Polar The Titanic Bear


Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I just read this for the very first time today. I had thought that after 25 years of being a Titanic enthusiast I'd reached a point where it was hard to read something associated with the ship and be moved any longer since when one associates oneself with the nuances of an historical event it at times makes one form an air of clinical detachment to the whole thing (especially so in my case as a history teacher).

But after reading this book, I felt a sense of being moved deeply inside when I thought of how Douglas Spedden met such a tragic death just a year later. You can really sense in this book the love of a mother for her son in writing this as a gift for him. You get to see the vignettes of a happy child at play with his toy. And in the final narration, "I hope he will be blessed with a long and happy life" it was impossible to not feel sorrow at how that was not to be in Douglas Spedden's case. To me, that extra layer of poignance ultimately makes this story so much more than a charming children's story in the end, but something that all adults could find something to learn from as well.

Reading more about the Speddens, I am glad to see that both Frederic and Daisy Spedden, despite the grief they obviously went through, were able to move on with their lives and not be consumed by such tragedy. The closing quote from Daisy Spedden twenty years later is I think offers a fine testament to that.

I have never thought before the necessity of having this book in my Titanic collection, but I now plan on rectifying that very soon.
 
May 5, 2001
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Eric,

Douglas is buried Just North of me in Tuxedo Park, NY...about an hours drive, thought about a trip up there at some point last year but never got there.....his tragedy is akin to surviving a war only to come home and be struck and killed by a car after getting out of the taxi that brought you from the airport.

Regards,
Bill
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I'd agree with that analogy. Going through some other threads on the subject in the archive here, I found myself in agreement with the person who speculated that Polar was ultimately buried with Douglas, thus explaining why the toy was not among Daisy Spedden's effects in the trunk.

I found a softcover copy of "Polar" today which now has a permanent place among those Titanic books that I know I won't give thought to getting rid of in a downsizing someday. It would definitely make my top ten list of must have Titanic books.
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Dear Bill,

Hope you don't mind a small correction. Douglas is buried in Brooklyn, New York, along with his parents, at the Green-Wood Cemetery. His death certificate incorrectly states that he was buried in Tuxedo Park.

Hope this helps.

Mike Findlay
 
May 5, 2001
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Hi Mike,
No I don't mind the correction, actually, I welcomed it since findagrave.com told me he was in Tuxedo Park......

My thanks,
Bill
 

Don Tweed

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Mar 30, 2006
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I just read Polar today to my 6 year old daughter and she loved it! So did I.
Very moving story and sad considering Master Speddens short life.
Bought the book off ebay for 5 dollars and that was money well spent.
As Eric said it now holds a permanent place among my library.
-Don
 

Don Tweed

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Mar 30, 2006
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Kyrila,
Thank you for echoing my feelings. I can become emotional at the drop of a hat concerning these matters.
Like the ship, you just can't let go.
Rest well young Master Spedden.
Nothing but respect, Don
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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You should have seen me when I walked into this autograph store in downtown WPB Sunday and lo! and behold! There was the actual "Swim Dress" and pink coat worn by Kate Winslet in the movie! It looked as waterlogged as it should have, and wow! My daughter is so mad that she went to see the Harlem Globetrotters (floor seats/backstage passes) instead of going with me. My whole purpose being downtown was to see the John Lennon art exhibit - I had no idea the dress was there. So it was a very emotional day for me as well. First the dress, then the exhibit, then I found Jack Ryerson's house. (See thread for photo.)

Kyrila
 

Don Tweed

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Mar 30, 2006
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Sounds like a full day for you Kyrila.
How was the art exhibit? I just love Lennon.
Everytime I here "Beautiful Boy", such an optimistic song, it saddens me.
-Don
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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It was difficult to view some paintings, such as one entitled "The hole of my life," and another one that showed John contemplating the passing years of his life. My favorites were the sweet drawings he made for Sean to teach him about animals and how to read. They were delightfully whimsical. Yoko added color to them. It's still hard for me to think of him as gone. I'm hoping to get to visit Strawberry Fields on my way to Newport Beach, or at least on the return trip, as my train has a layover at Penn Station.

Getting back to the topic at hand, "Polar the Titanic Bear," the illustrations are fabulous and were done by Laurie McGaw, a specialist in Edwardian art. There are also personal family photographs and anecdotes in the book.

Kyrila
 

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