|Ed on the deck of the Ile de France, January 1952|
One day I was looking through old photo albums from Ed's family, and was taken aback to find a photo of a young Ed standing on what looked like the deck of a ship. He was alone in one photo and standing with his mother in a second picture. What really blew my mind was the caption for the photos that said that they were celebrating Ed's 7th birthday (January 1952) and that they were standing on the deck of the Ile de France. This was the actual ship pictured on the postcard that had so terrified me in my youth. How could this be? Ed had never told me he'd been on the Ile de France, and I could only assume that he'd forgotten.
When Ed got home, I showed him the pictures. You don't know Ed, but it's pretty accurate to say that not much fazes him. He responded with something like, "So?" He then explained that, back in the 1950's, steamships were making regular runs between New York City and Europe, and people could go aboard and visit a ship while it was in port. I asked him if he'd forgotten that the ship he had visited was the Ile de France. No, he hadn't forgotten. Then how was it, knowing that this ship was one of my childhood terrors, he had never mentioned that he'd been aboard the Ile de France? Ed replied that he really didn't see any connection between the two things....
|A large lifeboat is visible behind Grace and Ed|
When Ed was growing up on Long Island, his family would occasionally drive into the city to see which ships were in port. Schedules for these transatlantic travelers were listed in the local newspaper. Sometimes his family would go to Jones Beach, on the south shore of Long Island, and watch the parade of steamships as they left the port of New York City to head for Europe. I found it hard to believe that while I was growing up in Connecticut with my fear of ships, Ed was not that many miles south of me, living in a place where these ships were considered a normal part of everyday life.
Okay, so I had a little fun in Photoshop. Ed still gets that same look on his face!