My reading these days, notwithstanding the books about Texas horticulture, was nominated last year as the GoodReads Choice for best historical book. It’s called Dead Wake by Erik Larson and is the story of the last crossing of the Lusitania.
This is no dry history book. Thus far I have learned the following facts that I think are rather interesting:
- On the morning the Lusitania departed, the German Embassy in Washington placed a notice on the shipping pages of New York’s newspapers reminding readers of the existence of the war zone and cautioned that “vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or of any of her allies, are liable to destruction” and that travelers sailing on such ships “do so at their own risk.”
- The ship was booked to capacity including an unexpectedly large number of children and babies.
- President Woodrow Wilson’s wife died just a year and a half into his first term – two days after Britain entered the new war in Europe. His grief was incapacitating. He wrote in his diary, “looked forward to the next two and a half years with dread. He did not see how he could go through with it.”
- Millions of bales of cotton piled up on southern wharves because the war had brought an acute shortage of ships. Their owners feared submarine attacks and docked them.
- May 1 was called ‘Straw Hat Day’, when a man could break out his summer hat. Men followed this rule.
- Pacifiers were called ‘sucking tubes’ and were tied around babies necks with a cord.
This is just a sampling of new information I’ve put into my noggin and pass along to your noggin. And since this is a YARN ALONG and we all love fiber and BOOKS……..
One of the passengers on board the Lusitania was a successful book seller named Charles Lauriat. He brought two invaluable items on board:
- The first was a bit of “Thackerayana”, a term used to describe artifacts of Thackeray’s life coveted by collectors on both sides of the Atlantic. Laureate had a scrapbook containing drawings done by Thackeray to illustrate his own works.
- The second was a copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol owned by none other than the author himself. Within the covers of this copy were notes that had been jotted by Dickens about the legal actions he had brought against “literary pirates” who had republished the story against his permission.
On the needles is a beaded Boo Knits shawl called ETERNITY which is appropriately named for it feels like I’ve been knitting it for an eternity! I’m on the final chart and as a consequence my motivation to finish is climbing. Maybe I will have a finished shawl to show you on the next Yarn Along. So…what are you reading? Knitting?