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The Madera Tribune

Hospitality had its limits

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webmaster | 04/17/12

It was on April 15, 1912, that the Titanic sank. Hundreds of people lost their lives, but among those who lived was Renee Harris. She was snatched from the icy waters and put safely aboard the Carpathia, her rescue ship, but even then she still had one more ironic hurdle to jump.

The days prior to the sinking had passed all too quickly for Renee. The steamer was making its way at a powerful 24 knots into the iceberg-studded waters of the North Atlantic. Finally the unthinkable occurred. The ship hit a mountain of ice, and in about four hours the unsinkable liner was at the bottom of the ocean.

Renee made it to a lifeboat and for hours they rowed. Finally a shout went up. It was a ship, the Carpathia! Renee Harris’ ordeal was over — almost.

The survivors were taken aboard and given every possible consideration. There were, however, limits to the hospitality that even the Carpathia could offer. Once she was aboard the rescue ship, Renee went to the wireless room to send a message to her family. Thinking now that all had been accomplished and turning to leave, Renee heard the operator say, “That will be $3 please.” Shocked, Renee tried to explain that all of her money went down with the Titanic, to which the duty-bound operator replied, “I’m sorry, Madam, but it is impossible to send any free messages...


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