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IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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Generational miss
It's remarkable to think about all the random events that must align before anyone is conceived. If one great-great-great-grandparent hadn't met the other great-great-great-grandparent in some random potato field in some Godforsaken little town, etc.

However, it's perhaps rare to be able to point to one event in history and say, "My family missed annihilation by minutes."

Ever heard of the Eastland Disaster? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Eastland

Probably not. Most people haven't.

The Eastland Disaster was no joke. On July 24th, 1915, 844 people died in a matter of minutes as a ship meant to be a pleasure cruise rolled into the water while tied at dock. The worst part is that the 844 people that perished were mostly poor, working-class families. It was meant to be a company outing, you see.

My great-grandparents and their children (my grandmother, and great uncles and aunts) were one of these poor, working class families. I can imagine their excitement at being able to take such a remarkable trip--quite rare for a large family. I can imagine the joy of the children, dressed in their finest Sunday-best clothing. And I can imagine the frustration of my great-grandparents upon realizing that their youngest, my great-uncle, needed a diaper change just as they were about to head out the door. Apparently, my great-grandfather was VERY put out at the unavoidable delay. Don't you know that if we don't hurry, we'll miss the boat?

They did miss the boat. By mere minutes. My family arrived just in time to see the boat turn over. My grandmother refused to speak of that day. I cannot imagine she saw, a young child's delight turned to uncomprehending terror.

The Wikipedia entry does not do justice to the sheer scope of this disaster. Children were orphaned in an instant. Entire families perished in the disaster, wiped out in moments. It was only sheer chance that my family was not among the unlucky. I can thank my entire existence to something as mundane as a child's wet nappy.
(, Sat 21 Aug 2010, 7:26, 3 replies)
Sad it is but...
I must disagree with this line "The worst part is that the 844 people that perished were mostly poor, working-class families." How is a working class death worse than a middle class or upper class death? And where lies the cut off point? Lower middle classes dying in their multitudes- a mild tragedy?
But yes that was a disaster, and one that was made worse by the addition of lifeboats...
(, Sat 21 Aug 2010, 8:49, closed)
It's a question of terrible irony.
Mainly, I meant to highlight the fact that entire FAMILIES perished. While the death of anyone is a tragedy, losing an entire family in one go adds a bit more to the collective horror.

As for class: I'd agree that it's tragic when anyone, regardless of class, perishes in an accident. However, it does add a certain amount of terrible irony when you consider that for many of these families, this was one of the ONLY chances they would ever have to enjoy an outing like this. Pretty awful stuff--you get one shot to take your family on a nice cruise, and it ends in utter catastrophe.

If I gave the impression that I'd consider the loss of life lesser if it were someone of a different class, I misspoke.
(, Sun 22 Aug 2010, 0:51, closed)
Thats ok then ;)
I was just being picky.
(, Sun 22 Aug 2010, 3:11, closed)

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