Category Archives: Blogging

Finding Johnnie

Note: I wrote the following a few days ago, before I made contact with his son, Jack, who confirmed that the letters were written by his father.

When I moved my blog from self-hosted to WordPress.com many of the photos were misplaced. I’ve been going through older posts and fixing any missing photos. That’s when I happened upon the Letters from Johnnie posts again. And again I wondered what ever happened to Johnnie Gannon.

I’d searched for him shortly after finding the letters and blogging about them, and again every so often when I remembered him. I was never near successful until recently.

If you recall, in the last letter I posted (I actually found more later but never got around to posting about them), Johnnie mentioned that his tour might be extended. I don’t know if that actually happened, but he ended up making a career in the Naval Medical Service Corps, retiring as a commander.

I know this because I found his obituary. And his Find a Grave page.

He did go back to Washington, DC where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The George Washington University. He then earned a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

Then, believe it or not, he lived in Bethesda for a while until he retired to Beaufort, South Carolina.

He was married twice. In 1960 he married Margaret Odessa “Peggy” Pope who was born in Montgomery County, Maryland. She and Johnnie had two sons. I’m thinking he probably met her when he was working in at Bethesda Naval Hospital. (Jack confirmed that Margaret worked at the Naval hospital too, as a business analyst). Margaret died in 2001.

John then married Joyce Anna Nestle but lost her in 2003.

I searched Facebook and think I found one of his sons’ Facebook page. I just now looked again and he’s posted his parents’ graves. And they are the same graves as on Johnnie’s Find a Grave page.

John Gannon died in 2014, two years before my mom died. But he was still alive when I found and posted about the letters. I wish I could have put them in touch before they both died.

Wayne

Wayne and me 2013

On September 15, 2006 I joined a group of bloggers in a 365 project where we’d write about someone we knew in as many words as our current age. Through that project I met many wonderful people and through those people I ended up meeting Wayne McNeill.

Regardless of when I first met Wayne, for years I thought his name was Deloney because that’s the name he blogged under. He was pretty much the only male in our group of bloggers. On one of his now-gone blogs he writes: “As of this month I’ve been blogging for seven years. And what do I have to show for it? Chicks! Some really hot chicks! Fame has eluded me but my words were not wasted. 🙂” referring, I think, to his group of women followers.

Unfortunately he deleted most of his blogs. I think the only one left is Green Moleskine Notebook. Also, if you know the URLs of his old blogs, you can find some posts on the Wayback Machine. I plan to copy as many posts as I can and save them somewhere.

Wayne and I interacted through his blogs and friends’ blogs. Since May 2009 most of our interactions have been through Facebook — status pages and Facebook’s Messenger. Until just now I didn’t realize how many times we’d chatted.

Wayne was a poet. His writing could make me laugh. It could also make me cry. It was always wonderful, insightful and delightful. His book, Songbook for Haunted Girls and Boys, was full of his prose-poetry, each poem exquisite.

Wayne was a loving husband to Beth who he lost about 4 years ago. In a FB chat message to me shortly after Beth’s death, he wrote: “To this day I don’t really know what it was. From day one Beth and I clicked. It’s not as though every day was perfect. We had our rows like everyone does. But not once in 34 years did we ever consider breaking up. We were slowly turning into the same person, which is why it’s so hard for me to be without her now.

We met in September 2013 when Dean and I were in Niagara Falls, Canada for a few days and drove to Toronto to have drinks with him and Beth. Wayne and I spoke on the phone shortly before Beth’s death, just after he’d taken her to the emergency room and learned that she had terminal cancer. I was awake at about one in the morning when he posted his phone number on Facebook asking for someone to call him.

Wayne left this world on May 22, 2021 and I learned of it in the past couple of weeks. He left it far too early for me, but perhaps too late for him. I don’t think he ever got over losing Beth. He never seemed to be the same in his Facebook posts.