Everyday Heroes People

My Enigmatic Life, F. Forbes Johnson

Email Forbes at: forbesone@outlook.com

Originally Published on May 7th, 2018.

Blue Water Healthy Living welcomes F. Forbes Johnson to its team of inspirational writers!

Forbes’ connection to the Blue Water Area is far-reaching. We’re sure you’ll come to love his daily pearls of wisdom, gamut of knowledge, and heart-felt encouragement as much as we do. 
Welcome aboard, Forbes!

Today’s wisdom: Do you remember Woolworth’s and Kresge’s downtown? If so, you’re old.

I worked there. I ran the plant department when terrariums first became popular. We had a great business because I was always there to make custom terrariums and how to take care of them. It wasn’t that I was so wonderful but I knew my plants and my Mom was the floor manager. One day the store manager came up to me and said, “Do you think that you can set up a plant department? I said, “sure” (basically because I never admitted that I couldn’t do something). He said, “good because I just ordered some plants and they will be here in a couple of days”. I thought easy peasy; that is until 5,000 terrarium plants, hanging baskets containers, dirt, you name it arrived in the next few days. When I showed up after school, the manager took me to the loading dock and said, “There you go”. He had a couple of associates clear several counters and I started. I wasn’t even hired yet.
I had a ball making terrariums, looking up names and how to take care of some of the plants that I didn’t know (by books, no COMPUTERS), Customers found out and came in droves. Our gross sales for the plant department had been $37.00 the year before. After this onslaught of plants and accessories, the next year was over several thousand dollars. I worked for Woolworth’s but was always available to answer questions for Kresge employees and customers too, even though I pushed Woolworth’s merchandise. This is when I learned that if you worked together, everyone benefited.

The head office took notice and within the coming months I set up plant departments in several Woolworth stores in Michigan and Ohio. My Uncle Fred Fralick built an overhead wood canopy that held the hanging plants and MACRAME’ ( IF YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS, LOOK IT UP.) His basic design was copied by everyone all over the states, of course we didn’t know anything about copyrights when we were building – just hit or miss and making sure nothing fell on the customers heads. Woolworth’s got the credit.


Big success. People would have questions about everything from sick plants to how to how to water them. They would either leave the question with my Mom or wait until I came to work after school. Wow! did I have fun and worked my tush off. Many times, the manager and I stayed long after the store closed. I lived on Bagel pizzas from Dianna Sweet Shop across the street. Wow, was I young.

Thus, I entered the business world. Oh, the ignorance of youth.


I find that sometimes the most logical and the simplest ideas carry the most weight and are the most memorable. I’ve taken so many moments to reflect on my life, my friends, and my acquaintances lately. I have been so blessed in all areas. There have been many bumps in the road and I wouldn’t change any of them. They have made me strong and resilient. I hope that my experiences have helped someone in some way. I truly believe that God places me where I can do the most good. I might also add that He places me where others can be there for me in my life when I need them. I hope that I never get so oblivious that I don’t appreciate or listen to others. I hope that when I am gone, I will leave something good, whether it be memories or something physical. I hope that those who have gone before me realize what an impact they’ve had on me, others, and our society. Everything happens for a reason whether we can see that reason at the time or not. Today I wish you rose colored glasses and a great feeling of accomplishment, big or small.



F. Forbes Johnson has been a Blue Water Area supporter for as long as he can remember. “I have have seen the good times, bad times and great times and have been lucky enough to have been part of a good many of them. I performed around the world, around the states, and around Port Huron. The blue in the water is in my blood and always will be. From Port Huron High School to Saint Clair County Community College, Central Michigan University to Michigan State. From speaking to singing to masters of ceremony to teaching to singing on hit albums, dancing with Marcel Marceau and National Touring Companies; THIS will always be home. I have been blessed to meet the finest people on earth, work with them, learn from them and find a good percentage of them in this area. To my fellow teachers, former students, performers, and many friends (who just happen to be the best ever) I am the most blessed man in this world. These are the people who have made me who I am. If I can impart any of whatever I have to one person, I will have been a success. Question me, talk to me, write to me and I guarantee an honest answer. It’s not easy but anything can be done with faith, hope and the will to do your very best in life. Anything is possible.”

Email Forbes at: forbesone@outlook.com

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Disclaimer: Blue Water Healthy Living is an online magazine located in Port Huron, Michigan. Our purpose is to promote healthy living by showcasing the Blue Water Area, its people, issues and surroundings. This online magazine is devoted to providing healthy living related stories, local happenings, and commentary. Often inspiring and uplifting, our stories come from our heart and soul to promote the enjoyment of a more fulfilling Blue Water Area lifestyle. The material on this web site is provided for informational and amusement purposes only and is not to be confused with any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Blue Water Healthy Living.


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  • Like many I have been a fan of Forbes Johnson since well long before adulthood,.. we know and appreciate him for his genuine talent beyond measure and extraordinary personality and humanity. A friend and treasure to so many,… hats off and a toast to our very own Forbes Johnson. Thank you for being a blessing to so many souls.

  • Hi Forbes, I like what you said about the blue in the water is in your blood, I feel the same way. we have moved away a couple of times mainly the one time we lived in Oklahoma and the first time a neighbor said she would take me to the lake I was so disappointed when I saw a very small body of water that was brown much smaller than Black River! I was grieving my blue Lake Huron, I’m now living in Saint Claire and the St. Clair River is nice but I still miss lake Huron, I may have to move back to the north end of Port Huron someday 🙂 happy to see you writing these columns that’s good for you! I appreciate your positive attitude!

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