Thursday, 2 October 2008

Johnny - A Personal Memory


The picture is entitled Love Locked Out.

I have decided to paste some of my old entries over here. Forgive me if you have already read them but I want to make sure that they are saved so I am picking out certain items to transfer to this new journal.

As I grew and matured I began to learn the lessons of life and this entry is about one person who taught me so very much.

His name was Johnny. When I was about ten years old he and his family moved in next door but one to my Grandmother in London. He was four years older than me. Johnny and I used to talk across the garden fences and now and again his mother would bring him into Nan's. His mother, you might ask, at fourteen? Yes. You see Johnny had Down's Syndrome although it was called by a much worse name in those days. He was particularly badly affected by it and had a lot of trouble with his speech but to the amazement of everyone, he mastered my name. In fact, apart from his mum, I was about the only person who could understand what he was saying so I would be his translator.

Johnny loved life, Johnny loved everything and it was him who taught me that there is beauty in everything however mundane. "Pretty" he would say as he caressed a flower with his stumpy fingers or brush it softly against his cheek before handing it to me. "Pretty" he would say as he picked up a pebble or a piece of seashell my Nan used as decorations in her garden. "Pretty" he would say as he placed into my lap his latest collection of finds - maybe a dead insect, a bird's feather , a snail shell or handed me a posy of wilted Daisies. Through him I came to see things in a new light.

Johnny loved to hug and he hugged everyone - me, my mother, my nan, my aunt, my uncle. My nan always had her front door open and an endless procession of visitors would call. Johnny would tightly hug each newcomer. You could see the obvious disgust on some of the faces - usually if they did not live close by and knew nothing of him. Johnny never saw the disgust, he just saw love. They were people and people were made to love as far as he was concerned. He did not judge whether they were old or young, fat or thin, tall or short, kind or mean, they were loved just the same. He taught me not to judge on appearance but always look into the soul of a person.

Johnny was never unhappy although I was unhappy for him as I came to realise that he could never marry, never have children and Johnny loved children. His elder brother and sister both had youngsters and although he was not allowed near the babies, his face beamed with joy. It seemed so cruel to me that a being filled with so much love would never be able to share it in the truest sense of the word. I also knew, through overheard conversations, that his siblings had made it plain that when something happened to the parents, neither of them wanted Johnny and he would have to go into an institution to live his life forever behind thick walls, shut away from the flowers and sunshine.

Johnny had other health problems and now and again would be sick in bed when I visited my nan. I missed him, it was never quite the same without him, but he always came bouncing back. "I wuv ooo Jeannette" he would call across the gardens to me. I answered - "I love you too Johnny" and I meant it. I had learned to see past his disability, past his speech defect. I saw him for what he was. A unique and wonderful, kind and gentle human being. I saw his soul shining through and that soul was beautiful.
I have always tried since those far away days, never to judge a person until I get to know them, never to judge by appearance and always to look for the good in people. Of course, being human, we cannot like everyone, there are unpleasant people in this world, but I would never judge by disability, colour, religion, size or anything else. To do so would dishonour Johnny's memory and deprive myself of knowing some very special people. All my life since then I have seen beauty in little things. I can never see the dew on the roses without thinking of Johnny nor pick up a stone without thinking "pretty".

As for Johnny, God had other plans for him. He died in his sleep when he was twenty-one years old. A light went out. The whole street, the local shopkeepers, dustmen, postmen - they all grieved for this bright star that had been extinguished. He had touched so many lives and hearts in his brief life. I still see his beaming smile in my mind. I shall always be grateful that I knew him and I loved him and that he loved me and everyone else. I am proud that I was the only one that had the honour of being called his "girlfriend".

Sleep well Johnny.



  1. Awwwww Jeannette - I cried when I read that as it is just so so beautiful - what a lovely tribute to such a lovely and beautiful person, Johnny! You write beautifully and you have a beautiful soul. I think Johnny was very lucky to have you in his life. Just as you were lucky to have him. What wonderful memories. Love Laine xxxxx

  2. Good Morning! Such a lovely story of your friend. I may have read it before, but enjoyed it again. 'On Ya' - ma

  3. Thats a lovely entry Jeannette I can see why you wanted to keep it safe. You are never able to write things exactly the same twice. Great story thank you for sharing. Love Joan.

  4. Good to read again. I especially loved reading the entries about the hauntings. Would you consider reposting them ?

  5. This entry brought tears to my eyes. We could all learn lessons from Johnny and his beautiful spirit. It seems Johnny taught you valuable lessons in life as well since you seem to be much like Johnny in your kindess. What an honor to have known him & be considered his "girlfriend".

  6. What a lovely story ~ Thankyou Jeannette for posting it again ~ Ally x

  7. Hi Jeannette ,pleased to be here ,What a beautiful person Johnny was ,a great story Jeanxx

  8. What a wonderful story...and cherished memories you must have for him...thanks for sharing

  9. That was really beautiful Jeannette, Imagine how the world looked Johnny. He must have seen it as a far nicer place than it is in reality.

    Love Sandra xxxx

  10. Beautiful entry so glad i got to read it thank you for saving it here Johnny is a bright star to remember!~kbear

  11. I already had an account here a year ago and didn't like it. I therefore went to AOL.

    Please tell me how to transfer the animated graphics over? I noticed you had yours looking real good. I don't know how to copy and paste everything over like you did. I'm so upset.

    I thought the migration will transfer over everything for you????

    Please help.

    Hugs, Rose

  12. Wow what a beautiful story!
    Johnny and you were both lucky to have each other.

    Thank you for sharing!



  13. Johnny sounded like an angel sent to teach people to love.. Linda

  14. What a beautiful story.. What even more wonderful is that it's a true one. Everyone is here on Earth for a reason, and Johnny, although his time was brief had so many good reasons--touching so many hearts.. You have been truly blessed. Julie

  15. What a wonderful story...and my eyes are filled with tears. I think that Johnny's spirt spoke to all of us through this entry...what lessons I took from this. Thank you for sharing.

    Love & Pooh Hugs,


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