My love of all-things Titanic began when I was a child. My grandparents had one of those pictorial history books that Life Magazine put out. It was a coffee table book; hard-cover, glossy and beautiful. I would sit on the couch with that book in my lap, enthralled with the story of the “unsinkable” ship that actually sank. Even as a child, my heart ached for the victims and I saw her resting place as sacred. As I got older, I read more and more about her. I wrote a project on her in college. When James Cameron was writing his movie (Titanic 1997), I was his contemporary… a fellow Titanic-lover of about the same age… who could have written her own movie. I read absolutely everything I could get my hands on and watched every movie I could find. I went to the Titanic Artifact Exhibit.
I saw Her Name, Titanic by Charles Pellegrino in a used bookstore and bought it after I read the description on the jacket, which compared our lady Titanic to the spaceship Challenger. Just a hint: ‘Tis Ego brought the great ships down! Both Titanic and Challenger! It truly is a riveting and provocative book!
But I’m going to talk about one quote in particular:
And we know. We who have seen. – Charles Pellegrino
As I’ve mentioned many times before… great, walloping words can jump out from the strangest places. This quote showed up on the page before Chapter 1.
And we know. Who are we? We who have seen. What have we seen? Too much. Haven’t we all?
This evening, the news is on behind me as I write. I am not watching, my husband is, and I am concentrating on what I’m saying here. The news anchors say something about the violence of the next story. Children should be taken from the room. It catches my attention. I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to hear it. I know it will be bad. It is. A 7-year-old child was molested, exploited, sexually abused for the pleasure of sick adults who call themselves her mother and step-father. Seven. A baby. I stop. Dear Lord. I can’t UNhear or UNsee what I’ve just witnessed. Never mind the abuses from our pasts that stories like this trigger.
Yes, we know. We who have seen.
I can think of so many other things that could fit here… as I’m sure you can… some terrible, like that news story. And, some so vast and beautiful they’re impossible to describe. A sunset, the birth of a child, a kiss, a song that moves us to tears.
We know. We have seen.
How is it that a book about something so disparate can prompt this kind of thinking?
I don’t know.
What I know for sure is that the truth has been spoken. We know. We who have seen.