Friday, November 18, 2011

Historically Speaking

Hello again!

I recently gave a talk at the Coos Bay Public Library. The entire event was filmed by the Coos Community Media Center, and you can watch it on the following web page:

Unfortunately, I had some technical difficulities with the microphone, so the sound quality isn't the best.

The highlight of the evening, for me, was when my brother and his wife walked in the room. They live out of state and decided to surprise me by attending. Thank you, Ben and Mindy! You made my day!

The problem with live performances is that there are no "do overs." When I gave my presentation, I only had the most basic notes with me. I was relying on my memory in order to address any questions from the audience. Unfortunately, my memory often suffers from stage fright.

As the video demonstrates, I made several mistakes while discussing the fire on the steamship, "Congress." It happened while I was discussing the photograph on the bottom of page 111 of my book. First, I made an unplanned comment about the people in the forefront of the photograph (watching the damaged ship being towed into port). I identified the structure that they were standing on as being part of the (then incomplete) south jetty of the Coos Bay. An audience member piped up to correct me. He claimed that the cement structure is actually a breakwater.

Second, I mentioned that after the ship was repaired, she returned to service under another name. An audience member then asked me for the new name. On the spot, I told her that I thought one of the other names was "Gabriel." I mis-spoke. The "Gabriel" was one of the other names for the "George L. Olson" during it's career, not the "Congress." To clarify, the "Congress" had several names during her long career including the "Nanking," "Emma Alexander," and "Empire Woodlarks."

I apologize for making these mistakes. I hope that this clears up any confusion!

~~ H. S. Contino

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