Saturday, May 28, 2016

Perspective is everything in life

Holy stromboli! From the looks of this postcard, the RMS Queen Mary is about three miles long! It appears as if it would stretch across the entire lower quarter of Manhattan.

In reality, of course, the famous ocean liner was not 15,000 feet in length. In fact, the longest ship in the world, the Seawise Giant1, was only 10 percent of that — 1,500 feet.

No, the RMS Queen Mary — which was in service from 1936 to 1967 and is now a tourist attraction in Long Beach, California — was only about 1,020 feet long. One-fifth of a mile. Still, that's about 140 feet longer than the Titanic. The Queen Mary was, in every way, an impressive ship. It had two indoor swimming pools, beauty salons, libraries, children's nurseries, a music studio and lecture hall, telephone connectivity to anywhere in the world, and dog kennels, among other amenities.

This postcard was mailed to my great-grandparents and dated May 16, 1965. The note states:
Dear Greta — your bon voyage card and message greatly appreciated. We arrive in Cherbourg tomorrow. We have had a wonderful trip over on this grand old ship — weather has been perfect and we have met delightful people on board. Love, Gertrude & Mint [?].
We have no idea who Gertrude and her husband are, by the way. Mom says that my great-grandmother "corresponded with dozens of people she met over the years. One was a lady she met on a short bus ride from Corpus Christi to Kingsville [Texas]. They wrote to each other for the rest of their lives."

1. If you're scoring at home, the Seawise Giant was also called the Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, Knock Nevis, Oppama, and Mont at various points.

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