Here is a piece Ann wrote about Zona Intangible for the Seattle Globalist a few months back. It includes some fascinating background detail on the central character of our story, Ann’s great-uncle Carl Hedreen. Here is an excerpt from that article:
In August, 1964, a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer identified Carl Hedreen as “Mr. Anchovy:” not because he was a restaurateur or chef, but because he had been a pioneer in Peru’s booming fish meal business.
“A lot of the dollars which Carl Hedreen risked on Peruvian investments back in the ‘40s and ‘50s have found their way home,” PI reporter Jean Hudson Lunzer enthused in her first paragraph. She went on to explain that Carl Hedreen was to be the principal investor in Harbor House, one of Seattle’s first mid-century-modern, high-rise apartments, which would be built by his nephew (my uncle), general contractor Richard Hedreen.
But her article is only nominally about that apartment building. Lunzer was much more interested in hearing how and why a young businessman who grew up in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. wound up moving his family to Peru right after World War II and spending 20 years there, helping to develop what would become, by 1963, the second largest fishery in the world after Japan, thanks to the anchovy-rich Humboldt Current off Peru’s coast.
Like foreign entrepreneurs before him, Carl Hedreen’s goal was to run a profitable enterprise, but one that would also help improve the living standards of hundreds of Peruvian employees.
In 1964, when the P-I interviewed him, he had just retired from this business he loved. Some months earlier, in a letter to a colleague, he quipped that a part of him wished he could go back in time, be “rejuvenated,” and start all over again.
Half a century has passed. What would Carl think if he could know that some of the money he made turning anchovies into fishmeal did indeed find its way back to Peru—and helped found a clinic in a sprawling settlement outside Lima? Many such projects come and go, but the Policlinico Carlos Hedreen has survived for more than 12 years. In 2013, the Peruvian government recognized that it was the only viable clinic in an area where at least 100,000 people were living, and began staffing it with its first full-time, paid doctor.
When I was a little girl, I knew Carl as the great-uncle who would swoop into Seattle from this strange country called Peru with stories of funny animals called llamas and a misty mountaintop palace called Machu Picchu. I had no idea he was known in the business world as “Mr. Anchovy.”
But, thanks to Carl, I always wanted to go to Peru. And when I learned about the clinic, I thought there might be a story there that my husband and I could tell on film.
Zona Intangible premieres on June 26th at 6pm at the Rainier Arts Center.