KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM)- The Titanic exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum will open this weekend and a local woman is looking forward to seeing what it has to offer. That's because her step-mother was a Titanic survivor.
"She just loved the ship; it was just beautiful," says Beverly Mackenzie-Benoit, who lives in Kenwood. Despite surviving one of the most infamous voyages, she says her step-mother enjoyed talking about the Titanic.
At age 26, Edwina Troutt-Mackenzie was supposed to take a trip from England to the United States. "She was supposed to go on another ship but there was a problem, so they put her on the Titanic."
In one of her last interviews in 1985, Edwina talked about her roommate on the ship. The woman wasn't confident about the voyage. "She said, I can't help it, but it will never reach New York, and she's my roommate," said Edwina.
The Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912. During the trip, Edwina heard another ominous comment from a ship steward. They were talking about how much fun people were having. "And he said in fact, I think we're too happy to last long. I thought well there's another."
Shortly before midnight on April 14, the ship hit an iceberg. "They called all passengers to put their life preservers on and go on deck."
Initially, only the first and second class passengers were allowed on the lifeboats. Edwina was a second class passenger. She said some of the people in first class were afraid to get on the "small" boats.
"The first class wouldn't get on. Third class wasn't allowed, so it was only a few second class passengers that were ready to go and it was only women and children," says Charlene Silliman, Edwina's step-granddaughter.
As the ship sank, Edwina says they were told to make a lot of noise. "They would ask them to scream loud, music kept playing, the ship was going down, the music kept playing."
Edwina's family says her memories of the Titanic, never slowed her down. She lived a long life and passed away at the age of 100.