10th August 1911.
I’m so excited for the next year. My brother is getting married to Geraldine, and I’m going to be a bridesmaid. They won’t wed until June 15th, which is ages away, but still. A wedding. In my family. We’ve not had one for years.
2nd September 1911.
Geraldine is lovely. She’s a sister I’ve never had. She’s inspired me to go into the services. She works as a maid at a hotel in London, but she has given me the address to write to for a position that is far more exciting than what I currently have.
19th September 1911.
Mr James would like you to attend a meeting on 21st September, in London, regarding your recent request to join our Premier Service attendants in a brand new enterprise.
I had to write that from the letter I received yesterday. Oh, I’m excited. Short notice, I know, but this is how they work, according to Geraldine. Stephen tells me I’m being silly, and should stay with the Co-op, but I have so much more to offer. Geraldine says that with my nature, I’d be ahead in no time.
25th September 1911.
I’m so excited. Stephen and Geraldine have congratulated me on me gaining my new job. I can’t believe it myself. I’m confident enough with people who I know, but not with a lot of strangers. Mr James told me that I’d won him over with my smile… which is odd as I never do when I’m nervous. But he must have seen it.
5th October 1911.
I’ve not heard from Mr James for a while. Stephen says it’s my fault for taking things to heart, Geraldine says it’s Mr James’ fault as he’s very busy. I think I’m to blame because I’m too nervous.
15th October 1911.
Still no news from Mr James. Geraldine has said that she will speak to Mr James’ associate, to see what is happening. Stephen has told me I was rash to leave the Co-op, but I had to.
11th November 1911.
I’m so excited. My new uniform has arrived: a lovely white pinafore, black dress, shirt, and lovely hat. I need to buy some new shoes, my current ones are worn.
2nd December 1911.
Stephen and Geraldine have bought my new shoes. I’m eternally grateful. I can’t wait to serve them proudly at their wedding… in fact, I’m going to give them the best wedding ever (if I can).
5th December 1911.
Stephen has told me Geraldine is very ill with flu. She can hardly breathe. I hope she gets better… I know it’s a few months off her wedding, but we have so much to talk about. I want to do her proud.
15th December 1911.
Geraldine just called around with Christmas cards. She’s looking so much better I can’t believe it. Mrs Colmthorpe from round the circle has had the flu for weeks. Doctor Simmons has been out to her twice. Geraldine’s simply magical.
24th December 1911.
Stephen has brought the Christmas decorations around. They look lovely. Wreaths and holly, ivy, streamers and berries. He spent four hours decorating the parlour. It feels so Christmassy.
25th December 1911.
Geraldine has bought me a good luck trinket. A bracelet to wear – secretly – for when I start my new job. She says we all need something secret when we start something new, to help us along. There’s a place in the trinket for a small photo graph of whomever I want. I may take Stephen and Geraldine with me.
1st January 1912.
Oh my goodness. Happy new year.
I’ve met the most incredible person ever. Even Stephen likes him. He’s just started at the Co-op where I used to work, and he’s marvellous. He’s a butcher, but he says he is destined for other things.
5th January 1912.
Harold called around again. He’s lovely, I want to be with him all of the time, but I can’t. I have my walk to learn. My talk. My shoulders need to be in the right place.
1st February 1912.
I’m so excited. Harold wants me to go to the Spring Dance. I’ve never been asked to any dance before… I blush thinking about it. Stephen and Geraldine goad me. But now I start to wonder if I should continue to see Harold.
22nd February 1912.
I don’t know what to do. Harold has discovered my birth date, and now knows that I’m not as old as I said I was. Only a couple of years, but a lie is a lie. But it was Geraldine’s idea, so was I very wrong in saying it in the first place? Harold isn’t very happy.
4th March 1912.
Geraldine has fallen out with me. She says she never told me to tell Harold my incorrect age, although she did. Stephen hasn’t said anything about that, but looks at me as though I’ve done something wrong. He told me yesterday that Harold is the next in line to become a supervisor at the Co-op and I could have got my job back if I hadn’t have lied. But Diary, I never lied. I just never said.
8th March 1912.
Harold dropped a birthday card off for Geraldine, without speaking to me, although he handed it to me with a slight smile. The postman dropped a letter off for me as well. I’m so excited I can’t write anymore!
10th March 1912.
It’s been a couple of days – hectic days. Harold has said that he understands why I caused confusion with my age, as I do look younger than I am anyway. Geraldine has started talking to me again after I apologised for saying that she’d told me to lie about my age. And Stephen has asked if I want to work with Harold at the Co-op. But I can’t. But I can’t say anything either.
20th March 1912.
You are to report to Southampton on 8th April to ensure you are fully conversant with the current company protocols.
I’m so excited. I’m going to be conversant with protocols, whatever that means! I had to tell Geraldine about the letter, and she sat dumbfounded. She couldn’t believe that I’d actually been accepted, although she said that she knew that I would. She told me that she wouldn’t tell Stephen.
30th March 1912.
I’m so apprehensive. Have I made the right choice in taking this on? I’ve never worked in services before… and I have to travel miles away to a different town to do it.
31st March 1912.
I’m so excited. I’ve thrown my apprehensions away, and I’m going to do it! I need to have some money to get Stephen and Geraldine a lovely present for their wedding – they’ve made me Chief Bridesmaid now. And Stephen has asked Harold to be Best Man.
6th April 1912.
I have to go to London again tomorrow so I can start to learn how to do my new job. Harold, Geraldine and Stephen threw a rather nice party for me last night, to send me off. I’m excited, dear Diary, but apprehensive.
9th April 1912.
I’m VERY apprehensive. I’ve learned how to do the servicing job, and I’ve learned the correct manner in which to speak to people – I was a natural, the teacher said – but it’s two months off Stephen and Geraldine’s wedding, and I want to be back for it. I don’t want to let them down.
10th April 1912.
There are lots of us here, I’m so excited! We all look so good in our new uniforms. I’ve made a new friend in Betty and we both hope we can share a cabin together. Betty’s lovely. She asked to see the photos in the secret trinket that Geraldine gave me, and she said that Geraldine reminded her of her sister. When we get back in a few weeks, I’ll ask Geraldine if Betty can come to the wedding, to see if they are related. Well, stranger things have happened. This ship we’re serving on looks fabulous. Even the name sends shivers down our spines… ‘The Titanic’. Betty’s so excited! She says this is her pathway to a great future! I’ve told her this is just the start of her journey, but now is the important bit. A new adventure. We don’t know where we’re going to end up, but if we continue to feel as good as we do now, we’ll always feel good. We’re both so excited!
On 15th April 1912 the Titanic collided with an iceberg, and sank on her maiden voyage, claiming over 1500 lives.
I first posted this on Christmas Day, after Caitlin, the character who recorded her thoughts in her diary, came to mind on Christmas Eve and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote what she wanted me to. This is also the reason why I recently posted about characters steering situations their way, to give Caitlin one more chance to shine.
Caitlin may be one of those characters who never returns again, but characters being as they are can crop up when least expected. Who knows, maybe she had a few other diaries in which she recorded her thoughts…
It’s been a hundred and one years since the unsinkable vessel sank, and many a tale has been told which keeps the memory of the day, and those whose lives ended, with us.
This was my attempt to tell a slightly different version of events, not focussing on the disaster itself, but rather one of the lives involved. Caitlin is a character, this story is complete fiction, but the events after Caitlin’s last diary entry were frighteningly real.