Lillian Asplund Information

N Alison

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May 19, 2013
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I know this thread has not been posted on for awhile but I was curious if anyone here knew anything about Mrs. Asplund and Felix? I've heard that Lillian liked to garden and worked as a secretary when she was younger and that her brother was a draftsman for an engineering firm but does anyone know anything about them or their mother beyond that? I'd like to think that they had at least some good times or things that made them happy. If anyone here can answer I'd appreciate it. Thank you!
 

Julie Dowen

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May 12, 2004
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I'm sure that most her family dying wasn't a subject that Miss Asplund like to talk about - especially when her mother refused to for the rest of her life - hmmm, I wonder why? The entire city of Worcester was very well aware of their deaths as evidenced with the outpouring of contributions and support (see the Worcester Telegram and Gazette articles posted relaying those facts). If we are still talking about their deaths 93 years later, one can be sure that Miss Asplunds classmates were well aware of the facts during their lifetimes. It could be well imagined that Miss Asplund did not want that noteriety and attention as evidenced by her choices not to participate in Titanic related events as an adult. Lets not forget that she was only 5 and not only did she lose her father and older brothers, but she lost her twin. That is not a fact that she probaly wanted to shout out to playmates.
 
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Laura Melinda Varjo

Guest
Yeah. now that Julie you've mentioned all this, wow, as shy as I am in nature, I would have moved out of the city-like to California-if like you've said everyone knew about my family. I don't like to get all that attention-especially for the rest of my life. My grandma also lost a twin brother-but they were a little younger, and even more siblings-so from 11 children only 5 survived to adulthood. It's all horrible, well gotta go.
 

Julie Dowen

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May 12, 2004
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Sorry about your family Laura. It is common thought that a twinless twin feels the death deeper than most whether one survived birth or not- at any age.

As for the Asplunds moving, I'll bet they weren't to eager to travel again and needed to stay close to Selma'a family on Vernon Hill in Worcester. I'm only speculating but I would imagine that Mrs. Asplund was very overprotective of her surviving children and maybe reprocussions of the Titanic disaster in their lives was a reason Lillian or Felix never married. It is so sad to think about Selma and how, if fate had dealt a different hand, she would have probaly been a Grandmother many times over - as it turns out, she never was - the line ends with Lillian. Very, very sad. Again, I'm speculating, but I would imagine survivors guilt plagued the family and probaly, specifically, the children. Probaly even more specificaly Lillian as she had her fraternal twin- of course one lived and one didn't. That's fate for you. I think that it is wonderful that she has lived such a long life and that she didn't choose to define herself by the Titanic disaster that wiped out her family. I wish her many, many more years of health.
 
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Laura Melinda Varjo

Guest
It's ok, hey I wasn't born yet, so I can't feel anything.

Yeah, I had that in my mind. About moving. I know after losing so many of her loved ones, Selma wanted to be with her sister Elin even more, because a mother bringing up alone 2 children in still a "strange" country can be hard,not like I know, just speculating. (Used your word.) So yes, Selma did hold her two remaining children together, and was indeed very overprotective dealing with them. Any parent would do the same, it's just pure and simple human nature. I reason, as to why Lillian and Edvin never married is because of guilt. Ok, three of their siblings were lost in that terrible tragedy-which Lily still recalls and remembered so vividly and there goes that surivals' guilt, like I should have died too. In many aspects, Selma's overprotectiveness parallels to Juliette Laroche's. Juliette didn't even let her two daughters-Simonne(aged 3 when Titanic went down) and little Louise(so cute, aged 1) marry. She cut more slack for Joseph Jr. Thus, in my opinion, it is these two women, whom the Titanic tragedy hit the most, plus my favorite Lillian.
 

Julie Dowen

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May 12, 2004
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FYI- Lillian's mother Selma, had three sisters living in Worcester at the time of the sinking.

Mrs. Olaf Ahlquist, 151 Vernon street, Mrs.John (Elin) Carlson and Miss. Tekla Johnson , 9 Freeland St.

Mr. Asplund had one sister in Worcester, Mrs. Charles E. Carlson, 193 Vernon St.

(according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette)
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Hi Darren- yes, we caught that last night and it should be corrected any minute. I think it was meant to read -"the last survivor living in America".
 

robin ayotte

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Nov 17, 2002
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i just read her biography here but it did not say why her brothers could not get in a life boat at less the 5 year old or where there no room in the life boat she was in.
 
Apr 27, 2003
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Hi Shelley - I have just added The Mansion House and The Red Cross Disaster Funds reports to Lillians Biography - here is a copy:

(From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913)
Number P. 114. Asplund. Widow, two children and mother received a grant of £150.
Farmer from Sweden, returning from visit to relatives. Aged 40 years, born 7th May 1871.

(From The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913).
Case number 23. (Swedish). The husband and the three eldest children, aged 13, 9 and 5 years, were drowned. The wife and the two younger children, aged 5 and 3 years, were saved. This family were returning from a visit to Sweden. The husband, a wire worker, earning $25 a week had lived in this country for eighteen years and all of his children were born here. They had with them all of their possessions, including clothing, household furniture, and cash amounting to $700. The parents of both husband and wife live in Sweden. The wife, who has two sisters in a Massachusetts city, with her two younger children is making her home with one of them. She is 38 years of age, has been in frail health for some years, and suffered severely from shock and exposure. The body of the husband was recovered and, with the assistance of the representative of this Committee in Halifax, was shipped to his home for burial. At this time, the Committee sent $200 to the widow to cover burial and incidental expenses. The citizens of his home town raised a fund amounting to $2,000, and this has been placed in the hands of trustees. From other relief sources she has received $2,272.41, making a total of $4,272.41, exclusive of the appropriation of this Committee, which has been placed in charge of the local Associated Charities, to be administered in co-operation with the trustees of the other funds.
Awarded $2,700

Cheers Brian
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Thanks Brian- I had not seen that. Even though Miss Asplund has a low public profile, it's good to collect the pieces of her life here all in one place. I learned just yesterday that she was a hospital volunteer when her health was better. Seems she spent a lot of time tending to others in need.
 

Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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It is very heartbreaking even to imagine the agony that faced the Asplund family on the night of April 14, 1912. As a mother of two daughters, I would have fought 'tooth and nail' to get them both into a lifeboat and could not have left one behind. Though it probaby would have been very difficult to separate them from their father. Lillian's mother, Selma, must have felt an overwhelming sense of guilt over not having taken her three other children into the lifeboat with her. She may have (unwittingly) transferred some of that guilt onto her two surviving children. They knew how much grief it has caused their mother and did not want to cause her anymore pain by publicly speaking about the Titanic.

My sincere hope is that Miss Lillian has found peace with herself and her family.
 

Julie Dowen

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May 12, 2004
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Robin-Matt & I gathered most of the information in the updated version of Lillian's bio from the local newspapers and also referenced posters of this forum as well. There is simply no way to know why they- Lillian's brothers- were not allowed on lifeboat 15. I suspect that it was a case of the boat had a total of 43 people in it and whomever decided that it was filled to capacity - similar to the movies depiction. I wonder if maybe the Asplunds were the last to get on? It is so sad that they couldn't take the boys, especially Lillian's twin - as he was only 5.
Brian- loved the new info as it confirms my research - I believe that the report did not refer to Selma's third sister, Tekla, who must had very recently moved from New York to 9 Freeland St. in Worcester as I have different references to her address. Haven't looked but hope you added the report to the parents and family bios as well.
Shelley - great new info - are there any details for further research on the volunteer info? Also, do you know someone who knows Lillian? How are you getting your info? Just curious. Thanks Julie
 
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Laura Melinda Varjo

Guest
Darren-you're not comprehending enough. It reads 'Lillian is the last Titanic survivor with actual memories of it.' Therefore, nowhere in the text can we find the meaning she is the last living survivor.

Otherwise, nice picture of house; reminds me of my own a little.
 
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Laura Melinda Varjo

Guest
Does anyone know how Lillian's doing ? Unfortunately, when I went to visit my friend in NH, we stopped at Boston, but didn't have the opportunity to check on Lillian. Hw is she ? It's soon her 99th Birthday!
 
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Philip Martel

Guest
She's still living at home with her health aid. She'll be 99 in a couple of weeks.
 
Apr 25, 2001
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Julie, boat 15 was one of the very few boats filled to capacity. There were some 65 people in the boat and there was a big crowd surrounding it. This is probably the reason why the rest of the Asplunds didn't enter it. The boat was simply full.

Best regards,

Peter