Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Having been born in 1978, I don’t have recollections of the night the “gales of November came early” and the frigid waters of Lake Superior claimed the Edmund Fitzgerald and its crew of 29 for their own. I didn’t see the television reports. I didn’t read the newspaper accounts. I learned the details of the maritime disaster through the folk musings of Gordon Lightfoot.
As a youngster, I wore out track #2 of my father’s copy of Lightfoot’s 1976 album “Summertime Dream.” Hanging on every word, I used to sit in front of the stereo speakers and imagine the horror of that night and of the days to come for the “wives and the sons and the daughters.”
Though my mind’s creations were quite vivid, they were equally limited by my life’s inexperience. The freighter looked a lot like a Carnival Cruise Ship and the faces of every man on board resembled, with little variance, the Gorton’s Fish Sticks guy.
Of course, as I aged, my fascination growing alongside, I came into a greater understanding of that tragedy. I was introduced to the actual faces of the crewmen, and they a lot more resembled my own father and grandfathers… even my older brother…than the fish sticks guy. The widows began to a lot more resemble my own mother. The freighter – far from a cruise ship.
Still, even armed with the all photos and all the accounts, nothing has ever put it all together (for me, anyway) like this YouTube video. Powerful stuff. Thanks for the link, Bryan: