With a British father and an American mother,
resulting in my dual Anglo-American citi zenship, I spent my youth living in both countries.
There was no regular transoceanic air service, but as our family was in the import-export mercantile business,
there were frequent transatlantic crossings on some of the now-fabled liners of the era.
My first voyage, atage two, was in 1921 when we sailed on the White Star Liner Olympic.
Surely there is no real memory of the trip, yet I seem to recall waving to the flying fish and seagulls!
Olympic had been built as the tandem running mate of her sister Titanic which she predated by one year.
After the tragic sinking of Titanic in April 1912, the White Star Line tried to conceal the relationship,
and Olympic continued her venerable career for the next 24 years. Some ships stand out from the many on which we sailed:
Aquitania, Cunard Line’s proud beauty with perhaps the most aristocratic lines of any of the four-funnel vessels;
M auretania, the most famous liner of the period as holder of the “Blue Riband of the Atlantic” designating her as “The World ‘s Fastest Liner”; Ile de France ,
the very epitome of “Roaring Twenties” chic; Champlain and Lafayette,
French Line nearsisters with striking Art Deco interiors, each with one huge lop-sided avant-garde funnel;
and Normandie , considered by many to be the most beautiful liner ever built,
the “Ship Supreme” until her untimely burning at her Hudson River pier in February 1942, while being converted to a troop-ship.
A memorable voyage was on White Star’s Celtic in February 1928. My parents had decided to pull up stakes;
we closed our Manhattan apartment and moved to England permanently.
It was Leap Year and on February 29th, an announcement was made: “
All gentlemen are requested to be invited by a lady for dinner this evening.”
This was my first social foray, at age nine, being invited by Pamela, the Cadbury Chocolate heiress, to sit at a table with her parents.
There being few other children on board, I had been spending time with Pamela throughout the trip.
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