April 15 marks the 95th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Thomas loves all things Titanic, so we are doing a unit study on the Titanic this week.
I was up late last night due to insomnia (as usual) and decided to poke around Titanic websites. Bob was up late because he injured his leg and he was icing it. (Yeah, right, any excuse to play Runescape, eh?)
I found a statistic that just blew me away. The price of a 1st class parlor suite on the Titanic was $4,350. The price of a 1st class berth was $150. A second-class ticket was about $60 and a third-class ticket, or steerage, was $35-40.
So I'm reading statistics to Bob who isn't remotely interested, but because our computers are in the same room, he was forced to listen to me. I wondered out loud what that $4,000 ticket in 1912 would cost today. Bob told me to google and find my answer. (I know he was thinking, "Just leave me alone.") So I did.
I found a great website that I can plug in my date and dollar amount to find out what it's worth today -- well, 2006. I about fell out of my chair with the results.
1st Class Titanic Parlor Suite 1912 - $4,350. Today that ticket would cost: $93,293.62.
Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow. I just cannot fathom having that much money!
1st Class Titanic Berth 1912 - $150 today would be $3217.02. Okay, that is definitely more doable, but honestly, out of my price range. lol
2nd Class Titanic Ticket 1912 - $60 today would cost $1286.81.
3rd Class Titanic Ticket 1912 - $35 today would cost $750.64.
Guess who would be buying the steerage ticket? No wonder I have a fear of large bodies of water.
After Bob and I discussed this, I was reminded of a strange Amtrak experience I once had. Thomas and I rode Amtrak to Denver to visit my dad on Easter years ago. Because we were going to be on the train less than 12 hours, I bought coach tickets. Thomas was four at the time. It was his first-ever train trip.
We boarded that train around eight in the evening, and Thomas stayed awake all night long. He has always been a train buff, and that first train ride was a fantastic experience. He was wired. Thomas finally fell asleep at 4 am. He woke me up at 6 am with "Let's eat in the dining car, mom." We went downstairs to the restrooms, washed our faces, brushed our hair and teeth, did some other things, and then went to the dining car for breakfast.
When you ride Amtrak and eat in the dining car, you must share a table with other parties. The porter seats you -- you have no choice. So we were the first in there and were seated at a table. Five minutes later, a couple joined us. They were well dressed. In fact, I'll even say their attire was completely inappropriate for train travel. He was in an expensive suit and she was wearing a beautiful dress with high heels. High heels -- on a train. Walking can be difficult on a train at times, one jerk and you lose your balance. Not too smart to wear high heels.
They sit down and we make our introductions. Thomas orders biscuits and gravy, surprise, surprise. I sip my coffee and secretly wish I were home alone in my quiet kitchen because I am so not a morning person. The woman really liked to talk, which was nice because I only had to smile and nod occasionally. He was a sheriff in New Jersey. I learned their whole life history. (And I still remember it.)
Then she asked me a question. "What was your room like?" Before I could answer, she was complaining that the shower was over the toilet in her room. I laughed inside at that because I've showered over a toilet in a train a few times in my life. She finally asked me again about my room. I smiled and said we were traveling coach this trip. She gave me a look that I will never forget. It was as if I suddenly stunk to high heaven. And then THE question.
"How are your accommodations in coach?"
Now, this is one of those instances where you just cannot get the gist of a question in print. She asked me in that same snooty way that the first-class passengers talked down to poor Jack Dawson in the Titanic movie. Very pointed, each syllable spoken slowly as if the words inflicted pain or disgust as she spoke them. It was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing. Thomas was oblivious, staring out the window. I told her they were wonderful, thank you.
That is one of the very few times I have experienced being looked down upon due to class. Maybe the only time. I have to say, I think it was one of the most hilarious things I've ever experienced. When we arrived in Denver, I got another laugh out of "my couple." They rode the luggage cart instead of walking along the platform to get into the depot. They looked SO silly.
The funniest thing about that whole experience, and how it is actually related to the topic of Titanic, is what Thomas said after the fact. Thomas has always appeared like he wasn't paying attention, doing his own thing, and in his own world. He's usually listening, though. He heard every single word that woman spoke. And this was his comment: Mom, that woman reminded me of Rose's mom in Titanic.
$93,000 -- I can think of better things to do with $93,000. I think the grass is actually greener on my side.
I must admit, though, that the next time we rode Amtrak to dad's house, we rode first class in what is called a roomette. That was a, well, substandard version of first-class accommodations on Amtrak. No bathroom, but we had beds. In my mind, I was prepared to be meet that woman again, I was ready to say that our room was wonderful. Thankfully, we dined with a woman who was pleasant and down to earth and didn't give a hoot where our accommodations were on the train. And that's the way it should be.