1912: Time to Say Good-Bye, for Both of Us

Hannah Falcon, guest writer

Amidst the chaos of customers yelling for their next bottle of beer, the jazz band on the stage, and the men arguing about their unfair hand in poker, all I hear is the voice in my head telling me to find him. The father who abandoned me eleven years ago, without so much as a backward glance or goodbye. There was no, “I’m sorry” or “I’ll come back for you.”My desire to ask him why he left me when I needed him the most, after my mother Rose died, is all consuming.

​            My name is Jane Price and I am a nineteen-year-old who lives in the beautiful city of Albany, New York. I was adopted when I was eight and live with my adoptive parents, John and Anna Price. The year is 1912 and aisles of grocery stores have become self-serving for the first time. The ‘traffic light’ which tells cars when to stop and go has also been invented!

The Unsinkable RMS Titanicwill set sail ina couple of months. 2,240 souls will be traveling across the ocean from England to New York City. There will be “high-ranking officials, wealthy industrialists, celebrities, dignitaries, tourists, journalists”(History) and many other different types of people all on one ship. One of America’s own, J.P. Morgan, controls the White Star Line.

My life is uneventful. I wake up, walk to Monroe’s Diner where I work down the street, and then go back home. Each day Anna awaits to greet me with the New York Tribune, which yesterday told me that New Mexico and Arizonawere granted statehood. Every day, the urge of finding my biological father, grows stronger.

Today is April 5, 1912, and my day at work has ended. I walk quickly home from work. When I get to the door, Anna is not there– What is going on? I take out my key, unlock the door, and walk inside. “Jane, please come into the living room,” I hear from around the corner. I find John and Anna sitting onthe couch with their hands folded in their laps.

“John and I have been talking, and we want you to know that we truly do want what is best for you. We have noticed when you come home each dayyou walk straight into your room with a distressed look on your face and you rarely make conversation with us. Is it something we, as parents, are doing wrong? Or is it something else. . . Maybe Clarence?”

“Why do you always ask me that? It is none of your business.”

“Jane, we realize we are not Clarence and Rose, but your mom and I try our hardest to set a good example for you. We would do anything for you, so if you really want to find him, we haveinformation. We just do not want you to experience heartbreak.”

“You have been keeping information from me about my father? How could you dothis? Tell me!”

“The agency where Clarence dropped you off is required to have files on where a child’s parents live in case of an emergency that only the biological parent can deal with– such as blood transplants. We know where Clarence is!” Anna exclaimed.

This is it! I am finally going to find my father.“Where… where is he?”

“Southampton, England.We sent a telegraph to him asking whether or not he would meet with you if we brought you to England,” John answered.

“Did he say yes?”

“Unfortunately, he replied back that he will be sailing aboard the Titanicshortly and will nothave time. We are sorry Jane.”

Iwalk away feeling helpless and sob for hours. Would this be it for me? Never being able to see my ‘real’ father again.I think about Clarence and how badly I want to see him, when an idea invades my mind. What if I went aboard the Titanic? I race downstairs, and holler for Anna and John. “What if you send me aboard the Titanic? I can fly to England and board the ship myself!”

“That is dangerous, Jane. It is not safe in our world, and sending you to another country, alone, would be unwise. Many thingscould go wrong,” John nervously states.

“Both of you have parents and were never abandoned as a child. I lostmy identity, yet you still have yours. You both will never know what that feels like. I need to regain my perspective of life. If you love me, you will help me.”


All around me are thousands of people waving goodbye to their loved ones. Men shout out to their wives and children “Je vais vous voir bientôt” and “Ich werde bald.” Children cry in their parents arms as their siblings slowly start to glide across the cold, crisp North Atlantic Ocean.

I pull my ticket out of the zippered pouch in my trunk and head toward the cabins. I find the nearest steward and ask him to guide me in the direction of my cabin. I am third class, which means I will be sharing my room with five other women. Our room is a “small, windowless room the size of closets.The beds are made up with rough, inferior-quality sheets and blankets” (Benson).

The day is April 9, 1912. I rise out of my berth and put on a blue, flowered dress that my mother Rose used to own. I walk out onto the deck and look over the balcony at the ocean. “What are those animals below down by the ship?” I ask a man standing near me.

“Why, dem’ er’ dolphins. You ain’t see much of dem’ where I come from lit’l lady.”

“They are beautiful! ”

The sun is setting, the children have calmed down, and the dinner bell is ringing. I spot first-class men and women rushing toward their Parlour Suites to change into their evening clothes. I stand near the dining hall, and watch the men and women walking gallantly down the stairs with arms linked. The women wear Evening Gowns from Paris, London, and United States. The men wear tailcoats and white ties. As I turn to walk toward my cabin, I hear a name murmured. “Oh Clarence, how knowledgeable you are.”

I quickly duck behind a tall man standing near by. Is this my Clarence? Why is he in first- class? After a few moments, I get the nerve to peer out from behind this man. I scan from the bottom of the stairs to the top. There he is. He looks exactly like the picture I sleep with every night under my pillow– blondish long hair, medium weight, and tall. He is conversing with a group of ladies as they giggle obnoxiously.

He turns away from the women and starts to walk down the steps toward the dining hall. He walks past me as if I’m just another pillar holding up the ship. Right as he is about to enter the dining room, he stops, turns around, and slowly walks toward me. My heart pounds out of my chest. “Do I know you?”

“Yes. . . I. . . I am your—-‘” I didn’t even finish my sentence before the women swarmed him. He pivots away from me and ambles into the dining hall.

I return to my cabin and lie in my berth while tears begin to form. Maybe I shouldn’t have come. Maybe he doesn’t care for me anymore.

Today is April 10, 1912. I sit down on a bench by the edge of the boat and start to think about why I am here. I flew all the way to England and will be traveling back to the state that I already live in. I will not arrive back in New York only to tell John and Anna that I didn’t have the courage to speak to Clarence.

I think about what to say as I walk toward the first-class deck. I ask the nearest steward, “Have you seen a tall man with blondish hair anywhere? He is sort of a ladies man from what I have seen.” The steward shook his head. For hours I roamed the deck trying to find him until 11:20 p.m. He is no where to be found. Right as I am about to leave the deck, I spot him sitting on a bench, all alone. “Clarence. It’s me, Jane.”

He methodically inclines his eyes toward my direction maintaining a blank expression on his face. “I knew it was you Jane, this whole time. I have been watching you from afar wondering when I should approach you. I have something to say.”

“Clarence, how I have missed you! There has been a void in my heart for many years now. Why did you leave—?”

“Jane. I do not want you here. I told your parents not to send you for a reason. I left you for a reason. I do not care for you anymore. When your mother died, so did I. Leave me alone! Quit following me!”

I feel as though my lungs have collapsed and I cannot breathe. The pain I feel is like no pain I have ever experienced before, even when my mother died–rejected and useless.

As I turn to leave, the ship begins to tremble. Pieces of ice slide around the deck. I walk to the edge of the ship and find that the ship has been impaled by an iceberg. I approach Captain Edward Smith and concentrate on his announcement. He reveals that “the ship has been traveling extremely rapidly and the officers tried to avoid hitting the iceberg by reversing the engines and sharply turning the ship. The hard ice tore a gash into the ship’s underwater hull” (Titanic). “We are going down.”


The bow of the ship is submerged in water while the other half is sticking out in the air. Explosions from the water surrounding the electricity lines cause the power to shut off completely. Men and women are falling, some jumping, off the ship into the water hundreds of feet below. Life boats are being lowered into the icy water–half filled. There is a “dismal moaning sound… coming from the poor people floating around, calling for help” (Wilson). I can “feel the noise, the vibrations of the screams of the people, and the sounds of the ship” (Wilson).

There I was, in twenty-eight degree water, floating aimlessly. Then I heard “the most fearful and bloodcurdling wail. It was awful. One thousand seven hundred men in the dark, going down amid that ghastly turmoil! I will never forget it!” (Wilson). No one would have ever imagined that this day, April 10, 1912, “the immense, luxurious Titanic would disappear beneath the ocean, carrying 1,523 passengers and crew members… to their freezing deaths” (Wels). As I lay in the water, I “see the great black mass of people in the steerage sweeping to the rear part of the boat and breaking through into the upper decks” (Mrs. D.).

The freezing water consumes my body. I can no longer move my fingers or toes. There are babies frozen with their mothers still holding on to them. I see a life boat approaching in the distance, I try to move and let them know that a piece of me is still fighting for life; although, I cannot. This is the end.

I traveled all this way to see Clarence. If I had known he felt this way, I would not have come. Although, I must say there is one benefit I get out of this experience. I realize that I don’t need anyone to define myself but me. I thought I needed him in my life, but I don’t. My eyes are opened now. Goodbye Clarence.

            I close my eyes and take my last breath.

Works Cited

Benson, Sonia, et al. “Titanic Disaster.”UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History, vol. 8, UXL, 2009,                  pp. 1561-1564. Student Resources in Context, Web. 5 Apr. 2017.

History.com Staff. “Titanic.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

Mrs. D. H. Bishop. “The Titanic: From a Lifeboat, 15 April 1912.”Gale World Historyin                            Context, Gale, 2014. Student Resources in Context, Web. 5 Apr. 2017.

“Titanic.” Gale Student Resources in Context, Gale, 2017. Student Resources in Context,                                     Web. 5 Apr. 2017.

Wels, Susan. Titanic: Legacy of the World’s Greatest Ocean Liner.N.P. Tehabi, 1999. Print.

Wilson, Andrew. Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived. New York: Atria, 2013. Print.