Ex-Clarion sports editor Gossage carves out new, silver-plated career
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By Jud Snyder  November 1, 2013 12:00 am

When Dora Gossage was chosen to be one of two Grand Marshals in this year’s Founders Day (Annie Rasmussen was the other), I was surprised. For I remember Dora as a very private person who didn’t even want her picture printed in the weekly Clarion when she was named sports editor back in 1970. She had limited newspaper experience but had (and still has), the knack of talking to athletes and coaches either pre- or post-games, on practice fields or in team locker rooms. No reticence here.

Annie Rasmussen was a receptionist at the Clarion front desk and wrote a weekly “Talk of the Towns” column, and I came aboard as a reporter in 1976. So began more than 20 years of familiarity in the newspaper business. 

Scripps League bought the paper, held it for a few years, and folded it in 1992 when the Internet began shredding newspapers across the country. The Community Voice defied this trend, started a weekly newspaper and has comfortably survived it the past 21 years. The key is concentrating on strict coverage of local news.

But enough nostalgia. 

Dora hasn’t changed except for her hair, which has a lot of gray in it and is beautifully coiffed. In the Redwood Café last week for an interview she said, “Oh, I don’t want you to talk about me, and I don’t want my picture taken.”

End of interview? No, I’ve been down this sort of interview alley quite a few times. Once we settled down with our coffees, we began to chat, first about Clarion staff memories, former prep coaches Claude Brock, Norm Hansen and RCHS principal Bob Daggett, and then getting around to what she’s doing now. 

It’s called Wild Goose Antiques, located just east of Sebastopol on Highway 12. “I specialize in silver plate matched sets and I’m only open Saturdays from eleven to five and Sundays from eleven to three. 

“I don’t do any advertising, people say they have a hard time finding me. It’s all word of mouth. I go to estate sales to see what they have. I do an awful lot of silver polishing at home to make the silver plate settings look good. Some of the stuff I buy needs a lot of refinishing.

Passion for silver-plate

“It’s funny how I started. I was already passionate about antique silverware and I set a goal of how much money I could make,” she continued. “Well, to my surprise this goal has succeeded five times over the original estimate. I can’t believe it! I was so busy last weekend I couldn’t find time to grab a lunch. 

“The store’s only the size of a two-car garage, crowded with furniture, six and 12-piece silver place settings, 100-year old wheelchair, a rare antique female urinal and a selection of usual antiques like Hopalong Cassidy watches and trinkets.”

In the same building is a shop owned by her daughter, Michelle, catering to Sonoma County’s equine fanciers called Saddles to Boots. 

Dora’s husband, Bob, and their four children all have jobs and families. Dora’s a grandmother, not your typical granny, of course, and Bob’s still working as a truck driver with a Sonoma company (“He’ll never quit,” she said.) and one son, Steve, is a veteran worker with RP’s Dept. of Public Works.

RCHS Hall of Fame

Oh. One more nostalgia note. In April 2011, Dora was inducted into the Rancho Cotate High School Athletic Hall of Fame. So were members of the 1971 RCHS championship football team. “I had to be coaxed into going. But really, it was a magical night. We had 300 people in the Community Center’s big room with a stage.

“I was introduced and everybody got to their feet and applauded, the team howled, hooted and whistled as they clapped. I didn’t know what to say! But I’ll always remember those guys and that special night.”

Dora hasn’t slowed down at all. Our interview had to be cut short because she had another appointment. “I also have a lot of silverware to polish at home, oh, about twenty sets. Also, there are about twenty sets on display in the store. I’m really busy these days even though the store’s only open ten hours on the weekend.”

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