Thursday, August 21, 2014

I found the passenger list from the QE2, when my family came back from France, not quite a year after I was born. It fell out of the back of some old photo album, a not-quite relevant one—of my father growing up—the way these kinds of documents often do. It was blue, and plain, with a stylish little drawing of the ship at the bottom. There was no preface, no preamble; no ads nor filler about the grand history of Cunard Lines. No nothing—just the list. And it was absurdly long. Like the list of minor donors in the back of a program at Carnegie Hall. But worse. Hundreds upon hundreds of names, blanketing the alphabet; every common name you could think of and a good number of weird ones, too. Speaking of which, there in the expected place were we: my father, my mother, my sister with fourteen in parentheses, my brother with ten, and me without a number. I realized later that the date on the cover of the booklet, August 22nd, 1969, was exactly forty-five years ago today.