Summer ends next week, and Halloween will follow, and the next day begins the holiday season. We all know it will pass quickly, as it does each year, and soon we will complain of ice and frigid temps. In any event, most of us will be itching to disembark the burning ship of 2020, whether or not we have life vests like the fellow above.
This particular image was taken from a lifeboat by one of the 1500 passengers aboard the British troopship Empire Windrush. On the last leg of her voyage from Japan, steaming past Algiers, an engine room explosion sent flames and smoke throughout the ship. Lifeboats carried away all women and children, and 750 men were left to crawl down (or in some cases, jump) into the water. Rescue ships soon arrived and picked up every single crew man, save the four who were killed by the actual explosion. No other lives were lost, and it became one of the most successful sea rescues of all time.
The ship did sink after all, but here we see her in better days, in June of 1948, arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain.
1920 is most remembered as the year women got the vote, and perhaps these very women DID vote that year. However, this was a day of leisure, a pleasant afternoon of watching boats shuttle visitors to and from the San Jacinto battlegrounds in Houston. Most Texans know the battle happened in 1836, the year Texas won its independence from Mexico, in a fight that lasted 18 minutes and wound up with Santa Anna getting his boo-tay handed to him by Sam Houston.
And while this image seems so very long ago, and none of us was alive, let’s remember that John McCain’s mom was already EIGHT years old when this photo was taken, tackling third grade and cursive. Just throwing that out there for some perspective. And she’s STILL alive.
I love vintage National Geographics. They didn’t mince words in describing these “shanty-boat folk” in May of 1932, which, though in the Depression, was STILL probably a better May than ours, as they weren’t consumed by thoughts of invisible germs killing them. Shanty-boat folk don’t care about no germs. SBF don’t care about paying property taxes, since their “crude craft of clapboards and tin” drifted along the Ohio River and down the Mississippi as they saw fit, stealing food from cornfields and berry patches, or snatching an unfortunate stray chicken. These water gypsies had been “the bane of steamboat skippers,” who tried to maneuver around them in days of yore, and continued to incite derision as the decades passed.
“Dandified first mate” are the words printed in the magazine, and you can see why. He’s getting the full diva treatment. Stephen Johnson receives a shave by Louise Stewart, and gets his nails done by Meg Young. Arthur Johnson (far right) turned 12 that day, and faced a rather odd visual of impending manhood.
Aboard the same Brigantine Yankee‘s deck, more grooming takes place, as Miss Booth gives Alan Pierce a haircut out in the fresh sunshine.
Meanwhile, Miss Stewart knits, and Mrs. Johnson eats her banana.
Now THIS is a party! Colored lampshades, white tuxes, bobbed silver hair, moonlight at sea…
Most folks weren’t having a great 1933. While the unemployment rate reached an ungodly 25%, the idea of enjoying the luxury of an offshore cruiser was largely unattainable. But perhaps you could win the affection of a ruddy-complected captain.
These lucky fliers had the good fortune to be alive during the height of plane travelin’ glory in 1950. Can you imagine being able to extend the length of your arm above you, and not smashing into the overhead compartment?
The truth is–this is a Ted Solent flying boat, which made many Australia-England runs. They could carry 45 passengers in seven lounges on two decks. Doesn’t it look dreamy?
Below is a Short Empire flying boat, which made many trips prior to WWII. Have you ever been on a flying boat or known anyone who has?