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May 24, 2024 25 mins

Tracy and Holly talk about the eerie similarities of the stories of the Andrea Doria and the Empress of Ireland. They also talk about Jacob Haish's poetry about barbed wire.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class, a production
of iHeartRadio Happy Friday. I'm Tracy V. Wilson and I'm
Holly Frye. Today we talked about the collision of the
SS Andrea Doria and the Stockholm and the rescue successfully

of most of the people who were on the Andrea
Doria before it sank, which I don't want to make
light of the fact that I think fifty one people
were killed, but so often the shipwreck episodes involve almost
all hands being killed in like a terrifying nighttime, freezing

water situation. That having an episode where it was much
more about the rescue, the successful rescue of so many
people at the same time, though so many eerie similarities
to the Empress of Ireland disaster, especially the parts with
the colors of the side lights and the turning the

wrong direction to turn into something rather than away from it.
I was like, I literally wrote this exact shipwreck previously. Yeah,
it's it's eerie, right, But then when you consider the scenario,
I guess it feels less weird because they were in

such similar conditions that it kind of makes sense. Yeah,
the same problems would have arisen. Yeah, which stinks. Yeah,
it breaks my heart that it's a case where probably
no one ever felt at peace about it afterwards. It

was evolved since there was never any formal declaration or
finding about what had taken place. Yeah, And I also
read so many articles that like stridently argue a thing,
and then there's another argue that or another paper that
like stridently argues that paper number one is wrong, and

I don't know which is correct. One thing that we
didn't get into that some sources do point out is
that the fact that radar, in terms of civilian passenger ships,
radar a fairly new innovation. A number of commentators were like,

radar should be a navigational tool, not the source of
your navigation, right, And it reminded me of things that
have happened in more recent years where there have been
either crashes or people who've gotten lost in a perilous

way from the reliance on GPS and sort of going
where the GPS directions direct a person to go, sometimes
bypassing numerous signs that say something like seasonal road not
maintained in winter and that kind of thing. I've just

I felt some similarities there. Or if you're like a
relative that I have who I will not throw into
the bus, and you're not. You're still using one of
those old GPS machines and not like a thing on
your phone, and it requires you to occasionally plug it
into something so it can get current maps, and you

don't do that. Look, I'm just saying there have been
some arguments. As we stand in the middle of nowhere.
My spouse's car has a built in GPS and I'm
not gonna throw him under the bus to explain why
it can not be updated. But there have been a
couple of times where the ten plus year old maps

on the car have caused a problem, And I'm like,
we just just use your phone. Just plug in that phone.
But just use the phone, I will say, in defense
of your phone's GPS maps. Also, I feel like, and
I could be wrong, the last eighteen months to two years,

they got a whole lot better like where they're Actually
what made it apparent to me is that there is
a specialty vet we had to go to for a while, huh.
And it's in a part of town where there was
just tons of construction constantly going on, huh. And the
maps were doing a pretty good job of keeping up

with the day to day shifts in lanes and road closures. Yeah.
I have run a foul of this a couple of
times very recently, where there were road closures that the
maps didn't know about and the map was like, turn
left here, and I'm like, well, there's a solid barricade

across the entire road, so I definitely cannot do that.
That's just the off road part of your journey. Did
you know? Were you not ready for that? The other
thing that I like, I don't want to name any
specific mapping service, but I have had issues with the
map wanting to plot sort of a shortcut for me

to go down a neighborhood street that like really doesn't
need a bunch of additional car traffic on it, and
then at the end of that neighborhood street, I'm going
to turn left across a very busy road at with
no stop sign or no stoplight or no anything to
make the turning left there easier. And I'm like, this
is irritating me. I would rather have gone the one

entire block longer way right and not have to deal
with this. But anyway, that's me being overly reliant on
the GPS I try to often give it the parameters
of like longer is fine if you were left turned sure,
or like I don't want to mess with the highway,

Like I'm fine driving on the Interstate, but sometimes in
Atlanta during busy traffic times, yeah, give me surface streets
all day long, I don't. I don't want to mess
with the highway. One of the worst experiences that I
had in this regard, Patrick had turned on. This was
in the car. This was using the car maps, which

we pretty much don't use anymore, but he had turned
the car setting on too avoid highways because it was
rush hour and he needed he needed to drive into
Boston for a particular thing, and there was some reason
that it had to be done in the car, because wow,
do I not ever want to drive into Boston. And

then the next day I had gone out to Harvard, Massachusetts,
not Harvard University, the town of Harvard, Massachusetts, which is
like a little farther out, and I didn't realize avoid
highways was on, and this is a trip that should

really ideally happen on a highway, right, And I'd like,
I didn't realize what was going on, and I kept
being like the highways right there, and the car was
like do you turn over here? Though over here? Yeah,
it was a bit frustrating anyway. A couple of random

side notes. Harry A. Trask, who was awarded Pulitzer Prize
and Photography for like some really stunning photos of the
Andrea Doria as it was thinking, was also the person
who took the photo during the nineteen sixty seven Boston Marathon, Oh,

showing Jock Simple, who was a race organizer trying to
physically manhandle Catherine Switzer. Yeah out of the race. Oh,
that picture is so good. I mean it's not a
good moment, but it's a great capture. It is a
great capture of a picture. Other random thing, I have
seen a piece of art from the Andrea Doria. Back

in like twenty sixteen or twenty seventeen, there was an
exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. It was
called ocean Liners, Glamour, Speed and Glory. Patrick specifically wanted
to go to it because he was writing a story
that was set aboard an ocean liner. And I I

don't remember if there was something there from the Andrea
Doria besides this one thing, but one of the things
was an artwork panel, a very like mid century style
panel on wood depicting the Zodiac that had washed to
shore on Nantucket after the wreck. I'm not sure what

else I may have seen at this exhibit, because somehow
the only photo I have remaining on my phone, and
I did not go look for backups to see what
was on the backups. But the one picture from this
exhibit that is still on my phone is one from
It's a literal deck chair from the Titanic, Nice, which

was the only photo that I had easily accessible. As
we were discussing the photograph being taken as the ship
was sinking, I was reminded of when we talked about
the sinking of the Titanic and the first hand account
being thrown over to the waiting reporter in the boat

and the people getting off the rescue ships able to
purchase the newspaper with the story of what had just happened.
Is yeah, the port, which is just going to be
a weird thing. Like can you mentione seeing that photograph
the next day and being like, right, yeah, I was
there for that. This was also one of the first

disasters of this I don't know, but I don't want
to like definitively say a timeline, but one of the
first major disasters that everybody was able to see a
bunch of stuff from on television, And we didn't really
mention that in the episode at all. But like there's
more of you know, people who were alive in the

fifties and old enough to remember the fifties, like it's
a wreck that a lot of people remember seeing footage
of on TV, you know, and then people alive in
the eighties, which I was my have memories of the
anti climactic safe opening, which I don't remember at all.
I don't either, who knows if I watched this. It

reminded me a bit of when when there's a time
capsule somebody finds and opens and it turns out what's
in the time capsule is like molded or just you know,
usually what's in a time capsule. We've got a whole
episode on time capsules back in the archive, but like
a lot of times, what's in there doesn't turn out
to be as exciting as what people imagined is going

to be there when they open it. Yeah, that makes
me think of the Crypt of Civilization, which makes me
laugh and laugh a little bit, which is you know
the air tight room at Oglethorpe University that's, yeah, supposed
to be opened in eighty one thirteen. Yeah, I don't

remember when we've talked about that, but I remember talking
about it. I don't either, but I walked by it
almost every day for many years. So yeah, yeah, because
I worked there for a bit, I am very much
of the opinion that a life lived in fear is
a life half lived. Sure, thank you, Boss Lehmann for
that one, if you know, you know, But I am

not a cruise person. And then every time we do
one of these, I'm like, I'm really not a cruise person.
But yeah, I'm still going to go on another cruise
at some point, I'm sure. Yeah, yeah, I will be
on the deck watching for other ships. Yeah. I used

to be this way about airplanes. Yeah. And then when
Patrick and I got married and we were planning a honeymoon,
the thing that like, I was much better about flying
by that point, I had worked on it because I
needed to be able to fly for my job, but
I had never at that point flown across the ocean before,
and I was very nervous about that. And that is

how we wound up going to Iceland, a place that
you and I are returning to, Yeah, in November. Yes, yeah,
I'm not sure at this moment if there are still
tickets available right now, it is listed, it is listed
as sold out. Okay, We're not sure if there's gonna

be an ability to expand the number or not. Yeah,
So stay tuned. If you missed it and you still
want to try, keep checking back. Yeah, And you can
go to Defined Destinations dot com and you can check
it out and see if it's even something you would
be interested in doing. Talked about barb wire YEP. One

of the resources that I came across is pretty interesting.
It is actually like a blog and a personal page.
But this person has gotten a lot of people that
work in the history space to write for it. And
that is a site run by Jesse hash LaRue. She is,

I believe the like a great niece of Jacob Haage.
And so his story is a little, you know, other
than that one book that he wrote, there's not a
lot that people know about his early life. There's not
a lot, you know, he has in some cases in
recent years kind of fallen out of the story for
people and she's trying to piece the story back together,

and she's gotten like people that you know, run historical
sites in the area to write about this entire story
and their relationship between these two men. So I really
really appreciate that because that's a pretty good one. I
sort of love Jacob Page because he is I say
this in a complimentary manner, an odd duck, because he

like one of the things that he did as all
of this was happening and he was feeling very frustrated,
was he wrote poetry about the people that he felt
were stealing his ideas. Oh that's funny, And I have
one of these poems I'm so excited, which goes, this
life is not all sunshine as barb fence scalpers have

found the crosses they bear are heavy, and under them
lies no crown. And while they're seeking the roses, the
thorns full off they scan. Yet let them, though they're wounded,
be as happy as they can like knife twist. I
love it. I love it. There is also a really

really cool part of his story and developing his esque
curve wire that I left out because it's not really
germane to the way things played out. But before he
started working with wire and metal to work on a fence.
He did an experiment planting o sage orange seeds. Oh yeah,

which for anybody that doesn't know what that plant is,
it's not an orange in the citrus sense. It's like
a hard fruit that looks very lumpy. It's round like
an orange, but it's not, to my understanding, very delicious.
People don't usually eat it. But it has these kind
of vines that have natural spiky bits on them, and

he thought, oh, if I could grow that to wind
with wire, I could really do something that's organic and cool.
That didn't work out, It just was too too hard
to make it happen, but it was an interesting idea. Yeah,
there's I don't know which of the which of the
shows it was that I was watching during early COVID,

but I watched all of these shows that were like
a historian and a couple of archaeologists go to live
in the manner of you know, farmers long ago in Britain.
And in one of those there was a fence that
they were constructing and it was out of like very

dense kind of spiky vegetation. Yeah, not out of like
planks or wire or whatever. And I'd like, I don't
remember thinking that was pretty cool because growing up in
a place where there were farms and people had cows, like,

the kinds of fencing that we saw day to day
were chain link, split rail fences and barbed wire or electrified. Right.
That was the other thing, the other thing I didn't
talk about on the show that I thought was really
interesting and it became its own little rabbit hole for me,
but not really germane. Here is some of the stuff

that had and in Texas, while the ranchers there were
deciding whether or not they wanted to deal with barbwire, okay,
because there were actually a lot of issues brought up
about whether or not it was humane to use, and
as a consequence, there was a lot of legislation passed

in Texas, way ahead of a lot of other places
about humane treatment of animals and a lot of them.
Was that my understanding, Again, I read this as someone's account.
I didn't look up the actual legislation, but like one
of the pieces allegedly is that they were like, okay,
but if you're going to use this kind of fence,
you have to build a second fence of like wood,

so that the animals would hit that first instead of
dragging their hides along barbed wire. Yeah, right away. And
so if you have ever, I mean I have driven
around the country many times, you know, traveling from the
time I was a kid my parents were begin to driving,
and I remember seeing these double fences where it's like
a barbed wire fence with a wooden slat fence, and

I always thought, oh, they put a new fence up
and didn't take the old one down. No, In many cases,
that is actually to protect the animals within from the
hurt because they were very worried, especially with some of
the the previous versions of barbed wire, like the ones
that had like spikes sticking out of wood that were
more knife like than pokey. Even though pokey is also

damaging to an animal, right that it would cause big
cuts in them, and that they would get infected, and
that worms would grow in them like they would and
so which of course humane or not. That's also a
financial consideration, right if you're driving cattle that is ruining
your assets well, and in addition to like injury to

the animals hides, you know, there's also issues with like
especially as fences break down for whatever reason. Stepping on
the barbed wire or ingesting pieces of it. There are
so many other things that that can happen as a result.

We talked almost exclusively about barbed wire in the context
of like ranches and farms and containing animals or keeping
animals away from crops, and we didn't because it wasn't
really germane to these men's story. We didn't really touch
on the fact that, like almost immediately after it was developed,
barbed wire was also used for things like trench warfare

and like surrounding the walls of prisons, like that kind
of stuff. So this suddenly widely available, pretty inexpensive tool
put to a lot of other uses. Also, Yeah, I
mean it's interesting, right. We talked about how much it

shaped the way the US kind of developed in terms
of landownership, but we didn't talk about those things which
are another outcropping of this one invention, and that really
shaped a lot of things that are still impacting our
society today. It's very, very fascinating to me that one

concept became the seed of so much other stuff. We
will find ways to make anything problematic as a species.
That's our specialty. Yeah, everybody'd be cool, be cool, I

understand the desire to keep cows out of your garden,
which was allegedly why Joseph Glidden was interested in this
in the first place, was that his wife Lucinda was like, like,
your cows keep eating my vegetables. But I couldn't ever

get a you know, a corroboration on sharing the story.
But I love it. Yeah, listen, who among us? I
can't grow amorant anymore because the squirrels eat it all
before it becomes anything good. Just a pity. But I'm
just like, okay, squirrels. Yeah. We have a lot of

rabbits in our neighborhood, and I think they're very cute.
And I also don't have a garden of food plants,
and I know a lot of the like our urban
community gardens in the Boston area, like, rabbits are a
huge problem because they are very cute, but it's really

hard to keep them out of the gardens, and so
people come in and you know they're they're vegetables that
they've been working so hard on growing have been eaten
up by rabbits. Also a lot of strategies to try
to keep the rats out of both the garden plots
and like any storage for mulch or anything like that. Yeah,

it's tricky. This is the hard part, even if you're
like a small at home gardener wanting to be friends
with nature and also keep them from thwarting all of
your efforts in the gardening space. Tricky, tricky. That's one
of the things that's also quaint. In that little book
that we talked about that Washburn and Mowen and Ellwood

put out, they do talk about like in their usage cases,
it's like, even if you just have a small crop
of squash and cucumber, barbed wire is the solution for you.
I'm remembering when because we grew pretty much all the
vegetables that we ate when I was growing up, and

I remember when it came to like our lettuces and cabbages,
we had these wire cages and going down the row
and like putting a wire cage around each of those
to try to keep the rabbits from eating them so
that we could eat them. Yeah. Yeah, I'm spoiled enough

that I'm just a hobby gardener and I can be like,
it's fine, go ahead and eat it. You can have
the pumpkins. You're so cute, Hi baby, that's me. Yeah,
a ding dong would know no real focus in terms
of that. If you're a gardener and it's time where

you live and you have some spare time this weekend,
I hope you get to go out and play in
your garden and do something that makes you happy and
feel fulfilled and maybe add some greenery and either some
flowers or delicious things to your life if it works.
I have mixed luck, but my zinnis are happy this
year in the high biscus hit just started regrowing, So okay.

If you don't have time for any such things, or
if that's not your jam, I hope you get a
minute or two to do something that makes you feel
good and relaxed. And I also hope that everybody's cool
to each other. We will be right back here tomorrow
with a classic episode and then on Monday with something
brand new. Stuff you missed in History Class is a

production of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your
favorite shows.

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Tracy V. Wilson

Tracy V. Wilson

Holly Frey

Holly Frey

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