Category Archives: Obsessions

Found Items: Dark Shadows Memories

A while back I cleared out part of the kneewall and pulled out my suitcase of teenaged memories. It’s mostly packed with Jeremy’s letters, but I found other memories inside. One of which was a stained manilla envelope labeled Dark Shadows’ Memories. Inside the envelope were pages I’d torn out of 16 Magazine and perhaps Tiger Beat too.

Stained manilla envelop labeled Dark Shadows' memories

I am not sure exactly when I first saw Dark Shadows, but I know that I watched it when I was in 6th grade. I think I’d heard about it and remember watching one episode alone in a dark room and was terrified.

It could have been Eugenia Mack who really got me into watching Dark Shadows. I remember running to her house after school so I could watch it. She lived a little closer to school than I did. It began at 3 pm so we always missed a little bit of it. Her parents worked, so no one was there to interfere with us watching a soap opera about vampires, witches and werewolves.

I stopped going to Girl Scouts, and therefore was not allowed to go on a camping trip.

I guess it was my first obsession, and a gateway to many related obsessions. Based on the last photo it looks like I still enjoyed watching it in late 1970. Or at least I still liked David Henesy.

My two favorite characters were Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid) and David Collins (played by David Henesy). Barnabas was such an empathetic vampire. You couldn’t help liking him. He was soft-spoken and gentle.

As for David Collins — it wasn’t so much his character, but the actor himself. I was madly in love with David Henesy. In fact, I remember that when I was in stressful situations at school I would imagine David was my boyfriend and living in New York. You see, we had a long distance relationship.

I mean, look at that face. I bet you are a little infatuated with him too!

I didn’t like all the characters. In fact I thought Quentin stank, at least in 1970. I guess I just didn’t like handsome werewolves.

You’re a Gamer?!

I’ve had two people in the past few months exclaim in surprise “You’re a Gamer?!” One was a book group friend to whom I confied that I’d played a game called Ingress after she admitted to playing Pokemon Go. They are games by the same company that intersect the real world with the online world by having the players explore the game by walking around the real world. Ingress was the first game of its kind and I liked it at first, but didn’t like the fighting aspect. Same with Pokemon Go (and the similar Harry Potter augumented reality game, also created by Niantic.)

The second time was when I mentioned a game I’d played to a relative of my soon-to-be daughter-in-law in response to something he’d said about something in which he was involved. I remember neither the game nor whatever he said that prompted me to admit playing the game.

Both times I denied being a “Gamer”. In my opinion a gamer is invested in games much more than I am. Sure, there have been times in my past where I played a game into the wee hours of the morning. Myst comes to mind. And the Sims. And more recently I have stayed up playing some room escape type games on my phone. I’m having fun right now with an old-school point and click adventure game called Thimbleweed Park.

But I am not a gamer. I just like to play some kinds of video games. And sometimes I get a little too involved in them and neglect my real life responsibilities a little bit. But I do the same with books sometimes. And, to a less extent, television.

I think it’s fair to say I am an Avoider. But I am not a gamer.

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.