A Suitcase from the Titanic

E. Dick,

A Suitcase from the Titanic
 
 
The main character in the book wrote to his friend: "Josey, I'm embarking on the biggest steamship in the world, but I don't feel any pride, because at this moment I wish the `Titanic' were submerged at the bottom of the sea..." In his "A Case from the Titanic" author Enrique Dick takes us into a whirlwind of family history, Samuel and Annie Andrew arrive from Whitby, Yorkshire, England, to the vast pampas of Argentina, near the end of the nineteenth century.There Samuel is hired to administer one of the huge ranches of Ambrosio Olmos, a wealthy farmer in Córdoba. There in those fields without end, the Andrew family grows. Silvano Alfredo, Isabel, Wilfred, Ethel, Hilda, William and Edgar are born and raised. Eventually all of them will have their share of love, adventure and tragedy. Told by Enrique Dick, this book is based entirely on his family's real life events; in the pages about Argentina we learn about life at the “estancia”, the pride and joy of Ambrosio Olmos, a colourful figure of Argentina. As the years pass, the Andrew and Olmos families share more than just the relationship between owner and manager.Upon the untimely deaths of both Ambrosio Olmos and Samuel Andrew in 1906, Samuel's son Wilfred, a mere lad of twenty is hired by Olmos' widow, Mrs. Adelia María Harilaos to take over his father's administration of the ranch.Four of the seven brothers travel to England to study and meet their British relatives. Sooner or later most of them will return to their beloved land across the sea.Meantime, Wilfred confronts the maladies of running a huge ranch. Drought, hungry locusts, unruly gauchos and discontented tenants make his life difficult.Silvano, already a sailor navy officer, travels the seven seas aboard legendary Argentine navy ships.In 1911, as part of the Argentine naval legation, Silvano is involved in the construction of two famous battleships, the "Rivadavia" and the "Moreno," built in US Naval yards. While in the US, Silvano meets and falls in love with a winsome millionaire widow, Harriet Fisher.Silvano and Harriet set a date to be married. Jubilant, Silvano invites his brother Edgar, who is studying in Bournemouth, England, to attend the wedding.While in England, Edgar misses Josey, his friend in Argentina. When his brother's request arrives, Edgar has mixed feelings, Josey was about to arrive in England to take up her studies, and he was looking forward to meeting her there and to woe her. He consoles himself with the thought that he will be able to share a few days of joy with Josey before he sails for America. But fate intervened.The White Star Lines ship, the "Olympic", that Edgar is booked on, is stalled by lack of coal due to a strike. His ticket is transferred and made good for earlier sailing on the "Titanic". Lugging his small suitcase full of books, papers, postcards and family letters, Edgar posts his last letter to Josey explaining that his forced earlier departure on the Titanic will keep them apart.Time passes slowly as the Andrew family learns and accepts Edgar’s fate. Eventually Edgar’s sister, Ethel also visits their ancestral land and there studies in a young ladies school in Whitby learning to paint, embroider and sew will eventually becoming a confidant of her remaining brothers and a lady on her own right. Throughout the book an omniscient character is the coal of Cardiff, which changes destiny not only when becoming steam to propel the Rivadavia and the Moreno battleships when they travel to Argentina with Silvano aboard the Moreno, but also since the lack of coal for Edgar’s intended ship places him aboard the doomed Titanic. For decades Edgar’s death haunts the Andrew family until one day Edgar's small suitcase is retrieved from the bottom of the ocean. That day, the mementos of a life and the truth they generate as they are plucked from the submerged Titanic once again shake the feelings and origins of a family.Armed with this extraordinary occurrence and the contents of a suitcase from the Titanic, Enrique Dick embarked on a journey of discovery into his maternal family history.The result is a book that not only uncovers family secrets and historical facts but also opens a window into lives that impacted history as it was being created


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