The RMS Queen Mary was dry docked when I had the privilege of spending two nights in a cabin without a view. In December of 1990, my late husband and I spent our wedding anniversary in the art deco inspired ship. Mother of Pearl in-laid ceiling tiles and polished ball room floors took me back to an era of glamour and glitz. The experience would surely have been better if we were out to sea, but we soon forgot about the gang-plank being permanently fixed in the down position. After all, we were together in celebration!
With my creative mind, I floated off to imagine all sorts of history surrounding the ship. Images of wealthy, famous passengers on the upper deck and Jazz being played for couples aboard continued to dance in my head. Years later, I would research the actual history and discover some pretty interesting details about the grand lady.
For my novel, Foxtrots and Foxholes, one of my characters is a 1939 stow-away. Who would have thought? Elyse hides out in the ship’s synagogue. That’s right. Because many of the passengers were Jewish, the ship line provided even an Ark to house the Torah scrolls, as the above photo shows. Unfortunately, many of the other Judaic items from the RMS Queen Mary were dispersed, just like the Jewish people themselves.
Another fictional character and passenger on the ship, Jacob Zimmerman, is a Jewish immigrant from Germany. Now you know the “love interest.” He shows his loyalty to the United States by joining the Allied Forces.
During WWII, the RMS Queen Mary was converted into a war ship, called the Grey Ghost, transporting military men and women to various European ports. One day, she accidentally struck and sunk another Allied ship near Ireland, but the news was suppressed for the sake of national security. In my historical novel, I go into more detail about this tragic accident at sea.
With battle scars repaired, the ship was converted back to a luxury liner after the war, and even transported “war brides” back to join their GI Joe husbands. So, even though, I made no connection with marriage, military, or a made-up story, my anniversary encounter on the grand ship in California does seem to have been destined now.
A haunting thought…though I don’t believe for a moment that the RMS Queen Mary is haunted, as some report. However, I did discover a spirit of inspiration, and I have a book to prove it! When I get a sinking feeling about anything real or imagined, I cling to Jesus…my Anchor!