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Titanic  - »i Local Folks As friends and many fans of...
»i Local Folks As friends and many fans of Western historian Marc Simmons are aware, the Cerrillos-based writer was in a serious automobile accident nearly three weeks ago, on Nov. 14, while driving to Albuquerque on state Route 14. Simmons, whose column "Trail Dust" appears weekly in The Santa Fe Reporter, was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he was in critical condition for two weeks. Simmons, who suffered multiple fractures in the accident and has undergone surgery several times, is now in stable condition, according to his longtime friend Liz Dear, who is chief of statewide services in education at the Museum of New Mexico. He will be in the hospital at least until after Jan. 1, said Dear, who added that it cannot yet be determined whether the writer will be able to return directly home after his stay at the UNM Hospital or whether he will need further care. Although he is not yet "ready to receive lots of visitors," he is being cheered immensely by all the cards he has received, said Dear. "He's getting them, and they're being read to him," she said of Simmons, who has had to remain immobile during the last weeks. "He really appreciates it. It, makes him feel good to know that people are concerned. "He's improving daily," she continued, commenting that the good wishes of friends, acquaintances and readers are contributing to his recovery, which, she said, will be slow. "He's a pretty strong person. He's had a serious thing to go through, but the doctors feel pretty optimistic about his recovery." She added that cards should be addressed to Simmons at the University of New Mexico Hospital, Room 464, 2211 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. For Koque Garcia, two-time City Council candidate and Plaza carnita vendor, the secret liquid that he uses to marinate his carnitas is the key to their success. From any point within a block of the Plaza, the sweet aroma of Garcia's carnitas sizzling over a flame can be detected. The strips of beef, green peppers, tomatoes and onions are hard to resist. And nobody—except Garcia, that is—knows his marination recipe. That, however, is about to change, because a writer from Bon Apetit, a food magazine, recently visited Garcia on the Plaza, and got him to reveal what it is that makes those carnitas so tasty. The woman came by in September, Garcia says, and talked with him for about 20 minutes, took a few photographs, then told him that the story would appear in either the March or April 1987 issue. Garcia says he doesn't know how the writer found out about his carnitas—she just showed up and he told all. But for those who want to learn the carnita recipe now, well, they'll just have to wait until spring. Garcia won't reveal his ingredients until they come out in Bon Apetit. "I cannot give out the recipe until it comes out in Bon Apetit," he declares. And for now, Garcia says he is content to work on the Plaza, where he meets visitors from around the world—visitors who agree that his carnitas are superb. Besides, Garcia says, "This job is a lot better than running for political office." INDEX ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT 13-18 CLASSIFIEDS 20,21 COLUMNS Peter Lawlor 22 Pedro Ribera-Ortega 11 Marc Simmons 12 DAY BY DAY IN SANTA FE Insert EDITORIAL 10 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Style 3 MOVIE CLOCK 18 N.Y. TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE Day by Day SANTA FE STYLE Insert SPORTS 22-24 TELEVISION WEEK Insert SANTA FE NOTEBOOK When the great ship went down: Fate steps in sometimes The Titanic and Me By JOY WALDRON MURPHY The fateful night of April 15, 1912, when the great ship RMS Titanic went down in the most dramatic shipwreck in history, carne decades before I was born. Thus I did not hear the cries of the dying, did not witness the mighty hull slip beneath the black waters of the North Atlantic, did not rush to buy every newspaper that brought the latest word of this incomprehensible disaster. Yet more than 70 years later the Titanic sailed across my life, and swept me along in its wake. For the past two years the Titanic has dominated my professional life as a free-lance writer. It has led me to Paris and London, Cape Cod and Texas. It has put me in touch with the man who discovered her watery grave in 1985, and with an 86-year-old woman who as a girl of 12 was aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg. It has enabled me to sell several stories, including the very first report that a search for the ship had been launched in the summer of 1985. It has taken over much of my waking thought and even some of my dreams. And in ways, it has left me deeply troubled. I did not plan it this way. But as any student of the Titanic comes to learn, fate has a way of stepping in sometimes. Until 1985, in fact, my knowledge of the great ship and its spectacular demise was pretty much limited to the 1950s book "A Night to Remember," which was later made into a movie. In his gripping account, writer Walter Lord pulled together the threads of life and death and destiny that doomed more thari 1,500 of the 2,227 passengers who set sail from Southampton, England, for New York City in April 1912, aboard the largest, grandest, most luxurious ocean liner the world had evern known. Lord's was an awesome and heartbreaking story, and as I downed popcorn in a hushed theater, I recall, I was moved by the hideous end of all that humanity. Then I forgot about the Titanic for many years. In time I moved from my native Massachusetts, on the Atlantic coast, to the arid land of New Mexico. But ironically the link that could draw me back to the ocean and the Titanic was made here in the desert, where I married an underwater archaeologist who works with the National Park Ser : vice diving unit based in Santa Fe. As I learned more and more about my husband's unusual line of work, it began to come out in my free-lance writing. Soon I was a regular contributor to a national magazine called Underwater/USA, and there were several other markets as well for stories about the deep. In 1984 my husband won a fellowship to advance his studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and so we moved there for a year. On my second day in the East Coast city, I called my editor at Underwater/USA from a pay phone to get a new assignment: to check out rumors that an expedition was being put together at the nearby Woods Hole Oceanic Institute on Cape Cod, to go out in the summer of 1985 to search for the long-lost Titanic. My inquiries put me in touch with the expedition's leader, the underwater scientist named Robert Ballard—a relative unknown then, but a man whose name has subsequently been splashed all over newspapers throughout the world. Yes, he confirmed, he and his colleagues were planning to go out into the North Atlantic in late summer 1985 to testa state-of-the-art miniature submarine; but the nature of the quest was strictly technical, with no particular objective in mind. When I pressed him and asked specifically if he meant to search for the Titanic, Ballard merely chuckled. "Wouldn't everybody like to?" he replied. It was a non-denial denial if I had ever heard one, but I couldn't get him past that point. Nor did I make any progress as I worked on another story about Woods Hole, about some new submarine technology under development there. I had several conferences with one of the institute's robotic engineers, a man who worked closely with Ballard and knew of his plans. But when I asked him if there would be an attempt to find the Titanic, he denied it outright. I was stymied in my efforts to get a story on the Titanic, so I set the project aside for several months. But the rumors persisted, and grew thicker. In the spring of 1985, my editor asked me to check them out again. Working on a hunch, I called the robotic engineer out of the blue one day and asked: "What about the search for the Titanic?" And instead of denying it as before, he snapped: "You know I can't comment on that." Excellent. I knew at last that something was up. But I needed more. In the ensuing weeks I made contact with two submarine contractors, one in Seattle and the other in Vancouver, British Columbia, and both of them passed on inside information: Ballard and a French organization called IFREMER were indeed mounting an expedition to find the Titanic. It was scheduled for summer 1985, now only weeks away. Yet before I could go with the story, I needed firm confirmation from one of the participants. From Providence I dialed the headquarters of IFREMER (French Institute for Research and Exploration of the Sea) in Paris. The man who answered was John Jarry, the scientist rumored to be Ballard's counterpart in the bi-national expedition. Speaking in French, I asked as my first question whether their quest was to find the Titanic. Jarry confirmed that it was. A second later he reconsidered, and nervously tried to cover his tracks. "I'd like to stress that this is • not primarily a search for the Titanic. It is to test equipment," he said. But he had already told me what I needed to hear. I wrote a rough draft of the story, which was no longer circumstantial since a key player had confirmed the search. Then I called Ballard at Woods Hole for comment. His secretary refused to put me through, even though 1 explained that I had confirmation on the Titanic project and was preparing an article. But 15 minutes after I hung up, my phone rang. The caller identified himself as Ballard's "media entertainment" lawyer. Though he was based in Ottawa, the lawyer said, he was (Continued on Page 7)

Clipped from
  1. The Santa Fe Reporter,
  2. 03 Dec 1986, Wed,
  3. Page 2

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