'Seemed like fate': How the Titanic tragedy brought two history buffs together
Love can blossom in unlikely places.
Just ask Emma Van Zeumeren and Thomas Lynskey, a couple of history buffs whose love story starts with the world’s most famous shipwreck.
Lynskey, who is from Pennsylvania, was touring Halifax’s iconic Public Gardens with the Titanic Society of Atlantic Canada when he came across the Dartmouth artist.
“I was mid-sentence with my friends and she walks past in the opposite direction and I say, ‘Hang on guys! I’ll be right back,’” recalls Lynskey of the chance encounter.
He asked Van Zeumeren for her number, but she turned him down.
That didn’t stop Lynskey from giving her his number and, later that day, he was pleased to receive a text from her. The pair set a date.
“It was, kind of seemed like fate, because I wasn’t planning to, but I did,” says Van Zeumeren.
“We walked around town after dinner and hung out on the Citadel until late into the night, and then I walked her back to NSCAD, where she was working,” says Lynskey.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The couple is now engaged, and Lynskey says they owe it all to the Titanic.
While it has been more than a century since the luxury ocean liner sank in the cold waters of the Atlantic, Lynskey says he’s always had a passion for the tragic tale.
“James Cameron’s film came out when I was in kindergarten and I guess that kind of sealed the deal,” says Lynskey, referring to the director’s blockbuster film about the tragedy.
It’s also what brought him to Halifax in the first place.
While Van Zeumeren, too, considers herself a history buff, she admits she didn’t know much about the Titanic until Lynskey came along.
“I hadn’t gone and seen the Titanic graves, and it’s stuff that’s here, but I didn’t really know about it, so he kind of gave me a tour around my own city,” says the Dartmouth resident.
Their passion also led the couple to start a project that aims to bring the history of the Titanic to life in a video game set aboard the ship.
“The goal for us is to recreate the ship, inside and out, use it as a teaching tool, and show the younger generation history and bring them into it and sort of inspire learning in them,” explains Lynskey.
That’s where Van Zeumeran comes in, as she uses her skills as an artist to help bring the characters to life.
The other project they’re working on, of course, is planning their upcoming nuptials.
And while the world’s most famous ship may have brought them together, they’re quick to point out that they’re no Jack and Rose.
“Some people do make that comparison here and there,” says Lynskey.
“Hopefully it will have a better ending, though.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Heidi Petracek