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Secrets above the Surface

Sunday 14th, April 1912

























1:00 p.m.

Dear La-Lu,


Ye jippies! Ah, umm... I just don’t know what in heaven’s name I shall say. I’m just completely in awe. These past few days aboard this jaw dropping ocean liner have been the most exciting upon my life. Mum would be so shocked to see the magnitude of this giant ship, and I could just hear her now saying, “This is right up my street.” I overheard some lads conversing upon this lovely ship that the Titanic is 882 feet and the black hulls weigh over 50,000 tons. Oh my heavens! I was astounded to hear such a fact.

There was a lot of chitter chatter and an awful amount of commotion as I loaded this “floating palace” in Queenstown, Ireland on Thursday 11th April 1912. I happened to be with a handful of friends who were traveling in a similar direction as myself. We are all 3rd class which is a big stink but were holding our heads high because we’re lucky enough to even be here. All my life I’ve had to help my Mum and Pap with my four younger siblings, so I really never had anything to myself. This trip is a luxury for myself and I’m going to be grateful for every bit of it. By the way, I am going to live with by precious older cousin Mary Bradley who is currently 29 years of age in Glen Falls, New York.

With my first glimpse of this gorgeous, humongous ship I couldn’t say one word. Through the immense crowds, where people were pushing and shoving to see their first glimpse, I finally did speak amongst my friends. I started stuttering “O...Ohh... m...mmm...my ggg...goodness. Ttt...Tthh...Thaatt iii...sss astonishing!” But honestly I couldn’t even compose myself to think of words to describe this great ship. I was just marveling at the size of the outside of it. The tall decks and the giant sides were just a few of the key points that had taken my interest. I couldn’t wait to see the inside of it. As I walked up the deck surrounded by nervously excited passengers, I felt like a pooch that just took a whiff of something and was moving her noggin in a very possible direction. I wanted to catch site of every intricate detail that was put into this masterpiece. I started to walk through the ship (the areas that were allowed for 3rd class chaps only) and just became more and more impressed. I was still pretty bummed about the size of the third class areas compared to first class, but eventually I grew to tolerate it.

I visited each deck starting with the Bridge B deck. This deck is also known as the poop deck. We, third class people, could rest on benches or promenade and play decent deck games. I felt like our class was unwanted because in this “resting area” were cargo and mooring machines which made it hard to play these deck games. After I perused around for a while, I walked down to the Shelter C Deck which is the general and smoking rooms. These rooms were gathering places for people of many lands. When I walked into the smoking room, I was surprised at how many lads were smoking. Even though Pap smoked back home yonder, I still disliked the smell more than ever. I wanted to explore the second to last deck before I went to rest in my cabin, so I skipped E Deck and went straight for F deck. This F deck was the third class dining room. It was a very large place with giant tables to hold many people. Some delightful dishes consumed were Irish stew, rice soup, and roast beef with gravy. These just some of the delicious main meals we have in this large dining area.

When I finally reached my cabin, my bunk mate had already arrived. Her name is Aurora Adelia Landergren and after only a few days of knowing each other, it feels like we’ve been friends forever. She is so easy to talk to and we have the same likes and interests. Oh we had such joyous times together! Instead of becoming upset at how little we could use on the ship, we just enjoyed every where we could go and just had fun. I’m actually glad that I wasn’t bunked with Nora or Hannah. But when I first arrived I tried not to get my kickers stuck in a twist as I saw the size of my room compared to the size of 1st class. I put on a delightful smile though, as I greeted my new roommate.

My favorite part of this marvelous ship is the dining room because there is so much great food to eat. Back at home, I would have to make sure my younger siblings had food before I had anything. But here I can eat as much food as I want and not worry about if someone wasn’t going to eat tonight. The Titanic had a small scare last night though. An elder started choking “There’s a chicken bone stuck en me throat!” But she ended up being fine. I absolutely dislike the smoking room so much that any time I pass that area I feel as though I am going to yack up a chicken bone myself. Aurora and I have been relaxing and watching the poised first class women be selfish and scream orders to their partners. Oh how these feisty, snippety ladies are so selfish and mean to their husbands. But it entertains Aurora and I for awhile. So, I suppose it will do for now.

Well, I’m knackered. So off to a nap for me, I shall be a-going then.
Cheerio then La-Lu. Write to you latter,
Bridget D. Bradley



























Sunday 14th, April 1912
11:55 p.m.

Dear La-Lu,

Holy Crickets! Aurora and I were conversing upon our small bunk just half past an hour before. As we were in the middle of a conversation about the selfish, snotty, all mouth and trousers women in first class, we heard an enormous crashing sound. This sound was so great that it rattled our bones and flung us out of our bunks. We were so confused when we heard this crunching, shattering, grinding sound. In Heaven’s name, I had no knowledge of what it may be. We were frightened out of our minds. Since we had no clue as to what had just happened, we decided to check the situation out. But first we gingerly but stealthily threw on an over coat and shoes because we knew of the chill that was in the air. As soon as we were ready, we climbed the apples and pears to the top deck. When we arrived, there was a slight commotion on deck. People were throwing chunks of ice around and about. Crewmen were running about and startled passengers were coming out of their resting areas to take in a glimpse of what just had happened. Just as a crewman brushed by Aurora and me, I asked him what had happened. He said “Don’t cha know eh Miss? We’ve just struck en iceberg!” I was astonished, but eventually I had to believe it because why would there be grand chunks of ice on deck besides the fault of an iceberg. Then I saw a dark triangle figure pass this side of the ship. I knew it must be true. As I turned around to ask him another question, he scurried off into the distance.
I desperately wanted to know if we were going to be all right, so I grabbed another young chap by the arm. I firmly questioned him, “We are going to be alright, aren’t we? Is the captain still certain this boat is unsinkable or are we going to be put in lifeboats? Please answer me with the sincerity I know you have inside of you.” He finally sputtered out that the crew is trying to make rounds and check to see if there was any damage. Then he too scurried down below the decks. Aurora was so scared, and was freaking out. I thought that her knickers were going to end up in a twist, so I firmly said to her “Keep your wig on!” I said that this lad might be just talking some rubbish and there will be jam tomorrow, but she still wasn’t convinced. I had a gut feeling that I was giving her false hope, because I too had an uneasy feeling. But I thought a little false hope is better than nothing to look forward to in the end.
To stay on the safe side, Aurora and I quickly went back down under to our cabin to grab valuables. As we tumbled into our tiny cabin, we noticed some water beginning to accumulate. We quickly gathered our belongings and dashed up the stairs. I had taken with me you La-Lu, a picture of my dearest family and all of my money, which wasn’t that much. I also popped on a couple more layers of clothing to keep myself warm. Aurora took a picture of her family with her and I’m not so sure what else. Up on the top deck, some more chaps and ladies scurried to and fro whispering in small groups. I heard some of the rich snots were being bears with sore heads as they complained about every little thing. Their partners were telling them to keep their chin up; as their opposites stood their saying they wouldn’t touch the lifeboats with a bargepole, if emergency exits were needed. I was thinking to myself and a little out loud to Aurora “Blessed be thy holy ghost! These people are being like donkey’s that have been given strawberries. They just need to kick their heels and wait to see what happens next. For God’s sake.”

Flustered and nervous, I’ll write to you latter then La-Lu,
Bridget D. Bradley



























Monday 15th, April 1912

























12:45 a.m.


Dear La-Lu,

Blessed be thy Holy Ghost! I say again! I am completely frightened out of my noggin right at this very moment! Aurora isn’t doing so much better either. We were just browsing around on deck, when we have just gotten word that this “unsinkable” ship is actually sinking! Stewards are running to and fro to make sure their masters have their lifebelts on and the crew is uncovering boats. In just a few seconds the calm, playful deck has become a confusing, crowding place to be. As soon as we were aware of our surroundings, Aurora and I rambunctiously ran down the wobbling steps to receive our lifebelts. The water was starting to rise even more as we got there. We quickly grabbed the lifebelts and a few extra blankets to keep us warm then very quickly scurried up the stairs to reach upon the deck.
But before we get back up, we see two of the crew members locking the gates to the stairs.
I say “Umm... Excuse me Mr., but you must not know what is going on. Don’t cha know that we are sinking more and more every moment?” He responses “‘Course I know Miss, but we’ve been ordered to lock these gates because the decks are becoming crowded.” “But how are we going to get in a life boat.” “I’m sorry Miss, I really am.” I couldn't believe my ears. I stare at Aurora, she stares back. Then at the same time we start screaming at these chaps. I feel as though I’m about to blow a brisket. I say “You chaps just have to let us through. I can’t die to night, I just can’t! Then we start jerking them back, forth, left and right. Then they’re the ones that can’t believe their eyes. Aurora and I realize at the same exact very moment that they are on the same side of the gate as us, because how else would we be hitting the Be Jesus out of them. So we slowly back away from them and Aurora sweetly says “Could you please unlock the gate for us?” The other chap responded saying “Oh shucks, Miss we would love to, but we just can’t.” Then I say “Oh really, well I guess were all stuck here together then.” As soon as they realize what we’re saying they hurriedly unlock the gate and let us go by. We spot a cluster of some 3rd class members down the hall yonder, frantically looking for a gate that is open. We call upon them, and they gallop like excited young horses thanking us for their rescue. All of us pile up the stairs, gitty that we’ve come this far. As soon as we’re up on deck, we stare realizing the mess that lay ahead of us.
We see crowds of people starting say their good byes, crying children wondering what in heaven’s name is going on and just everyone in a giant jumble. The crew is starting to put first class women and children in the first life boat. We hear them yelling “Women and children first” over and over again like a chant. All of a sudden I hear faint crying but it sounds extremely close. So I look around, and I find a little boy behind a barrel. I pick him up and notice that he has a little blanket that says Greg on it. I imply that his mother probably abandoned him, so I wrap him in some blankets and hold him close so he doesn’t freeze. As we wait in line for a life boat, I pray and think of what the future may hold.

Cold and scared, I'll try to write to you latter,
-Bridget D. Bradley



























Monday 15th, April 1912

























1:20 a.m.

Dear La-Lu,

Oh my heaven’s sake! The Titanic’s top deck is in such a flurry of people running to and fro. Aurora, little Greg and I are being herded by crew to life boat number thirteen. I feel like we are a flock of sheep who are being placed in a pen just waiting to be shaved, having that feeling of uncertainty build up inside. That feeling of not knowing of what’s next to come, showing up inside me once more. I am so nervous and scared out of my mind at this very moment. I have no idea in “Gordon Bennett” at what is going to happen. After we climbed aboard, Aurora and I were praying our hearts out. All of us in this life boat are so confused and frustrated because not one of the crew members are answering our panicking questions. Our life boat is beginning to fill with 3rd class passengers, most of whom don’t know a word of English. These lads and ladies are bickering upon themselves, it sounds as though they are mad and in disbelief that they had to wake up to come into the freezing night air.

There is this substantially large woman who thinks the whole world revolves around her, sitting right smack dab in the middle of this boat. She very much so did not want to come in the boat but would have rather stayed on Titanic. The crew members struggled to persuade and push her on the boat, but then she finally gave in and listened. But poor little Greg who she sat upon by accident. Four of us had trouble trying to help lift her up, but we finally did. Once up, Aurora quickly grabbed Greg out from under her. Then we plopped her back down. Oh Greg was so shaken up, but quickly fell back asleep in Aurora’s arms. But now this lady is going on and on about how cold she is and that this is probably a false alarm. I am thinking that she does not know the magnitude of the damage that has happened far down below. Although I am not that informed about the situation either, at least I have enough common sense to know that we’re not coming back on any time soon.

Our little Greg (the little chap we found) is so cold right now that I feel as though he will not make it through the night. But we are determined to keep him warm and alive as long as we possibly can. Although all of our bones are shaking, we are trying to keep our heads held high. We are all huddled together right now like penguins in a storm to try to stay warm. More people are beginning to “flood” our boat now including Washington Dodge, Mary Agatha Glynn and four other roommates of whom I do not know of their names. On this side, the starboard side they are letting men on. I’m wondering if the port side is letting some men on too. Before, the crew was saying women and children first, but now after women and children go they let men on too. This is fine with me, by the way because we women need big strong lads to protect us from the dark, dreary Atlantic Ocean. I’m afraid, when we are lowered that Aurora will become sea sick though. One minute she is as white as a ghost, scared out of her mind, but the next she is as green as a granny smith! Poor Aurora. A handful of crew had just piled right on in our life boat, all of whom our chaps. I’m hoping this nightmare will end soon and we can make it to the free land of America. But before we arrive, does anyone have a hot steaming bowl clam chowder?

Hungary, Cold and Nervous, I’ll try to write a-latter,
Bridget D. Bradley


























Monday 15th, April 1912



















2:30 a.m.
Dear La-Lu,


Crikey Moses! Blooming Crumpets! There is just so much to take in right now. With little Greg crying, the substantial sized woman being cheeky and the white rockets shooting off, I am very overwhelmed. Right now, I am too frightened to even glance toward the Titanic, but I hear the terror-filled screams of people jumping to their deaths. Directly after that I hear a splash, then muffled water filled cries and then silence. Then the horrendous decisions continue. When I finally bring myself to look at what the giant ocean liner and its passengers have come to, I am equally petrified as if I were a frog about to be run over by a trolley. I don’t know which site is more shocking; the lads jumping, chaps holding on for their dear lives or the boat itself sinking to its own death.

As I look around our life boat, I realize that it is pretty full of people. There seems to be around 40 to 50 people in here, but I’m too tired to do an exact count. It also appears as though there are an equal or close to equal amount of lads and ladies aboard. Some children besides Greg also reside near us. The parents or nannies of these youngsters are trying to appease them by rocking and rubbing their backs, telling them that it is okay. Aurora and I are trying to do the same with little Greg. He is so flustered and full of emotions. Greg misses his mum so he is crying, but is also freezing so his tears are freezing and sticking to his face. I feel so bad for this little chap. All of a sudden, we all hear a loud boom and crackling sound. We look up at the sky and see the purest of white rockets shoot up into the black dark night. Just then it explodes into the air and we all gasp. Although it looked mighty pretty, I presumed that this flaming white rocket was for an emergency call for help. This made me nervous but Aurora thought it was just for show. I didn’t want to burst her little jittery bubble, so I just left it at that.

The rockets now were going off into the sky every five to ten minutes. I was becoming very antsy because I wasn’t sure if help was on the way. Although the men kept rowing further and further away, it didn’t seem like we were advancing in distance. The lights of the Titanic were flickering to an end now and everyone just stared, gasped and awed over the sight. We tried to gather everything that had happened tonight but couldn’t completely comprehend it. Just then we see the horrific state that the Titanic stood in. The ocean liner was completely standing straight up, vertical to the sky. Nobody said a word and not one baby dared to whimper. It was completely silent as everyone watched the Titanic slowly make a descent toward the bottom of the sub-zero degree waters of the Atlantic. As my boat mates and I try to grasp the situation, we think about different situations we have experienced tonight. One lady told of a love scene that happened tonight. “An elderly women said to her husband “Strike my face bleu, I’m not going into a lifeboat without you,” she recalls. One of the crew members manning this boat said, “There was a chap who tried to sneak onto a lifeboat by crawling under one of the seats before the ladies. Don’t cha think he’s a wee bit of a goon for trying to pull a fast one such as that? One of my buds told him “Pip Pip cheerio, no there will be no tea and crumpets for you in there. Stop being a weasel and let a lady in.” After a couple small stories were shared, we silent ourselves and stare out into the night.

Everyone is zonking out now, I better put my hand and quill at rest, I’ll try to write a-latter but there is no promise to what may lay ahead,

-Bridget Delia Bradley































15th, April 1913
Dear La-Lu,

I must go back in time now, love to tell of my adventures from the time we were rescued by the magnificent boat of the Carpathia.

You might be wondering why I would call the Carpathia ship of Cunard such a magnificent ship as I had just been on the marvelous Titanic which clearly is better. Well to be honest, I was so thrilled to be on a stable platform that I would have called it anything at the moment. But really, a ship that goes out of their way to rescue a fellow ocean liner miles away is just honorable. The crew was very pleasant and would wait on someone hand and foot if need be. They were such lovely lads who brought coffee, coco, blankets and anything else we requested.

To go from the small rickety lifeboat, to the giant safety of the ocean liner, I was “strapped” into a rope/sling and up I went. I was pulled onto the gangway and was greeted by a warm friendly group of crew members. No sooner was I herded off in the comfort of warm blankets and hot coffee. Greg had already been pulled safely up by the use of a canvas bag and was holding onto a crew member waiting for me. After I took him back under my wing, we were situated, comforted and we waited for Aurora to come aboard. Once we all met up again, we tried to fathom the night’s events. We weren’t able to comprehend much of anything, so we just sat in silence for a while. After all the lifeboats were rescued, the Carpathia started to chug its way to New York. We all were sleepy so we thought we ought to take a wee bit of a nap. It felt so great to close my eyes and rest. They were so heavy with sleep because I stayed up all night, that I wasn’t sure I would last much longer awake. Next thing I knew I was being awoken by Aurora and dragged out on deck.

As our wonderful rescuer of the Carpathia pulled into port, we heard shouts and yells of reporters trying to worm information out of us passengers. It still stands very clear in my mind of the hooting and hollering of which these weasels did. These maniac reporters were on tug boats hollering through megaphones, begging for any of us to give information away. I try to look past this though, and focus my mind on the Statue of Liberty of which towers over this ship. She looks radiant against the rising morning sun.

I can’t believe my eyes as I see thousands of people standing along, waiting for our safe return. But I bet’cha that a bunch of these chaps just want to hear the story first. It’s a bit striking as I watch, scanning the crowd to notice a familiar face. Right now I don’t see any, but I do notice that the sprinkling of rain which had started a few moments before turned a tad heavier.

The moment we dock and load off the Carpathia; we were bombarded with questions, after comments. Everybody, thousands of them bustled along, pushing and shoving trying to receive a glimpse of the survivors. There was plenty hustle and bustle, pushing and shoving and a lot of rude behavior some of these chaps displayed. I couldn’t believe that after all we went through some of the surviving rich snots were still showing arrogant behavior. They were being very pompous and snotty to everyone that came in reach. And then there were the lads that were waiting to see if their family had survived the disaster. Men and women were crying when people wouldn’t know or tell if their family lived. It was such a woeful site. It made me very upset to see the uncertainty and wretched look in passerbyers eyes. Nasty reporters were still barging into us though, the annoying flashing and chitter chatter was starting to get to me. All I wanted to do was contact my family somehow, let them know that I was okay and that I loved them and then go to my cousin’s house. As I started walking through the immense crowds I started to realize that Aurora and I were going to part separate ways. Aurora was going to New York City and I was going to Glen Falls. Which means little Greg is left in the middle. As I got all panicky trying to figure out where poor little orphaned Greg was to go, I realized that both destinations were in New York. So, I thought wouldn’t it be neat if for example, Aurora had Greg for two weeks and then I had him for two weeks and we just keep switching. So I brought the idea up to her and she agreed that it was I nifty idea. That way we would still keep and touch and share this precious little boy.

So, a rueful year has passed already and I still can’t believe the tragic event has happen. But I have dreams and night mares about the sinking. I remember the last time I saw the people I embarked the trip with, Daniel Buckley, Hannah Riordan, Patrick Denis O'Connell, Patrick O'Connor, Nora O'Leary and Michael Linehan. I see them smile and laugh as we make jokes and small talk. Oh, how I miss them! They were such fine fellows. Daniel Buckley, Hannah Riordan and Nora O'Leary were the only ones of my friends who survived. I try to stay in touch with them, but it is very hard because they all live in different places. But life has been fine to me. My parents and family back home are doing swell along with my cousin here and little Greg. Greg loves to travel and every two weeks Aurora, Greg and I meet up, and chat awhile. We sit at this nice little restaurant and have some tea and crumpets. Then Greg switches off and goes with the other person until two weeks pass and we change again.

Dealing with the sinking is very difficult. It is hard to except what has happened. But life still goes on and the world doesn’t stop. People still in gage in everyday activities; going to work, playing outside and talking to one another. I pray for the souls lost and the families who have to deal with not having that special person around. I pray for the brave men who decided to be a man and stay aboard. I pray for the wives who stayed by their husbands. And I pray for the families who self sacrificed themselves and stayed aboard so others could be saved. I pray for the victims that didn’t have a choice to choose from but died anyway. Finally, I go to church every Sunday and pray to God thanking Him that He protected me through it all. So dealing with the sinking has been hard but I have been trying to except it all and take deep breaths. Yes, I do still have nightmares about that night. And yes I do wake up in a cold sweat. So, I do get through it and I do deal with it. But does excepting the fact that all those lives were lost really mean dealing with it? Or does it mean something else? I don’t know. But what I do know is I’m moving forward and I won’t let the tragic event slow me down. That doesn’t mean though, that there isn’t a day which I don’t think about it. It just means that I’m trying to take baby steps to get on with the rest of my life. It sounds a wee bit harsh, but hey it is what it is.

My plans for the future are to get married and start a family of my own someday. I would like to move out of my cousin’s house and have a house of my own. Who knows, maybe I’ll even write a book of my own one day about my adventure on the Titanic. I might even show my children my diary, so they can learn up close about the disaster. Well, it was nice to have you La-Lu to write my thoughts and feelings down in. I really enjoyed your presence and company. Thank you for being their when I needed you in the most striking night of my life.

Well, until we meet again,
Bridget Delia Bradley





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