Stoddard Shipmates meet by Chance - 12/15/05

When the phrase "It's a small world we live in" is spoken, we take it for granted and sometimes with a chuckle. However, back in May, I left work to go out for a bite for lunch. I was in a Shoprite supermarket on my way the Deli department to buy a sandwich. As I was walking down the aisle I had noticed a man walking toward me wearing a blue ball cap. Embroidered on the cap was a ship and the ship's name. At first, I didn't give the hat a second thought, that is until I could read the writing on it. To my surprise it read "USS STODDARD (DD 566). Immediately I walked straight toward the man, excused myself and proceeded to ask him if he ever had any relatives that were on board the Stoddard. He replied, no, but he was. I replied back, so was I. Of course this led to a conversation which carried us thru the checkout and into the parking lot. Ironically we parked our vehicles back to back without any knowledge of each others presence.

Standing by the cars, our conversation continued about when each of us were aboard the Stoddard. He being on board in 1954 and I in 1966. He then began to tell me about his paintings. One in particular was the painting of the Stoddard that was donated to the reunion committee which I had read about on the web site. He then opened the trunk of his car and reached for a brief case. In it were several copies of his paintings and letters of recognition which he proudly carries around. To my surprise, he pulled out a copy of the Stoddard, the one he had sent to the reunion committee and gave it to me. I thanked him and asked if he would be willing to have his picture taken with me (I always carry a camera in my vehicle). Without hesitation, he agreed. I had asked a store employee if they would be willing to take our picture. As you can see by the photo, he and I shaking hands and my holding the painting of the Stoddard. The painting now is framed and is displayed on my bookcase at work along with the photo of us.

Bob Henry lives near my place of work, Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station, the site of the famous Hindenburg crash. And one final note before I close. All the time we were talking, I had forgotten about my lunch and I had to return to work. It truly is a small world.

Bill Melyan

William Melyan
Customer Service Rep.
Fax 2774


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