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AtlanticDivers

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An Addendum to Gary Gentile's latest book SShipwreck Sagas.  Gary's book includes the S.S.Miraflores story. After the book was released another surviving family member contacted me and has
related how the discovery and identification of the lost fruit ship S.S. Miraflores had effected her life.

Rosita Ebanks Shields was nine years old when her father Willard Ebanks, the ship's carpenter failed to return from the fateful voyage of the S.S. Miraflores.  Rosita remembers frequent trips with her father to the docks.  There she meandered through the ship, climbed the narrow ladders down to the massive engine room and ascending back up to the deck watching the crew unload, pack and maintain the ship. 
She remembered her father's ship departing for it's fatal voyage and the hardships her mother, older brother and younger sister faced when the S.S.Miraflores never returned.  Months passed without any word
on the demise of the ship.    No information on the sinking was ever known to her mother.  The ship just disappeared without a trace.  It was not accounted for until the S.S. Miraflores was positively identified in 2008 over 66 years after Rosita watched her dad go to sea.
Her mother and father had a restaurant next to the Banana Inn close to the ship docks in downtown New Orleans.  There she passed time in the kitchen assisting her mother as they waited for a word on her
dad's possible return.  She reminisced that a patron would beep his car horn and give rides in his sports car to her family and siblings.  They would climb in the coup's rumble seat and take short jaunts up and
down the streets of New Orleans.  One day rushing to get a ride, she accidentally burned her leg by knocking over hot french fries oil in the restaurant's kitchen.  She has a scar to this day.  She got a ride she
recalls, but it was to the local druggist for burn ointment.  Soon weeks, then months passed and still there were no reports on the missing ship and crew.  Shortly there after her younger sister entered children's hospital with a leaky heart valve.  There her sister would tell her mom that her daddy would visit each day.  Sadly her sister soon became weaker and passed away.  Rosita believes she missed her father so badly that she envisioned him calling her to join him.
Her mother continued on.  Before and after the ship's disappearance she worked with the U.S. Immigration Department in New Orleans, assisting the crew with their paperwork, offering them a land based
home and providing piles of chicken and pork chop dinners to the hungry Honduran crews.  Life went on.  Rosita grew up, became a secretary for a local hotel, then married, all with out her father and no
knowledge of his final fate.

Today, Rosita is 76 years young, the mother of four sons, two daughters, she has two grand children and still resides in New Orleans.  Last year at Christmas as her family gathered by her side, her son David presented her with a special gift that she cherishes, a glass box with a wooden frame.  Inside is a piece of wood decking recovered from the S.S. Miraflores and a picture of her daddy.  Each morning she speaks to her father as she looks at the piece of wooden deck.  Knowing that he once walked and worked on that wood gives her special peace. 
War and the sacrifice of those families affected by lost loved ones cannot be measured, only multiplied over time.

Read the whole story Gary Gentile's
SSHIPWRECK SAGAS is now available at Atlantic Divers  (609) 641-7722.

Good Wreck Diving!
Atlantic Diver



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Good Wreck Diving!
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