Maritime Santa Claus
("The Mooremack News," December 1947)
(Courtesy of Vincent
A tall man walked into our
information office in mid-November and asked for a picture of the
Mormacpine. He wanted a large one, he said, large enough to hang on the
wall of an orphanage in Gdynia. That sounded like an unusual request, so we
questioned our visitor, and so heard a very interesting story. It developed
that he was John Tuzo, chief officer of the Mormacpine which on that day was
loading at Pier 46, North River, and would sail within forty-eight hours.
The orphanage that would display our photograph, it
appeared, was of special interest to the fellows on the ship who, the chief
officer explained, had "adopted" the seventy-two children dependent upon it
for sustenance. We asked how that happened.
"A couple of us from the ship were having dinner one
night with Mr. and Mrs. Davis", he said, "and during the evening Mrs. Davis
told us about the orphanage and its need of a bit of paint. So the fellows
agreed, sure. they’d provide the paint all right. That’s how we first got
acquainted with the place. It is an abandoned troop barracks, and doesn’t
have much, but brother you should see those kids." (All Mooremackites will
recognize the Davises as our Gdynia manager and his wife.)
The painting job was accomplished, said the officer, hut
the Mormacpine fellows could not forget their young charges.
Christmas loomed and the memory became especially poignant. The result was
that the forty one members of the crew—including the "old man", Captain G.
H. Blickens, the chief hastened to explain—chipped in and bought a mess of
toys and books. Somehow the men on the Mooremack pier in Philadelphia heard
about it, and they insisted on taking part in the project.