About the Bosun

Everyone called him "Dusty", but his real name was Odin. Now, that's a name to inspire shock and awe, the name of God in Old Norse sagas. As bosun (boatswain), Dusty reported to the first mate (chief officer), the lord of decks, cargo, passengers, fuel and ballast.

A working foreman, the bosun ran the deck gang of able seamen (AB) and "ordinaries", chipping, grinding, priming and painting. Ship maintenance never stops. Dusty was Norwegian as were most of the deck crew. So were the watch standers on the bridge. They came from Brooklyn, then home to a large Norwegian American community, and home port (Brooklyn Army Terminal) of the good ship Michelson.

Deck guys and off watch seamen from the bridge used to hang out in the bosun's cabin speaking Norwegian. If you walked by on Sundays you could hear what sounded like Norwegian prayer meetings in progress.

An entrepreneurial guy, Dusty/Odin ran the ship's store (a/k/a slop chest). This was sort of duty free shop, located in a caged area inside number four hold. Cigarettes, razor blades, clothing, candy all all sorts of stuff was available when he opened for business. No booze. You had to bring your own, while forbidden,  it was tolerated. A dollar would get you a carton of "sea stores" cigarettes in an air tight foil wrapper. Smoking was really cheap back then! 

Besides being proprietor of the ship's store, Dusty operated the weekly bingo games held in the wardroom. Winners were awarded small cash prizes and items from the store.

Odin LangvaDusty was clearly focused on getting ahead. By 1974 he had gone from bosun to licensed deck officer, as second mate on SS Mobil Arctic, an oil tanker. In ship speak he "came up through the hawse pipe".
Odin, the Norse god original, was the inspiration for Wotan, the main character in Wagner's operatic tetrology Der Ring des Nibelungen. This, in turn, was recycled and rewritten by a certain British author of a very popular three volume story about giants, dwarfs and fire. Not to let a good story languish, yet another British writer tapped all of this, writing several even more popular books about a kid wizard. Old Odin never got any royalties.