We are in the North Atlantic between Newfoundland and Iceland, and there is a lot of water out there–a lot of water! We were given notice that last night was a black or white formal occasion. That meant tuxedos or dinner jackets for men and long gowns for ladies. We were all ready for the occasion, and we had the time of our lives. Our Scottish friends we met on the ship met us in the dining room, and the fun began. We met two ladies who now live in Canada but were born in London. The elderly mother was born in London before World War II and was one of eleven children. After the war, she and her husband came to Canada to find a better life. Her husband was a hard working, creative man and struck it rich. We heard about the devastation and bombings during the war and about the trials of Londoners. She lost one brother in France; his name was Fergus. She said he was her favorite brother, and she never forgot the sick feeling she had in her stomach when her parents told her of her brother’s death. As she talked about it, you could see that it was still hard for her to talk about. I don’t think I will forget her comment: I HATE WAR. The lady’s name was Helen, and her daughter was taking her back to England to visit her younger brothers and sisters whom she has not seen in many years. I sat listening to this wonderful lady relate her story. I had a lump in my throat.
Dinner was fabulous. All the gentlemen were in tuxedos and the ladies were in their gowns as the waiters and stewards ushered us to our tables. It was the old world, for sure! Just like one imagines the Queen Mary world to be. I had salad, frog legs, and glazed duck on mash. The peach cobbler for dessert sent me humming. It was fabulous. I looked around the dining room, and everyone was chatting away and enjoying wonderful meals. I just can’t imagine how the ship’s kitchens can prepare all these meals, all done to the passenger’s specifications, and to such a high standard. However they accomplished the task, it was fine with me!
We finished our meals and walked through the enormous ship to the Royal Court Theatre where we saw the play CRAZY FOR YOU. The music was wonderful and entertaining, just like Broadway or London. We all enjoyed ourselves a great deal. Our Scottish friends joined us, and we had the best time. June knew all the tunes, and she didn’t hesitate one minute to sing along and tap her feet. It was a wonderful moment. Our friend June is a special person; as a child she danced in vaudeville. Wow!
We weren’t tired even after all this food and entertainment so we went to the Queen’s Room which is a huge ballroom–you have no sense that there is a lot of water outside these walls as the passengers danced to the tunes of the Big Band Orchestra. Stephanie and I danced, but I preferred my tonic and lime and a perfect seat to enjoy watching hundreds of people dancing and snuggling and hugging on the ballroom floor. This was a great time.
I have enjoyed meeting all kinds of people who all have amazing stories. Many of the passengers are couples where the husband is American and the wife is British by birth. They were married after the war and have continued to travel back and forth across the Atlantic keeping ties with both families. Those were the people I enjoyed listening to most. Many of the couples were second marriages who had found each other later in life and were enjoying every minute they had together. But there was one theme in every conversation: BRITAIN. As we sat at our table, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the portraits all around the walls of Queen Mary and King George V, for whom the ship is named. There were portraits of the Royal Family I had never seen before so my camera and I went to work. I have never been happier in all my life. It was the perfect setting for the likes of me!
We went out on the deck to get some fresh air, smiled at each other, and were grateful for our wonderful lives. We returned to our staterooms, climbed out of our monkey suits, and watched the moon and stars shining brightly over the sea. It was spectacular. We were very happy indeed.
The movement of the ship rocked me to sleep–just like a babe in a crib. We are on our way to England, and we are very happy about that!
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918