Saturday, November 12, 2005

Deracinated musings: The Edmund Fitzgerald

I grew up very near Lake Michigan. Was never than five or
six blocks away, and was for many years about two blocks
away. Never remember the Lake at night during storms. With
Winter storms particularly, one would be thinking inland. Of
course in the late 70s Gordon Lightfoot wrote The Edmund
Fitzgerald. Which described those storms. I guess I
remembered then the newspaper stories about ships going down
in the winter. The eels in the lake were also a scary
fascination.

My father would say well it's not like the ocean..he was
from Boston. BUt he'd note as the paper would, that the lake
could create strange and dangerous vortexes. We'd go for fish dinner in Whitefish Bay.
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald is a great song. After the
thirities, few mythic folk songs passed over to pop and the
general radio in such a way that mixed Tin Pan ALley with
Chaucer.

Nintey-mile winds and 30-foot waves I did not know. An NPR story describes the day, which was in November 30 years ago, the bells ringing in the Detroit seamen's chapel, and a book by Michael Shoemaker on the facts of the tacanite ore ship's tragic singing.
[Footnote: Today Jake and I were on the museum battleship U.S. Massachusetts.]

Related
Book Delves into the Mysteries of the 'Mighty Fitz' -NPR, Nov. 10, 2005

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