5/17/2015 – In a Fisherman’s Language
As author of the 90s Club mystery series featuring the 90 year olds at Whisperwood Retirement Village, I give talks about the successes and accomplishments of people in their 90s and 100s. One of my prime examples is Captain James Arruda Henry.
Captain Henry lived for more than 90 years without being able to sign his own name. Then he learned about a man who learned to read and write in his 90s. That example inspired Captain Henry to do the same. At 92, he began practicing his own signature at the dining room table and then went on to write his first book, In a Fisherman’s Language, which was published when he was 96.
The book, in large 14 point type, tells the stories he was known for, from the first story about the loss of a cousin in heavy seas off Block Island to the letter to his nephew Robert, which took him nearly a month to write.
Captain Arrenda was a lobster fisherman and according to his granddaughter in the Foreword, he was “quick witted, precise and practical.” He had a driver’s license, owned and captained his own boats, and could navigate by day or night or in thick fog with or without the use of technology. He knew nearly as much about plumbing and carpentry as anybody in those trades. He even designed and built his own house.
And he learned to read at 92. As the backcover says, he showed “how a life powered by commitment, hard work and determination can redefine a person at any age.”
Captain Henry died on January 6, 2013. He left his courage, inspiration, and love. According to his website, FishermansLanguage.com, his grandchildren will continue to carry on his good work, offer his book to the public, and develop his dream of inspiring youth to read. He sets an example to the older crowd to “Never Give Up!”
Or as I conclude in my talks, old dogs love to learn new tricks.