...And then there were none.
May 31, 2009 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Millvina Dean, last survivor of the RMS Titanic, died today. And so, arguably, the greatest disaster of the early 20th century passes from living memory.
posted by pjern (37 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
he was 2 months old at the time, so it passed some time ago . . .
posted by @troy at 5:31 PM on May 31, 2009


The End.

Or is it?
posted by mazola at 5:39 PM on May 31, 2009


"he was 2 months old at the time, so it passed some time ago . . ."

She, not he; and a damned delightful lady she was, too. Titanic the event is so much more than a boat wreck, and anyone familiar with the story in its wider historical context tonight will say a quiet prayer and hoist a shot of their favourite tipple in her -- and her shipmates' -- memory.

Eternal Father, strong to save
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.
O Christ, whose voice the waters heard,
And hushed their raging at thy word
Who walkedst on the foaming deep
And calm amid the storm didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude
And bid the angry tumult cease
And give for wild confusion peace:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O trinity of love and power
Our brethren shield in danger's hour.
From rock and tempest, fire and foe
Protect them wheresoe'er they go:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.



RIP Millvina. Godspeed.
posted by Mike D at 5:56 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Every summer I take my family to a house on an island in Maine. Believe me, the spirit of the tragedy is present for me every year. Our great-great uncle was a Canadian railroad baron who died on the ship, the year after he had built the house. His wife and child survived, and the house ended up in our extended family. There is a photograph of the man in a big family photo, my mother's mother being the youngest of the bunch, at around ten. This would have been in the first decade or so in the Twentieth century.

Servants' quarters, a clay tennis court, a view of the Portland Headlight, a few chamber pots kept for the memories...it was a different world a century ago, and I am reminded of the Titanic in a quasi-visceral vicarious way every summer.

The Onion had it right in its headline from Our Dumb Century: "World's Largest Metaphor Strikes Iceberg."
posted by kozad at 5:56 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:59 PM on May 31, 2009


I will never forgive her for throwing that necklace into the ocean.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:30 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


The event was so huge. It had enormous symbolic significance for people all over the world, and it inspired any number of songs. Here's a couple of links for one prominent tune among them: The Titanic, or The Great Titanic.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:32 PM on May 31, 2009


It was (so sad)
It was sad (so sad)
Sad when that great ship went down
(to the bottom of the sea)
Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives...

(we used to sing this song at camp when I was a kid in the mid-1960s)

posted by Rash at 6:34 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have a photocopied version of that song from girl scout camp in the mid-1990s
posted by rubah at 6:46 PM on May 31, 2009


Thank You Millvina, and Godspeed.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 7:04 PM on May 31, 2009


it inspired any number of songs

this Titanic song included a powerful number
and four hundred n' ninety-seven n' a half feet o' rope.

.
posted by hal9k at 7:10 PM on May 31, 2009


Thanks for the post....
posted by HuronBob at 7:11 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by newper at 7:28 PM on May 31, 2009


End of an era...

.
posted by jonp72 at 7:30 PM on May 31, 2009


Just two weeks ago "Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet...pledged to help the last survivor of the sinking of the ocean liner. The stars say they have thrown their support behind a fund that would subsidize Millvina Dean's nursing home fees."
posted by ericb at 7:37 PM on May 31, 2009


The Millvina Fund.
posted by ericb at 7:38 PM on May 31, 2009


Goodnight, Millvina. Sleep well
posted by jbickers at 7:54 PM on May 31, 2009


A thought-provoking occasion. Memories are very strange. From the instant of their creation they begin to change, to slowly drift and melt away. Did you ever get a jolt, thinking of a certain time or person, by the dissonance between the thing and the thought of it? The music of your youth is now considered "classic;" the loved-one whose face and hands you remember so clearly is long since dead; your first love is married and a mother or father; your face in a candid photo is an odd reflection, and it has a thoughtful look or knowing smile - what was I thinking of? Who was I back then? Who am I today?

Anyway, Millvina's story reminded me of one of my favorite bits of writing. The Witness by Jorge Luis Borges:

In a stable that stands almost within the shadow of the new stone church a gray-eyed, gray-bearded man, stretched out amid the odor of the animals, humbly seeks death as one seeks for sleep. The day, faithful to vast secret laws, little by little shifts and mingles the shadows in the humble nook. Outside are the plowed fields and a deep ditch clogged with dead leaves and an occasional wolf track in the black earth at the edge of the forest. The man sleeps and dreams, forgotten. The angelus awakens him. By now the sound of bells is one of the habits of evening in the kingdoms of England. But this man, as a child, saw the face of Woden, the holy dread and exultation, the rude wooden idol weighed down with Roman coins and heavy vestments, the sacrifice of horses, dogs, and prisoners. Before dawn he will die, and in him will die, never to return, the last eye-witness of those pagan rites; the world will be a little poorer when this Saxon dies.

Events far-reaching enough to people all space, whose end is nonetheless tolled when one man dies, may cause us wonder. But something, or an infinite number of things, dies in every death, unless the universe is possessed of a memory, as the theosophists have supposed.

In the course of time there was a day that closed the last eyes to see Christ. The battle of Junín and the love of Helen each died with the death of some one man. What will die with me when I die, what pitiful or perishable form will the world lose? The voice of Macedonio Fernández? The image of a roan horse on the vacant lot at Serrano and Charcas? A bar of sulphur in the drawer of a mahogany desk?
posted by kurtroehl at 8:17 PM on May 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


I was just thinking about this the other day, when I read about the Wreck of the White Ship. A horrendous tragedy, and one I'd never heard of.* It happened in 1120, true - I wonder how many generations it will take before most children say "Titanic? What's that? You mean the movie?" I suspect it's already happened, though.

*[No snarking about American education, please!]
posted by HopperFan at 8:33 PM on May 31, 2009


Of the estimated 65,038,810 participants in World War I (including 9,750,103 military casualties), six verified veterans survive today.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:41 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


this Titanic song included a powerful number

part one

part two

btw, i have the vinyl - this is just about the only good song on the record
posted by pyramid termite at 9:02 PM on May 31, 2009


Pretty good track record for escaping death. No one is perfect though - that we know of.
posted by GuyZero at 9:16 PM on May 31, 2009


It was (so sad)
It was sad (so sad)
Sad when that great ship went down
(to the bottom of the sea)
Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives...

(we used to sing this song at camp when I was a kid in the mid-1960s)
posted by Rash at 9:34 PM on May 31 [2 favorites +] [!]



Ah, we sang this song, with slightly altered lyrics, to mock our rival high school, which was named for Admiral Ernest J. King Jr., chief of naval operations in World War II. Sad to say, that school has outlasted mine.
posted by etaoin at 10:22 PM on May 31, 2009


Pretty good track record for escaping death. No one is perfect though

I am.
posted by dersins at 10:39 PM on May 31, 2009


A distant relative of mine, Albina Bassani, boat 8, on the Bucknell ticket was a Titanic survivor. This post has reinspired an old quest of mine to find out more about her and her story. I am fairly sure she was my great, great, great aunt, but I don't have a whole lot other than that to go on. Either way, she, Millvina, and others, will all be missed.

.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:11 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Damn you Astro Zombie, I wanted to crack that joke! Would you please shamble more and eat less brains!
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:46 PM on May 31, 2009


"I was just thinking about this the other day, when I read about the Wreck of the White Ship. A horrendous tragedy, and one I'd never heard of."

Holy crap, talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.
posted by Mitheral at 12:35 AM on June 1, 2009


.
(but next time make sure the lookout has some working binoculars)
posted by rongorongo at 1:11 AM on June 1, 2009


So, I guess that she was the only one left who could remember the roaming gunfight through the great ship?!

Boardhog.
posted by markkraft at 4:11 AM on June 1, 2009


There used to be an oriental restaurant on Blues Point Rd in Sydney called Thai Tanic, complete with neon picture of a ship going down.

I was never entirely sure how tasteful that was.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:28 AM on June 1, 2009


...And then there were none.

Gone but never forgotten. April 15, 2012 isn't far around the corner.
posted by bwg at 4:40 AM on June 1, 2009


Heaven's Gate + Waterworld = Titanic.

The verdict of time has been neither kind nor pretty.
posted by markkraft at 5:20 AM on June 1, 2009


Actually, I don't want you to get the wrong idea about what Titanic is actually worth, so I should really link to the going rate on ebay...
posted by markkraft at 5:31 AM on June 1, 2009


.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:34 AM on June 1, 2009


MuffinMan, surely no more or less tasteless than this: behold! The inflatable Titanic Slide!

I actually saw one of these at an air show once. It was nothing short of bizarre.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:50 AM on June 1, 2009


.

Rudy Ray Moore (as Dolomite) performs "Shine and the Titanic"
posted by porn in the woods at 8:07 AM on June 1, 2009


.
posted by cass at 10:55 AM on June 1, 2009


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