Though my father, Art, and his friend, Stan, raced to get to the cruise ship on time, they were running late. Departure for the cruise across Lake Michigan from Downtown Chicago was minutes away. Art and Stan were anxious to get aboard the ship with their friends from Western Electric, cruise across the lake, and enjoy the picnic in Michigan City, Indiana that Saturday July 24th,1915.
Back then, transportation crept along. My father and Stan ran part of the way. Could they still make it? With the Chicago River almost in sight, commotion and screams got their attention. The closer they got the more hubbub.
Art asked a bystander, “What’s happening?”
The man screamed at them. “The Eastland capsized and sunk in the Chicago River. Hundreds of people drowned.”
Shocked by the news, Art and Stan looked at each other. If they had been on time, they could have been among the fatalities.
For them and for me, late was lucky.