Tuesday, September 09, 2008

requited lust

When I was very young, my parents and I lived in France for a few years as part of my father's travels in the American armed forces. We returned to the United States in the summer of 1963 by sailing from Naples to New York City on an American Export Company ocean liner, the S.S. Atlantic. It was a wonderful adventure for a boy and one of the fondest memories of my youth. I was even photographed at the helm of the vessel wearing the Captain's cap when my parents and I were given a guided tour of the bridge by the ship's Captain. During our crossing, I fell madly in love with an item in the ship's gift shop, a meticulously crafted and painted wooden model of the liner that was jewel-like in its perfection. The model was about six inches long, and sat on a tiny wooden pedestal with a transparent plastic cover for display. It was too beautiful for words, and I visited it every day of our trip and gazed at it longingly, even to the point of taking some stationery and a pencil and drawing it in immense detail one day. Although I wheedled and implored and begged and made every promise I could, I was unable to get my parents to part with the princely sum of $13.50 to purchase this nautical treasure for me. The little model has haunted me for decades, the one thing with no real function in the world that I always wanted just for its beauty, and didn't get. With it being a hand-built model of a ship that was only in public passenger service for a few more years, it isn't likely that there were many of the models made, and they were asking a pretty significant amount of money for the time so I've just tried to forget about it for all these years. Well, the circle has been completed, and I am ridiculously thrilled to be able to provide a home for what may be the only one of these articles on the planet. I am so happy. I just wish my parents could have seen it...


Blogger Ronni said...

How did you get it? What a joy!

I know how you feel, after finally finding a copy of the first King Arthur book I ever had.

It was quite a quest, as I couldn't remember anything about it except one of the illustrations...

I crossed the Atlantic three times in the 1950s, when that was the only way to go. An ocean liner is a wonderful playground for a child!

8:57 AM  
Blogger Milo Johnson said...

I've had an eBay alert on S.S. Atlantic for the last four years or so. I've picked up some nice brochures, deck plans, a menu, some photographs, some postcards, and even a magnificent travel agency lighted half-model, but never expected to see this one. It popped up a few weeks ago, and I bid an insane amount of money for it to ensure that I won, and ended up paying half an insane amount of money for it, enough to get a really nice vintage keyboard. Liner memorabilia is really hot on the collectible market. I don't care, it's MINE! I get chills just typing that...

1:02 PM  

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