In the fall of 1553 in a small room at the back of a sailmaker’s shop in Plymouth, Devon, England, the cries of a newborn baby reached the crowded workshop. “You seem distracted, John,” an important customer said to the proprietor. “Begging your pardon, Mr. Hawkins, but I believe I am hearing the cries of my firstborn. “For God’s sake, man, go and see to your wife! My business can wait.”
John rushed to the back room and saw his firstborn cradled in his wife’s arms. She smiled and with a tired voice whispered, “John, meet John.” Both father and son shared given names, it was a family tradition. The adventures this wailing infant would live were unimaginable to his parents.
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