The day began like any other day in 1964 out on scenic Lake Michigan. And then......
“All Passengers to the Life Boats! Women and Children First!”
This desperate announcement came as a great surprise to the largely bored passengers, most of whom were staring out port holes at the dense fog. Many chose to ignore it completely. Some never heard it in the first place, for instance a fellow named Jack from Chippewa Falls who was below decks in a parked car whose windows were also obscured with dense fog.
But eventually some sense of urgency did impress upon the passengers, and it started with the upper crust of society. Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt became concerned.
“Shucks, Dorleen, ya think they mean it?” said Mrs. Astor. (Well, the part about being a Mrs. was a little debatable, Shari Sue Astor was not entirely sure that her divorce from a previous husband was in order, so she and Cletus Astor had never officially tied the knot.)
“Well”, said Dorleen Vanderbilt (nee Klumbowitz), “I suppose they might”.
A leisurely shuffle to the boat deck ensued as the Ship’s Orchestra belted out a polka version of
“Nearer My God to Thee”.
With their need to balance Miller Lite cans, Marlboros, and a couple of squares of cheddar cheese on skewers, the Cream of Society arrived a bit late. The last place on the life boat was just being taken by a spunky little girl with brunette hair and a no nonsense attitude.
“Move it punk”, proclaimed Mrs. Astor regally.
“No way, ya old bat. I’m a lady and a child and you ain't either one!”
There was a brief scuffle during which Mrs. Vanderbilt acquired a nasty bite mark just north of her “Tramp Stamp” , and in which the pugnacious little girl received a wicked skewer scratch to her neck.
Fortunately further injury was averted – and just in time, the kid was winding up with a rusty marlin spike – when the crew of the S.S. Badger belatedly announced that it was merely a life boat drill, and that arrival at Manitowoc, Wisconsin would be on time.