Member Blogs > ten pound island book companyPeople Who Have It Worse

  • Wed, 23 Oct 2013 05:13:55    Permalink

    My blown quadriceps tendon turned out to be a little more disabling than Id hoped. For the first time in my career, I was forced to cancel out of a book fair   Book Row in Marvin Getmans infallibly interesting Boston Antiques & Design show . Next weekend is Garry Austins Albany Antiquarian Book FairProbably miss that one, too.
    So there I was, glumly pecking away, cataloging books for my next maritime list, hoping Id be able to get myself back in the game in time for the big Boston Book Fair November 15th. Ill admit that, despite an ample supply of tough guy resilience, developed over a lifetimes experience with (mostly self inflicted) wounds, my stiff upper lip was  starting to quiver. The milky, warm, sea of self pity beckoned.
    Then I remembered the old saw that, no matter how bad I think Ive got it, someone else has it worse. And I didnt have to look far for people who had it a LOT worse than I did. Id just written up their stories for Maritime List 219.
    Imagine being on a ship that rolls over in a storm leaving you trapped in a little air bubble in the upturned hull EXTRAORDINARY PRESERVATION OF LIFE FROM SHIPWRECK. A long and detailed account of the wreck of the brig Nerina off the Scilly Isles, in October 1840. The ship ran into a gale and tried to seek shelter south of the Scilly Islands. A heavy sea struck, and she turned turtle, remaining completely bottom up. The broadside of which no other copies are known - narrates struggles of the crew of seven (including a 14 year old boy) over the next three days, trapped inside the overturned vessel. Two crewmen died. Etc. $450
    Or how about being  abandoned as a child, raised by convicts, shipwrecked on an island for five more years with no one but savages for company?OConnell, James F. A RESIDENCE OF ELEVEN YEARS IN NEW HOLLAND AND THE CAROLINE ISLANDS...  As a youth OConnell found his way to Australia where he had contacts with convicts and aborigines. He was later cast away on the north of the continent, and in a subsequent voyage he was shipwrecked in the Caroline Islands, where he lived for five years with the natives. Etc. $300
    If convicts and savages arent your taste, perhaps something more isolated?Goodridge, Charles Medyett. NARRATIVE OF A VOYAGE TO THE SOUTH SEAS... Goodridge was on a sealer which wrecked in the Crozet Islands. The crew spent two years living off the abundant wildlife and were rescued by an American vessel. $250 (Heres the weather report for the Crozets Precipitation high, with over 78.7 inches per year. It rains on average 300 days a year, and winds exceeding 60 mph occur on 100 days a year.)
    Then there are always your run-of-the-mill disastersAWFUL COLLISOON ON THE RIVER LAST NIGHT, WITH DREADFUL LOSS OF LIFE. On the river Mersey, sometime in the mid-19th century, The starboard bow of the Sea Nymph struck the larboard bow of the Rambler and scraping on toward the paddle carried away her stern... we fear that it will turn out that upwards of twenty are already dead. Etc. Framed $250 AndTOTAL LOSS OF THE ST. DAVID STEAMER. A listing of wrecks involving eight vessels as well as the St. David, which is the headliner. A trunk containing female wearing apparel, and the body of the engineer, have also been washed ashore... There are summaries of the wrecks of seven other merchant vessels and then another detailed report, similar to the lead item, about a happier incident in which the crew of the ship Union was saved after foundering off Flombro Head(wherever that is - not Newfoundland). Like the prior broadsheet, this appears to be a report of contemporary events. No listings in Huntress or Worldcat. Framed and suitable for display. Etc. $250
    There, now. Im feeling better already
    And if you happen to find yourself with nine minutes to spare this week, check out this little show I composed for a buddy of mine whos running for mayor of Gloucester. Its about the history of Gloucesters waterfront then to now. I think it's got some charm, and wonderful images from back when. There's also a thread of tragedy - not the one you're probably thinking of - woven through it.

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