On her slanted decks, husbands were bidding wives and families farewell, as lifeboats were being lowered into the icy water. Isador Straus, owner of Macy's department store, assisted his wife Ida as she made to lifeboat number eight. She refused to get in, saying, "We've been living together for many years. Where you go, I go." They pulled up deck chairs and sat together side by side in tight embrace, ready to meet death as they had lived their lives: together.
The story of Ida and Isador Straus is one of the most poignant of the Titanic's many tragic stories. Woven into the theme is a sence of the Straus' background, the ragtime optimism of an America which held great promise and success for an emigrant like Straus; though what we hear is a melancholy strain, like something lost, in the final plunge of what was thought to be "unsinkable." For all the sadness of the piece, there is a feeling of warmth for the love between two persons so wedded in life that even death could not part them.
And the Band Played on....
A re-creation of the band in the first class lounge. As passengers were loaded into lifeboats, Captian Smith requested that the
band play fast ragtime tunes in order to keep the passengers calm. This edited segment is from a live performance.