- Faith & Family
For his 102nd birthday, Fred Norman Goodison kept it simple. Friends, family and loved ones traveled from as far away as his native Jamaica, London/England or from Port St. Lucie, to congregate at Goodison’s North Miami home on Saturday, July 14th to give best wishes to the birthday celebrant.
However, the 102-year-old did not view the day as any different from previous days – everyday provides him with an opportunity to be grateful.
“I am happy because I couldn’t praise the Lord if I was dead,” he said. So, “when I wake up in the morning I’m blessed. When I go to sleep I’m blessed.”
Although Goodison is afflicted with some health ailments including failing eyesight and loss of hearing, he is otherwise in solid health.
“Believe you me, he just stopped driving about three years ago,” said Claris Wynters. The pair met at their church, Trinity Church, and have been close friends for the last dozen years. Nowadays, she often visits to check in on Goodison. “He still gets around [by walking] and still does his own banking and checking.”
Goodison himself is not surprised to find himself living for more than 10 decades. The secret? Good genes.
“My ancestors have all lived a long time,” he said. “My great grandmother lived to be 107.”
Goodison was one of four siblings including two sisters and brothers. Currently, his sister is his only other living sibling.
Born on July 14th, 1910 in Richmond, Jamaica, Goodison permanently moved to the United States 22 years ago to live with his wife, who was working as a nurse. When he lived in Jamaica, Goodison worked as a worker in the aluminum miners and as a farmer. Once he was stateside, he became a warehouse worker before retiring.
Once he was stateside, he became a warehouse worker before retiring.
In years past, Goodison, who has a natural affinity for fixing various machines, also enjoyed handling many household repairs from electrical to the mechanical, especially fixing his own car.
Godison, who is still confident of his own mental prowess, at one point declaring during the interview with the Miami Times, “If I was to go back to Jamaica right now, I could be directing a farm or a plantation.”
But nowadays, he, enjoys spending his time painting or gardening.
“Some people like to just sit around,” he said. But, “I like to produce something because it brings out the [energy] in me. It proves that I’m not yet gone. I’m still alive and capable.”
During his lifetime, he’s acquired several important lessons: treat others the way you want to be treated, loving the Lord. But one of the most important is to be slow to anger.
“There is nothing that cannot be solved with thoughtfulness,” he said. “Any provocateur or like provocation is not my problem. It is who caused the provocation it is their problem.”
As proof, of this last adage’s effectiveness, Goodison stroked his smooth cheek, “You see any wrinkles on this face?” he asked. “See, don’t worry.”
By Kaila Heard