Sometime after midnight, a thumpÂ—loud and jarring. A torpedo slams into the side of our ship, flinging me out of my bunk. The ship is transporting thousands of troops and hundreds of nurses. It is Decem ber 1942, and our country is at war. I am Margaret BourkeWhite, the only woman photographer covering this war. The U.S. Army Air Forces has handed me a plum assignment: photographing an Allied attack on the German troops in North Africas . I wanted to fly in one of our B-17 bombers, but the top brass ordered me to travel instead oi n the flagship of a huge convoy, headed from England through the Strait of Gibraltar towards the coast of North Africa. It would be safer than flying, the officers argued. As it turns out, they were dead wrong. Beneath the surface of the Mediterranean, German submarines glide, silent and lethal, stalking their prey. We are asleep when oO ne of their torpedoes has foundfinds its mark. The ship tilts sharply, and the lights flicker and die. I pull on my olive drab work slacks and my officerÂ’s coat, thinking it will be warmer than the waterproof trench coat. Fumbling in the dark, I grab my musette bag with one camera and, leaving everything else behind, race to the bridge to try to photograph what is happening, but there is not enough light and not enough time. TheI grab my camera bag and one camera, leaving everything else behind, and race to the bridge. I hear the order blare s : Â“Abandon ship! Abandon ship!Â” There is not enough light and not enough time to take photographs. I head for Lifeboat No. 12 and board with the others assigned to it , about fifty people , mostly nurses. WeÂ’ve drilled for it over and over, but this is not a drill. My mouth is dry with fear. Our boat is overloaded, but the officer in charge says we're going to chance it.
As we are lowered, I can't help thinking what a dramatic photograph that view of our sinking ship would make, if only the light were better Our lifeboat drops into the sea.We sit up to our waists in water The boat is filled with water from the torpedo splash-back . Weand use our helmets to bail. The rudder is broken. All around us in the water, people are thrashing and grabbing for something to hang on to, struggling to survive. We rescue some, lose others. A voice cries in the darkness, Â“Help me! IÂ’m all alone!Â” We try to row toward that desperate voice, but without a rudder we can do nothing. The cries grow fainter. Then, silence. I take my turn rowing, my arms aching and my hands blistered. Someone in a nearby lifeboat begins to sing Â“You Are My Sunshine.Â” We all join in. Even off-key, it makes the rowing easier. We watch silently as flames swallow our wounded ship. The rest of the convoy has scattered, to keep from giving the German U-boats another target. In the bright moonlight I see that a single destroyer stays behind, and we wonder ifhope they will come to pick us up. But noÂ—they drop depth charges to try to get rid of any remaining German submarines. Someone is shouting into a megaphone, but we canÂ’t make out the words. Maybe heÂ’s wishing us luck. The destroyer sails on. No one in our boat says a word. Now we are entirely alone. The moon sinks into the dark sea. I think longingly of chocolate bars, the emergency rations IÂ’d tossed out of my camera bag to make room for extra lenses. The hours pass. IÂ’m wet to the skin, wet and cold. Hungry, too. I could do with a bite of chocolate. Dawn comes slowly, the pale colors blooming in the eastern sky. I wonder again if I will survive, if any of us will. Irrationally, I mourn the loss of my elegant cosmetics case, covered with beautiful ostrich skin and filled with ivory jars from Hong Kong. I canÂ’t imagine why it matters.
ItÂ’s December 22Â—the winter solstice, someone reminds us . No wonder, and that's why the sun is so late making its appearance. We cheer when it finally rises majestically from a flat gray sea. I get out my camera and begin taking pictures. We look miserable and bedraggled, but weÂ’re alive. One of the nurses jokes that sheÂ’s ready to place her order for breakfast: two eggs, sunny-side up, no broken yolks, please. Â“And hot coffee!Â” adds another. Â“Buttered toast!Â” In midafternoon someone spots a flying boat, a large seaplane. It flies low over us, waggling its wings, and we all wave back, assuring each other that help will come soon. The sun sinks lower, lower. There is no sign of rescuers. It wonÂ’t be long before darkness descends, and then they wonÂ’t be able to find us. Wet, cold, exhausted, crowded in with dozens of others , more than the boat is meant to hold Â—all wondering what will happen to us, if we will live or dieÂ—I remember think of my home, my parents, those early years when I had no idea where life would take me, only that I wanted it to be bold and exciting, anything but what it was then ... .
did No card-playing. No gum-chewing.
No card-playing. No gum-chewing. No slang. No silk stockings. Why is it better? VotÂ’s der dum-goozled idea?
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No nicknames. Heterodon platirhinos.
jar of pickles
the next day
too The yellow dog was tired and hungry and also very dirty. Was The dog trotted wearily down the dark alley, searching for somethingÂ—anythingÂ—to eat. Stickers Burrs matted his filthy yellow fur.
I had won! The Frog Book The Moth Book The Reptile Book
Should women be granted the right to vote? not
Rosalie The Bluffers lot
Bluffer The Oracle
I am Sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips, let no dog bark. Merchant of Venice A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, / And most divinely fair. Her glorious fancies come from far, / Beneath the silver evening-star, / And yet her heart is ever near Margaret B. White. Nickname: Peggy. Ambition: Herpetologist.
had other school class Our Red and Gray weÂ’ll neÂ’er forget, / WeÂ’ll always to our Class be true. / What eÂ’er we do throughout our lives / WeÂ’ll keep unstained the Red and Blue.
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From now on everything will be different
a mature and intelligent young woman
When he kisses me?
Should I have bought him a gift? But what would have been the right thing to buy? Bonsoir, mÂ’sieur et mamÂ’selle poulet poulet potage dÂ’oignon vol au ventcoq au vin potage mousse au chocolat demitasse de cafÃ©
clink clink me something
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Photography Working with children. Seamstress
Not return to New York? Go to Ann Arbor instead? How on earth did she know about that?
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Is this the wallflower who never got asked to dance even once in all the time we knew her?
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Paradise Lost I want you all to myself.
The Importance of Being Earnest Volpone
The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a heav Â’' n of hell, a hell of heav Â’' n. Two roads diverged in a wood, and IÂ— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
For the rest of our lives!
feel feel tired, canÂ’t sleep, no appetite
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