Elizabeth was not an easy thing. I credit Lizzie Borden and her lengend for being a large factor in the reason why I hate my first name and prefer my middle name of Tracy.

Mike, I have the same "thing" your wife does about the Broncos, except with Dale Earnhardt. I'm still not quite believing that he's gone.
 
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