Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Titanic Historical Society 50th Anniversary Convention: Day 5

Today was a bittersweet day.  I was sad to leave my friends and this atmosphere and go back home, but I also missed my own bed.  I went over to the remembrance service early in the morning.  Being a Reformed Baptist, I'm not used to that kind of service but it was still interesting to experience.  We sang "O God, our help in Ages Past," "Eternal Father Strong to Save," and "Nearer My God To Thee."  Rev. Demass led the prayers and sermon.  Rev. Statler also offered some reflections and did a good job singing Mary Fahl's "Going Home."  I especially enjoyed his song because it was written for one of my favorite films, "Gods and Generals."  Then we went over to the museum where we had a group photo in front of the museum.  I wish we went inside.  I would have liked to walk up the Grand Staircase one last time.  But we didn't have time as we said our good byes to some and the rest of us went over to the Applewood Farm restaurant for our final meal together.  We had a wonderful southern meal together and we were able to sit at the same table as Phil Gowan, the Trowers, Mike Herbold, and another couple.  We had wonderful conversations and then the master of ceremonies, Paul Burns, stood up and led us in singing happy birthday to Karen Kamuda who has one coming up.  After that, they presented certificates thanking everybody who played an instrumental part in the event.  Then came a touching moment with Ed Kamuda presented his wife, Karen, with a plaque thanking her for her dedication to the THS.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  Both of the Kamudas deserved all the thanks they got and more.  Their tireless efforts to make the THS, Commutator, and conventions possible are noteworthy.  Then came the hard part.  We said good bye, saying that we'll see each other next year at the next convention.  I certainly hope so.  They're a lovely group of people and I certainly will make an effort to make it to the next convention.

Titanic Historical Society 50th Anniversary: Day 4

Today was awesome!  This trip has been the best $300 I've spent in my life.  This afternoon, there was a coach tour of Pigeon Forge scheduled for the group but my Mother and I decided to take advantage of the free admission as attendees of the THS convention and go to the Titanic Pigeon Forge exhibit again.  I can never get over all those artifacts and actually walking up the Grand Staircase.  The people there are so friendly and nice as well.  We returned to the hotel for a little break before getting into our 1st class attire and going back to the museum where we would have the special privilege of having our dinner on the 3rd floor of the museum.  When we got there, we were given our cards we were assigned a table.  Each table was named after a survivor.  As we were waiting for them to take us up, Ken Marschall in the flesh came up with his partner.  We rode the elevator together and we had a brief conversation about the elevators.  Then we came up to the third level where it was held in a very large and beautiful room with well done murals.  We found our seat at the Washington Dodge Jr. table where we had the great privilege of sitting with Bill Wormstedt and his wife, George Behe, Phil Gowan, Mike Herbold, and there was an empty seat which was supposed to belong to Douglas Willingham.  The table next to us had Ken Marschall, Don Lynch, Darrell Rooney, and several others.  When the event began, Mrs. Joselyn got up and spoke eloquently about the museum and their exhibits.  Then we had a delicious meal.  We started out with at tartlet trio with flavors of spinach, brie and raspberry, and goat cheese and stuffed mushrooms filled with Italian sausage and Parmesan cheese.  The next course was a delicious salad.  Then they served a very good plate of Grilled Alaskan Salmon with Mustard Dill on top, filet minion, baby carrots, and white cheddar mashed potatoes.  Between this course and the next, Ken Marschall was introduced.  He gave a wonderful speech about the making of the movie and showed us pictures that hadn't been published before of the making of the film.  It was so fascinating, looking at the making of the movie and how they did certain shots.  During his speech, they served cake, ice cream, and coffee.  Afterwards, they were so kind and gracious to us.  I say that because I brought a lithograph and 5 books for him to sign.  When most of the people at left, we began talking to Ken's partner, Verne.  We laughed at his jokes and he is a very nice man.  Eventually, it was just me, my Mother, Ken Marschall, and Verne.  We had a wonderful time talking with them about the Titanic for almost half an hour.  We left trying to take in everything that had happened and it will probably take a few days to process and file away all the information I've heard.  Tomorrow is the last day and while it will be good to get back home, I have loved this trip so much and I will never forget it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Titanic Historical Society 50th Anniversary: Day 3

Today was an amazing day!  It began with a speech by Phil Gowan in which he shared a snippet of his immense knowledge of the good, bad, and ugly passengers and crew.  It was interesting to see an honest look at the passengers and crew that are revered or in which their faults are overlooked.  The next speech was by Paul Loudon-Brown about the RMS Arabic.  Being a Titaniac, I'd heard about the Arabic maybe twice as one of the prominent ships in the White Star Lind fleet.  But I had never looked into it in depth.  Loudon-Brown dove into the Arabic story and what a fascinating and interesting ship she is.  He also talked about the attempt to recover the gold off the Arabic which was sunk during WWI.  Afterwards, Joseph Brown got up and spoke about the Marconi set and the role of the wireless on board the Titanic.  Before the next speech, I went over to the hotel next door with Douglas Willingham and another friend where Douglas Willingham showed me his scrapbook about his cousin, 1st class passenger Archie Butt.  It was a wonderful time, talking with them and getting to know them along with learning some very interesting facts about Archie.  When we returned, we got in to see the final 30 minutes of Darrell Rooney's documentary about the Titanic Heritage Tours.  It looked awesome based on what little I saw.  Next, we went out to Alamo Steakhouse for dinner with Douglas Willingham, George Behe, the Trowers, Phil Gowan, Darrell Rooney, Don Lynch, and several others.  We had a great time and got back to hear Don Lynch give a fascinating speech about his experiences making the movie.  It was real eye opening.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Titanic Historical Society 50th Anniversary: Day 2

Today was an awesome day!  We arrived at the museum early at 9:30 AM at the same time as several others at the THS Convention.  It was very kind of the owners of the Titanic museum here in Pigeon Forge to grant free access to the museum for the duration of the convention.  There was so much there, I am overwhelmed trying to remember everything I saw.  It was a real treat to see the pennies Thomas Millar gave his boys just before he left on the Titanic to his death.  It was also neat to see all these copies of Father Browne's photographs and things from the 3rd class passengers including a Bible which one of the passengers clutched as she left the ship.  There was also a number of things from 2nd class passenger Rev. John Harper who is one of my favorite Titanic heroes.  It was neat to see things from the 1997 film like clothes and hats.  The coolest parts were standing on the Bridge at the wheel and walking up and down the Grand Staircase.  To only see black and white photographs of the Grand Staircase and imagine what it was like to be on there is one thing.  To physically walk up those steps is quite another experience and it is amazing.  On top of seeing all these neat artifacts and more, what made the experience truly special was to tour it with George Behe and Tim Trower and hear their immense knowledge of the ship as they discussed various issues throughout the exhibit.  That was something I'll never forget.

In the evening, we went up to Buckberry Lodge in the Smokey Mountains.  The view was stunning and gorgeous and the food was just wonderful.  It was a real treat!  The people there were lovely and we got the great privilege of sitting at the same table as the Kamudas (who founded the THS) and Joselyns (who founded the Titanic museums in Branson and Pigeon Forge).  Just before dinner, we met Douglas Willingham who is a distant cousin of 1st class passenger Maj. Archie Butt.  The dinner was a 3 course meal which began with a salad, then a chicken breast with rice and green beans, and New York Cheesecake.  After the dinner and some wonderful discussions about Titanic and Classical Music with others nearby, everybody gathered in the big room where current and former officers of the THS spoke about interesting experiences.  Paul Loudon-Brown, George Behe, Don Lynch, and Karen Kamuda all spoke.  Then Ed Kamuda got up and read letters from absent officers of the past.  Afterwards, I got some copies of my books signed by Bill Wormstedt, Don Lynch, and George Behe!  I feel so blessed to have not only wonderful books such as On A Sea Of Glass, A Death on the Titanic, The Loss of the SS Titanic:  Centennial Reappraisal, and Exploring the Deep all signed by 1-2 of their authors.  This day definitely ranks high among the best days in my life.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Titanic Historical Society 50th Anniversary Day 1

Today was the kickoff for the convention.  We had an exciting day and I got to meet some of my Titanic heroes such as Ed and Karen Kamuda, Don Lynch, and George Behe.  More are expected tomorrow.  We got to the Springhill Suites hotel which is very nice in Pigeon Forge, TN and my Mother and I immediately got dressed.  We planned it out to where we would go as 3rd class passengers to the first dinner, 2nd class passengers to the 2nd dinner, and 1st class passengers at the 3rd dinner.

We got there and sat down at the same table as a Titanic friend of mine that I've known for several years over the internet but just today got to meet in person, Tim Trower.  We had a wonderful time and the food was excellent.  We had a good southern style meal with barbecue ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, biscuits, peach cobbler, and ice ceream.  After eating, we listened to Ed and Karen Kamuda talk about the founding of the Titanic Historical Society and what it's done in later years.  I had no idea how much the THS has been involved in so many projects and basically planted the seeds that led to the discovery of the Titanic and her sister ship, Britannic.  It was interesting to see a man who as a boy had an interest in the Titanic and how that led to the leading Titanic community.  I can't wait to learn more as the convention continues!  Just tonight has allowed me to hear a wealth of information.

For those who want pictures, they will be posted after I get home.