Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 119/365 The Last To Leave The Ship


Wishful thinking on the part of White Star Lines.

No need to remind the reader this is not a "breaking news update". The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, with a phenomenal loss of 1517 souls, including the father of little 2 month old Melvina Dean.

Melvina's father made sure his wife and children were safely aboard a lifeboat as the Titanic slid into the sea. They never saw him again.

For the rest of her 97 years of life, Melvina Dean was best known to the world as a survivor of the Titanic, and as of late, the last survivor of that famous tragedy. (Can you imagine how odd it must be to be best known for living through something that happened to you when you were too young to have any memory of it? I can only imagine the trauma embedded on the young mother and children. It could never have been far from their thoughts for the rest of their lives.)

This morning, safe in her bed, in her nursing home room in England, Melvina died peacefully in her sleep.

Losing the last direct connection with an historical event always seems so sad to me. It is an irretrieveable loss, that chance to "touch history" so to speak. This is no different than the death of the last Confederate veteran, or the last Native American who remembered living on the Plains before the white man arrived. From here on, we have only written memories and accounts.

Someday, the last person who witnessed JFK's assasination will die, or the last person that was actually at the March on Washington, or eventually, the last person alive who remembers being in New York on September 11, 2001.

All the more reason to listen to the stories and the memories, and the knowledge, so that we can learn the lessons.


  1. It does seem sad when we reach the end of an "era", so to speak, especially something that was written about so extensively. When I think about how the sinking of the Titanic has been the subject of books, film, under-sea excursion etc., I wonder what in my life, if anything, will be covered in the same manner. The tragedy of Sept. 11 does come to the forefront of my mind in this regard. But, without wanting to be a dark cloud, we don't know what the future will hold.
    Thank you for your blog and posts. They are certainly food for thought. I enjoy reading your insight.

  2. very nice post. I really enjoyed reading it. I heard about Melvina's passing this morning. I agree it is sad to have the last living person of a tragety pass away.
    I'm really thankful to live in a time when technology makes it easy (and fun) to document events so that they can be remembered later on. And you know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words"? With cameras so prevelant now -a- days, it would be interesting to see things 97 years from now.

  3. what a wonderful post. definately sad.

  4. Another great post, Carole! Several years ago, I gave each of the kids grandparents a grandparent book to write down their memories in. The women did them, the men did not...but they are full of interesting stories for us to hold onto and pass down.