They gathered by the hundreds early in the morning, men, women, children, young and old, they gathered. The
crowd assembled watching rockets in the sky, seeing lights in the distance and many wondered, why? Why are
we here? Surely we need not be here, not now, not us and the way we are dressed, completely inappropriate,
no need at all to be dressed this way, and now they waited. Most had no idea of what would come, they had
no idea they were standing on the edge of history, most were standing on the edge of eternity.
The crowd included people of prestige and those who worked with their hands, millionaires and paupers stood
side by side, both equal now, money no longer had value, something that had not yet become apparent. Only
a very few knew, a Mr. Andrews was probably the first one to know, he told Mr. Smith and I am sure the
gravity of the situation was gravely clear to both men immediately. They knew the numbers did not add up,
this was something that must have been in the back of everyone's mind that morning.
Still the question in most minds was why are we standing here? There had been a "noise" earlier, a small
shudder felt by those who were awake, surely this could not cause all this excitement, or could it? There
really did not seem to be a problem, at least to those gathered on the boat deck, maybe 1.000 or more standing
there. There were 2,000 more still below deck waiting to go up and growing more impatient as the minuets
Anders and Alfrida Andersson were among those waiting below, they were traveling with their five children,
all who were below the age of 11. The youngest was two year old Ellis Anna Marie, the baby of the family.
Her siblings, four year old Sigvard Harold Elias, six year old Ebba Iris Alfrida, nine year old Ingeborg Constanzia
and eleven year old Sigrid Elisabeth would help watch out for her as there was no way she could understand
what was happening. They could barley understand themselves, perhaps all they knew was that something was
wrong, maybe from the look on the faces of their parents. What could the father tell his family to comfort them
at this time, did he know what was about to happen?
As time passed it became clear to all on board that their ship was going to sink. Lifeboats were being launched,
but even this was at first done in a nonchalant fashion, some were told they would just move away from the
ship until the problem had been repaired, this may have been said as a comfort to those in the boats to keep
them from panicking. Mr. Hartley's band provided music to those who cared to hear it, it may also have been a
way for the bandsmen to keep their minds off their situation as well.
How many people knew? When did they know? All they had to do was look at the few lifeboats and do a little
simple math in their head. One could look around at the faces of the thousands of people all brought together
on one ship and realize that by the first light of the day at least half of them would be dead. Some probably
thought that rescue would soon arrive, after all this was modern times, ships had communication with other
ships and one of them would soon appear alongside and they would be removed in an orderly fashion. The
ship seen on the horizon for example, must already be underway to their rescue, it would not take long for that
ship to arrive.
As mothers and their children were placed in the lifeboats, the fathers stayed on deck, they assured weeping
wives and children that they would be along in another lifeboat later and not to worry, all the time knowing
they would never see them again. Were the words even spoken or did it take only a look for her to know that
he would not make it. Can a man look into the eyes of his children and tell them it is the last time they shall
ever meet? Some wives refused to leave their husbands, both staying behind to face their fate together.
As the ship slowly sank and the boats were all gone those left on board finally realized without a doubt that
they were facing their doom, nobody was going to arrive in time to save them and they would not last long in
the freezing water, most if not all of them would die. What were they thinking, how did they feel and how did
those in the lifeboats feel knowing they would be the only ones to survive. What would become of them, they
had no communication with the outside world, they were just adrift in the middle of the ocean watching as their
loved ones went down right in front of their eyes. By now even the older children knew there was no saving
those on board.
We know what happened to these in the lifeboats, and we know some of the details of what happened on board
after the boats had gone, but we don't know everything. One of the stories of that night we don't know is that
of the Andersson family, what happened to them? Did they make it up on deck only to find the boats gone or
did they remain below, perhaps in their cabin holding one another. All seven of them perished and their bodies
were never recovered, every member of Mr. Hartley's band also died along with Mr. Andrews and Mr. Smith
the captain. With them over 1,500 others died in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic on that terrible
day, April 15, 1912.