Leaving a Legacy of Survival

Yesterday, April 18, I received this touching note:

 “In your book, Alive on the Andrea Doria, you wrote about my great grandmother! Celestina Caputo. I would like to say Thank you and that wishes are to you. Celeste passed away about 2 years ago.

I did not know Sarah, but since she read about her great-grandmother in my book, she knew about me. I would assume that she tracked me down through my website and found my e-mail address. As Sarah mentions in her subsequent note to me, there are probably no coincidences. Since last week, when I had a book marketing consultation, I had planned to continue writing legacies of Andrea Doria survivors. In fact, I was resolute in interviewing all of them, or their families  in order to document their survival experiences. Why? What is more important in our lifetimes than ‘survival’? Perhaps only one thing: handing down stories of survival through the generations. Sarah’s explanation of knowing her great-grandmother’s personal struggle teaches us why.

“Celeste was my great grandmother. It was a great thing to have her in my life. I have and always will be interested in historical ships and hope someday to get a career around them. I am still very young, as in I am going to be 14 soon. Still, I always found it interesting when my great grandmother would tell us stories of her lifetime. She gave me many articles and pictures of the sinking. I was also interested in the Titanic as well, and on the other half of my family there is some information in there about the Titanic too. When my nana used to tell me how she survived by being in the theatre when her cabin got crushed, it shows that there can be more than a coincidence. Without her being away from her cabin, all of our family probably wouldn’t be where it would be now. It taught me not only to love my family more, because you never know what is going to happen to them, but that you can get through things with people supporting you, even if you’re on your own.”–Sarah Marie Dooley

I asked Sarah if I could publish her note to; she said it would be an honor.  I am honored to know Sarah—a young lady who is wise beyond her years.

In future blogs, be on the lookout for personal survivor stories.

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