DATELINE: Magic on the Bookshelves?
Brenda Duval’s Titanic End Table
We all know the famous baseball story by W.P. Kinsella, Field of Dreams, in which a man is inspired by a spirit of Shoeless Joe Jackson to build a baseball field in his cornfield.
As a result, he finds himself at the epicenter of spirit life.
We never presumed to be the builder of a “Library of Dreams,” yet it appears to be our role late in life. It was easy to change part of the house, the north wing, to a library to honor all the people who lived in the Spring Village area since 1800, but in particular we had a push by the main spirit who has reached out to us: one of the passengers of the Titanic who met his end at an all-too young age of 21 years.
For decades, without knowing why, compelled by unknown forces, we have collected many items somehow associated with the infamous tragedy at sea that killed 1500 people: RMS Titanic.
Our part has been minor, pointing out only one more benighted victim of the arrogance of luxury and money in 1912. He is our spiritual chess-mate from Titanic.
Richard himself was privileged by birth, but also never had a chance to realize his potential as a poet and philanthropist.
Richard too loved libraries. The final library in his life was the First Class Reading Room on the Titanic. There is even a photo of him, back to camera, reading while his father was on deck, also photographed, looking for his son.
Within two days, they would drown.
Richard’s other favorite library belonged to his aunt, Julia White Castle, who married the Hawaiian pineapple king, James Castle. They had the largest library in Hawaii in 1900 in their Waikiki Diamond Head mansion.
Richard lived there for a year. While his brother went out to enjoy the climate and people, Richard enjoyed the hundred magazine subscriptions that arrived regularly .
Almost in irony, after Richard died, his brother Percy wrote over 25 books: they too adorn our library shelf.
Local artist Brenda Duval, painted a picture of Titanic at full steam atop an end table. It is a labor of love, as she has all four funnel stacks billowing dark smoke. Only three were functional: the fourth was for show. It was the one that fell off the ship after the iceberg hit. It smashed into the frigid water atop dozens who had jumped—and were struck by a lethal force before hypothermia killed them. Richard likely was one of these unfortunates.
All of this is part of our library of dreams, giving the spirits of Mill Circle their safe haven. Based on photos of the original First Class Reading Room, we proudly note that we have more books! We will maintain it as long as our own spirit holds out.