Rose Dawson: From this day forward
A sequel to A Titanic Love Story
Arrival in Cedar Rapids
Rose, John, and Jackie arrived by train in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the late afternoon. They stepped off the train and went to the next car to claim their bags. The attendant placed the trunks and bags on a carriage.
"Where to madam and sir?" asked the attendant
"The Cedar Rapids Hotel", replied John.
The attendant gestured towards a young man to come to the carriage and informed him that the Calvert family needed to go the Cedar Rapids Hotel.
The young man assisted Rose and Jackie into the back of the carriage. John sat in front next to the young man.
Jackie was looking with awe at the countryside just like Rose was.
"Mom, are we there yet?" asked Jackie.
"Soon, soon" said Rose.
The carriage pulled up a few minutes to the hotel. The young man helped John with the baggage. Then John helped Rose and Jackie out of the carriage.
John walked inside, and gave his name to the front desk clerk.
"Calvert, suite for 3 people, will be $5.00 for the night" said the clerk.
John peeled out a $5 bill and gave it to the clerk. He signed the guest register "Mr. and Mrs. John Calvert and family, Santa Monica, CA."
John asked where he could send a telegram. The clerk directed him to the Western Union Office in the back of the hotel.
John sent a telegram to his parents stating: "Hello Mother and Father Calvert: Rose, Jackie, and myself have arrived safely in Cedar Rapids. Will get to the farm of my brother, David tomorrow. Please send all mail care of David Calvert. The sale should be complete by the end of the year. With love from John, Rose, & Jackie."
The next day, David Calvert came to the hotel with a hired hand in his Model T Ford. He hugged John right away. John said, "Here are a few people I would love you to meet!"
John said, "This is Rose, my wife, and her daughter from her first marriage, Jacqueline Dawson better known as Jackie."
David shook both Rose and Jackie’s hand.
Rose said, "Pleased to meet you David"
Jackie said, "May I call you Uncle David?"
David said, "Yes, of course. Let me help you and your mom into the car."
David helped Rose and Jackie into the backseat of the car. John sat in the front. The hired hand drove the other Model T to the farm about 2 miles north of town.
John helped Rose and Jackie out of the
car. He said to them, "This will be our house by the end of the harvest
season. David is moving out to Santa Monica to be with my parents and wants me
to keep the farm. It was my parents before they moved. I grew up in this house
and we moved when I was 16."
John helped David and the hired hand named Matthew move the trunks and bags into the house. David pointed the two rooms at the end of the hall.
"The master bedroom is yours, John and Rose. The room next to it is yours, Jackie" said David.
Rose told Jackie to begin helping her unpack the baggage. John kissed Rose, and told her that he would be going out to the barn and the field to see what he was getting.
Jackie helped Rose hang up the clothes and place the underclothes in the dressers. Rose went to her valise and began to open it. A tear came down Rose’s face.
"Mommy, are you all right?" asked Jackie.
"I am fine, finish what you were doing and give me some time alone."
Rose opened her jewelry box and saw the Heart of the Ocean among her other pieces. Her mind flashed back to the night of April 14, 1912 and Jack Dawson. She closed the door to the bedroom and closed her eyes with tears welling up in them. Memories came back to her: "I’m flying, Jack." "Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls." " I believe you are blushing mister artiste." "He does landscapes". "Where to miss?" "To the stars." "You jump, I jump, right?" "This is where we first met." "Promise me that you’ll never let go." "I love you, Jack." "I’ll never let go Jack, I’ll never let go."
Rose opened her eyes and wiped them with her hand. She blew her nose with a nearby hanky and composed herself once again. She placed the necklace in another box and locked it safely away so if anything happened she would be able to retrieve it quickly. She placed her 3 pairs of earrings and 3 necklaces on the end table on her side of the bed with her hand mirror.
Rose left the bedroom and went to the kitchen to begin preparing supper. Jackie was outside riding the brown Morgan horse named Brown Sugar. David and John were discussing the crops and animals.
She began to gather supplies together to bake bread and make a vegetable and beef stew. She placed the bread dough on the stove to rise while she peeled and chopped vegetables. Then she placed the vegetables in a large pot with water and flour. She seasoned the beef roasts well and cut it into pieces and placed in the pot. She stirred it well and placed a lid on so it would cook. Then she kneaded the bread dough and placed it in a large bread pan. She spread some butter and salt on the top for flavor and allowed it to rise for another 1 hour before she placed it in the oven.
It was 6:00 p.m. Rose opened the door of the house and called to them to supper. John, David, and Jackie came in and washed up in the basin, then came to the table.
Rose asked John to offer the blessing, "Bless this food that we eat, Bless all those who gather around this table with long life and good health. Amen."
The food was passed around and everyone filled his or her plates generously. Everyone was enjoying the meal.
"This is good!" exclaimed Jackie.
"I hate to say this, but it is better than mom’s!" both David and John responded.
"Thank you." Rose said.
After dinner was complete, Rose and Jackie cleared the table and washed the dishes. To Rose’s relief, there were no leftovers.
John and David relaxed on the chairs near the fire. Rose came and sat by John as he was reading the paper. Jackie went and sat by David to read a book called "Tom Sawyer".
Something caught Rose’s eye on the paper’s national society section: "Caledon Hockley and his wife, Annette of Philadelphia are proud parents of twin girls named Rose and Ruth. They already have 2 sons, Caledon Jr. and James. The girls were born on August 15, 1922."
Rose was both startled and surprised but relieved. She thought to herself, "This could have been me. I hope Mrs. Hockley is being treated better than I was over 10 years ago."
At night, Rose and John were sitting up in bed. John asked her, "What was that look on your face when I was reading the paper."
Rose said, "There was an article about my ex-fiancé and his wife."
John said, "Oh, I remember you telling me about him."
John blew out the lamps and they both fell asleep. That night Rose had a bad dream. She dreamt that Cal kept her at his side on the Titanic and Jack died handcuffed to the pipe. She dreamt that her life was unfulfilling and that she tried to take her own life several times without success. She woke up in a cold sweat and trying to catch her breath.
John asked, "Rose, sweetheart, what is wrong?"
Rose was sobbing at this point, "I had a horrible dream!"
John held Rose in his arms and rocked & consoled her. Then she fell back asleep, and a good dream came to her.
In the dream, Jack survived the sinking and managed to be in the same lifeboat with Rose. They got married and lived together for many years. Rose slept much well while dreaming this dream.
It has been nearly 3 months since the move. The harvest was complete as well as butchering time. Rose assisted the hired hands with the butchering. She was able to make sure that the meat was seasoned and placed in the underground iceboxes for storage.
Jackie helped John and David with the sorting and storage of the vegetables. Later on, Rose and Jackie picked apples from the trees. Rose felt dizzy and climbed down from the ladder.
"Mother, are you okay?" Jackie asked.
"I just need to rest. Finish up here then call your father to haul the apples to the house."
Jackie did as she was told. Rose still did not feel well at the end of the day, and did not prepare supper.
The next day, John drove Rose into town to see the doctor as she requested.
"Rose Calvert", said the nurse.
Rose went to the exam room and the doctor began to ask questions, then he did a few tests. Then after an hour, he returned to the room with the nurse.
"I have good news for you, Mrs. Calvert. You are with child, about 2 ½ months." Doctor Smith said in a happy tone of voice.
Rose was stunned and happy at the same time. She got dressed and returned to the waiting area. She told the good news to John. He embraced and kissed her. Then they broke the news to Jackie and David. They were also excited and happy for Rose.
"Sit down, sweetheart." John said as he brought a glass of lemonade to Rose as she sat on the rocking chair on the porch. Rose obliged John and welcomed the opportunity to relax.
John sat down next to Rose. Then he asked Jackie to help David prepare supper.
"Yes, father." Jackie said. "What you do all want to eat?"
"Anything you want", Rose said.
"Pork steak is alright?" said Jackie
"Sounds good. I am so hungry." Rose said.
Jackie prepared a celebratory supper of pork steak, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes with gravy, and apple pie. Everyone devoured the food especially Rose who ate 2 plates full of food. She was very hungry and always had a healthy appetite from that day on.
At St. Anne Church on Sunday, Father Peter read the announcements to the congregation for November: "Marriage Banns: Julia Petersen and Robert Pine & Susan Ross and Rupert Jansen. Births: Agnes Annette Russell born to Mr & Mrs. John and Agatha Russell on November 1. Mr. and Mrs. John & Rose Calvert are excepting their 2nd child in June 1923. Pray for all the sick of the parish. The annual Thanksgiving dinner will be on 4th Thursday this month. Cost will be $1.50 for adults and $1.00 for the elderly & children under 15. Any questions, please see the parish rectory after mass."
After mass, Father Peter approached Rose and John to offer congratulations. Then Father bent down and asked Jackie about the baby.
"I am happy too, Father. I can’t wait!" Jackie said.
John, Rose, and Jackie went home to Sunday dinner and relaxed for the rest of the day. Rose took a nap. Jackie studied her catechism for school on Monday. John read the paper. Sunday was a day of rest, and the dishes remained unwashed until sundown.
Jackie the scholar
Jackie went to school, and was an outstanding student just like Rose was.
After class, Sister Agnes approached Rose and handed her an envelope. "Please see that this gets to your parents. Do not open it."
"Yes, ma’am" Jackie said.
Jackie ran home, and handed the envelope to Rose who was doing some sewing on the porch. Rose put down her sewing and opened the envelope and began to read: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. John Calvert: Your daughter Jacqueline Rose-Ann Dawson Calvert has been accepted for the St. Anne High School with a full scholarship to begin the 9th year. There is no work study requirement due to Jacqueline’s outstanding scholastic records. The scholarship will be renewed each year with a grade point of 3.0 out of 4.0 possible through the 12th year. Congratulations and best wishes. Sincerely, Mother Agatha Mary, School Principal"
Rose hugged Jackie and told her that she was proud and happy. Jackie said, "I am glad that I did not have to go away to Europe like you did."
Rose told John about the good news. John hugged Rose and expressed his happiness.
Jackie pulled out her grade book for her parents’ signatures for the marking term. In black ink, the following was written: "Marking Term November 1922 to February 1923: English Grammar and Composition – A, Algebra I – A-, Elementary Latin II – A-, Geography – B+, American History – A-, Catholic Teachings and Theology II – A-, and Home Economics – B+. Teacher: Sister Agnes Joseph."
She placed her book in her bag to be given back to the teacher for the next term’s grades.
John said, "Come here, Jackie."
John handed her a $5 dollar bill so that she could buy a new dress and hat that she had been eyeing up at the Sears store in town. John drove them to town. Rose had her doctor’s appointment in town. Jackie bought her new empire /flappers style dress and hat, and still had a dollar left over. John met them at the doctor’s office and pulled the car up when a storm cloud came through.
"Rose, Jackie, come to the hotel because I cannot drive in the storm." John said.
Rose and Jackie came into the hotel lobby with John to wait out the storm. John placed a call to the farm to let David know that they were in town.
The storm let up after a few hours, and the sky cleared. But the car was stuck in the snow, and had to be shoveled out by several people. John drove Rose and Jackie back to the farm.
Rose went and sat in her chair with a sigh of relief and placed her hands on her ever expanding stomach. Jackie prepared supper, and John went to feed the stock.
John came back into the house and washed his hands for supper. There was a knock on the door. David and John both went to the door.
It was Doctor Russell. "I have something to tell Rose since she left before I got a chance to tell her what is was."
He told Rose that she was excepting twins. Rose was surprised and everyone else let out shouts of joy.
"I guess I better make 2 cradles then!" John said.
On May 15, 1923, Rose gave birth to healthy twin boys named James and John Jr. Rose gave the naming honors to Jackie and John. Father Peter came to the farm a week later to baptize the boys.
Jackie was out of school for the summer, and helped Rose with the babies. John and David kept busy in the fields. David was leaving for California and wanted to help with the spring planting. Rose even gave Jackie permission to cut her waist length hair to shoulder length so she could curl it easier. Rose even adapted the hairstyle herself so she didn’t have to spend so much time on it herself.
One day, Jackie received a letter from a friend of hers in Santa Monica.
"Mom, look who wrote me!" Jackie exclaimed.
"Read it aloud" Rose said as she was changing the babies’ diapers.
The letter said "Hello Jackie, How are things in Iowa? Do you miss the ocean? Everyone misses you especially Thomas who sends his regards. I got your letter, congratulations on your scholarship. Pass congratulations to your parents on the birth of your new brothers. Hope you can make it out this summer for a vacation. Write back soon. Send me a telegram if you can come out. With love and misses, your friend Rachel Ford."
"Mom, may I?" Jackie asked.
"Wait until your dad comes home, and it will be discussed then." Rose said.
John came into the house, and washed his hands. He gave a kiss to Rose and Jackie, then the babies.
"Dad, may I ask you a question?" Jackie said.
"Go ahead", John said
"Rachel has invited me to spend part of the summer in California. May I go with Uncle David when he goes back to help out Grandma and Grandpa Calvert? Her mom will be our chaperone."
"Go outside and finish the egg gathering so your mother and I may discuss this", John said.
Jackie gathered the large basket and went to the barn to get the eggs as she was told to do.
Rose and John discussed the issue of Jackie’s vacation.
John said "I will send a telegram to my parents so that they can help look after her. She has been doing well in school, and she deserves a little time. I wouldn’t mind so time out to California myself. How about a family vacation, and the hired hands be placed in charge of the farm for a few weeks?"
Rose said, "Sounds good to me. I will let Robert know that he will be in charge of the farm, and responsible for overseeing things while we are going. It will be good to see many of the old sights."
Jackie came into the house with 2 dozen eggs from the barn. Jackie was told the good news, and was very happy. Rose asked that Jackie begin to pack everything in several valises for carry on. All the clothes would be placed in trunks.
"I have to have my pictures while I travel", Rose said, "Don’t forget them."
Jackie placed the pictures in the trunk among the clothes. She saw many familiar things in the pictures: Santa Monica pier, baby and family pictures, the roller coaster, silent picture stills, her parents’ wedding, and Jackie’s favorite: her mother next to a Red Baron style airplane taken when they went on a plane ride to Catalina Island when she was 6 years old.
Jackie placed several of her favorite dime novels in her purse so she could have something to read. She also placed her journal in purse with several pencils so she could record things she seen and experienced. It had been nearly a year since the move to Iowa, and things had certainly changed a great deal since the family moved. The babies were now 2 ½ months old and growing big. Jackie was glad to be around to help her mother with them.
The family left on Saturday morning from the Cedar Rapids Depot to go to Los Angeles. Jackie would write in her journal of her experiences for the next month. Rose would try to write in hers as time permitted.
July 1, 1923
Today we left Cedar Rapids for California. David moved back to California a few months ago. John and I have been discussing the sale of the farm. The proceeds would go toward savings. John wants to get a job in town to avoid the hassles of farm life. I will support his decision.
July 3, 1923
We had a 1-day layover in Denver. I tried to contact Molly but she was out East. I sent my regards to her son and daughter. They will let her know. We left early the next day. At night, we had stopped near Arizona for the night, and saw magnificent fireworks for Independence Day celebrations. We should be in Los Angeles by tomorrow or the next day.
July 5, 1923
We have arrived at Los Angeles. Mother and Father Calvert met us at the station and drove to Santa Monica to their home. Mother Calvert just adores John Junior and James. Father Calvert is still Jackie’s favorite. At sunset, John and I went for a walk at the Santa Monica Pier for old times sake. My birthday is coming up soon, I will be 28 years old. It doesn’t seem possible. Jackie will be starting high school in September. John and I drove to Baja & Tijuana for 2 days for another honeymoon. The food is too spicy, and I got sick (oh well). We brought back many gifts for everyone to enjoy (hats, statues, and serapes)
California has been wonderful, but it is time to go back to Cedar Rapids for harvest season. John really wants to sell the farm and take a job in town. I can maybe take in some sewing for extra income, and I still can be at home at home with the babies. We leave for Iowa on the 25th.
September 12, 1923
Today is my birthday. I was given a large party and got a lot of gifts. John got a beautiful string of pearls in a necklace. Jackie put her name and the babies’ names on a beautiful brooch engraved on the back. It is a cameo style. Mother and Father Calvert sent me $10 which I will set aside for spring and summer clothes. John and Jackie made the chocolate cake with frosting which was very good. Several friends (Trudy and Jane) from town purchased a new winter coat and hat for me, how nice of them. David sent a telegram with wishes for a happy birthday and he will send a gift when he gets back from a vacation from Canada.
After the harvest was complete in the fall of 1923, the Calverts moved to the city and the farm was sold. John deposited part of the money in the bank and kept the rest at the new house in town. John did not trust banks at all. Jackie started high school in 1926 and excelled as usual. The twins John Junior and James started school in the fall of 1928.
Rose started a home based business of taking in sewing. She enjoyed the interaction with the town women and learned of the latest styles in clothes and hairstyles although she did not like the fact that Jackie bobbed her hair when she turned 15 years old. Eventually Rose got her hair bobbed and liked the fact it was not hard to take care of at all.
In October 1929, the stock market crashed. Luckily, the Calverts did not lose too much. John did lose his job and took a great many odd jobs. Jackie helped her mother with the sewing as much as possible.
One day, John brought in a special copy of the Chicago Tribune to read. It was a rarity to find the paper but he always bought it when it was available. He handed to Rose to read so he could get a cup of coffee before dinner. A headline caught Rose’s eye and nearly caused her to fall out of her chair "Pittsburgh steel tycoon Caledon Hockley killed himself with a pistol in his mouth. He was worth nearly $25 million dollars. His stock took a dramatic drop after the crash. The fortune went down to nearly $1 million dollars. His wife and 2 children survive him. There is a big fight over his estate currently ongoing."
"What is wrong?" John asked in a voice of concern.
"Read the headline about my ex-fiancé" Rose said in a shaky voice.
John read the headline, and realized the man was the fiancé that Rose had as a teenager. She rarely discussed him at all. John did not ask any more questions after that. Rose went outside and sat on the porch. She started to cry for him and for Jack Dawson, the true love of her life. But the tears were mainly for Jack.
John came out to the porch, and placed his hand on Rose’s shoulder as a gesture of concern. Rose stood up and walked back to the house.
Rose walked to her bedroom and opened her jewelry box. She pulled out the small black velvet box that had "Le Coeur Del La Mer" – The Heart of the Ocean. She remembered Jack and Cal. Then she said a decade of the Rosary for the rest of both Jack and Cal’s soul. Then she felt better, and put the necklace away. No one knew the necklace was there. Rose told no one about the necklace. She took it out only on the anniversary of Jack’s death, then would do the same for Cal. She never told Jackie or the boys about it.
A Special Day for Jackie
Jackie was excited because she was graduating from high school a year early. Rose and John prepared for a large party for her. Junior and James helped too because they were excited for their big sister.
Jackie got to deliver the commencement speech: "Welcome family and friends to the class of 1930 graduation ceremonies. We are preparing to meet the world and its many challenges. Most of us will become housewives and mothers. All of us will be voters when we turn 21. We will be pillars of our communities in some way. We will get the chance to make it count in some way or another. Life is too short to just stand there and watch it pass us by. I would to thank my family for support my goals to be an educated woman of the 20th century. Life is getting better for all of us regardless of what we choose to do in our lives. One last thing: "Make it count."
The audience applauded. Tears were coming from Rose’s eyes. She thought to herself: "Jack would have wanted to see this day. You are truly his daughter and mine too. Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bones."
After the ceremony, there was punch and cookies to honor the graduates and their families. The girls posed for 1 last picture. They would all be going their separate ways to begin new lives and experiences. Most were engaged to be married within a 1 year. Very few were going to college like Jackie was planning to do. Jackie wanted to be a teacher and was enrolled at the Missouri Normal School to gain her degree.
TO BE CONTINUED….