Blast from the Past
“December 19, 2012
Dear Rev. Anderson
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking my mother, my wife, and myself for an impromptu tour of the Seafarers Center back in October. It brought back a lot of powerful memories for myself as I worked as a full time ship visitor for five years from 1980-1985 under the guidance of Reverend Norbert Mokros, the founder of the Seafarers Center, and his able assistant of many years, Elaine Almquist. As is the case with so many things in life, I could see that there have been many changes over the past 25 plus years, but still, some things remain unchanged, such as the ping pong table sitting in the chapel!
At the time I worked at the Seafarers Center, we occupied the entire building and I actually lived in one of the upstairs apartments. I started at the Center as a new college graduate and quickly embarked on a 5 year apprenticeship in world culture. I can look back on those years now and see what a large impact it has had on the rest of my life. Probably the most important thing that I learned was the fact that no matter how different the culture, no matter how different the political system, or religious beliefs, we human beings have far more in common with one another than most of us ever realize. The very same things make each one of us laugh, or cry, or tremble in fear, or swell up with pride. I had the privilege to share with people from all over the world some of their most intimate moments- from comforting a Yugoslavian sailor after his fiancee told him over the phone that she was leaving him for another man, to talking to a group of British sailors right after the Falkland Islands were invaded by Argentina, to driving a group of Finnish Sailors to a funeral home after one of their comrades had hung himself in despair, to taking a few Taiwanese sailors canoeing down the Brule River on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. I now appreciate what a priceless experience those years at the Seafarers Center were for me. There is no question that each and everyone of us have more in common with one other than any political or religious or cultural differences should ever come between. If I remember correctly, I believe I met people from 105 countries in the five years I worked as a ship visitor-what a fascinating and rewarding experience! Thanks again for allowing me to take a trip down memory lane.
Sincerely, Kyle Hodsdon”