Thursday, November 25, 2010

" deliver the passengers fattened and lethargic."

Food, as has been discussed in posts throughout the week, has always held a privileged place on an ocean liner. Just as Commodore Robert G. Thelwell discussed his weight problem, it should be no surprise that passengers faced that very same "Battle of the Bulge." The following comes from Mrs. Velma Krauch, who traveled aboard the Queen Mary on her final crossing from Southampton to Long Beach in the latter part of 1967:

Along about now Hannah and I were beginning to feel the sins and corruption of a cruise diet. While dressing for dinner one night I walked into her cabin fumbling with the zipper on my skirt, gasping, "Good Lord, look at this. What will I wear for dinner if the waistband on my one and only long skirt gets any tighter?"

Before she could answer, Bill popped in with his perennial cheer, and offered, "There's not a thing wrong with the waistband...why don't you try doing something about the f-a-t underneath it?"

He did have a point, miserable as it was.

Of course the lazy days laying in the sun, leisurely swimming in the pool, and sitting around the Smoke Room before dinner with drinks and appetizers, did little to stem the flow of obesity. Whenever I attempted a good brisk, athletic walk around the deck, my inborn magnetic compass automatically pulled in the direction of a steward serving either boullion and crackers or tea and pastries. Cunard, I know, had to fulfill her side of the contract with Long Beach, but I have a sneaking suspicion that somewhere in the fine print was a line that read, "and to deliver the passengers fattened and lethargic."

I imagine that many of Mrs. Krauch's fellow travelers would have heartily agreed with her.

References: Velma Krauch, Three Stacks and You're Out: A light hearted account of the Last Voyage of the R.M.S. Queen Mary around Cape Horn (Los Angeles: VanLee Enterprise, 1971), 90-94

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