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Today is a day to remember those who fought for their country, and to thank those who can still hear it. It’s also a day to celebrate one individual from that group. Today is my grandfather’s 91st birthday.


John J. Goslee fought in World War II – stationed in China. Came home, raised three kids, caught an awful lot of fish. Still does, for that matter, but the fishing isn’t as good as it used to be.


I think I’ve learned the secrets to living to 91 from him:

  • Oatmeal for breakfast every morning.
  • Walk the dog twice a day.
  • Always have a project going, something that will keep your mind busy and your butt off the couch.

When I was a kid, my parents owned a marina in northern lower Michigan. Grandpa lived in Ann Arbor, where he was a construction foreman. Among other things, he built the University of Michigan Law Library.

More important, to my young self, every weekend Grandpa would come north to go fishing. And he’d bring me a giant stack of books from the Ann Arbor Public Library. I know he introduced me to Tin-Tin, and I think he probably introduced me to Oz, and many many more. He taught me how to fish, and to clean fish.

After I left for college, for years he would write me a letter each spring, and enclose the first pussywillows he found, pressed. There was often a pansy or violet tucked in as well. By then he was living up north near my parents, and we both appreciated these signs of spring after the long Michigan winter. (Even if Iwasn’t living in Michigan.)


Happy birthday Grandpa, and thank you.


8 Comments on “11-11”

  1. #1 Emily Olive Petit
    on Nov 11th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Well, happy birthday and Veterans’ Day to him – and congratulations on living life.

  2. #2 vampiress
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 12:18 am

    happy birthday!!!!!!!!

  3. #3 mom
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 7:57 am

    very nice, thank you

  4. #4 One Sock Short
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Goslee!

  5. #5 Jess
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Happy birthday to Phiala’s grandpa!

  6. #6 Marjorie
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Very Happy Birthday from England, Mr Goslee – and may there be many more.
    (By the way, you have a wonderful granddaughter)

  7. #7 Bobbee Gerson
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 11:08 am

    A slightly belated happy birthday to Mr. Goslee! And I hope you had a good Veteran’s Day – I flew my flag and had our servicemen and women in my thoughts.

    Now I need to go because my mother-in-law, Millie, is here from Las Vegas. She’s 91, too, but she doesn’t fish. She travels.

    Regards from the Gerson Family!

  8. #8 Beez
    on Nov 12th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Happy belated birthday Mr. Goslee! I think your Sarah has got the right idea from you, but she left out the fishing!

    I think we know how important a good day on the water is.