Barbara McDermott Last Lusitania Survivor


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Aug 29, 2000
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Anthony- Barbara has done several interviews and has been featured in local newspapers a few years back. She has not actually written anything by way of a memoir yet, as she was only three at the time of the disaster, she does not remember too much detail other than the diningroom at the time of impact and the lifeboat. I asked her yesterday about the color of the funnels, hoping maybe a child might recall red but she did not remember. She has vivid memories of the war years however, and suddenly remembered seeing Charlie Chaplin at a "picture show" she attended with her friend Eileen in Darlington. She also mentioned she never saw her baby brother Frank as relatives kept her secluded from her mother and brother when they were ill. Once an aunt took her to see her mother in the hospital and she recalled her mother in the bed, stretching out her arms for a hug. It was the last time Barbara saw her mother- this would have been December of 1916. I hope she does write more. I hope to add to the interview from last last July which you can find here
http://www.revdma2.com/Barbara.html She had- and has, a very full life. She loves England very much and would like to see it again. I am speaking with Cunard to encourage them to send her home on the new QM2- there is some interest.
 

Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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Thanks to Brian for remembering this special lady today. A very happy birthday to Barbara!

And congratulations, Brian, on your "walk for life" charity run. I see you're already getting some valuable practice in for next April, when you'll be dispatched once again to hoof it up to various cemetery offices while the rest of us practice yoga amid the headstones.
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Mar 20, 2000
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Anthony,

Re: your book

I'd like to talk with you about another survivor, now passed on, one Edith Rosenbaum Russell (1878-1975), who was an active supporter of the RNLI. At the end of her life she was trying to publish two books in aid of the organization, a memoir and a children's volume. Only fragments of this material survive but I'd like to help you with biographical details about Edith, including photographs.

She had two ambitions she voiced repeatedly in her final interviews. One was to have her books benefit the lifeboat institute ("and help these men of the sea who saved my life").

The other was to lay a wreath at the Halifax grave of her room steward, Wareham, whose death she was always haunted by. "I feel guilty about it," she said, "That man should have been caring for himself instead of worrying over me and my damn pig."

I see that you haven't an email address listed. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Best wishes,
Randy
 
May 8, 2001
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What date was Barbara's Birthday? Want to see if it coincides with my grandmas birthday, by chance.

Looking forward to hearing about her special day.

Brian. Good job on the 13 hours walk for life! I'm tired just reading about it!
 
May 8, 2001
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Well, this was a triple great day to celebrate then! Her birthday, my wedding anniversary, and Fathers day this year all on the same day!
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Brian Meister

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Mar 19, 1999
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Thanks to all of you with the kind words
about the "Walk for LIfe". I encourage you
to take part whether you know a cancer survivor
or victim. Every step was worth the feeling
of accomplishment at having walked for someone
who couldn't. The survivors' lap was the most
emotional for many present. If these people
can live every day and fight every day, I sure
as heck can walk for 13 hours straight.
By the way Colleen: My brother-in-law and
his twin sister share Barbara's birthday, and
Phil Gee and his twin sister share the 16th
of June. There's four more to add to your
collection.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Cliff- I would like to thank you for that beautiful photo of Barbara with Mr. Harkness, and for the second photo which may very well be her too. I believe that receiving it, and ownership of her mother's grave, and the information on Harkness, will have made this past birthday a special one indeed for her.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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It was lovely to see Mr.Harkness at last- he looks so young. Little Barbara looks quite dazed, but still that sweet face. I know she was happy to receive this Cliff- the British Braintrust came through in aces as usual!
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Shelley,

I'm glad you shared that photo so that everyone can see little Barbara and her hero. He looks so happy and proud that she was there ashore safe and well while poor Barbara seems much worried; the burdens for the little girl were just beginning. But what a happy life has resulted!

My thanks as well to Cliff for the joy he's selflessly brought to Barbara by locating this news photo and giving it to her for her birthday. What a day she had.

Best to all,

Randy
 
Apr 24, 2002
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Just a little reminder today that it is the birthday of Barbara Anderson McDermott's mother Emily Pybus Anderson born 22nd July 1888. My thoughts will be very much with Barbara today, it also makes me wonder how different Barbara's life may have been had her mother lived longer.

Cliff
 
Aug 29, 2000
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It was good to find Barbara in good health and good spirits last weekend. The heat and humidity have been beastly in New England but she took all in stride and appeared in a saucy sunhat and sneakers. Her potato salad was the best and here she is presenting dessert - a yellow cake injected with raspberry jello and chocolate pudding and sealed with a layer of cool whip. She is quite a cook- and seamstress. Each of us who visited received either a shirt or dress she had made herself! Her energy at 91 puts most of us to shame. Also on display was her Little Barbara doll on top of the piano (which was too out of tune for hymn-playing!).
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Aug 29, 2000
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You were sorely missed this time Randy- and you must come to our next outing which is a trip to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas show- something Barbara loved as a girl!
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Barbara's party for researchers was simply the best, and we missed seeing you there, Randy.

Shelley- Twas nice getting to meet you, and Mike and Bob, apart from the convention. I think the highlight, aside from the food and witnessing the unflagging energy of Mrs. McDermott, and the frantic search for an open gas station afterwards, was getting to see so much more of her photo and memorabilia collection- I hope that the photo that you attempted to get of the shot of Emily Anderson in the dress shop in Darlington came out. I am going to be 'in the area' in about three weeks and if you are not busy perhaps we could arrange- this time with gas in the car- to take Mrs. McDermott out as a way of saying thanks for her hospitality.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Shell and Jim,

I'm sorry things prevented my getting to come to the BBQ to meet Barbara - and the two of you. I sent my regrets to Mrs. McD, last minute as they were, and hated to do it. But she's given me a rain check so I hope to come up in the next couple of months.

That summer cake Barbara fixed sounds good and I'm always up for potato salad. I think I missed out all the way around!

A Christmas show with Mrs. McD? What a deal.

Randy
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Her potato salad was, no exaggeration, the best I've had. The recipe was the one question I believe Mrs. McDermott left unanswered all day.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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For Barbara's many admirers, here are photos taken yesterday and Saturday of her visit to TIS convention in Mystic and Groton. She is in excellent health now, after a short bout of pneumonia after Christmas, and very much enjoyed the visit here, with her great-grandson P.J. This is the Nautilus Submarine Museum stop on the tour, with two very impressed submariners who felt lucky to met such a celebrity. Barbara will be 92 next month. Hard to believe.
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Aug 29, 2000
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Her comment here- "I'm standing at the rail again"-this was beside the Nautilus, first nuclear submarine under the polar ice cap.
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