Reapers’ Portraits: April 1912


In March of 1912, I was with Charles, helping him to compile the ledger into a more readable work when a man arrived. He walked in, nodded to the two of us, and entered the studio without a word. Charles and the stranger were gone for only a short time when they returned. Charles’ face was off-color, and he appeared nervous as he hurriedly turned the ledger to the next entry page.

The gentleman leaned over and wrote his information down.

“April 14, 1912, 11:40 PM, North Atlantic.”

With this done, he straightened up and put his hat back on his head. He smiled at both of us and then addressed me.

“Duncan, I trust we will see you in Belgium.” Then, before I could respond, he tipped his hat to Charles, winked, and in a dramatic whisper added, “You, Mr. Aldrich, are going to be quite busy over the next few years.”

Whistling La Marseillaise, he left the studio.

That reaper’s nonchalance would haunt me for decades.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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