The nameless ship that came after the Titanic

Assignment envy, that’s what I’ll call it.

My colleague, Nora Ryell, is writing an obituary about a life I want to tell.

Here are the highlights: Gladys O’Connor died in Toronto on February 25th at age 108. Gladys and her family sailed to Canada in 1912 on the next boat after the Titanic. Her father worked as a marble polisher in England and couldn’t afford the Titanic’s fares.

The family crossed on the next ship, whereupon passengers and crew stopped at the site of the Titanic’s sinking to sing ‘Nearer My God To Thee.’

At 14 Gladys she started work as a saleswoman, shipper and book-keeper with Empire Wallpapers.

When she retired, in her 80’s, she began her second career as an actress in films, television and commercials and was made an honourary member of ACTRA, the actors’ union.

Where was I when this death notice appeared in the paper? Sleeping, probably, because it was in the Saturday edition over a week ago.

Oh yes, I was in Kingston and didn’t pay attention to my usual ritual of dashing downstairs to check the notices and pitch to my editor.

So Nora beat me to this woman’s story. She will do an excellent job, I’m sure, but my envy remains and will probably hang on until at least the end of the day. The ill-fated story of losing out on discovering the truths behind a next-to-the-Titanic centenarian Canadian actor.

Secret to her longevity? An apple a day and a brandy at night.


About Nor

I'm a creative non-fiction writer, with a special interest in memoirs and obituaries--life stories, local histories with flesh & blood anecdotal details. I'm also beginning to create podcasts of people's stories and expanding their audiences. I'm a diarist, an editor, and a political activist. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and spend days tapping keys or staining my fingers in ink.
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3 Responses to The nameless ship that came after the Titanic

  1. Loved this! Still chuckling…. Must have a brandy tonight 🙂

  2. Stephanie says:

    Noreen, I’m so sorry you didn’t write that obituary! After I read your post, I went back to that issue of the Globe and found the death notice. What a lovely smile in the photograph! Hopefully your colleague will find the name of that nameless ship …

  3. Nomfundo says:

    Sounds fun, but before the iaontntivis go out bear in mind that a medium passenger ferry would set u back about a3100million to design and build, (double that if ur commissioning someone else to do it for you), plus a 46,000 tonne working replica of a 100 year old steamer made completly of iron, would be way more! (tho ud probably qualify for classic insurance), you may get some change for ur billion, but we’ll all chip in and bring some nibbles 🙂

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