SCRIBES: Past Meets Future

by Carter Watkinson, Jean Vanier Catholic High School

featuring the work of young journalists from Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District High Schools

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a Navy veteran named Mike Hodgson. With the help of Jon Meyer, a journalist from Barrie 360, Rock 95, and 107.5 Kool FM, we were able to sit down for a fascinating interview. I asked him questions regarding his time in the war, and in turn, he asked me questions about how I, as a youth, saw our world today.

Mike was 18 years old when he joined the navy. During his time in active duty, he took part in operations related to issues such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also orchestrated a major change in the structure of the military. Mike was the captain of the HMCS Bras d’Or. During his time as a captain, he personally requested and accepted women to be allowed to join his crew. Of course, this is no great feat now, but Mr. Hodgson was one of the first captains in the navy to allow women on the ship. Given that this was a new situation for the members of the crew, he said that he demanded the respect of the men already aboard, and insisted that the women be treated as the equals they were.

Mike was in the military for over forty years before returning to civilian life. Despite this, he said he had no problem with the transition. And although he himself says he does not suffer from PTSD, he told me some of his friends were “not so lucky”.

When it was Mike’s turn to ask me questions, he wondered how I felt about the world that his generation was leaving for mine. I felt as though I was not able to come up with a proper answer at the time.

Given some time to reflect, I have decided I feel cautiously optimistic about our future. The world is not perfect, yet I feel as though the youth of today know this and are prepared to take on that challenge. Every day kids my age can learn more about the world than kids generations ago may have learned in their entire lives. All that’s left to do is use that knowledge as a force for good. And I believe we are. Kids and teenagers today are involved in social justice in ways like never before. The adults of Mike’s generation fought to give us a better world. Along the way, not everything went right. But progress was made. Now it is important that we make the right choices for our future, in order to live up to the efforts of the past.

I would like to thank Mike for spending time with me, as well as Jon Meyer for filming and recording.

The official video on Barrie 360’s website can be found at this link: