My Titanic story
By Guest Blogger on April 11th, 2012
As the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this Thursday, it turns out our very own Sara Sinek, a senior director here at Scholastic, has a personal connection to the sinking of the unsinkable ship. Take it away, Sara!
I have always been fascinated with anything Titanic – I have read the books, visited museum exhibits, watched documentaries and of course seen the movie. Like many, I too have wondered what it would have been like to be one of those passengers – traveling on the most luxurious ship that suffered the most devastating of endings. I found out this past weekend from my grandmother that a relative was one of the surviving passengers. 100 years ago, Joseph Abraham Hyman, the great uncle of my grandmother (which I think makes him my Great, Great, Great Uncle) was rescued from the freezing North Atlantic. Here he is with his wife, Esther.
Four generations later, our family still knows very little about Joseph’s experience in the world’s most infamous ship disaster. By talking to my grandmother and researching through archives, here is what I learned.
Joseph Hyman, from Manchester, England, was 34 when he boarded the third-class deck on the Titanic in Southampton, leaving his wife and four children. He was seeking a new life and fortune for his family, joining his brother who was already in New Jersey.
When the ship hit the iceberg at 11:40pm on April 15, 1912, Joseph and fellow third-class travelers were briefly detained below deck, while other passengers hurried to the Boat Deck.
Five days after his rescue, Joseph told the New York Times: “We got pretty nearly opposite the iceberg, when there came a tearing sound and the boat listed a little to one side… I heard shortly afterwards that some water was coming in and that the poor people heard it coming with a splashing sound. This was too much for them to stand, and they began to fight among themselves to see who would be first in the boats.”
As the panic grew, the ship’s officers began firing pistols into the crowd. Narrowly avoiding the bullets, Joseph began grabbing women and children from the deck and pushing them into the lifeboats.
Collapsible Lifeboat C had no men to row it beyond the lethal suction of the 50,000-ton ship as it sank. Joseph stepped into the lifeboat with the Titanic’s owner, Joseph Bruce Ismay, head of the White Star Line. Together, they rowed the boat two miles out to sea. This was the last lifeboat at that part of the ship. He was rescued, with 38 other passengers, by the Titanic’s sister ship, the Carpathia, and later landed in New York.
Joseph soon returned to the UK by boat. He was terrified to step back onto a ship, but the thought of returning to his wife and children in England gave him the courage to do so.
Once reunited with his family in the UK, he decided to open a kosher deli/grocery store, like he had seen in New York. Although Hyman named his business J.A. Hyman Ltd., locals referred to him as “the man from the Titanic.” Soon enough, customers began calling the shop “Titanics.” My grandmother recalls going in there everyday on her way home from school to get a snack to eat from her Uncle Joseph.
Four generations later, Titanics is still in operation, located at 123-129 Waterloo Road in Manchester, England.
Looking back at this story, I guess it explains my intense fear of boats…especially cruise ships.
Stay tuned for our list of Titanic reads, coming tomorrow!