Dan Kendall: 'God Was Watching Out for Both of Us'

Posted by We'll Meet Again Editor on
Dan Kendall and Rudy Svien
PBS/Blink Films

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the interviewee. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

PBS: At one point in your journey, you visit the "Remembering Old Valdez" exhibit at the Valdez Museum where a 1964 article is presented to you, informing you that Rudy Svien (aka "Bucky") and his mother had made their way to Washington following the earthquake. This is the first you had ever heard of his whereabouts. How did this feel?

Dan's school photo from the class of 1959-1960.Dan's school photo from the class of 1959-1960.Courtesy Photo

Dan Kendall: I reflected on how close our families were before the earthquake. There was a well-traveled path between our back doors in Old Valdez. I looked forward to actually sitting down and discussing our personal events on the day of the earthquake. Over the years I have met up with other survivors but never was able to talk much about the earthquake and its aftermath.

PBS: When you finally meet Rudy again, he recalls how he was sick that day when Dennis and Stanley asked if he wanted to join them at the dock. You both shared a similar experience; while you had initially joined the boys, you left early to return home.

What was it like for you to hear Rudy's story and perspective of that day?

Dan: The other two boys, Stanley and Dennis, as Bucky told me, had come to his house earlier to see if he wanted to go down to the dock with them. He had the mumps and [was] unable to go along. The dynamics would have been different if Bucky was with us on the dock. I probably would have stayed with them on the dock and washed away when the earthquake and tidal waves came in. Bucky and I were both saved on that day. My feelings after hearing his story is that God was watching out for both of us. Dan's school photo.Dan's school photo.Courtesy Photo

PBS: While with Ann, you explain how you wanted to meet Rudy and other survivors to see how their lives unfolded after this tragic event -- to see where you left off, to talk about family and what you've done in your lives since the earthquake.

Now that you have reunited, what's next for you and Rudy? 

Dan: The screening on Dec. 6 at the Anchorage Loussac Library and local television coverage has resulted in people contacting me. We relate our earthquake stories like it was yesterday. We pick up where we left off. When I travel through Seattle in the future, I will have to make a point to stop and visit with Rudy.

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