The story of the SS United States is the story of the many extraordinary men and women who traveled and worked aboard her. Recently, Conservancy board member Mark B. Perry joined former SS United States purser Jim Green for a special screening of the acclaimed 2008 American Public Television documentary, SS United States: Lady in Waiting.
Perry, who also produced the film, wrote following the event:
"I had the honor of presenting SS United States: Lady in Waiting at the Oakmont of Santa Clarita, where Jim Green now resides. Jim, one of our greatest ambassadors for the cause of saving our ship, made arrangements with the facility to host a special screening for the residents. He gave a very amusing talk about life aboard the Big U in her heyday, then I followed up with a brief update on the Conservancy's progress since the film was released in 2008...It was truly a special morning!"
Former SS United States purser Jim Green spellbinds with his description of life
aboard the Big U. Photograph courtesy of Mark B. Perry.
Jim has a personal connection to Lady in Waiting — he's a star!Jim's love story with his late wife, Frieda Kerstgens Green, is featured in the documentary. Jim and Frieda met during a seemingly chance encounter aboard the SS United States in 1957. On a blustery day in the middle of the North Atlantic, her kerchief was picked up by the wind, fluttering to a serendipitous landing near the feet of Jim Green, then a member of the crew. Jim dutifully retrieved the headscarf and returned it to the grateful passenger — and so began a friendship and partnership that lasted 60 years.
During an on-screen interview with the couple in SS United States: Lady in Waiting, Jim recounted the story, and the inquisitive interviewer asked Frieda if she perhaps lost the kerchief on purpose. “I’ll never tell,” she replied.
True love: Frieda and Jim Green pose during a 1964 cruise aboard the SS United States.
Photograph courtesy of Jim Green.
During a 1964 anniversary cruise to the West Indies aboard America's Flagship, Jim captured extensive 8mm footage of he and Frieda's travels and experiences on the ship. Check out a fantastic compilation below, set to the music of the Meyer Davis Orchestra, as heard on board:
We are so grateful to have incredible former crewmembers like Jim Green advocating for the Big U, and spreading the word about the importance of saving this incomparable vessel.
Did you or a family member work or travel aboard the SS United States during her service career? The Conservancy would love to hear from you, and add your story to our permanent records. CLICK HEREto learn how to preserve your memories as part of the vibrant, living history of the world's greatest ocean liner.
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