April 10th 1912
Dear Diary, I'm elated. Right this second, I am staring up at the magnificent, long awaited, Titanic. My grandmother gifted me this journal, you, for my half-birthday. I never really thought about celebrating a half-birthday, but with my grandma's limited time here with us, she wants to cherish every day. The Titanic is huge. Four large cylinders rest at the top, placed about four meters away from each other. The large, black metal at the bottom, that holds many rooms, is topped with the lovely white, first class rooms. I've dreamed of staying in the luxurious rooms of first class. My friends and I tried to imagine what first class would be like, the gold plates that line the rooms, the fancy embroidery that rests safely on the warm bed sheets, and the lamps that provide light and a homely feeling to the room. Unfortunately, my family is going to be residing in third class. I am not envious of the people that have the advantage of staying in first class. I heard that tickets were 30 euros, my family would never make it in America if we decided to travel in first class. I am entirely grateful for the rooms we are getting. For goodness sake, I am one of the lucky girls that gets to even set foot on this boat. I can't wait to tell all my friends that I will make in America about this. I can hardly wait any longer to get on the boat. The excitement is building up inside of me. The line to get into third class has just moved, I will write when I get to our room!
April 10th, around dusk
Dear Diary, We've made it to our room. I am currently sitting in my designated bed. My family allowed me to get one of the top beds. Because we are only a group of three, another person had to be picked to live with us. They have not arrived yet. I am wishing it is a girl my age, so we can become friends and explore the docks together. An older man would give me the creeps, especially since we are all grown women, me at 15, my mothers age she would prefer to keep to herself. Our room is quite small but I am able to deal with it. There are four beds, two on each side of the room. There is a small sink in the middle of the beds, and a pipe above my head. I figured I would have to be careful when I sat up in bed. I am curious as to how much our tickets were, my mother said it was nothing I needed to worry about but I figure they were around 8 euros. I heard someone refer to my family as steerage, though I am not sure what they meant at the time. My mother explained to me the meaning and I have taken offense to that label. We are just like everyone else. We are having tea and supper tonight in the dining Saloon. My mother is quite nervous. She was subject to being ridiculed because of her current situation of having no husband. My father died years back when I was 7. I remember him as a humble man with few wrinkles on his face. I prefer not to think about him too much because it brings much pain, and I'm on the Titanic, there is no time for such sadness here. I am dressed in my faded blue skirt, with my new blouse that my grandma had also gifted me for my half-birthday. My grandmother was dressed in an outfit I had seen her wear to afternoon tea many times. She would leave the house and bid me goodbye. I knew she wished to have a newer dress, but I was short 4 euros, and I was saving up for a dress of my own. I felt very selfish but my dresses and skirts were very worn. We are expected at tea now so I must go.
April 10th, midnight
Dear Diary, I was not planning on writing tonight at all. In fact, if my mother knew I was up, I would be in great trouble. I've brought a small light so I can see. Tonight at tea, a very drunk man approached me and my mother. I was frightened but my mother stood tall. The man asked many times where my father was. My mother blatantly lied and said he was using the men's room. I thought the man would leave after this remark but he continued to get closer to my mother. I would've liked to get in between my mother and him but the smell of alcohol coming off of his breath was drilling into my brain. I could feel vomit at the back of my throat. I wasn't sure if it was because of the smell or the situation my mother was in. The man continued to look my mother up and down. He asked if she would like to come down with the rest of the steerage, the people who were only here because of their jobs in the boiler room. He said they could dance and he offered her some alcohol. By this time, my mother was getting nasty looks from other women in the room. No one understood her situation. The man grabbed my mothers hand and the second he pulled her she reached up and slapped him. After this, she grabbed my hand and we walked quickly back to our room, not coming back for supper. I am still jarred from this experience. My mother is quite strong, but when the lights went out tonight, I could hear soft sniffles coming from her bed. When we got back, the vacant bed was no longer vacant. Someone was sleeping in it. We decided not to bother whoever it was because we figured it was our designated "roommate." It is getting very late and I hear someone stirring in their bed, so I am going to rest my eyes.
April 11th, morning
Dear Diary, the boy is gone. We figured out he was a boy, our roommate. He left in such a hurry this morning but left his belongings so he may be coming back. My mother prompted me to speak to him, see where he is from and why he is by himself. After breakfast today, I am going to explore the boat, and maybe even find the boy who is living with us.
April 11th, 1 o'clock
Dear Diary, we've just finished dinner. I am on the poop deck. It is very peaceful out here. The water is clear but bottomless. I can't image how cold it is. There is only one other person out here with me. It's a boy around my age. I have the slightest suspicion that he is the boy residing in our room with me and my family. I may decide to approach the boy, but for now I will keep my distance. Today, I wandered around the boat. I plan on exploring even more later, but today I found myself into the boiler room. I did not mean to, but I found an unlocked door and went inside. The boiler room was very loud, I could barely hear myself think. Many men were lying around while others were working hard. I kept walking, marveling at the large machinery. I still wonder how long it took to build this ship, I never thought to ask. I found an exit door and for a split second, I think I saw the man that was bothering my mother. I was going to confront him but another man yelled at me to get out. I had the idea of exploring the first class deck. It would be much more enjoyable with a friend but I have decided to put on my nicest dress, my grandmothers forbidden jewelry, and my mothers boots that she adores. I have decided to do this either tomorrow night or the night after. My mother is keeping me with her tonight due to the fact that she wants me to make friends in the General Room. I have been so focused on writing that I did not notice the boy has moved closer to me, in fact he is studying me. I purse my lips at him and he looks away. I am going to talk to him.
April 12th, midnight
Dear Diary, I am greatly sorry that I forgot to write yesterday. The boy I met turned out to be a dear. We got to know each other very well and it turns our we are very much alike. His name is James. He comes from America but he's lived in England for many years. This came to me as a shock because I had never seen him before. It came to our realization that he is our roommate. We explored the boat together last night. We were almost late to tea and supper which brought much criticizing from my mother. Before I could say goodbye, James was gone. I had wished he would accompany us for tea but my wishes were not fulfilled. It is very late right now but something is troubling me, keeping me from sleep. My grandmother is sick. Her skin has turned a pale snowy color and her veins are visible like tattoos all over her. She slept the day away today. I am very worried about her. She is one of the most down to earth people that I know. I will miss her greatly but my mother says when we get to America she will get to rest in a warm linen bed. A tear has come to my eye now and I know why. I have already lost my father, I can not imagine losing my best friend. I best get to bed, tomorrow is the day I am going to introduce my idea to James about sneaking into dinner with first class.
April 14th, noon
Dear Diary, I come to you with great sorrow. My grandmother has passed. I was unfortunate enough to find her myself. James and I were together at the time. He was telling me about life in America. I couldn't help but become elated to arrive in America. When he opened the door to our cabin, I saw my grandmother. Strewn out on the floor with an empty glass of water lying beside her. Her eyes were wide open but no sign of life was shown in them. She had turned a shade of blue. I will never forget the look on James' face. He ran out of the room for help and I watched as my grandmother was carried out of the room. Helpless. That's how I feel right now. My mother has not said a word. I do not want to go to America anymore. I want to go back to England and live in my grandmothers house, to remember her. To have a little piece of her left with me. I must've been hysterical when my grandmother was taken out of the room because James came over to wrap his arms around me. I wish I could say it made me feel better but I just became more distraught. I never went to explore first class and I do not plan on it.
April 14, after supper
Dear Diary, James is in the works of persuading me to explore first class with me. I am almost positive that he just wants to go for the food. My mother wants me to go as well, to get my mind off of the horrible events that have taken place. Although she believes James and I are going to a dance for children. I think I will go with James. My mother says she will stay in the cabin but I am expected back by midnight. She seems uneasy at the moment but I am sure that her mind is on grandmother. I am wearing my nicest dress and my grandmothers jewelry, of course it is hidden because my mother would have a fit if she saw it, as well as her laced boots.
This was the last time 16 year old Amelia wrote in her diary. She thought about it as the Titanic struck the iceberg. This part of the story is told from Amelia's point of view.
Something shook the boat. I was knocked off of my feet onto James. My grandmothers jewelry clanked together on my wrist. As I got back to my feet, I saw James looking at me. The fear in his eyes was inexplicable. Many first class passengers were screaming. Women were holding on to their husbands. It was currently twenty minutes from midnight. I heard a man call that everything was fine but a few minutes later I overheard a conversation that there was already 14 feet of water in the front of the ship. My mother was there. People were pouring from the bottom of the ship. James convinced me to not go for my mother, that she was among all of these people. I searched for her but saw no sign of her. I tried to go against the flow of people but I was pushed, yelled at, spit on. Everything was happening in a blur. Life boats were being loaded. Children were screaming. I lowered down on the deck, hands over my ears. I wanted this all to end. The unsinkable ship was sinking. James grabbed me and told me to find a life boat. I wasn't going without my mother. That's when I saw her. She was in the first lifeboat to be lowered. She caught my eye and motioned for me to jump on the lifeboat. Without thinking, I bid James goodbye with a kiss and jumped. I missed. My hand scraped the side of the boat. Someone reached for me, but I hit the bottomless ocean without a warning. The cold water engulfed me. Hitting my skin like knifes. I could make out the small figure of James leaning over the side of the boat. He was screaming something but I couldn't hear him. Something tugged at my leg and I screamed. I kicked with all my might. I had the tiniest bit of hope that I could wait for my mothers boat to be lowered and I could climb on. I tried to swim out of the way but the boat was lowered right on top of me. I tried to get out of under but the pressure was too much. Someone started paddling and I was hit in the head with a paddle. A hand broke through the water, searching for me. I grabbed the hand and I was pulled into the boat. My mother grabbed me, sobbing. I just lay in her arms. I caught sight of James on the next level down. He was waving goodbye. I was okay. He was okay. I hoped it would stay that way.