May 7, 2008


So it appears the "Growing Up Jenny" story won in the poll. That's fine with me, because once you read some of the silliness of my childhood, you're more likely to understand some of the silliness of my teen years and how my exploits as a Pluperfect Parallel Parking Planoette came to be. Chronological order does have its benefits. I do, however, hope you will consider yourselves lucky to have read these insights and not abuse the privilege by calling me

So without further ado, here is the first installment of Jennyness.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Nestled in a cozy corner of the Blue Ridge's gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, a handsome young lad named Johnnie lived with his grandparents while his father was serving in Europe during WWII. One sunny afternoon, Johnnie went with his teammates to the gym at Lee Junior High where they were to take on their rivals in a game of hoops. From across the crowded gym, he saw her for the first time. She was a cheerleader for the opposing team, and she was lovely. Though he didn't speak to her or even know her name, Johnnie told his grandmother that evening he had seen the girl he was going to marry.

A few years later, their paths crossed again. By then Fay had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. They had many common friends and often found themselves at the same group activities. Their friendship began to grow, and they both accepted invitations to join
Jefferson High School's spring formal committee. Johnnie was eager to spend time with Fay, and this project afforded him great opportunity.

The night before the big dance, the committee worked late into the evening decorating the gymnasium. (Cue: "
Enchantment Under the Sea" dance from Back to the Future. Hey, it was the 50s!) Just before leaving, Fay asked Johnnie if he had a date for the dance. "No, I don't," he said. "Would you like to have a date for the dance?" she asked. His heart skipped a beat. A date! With Fay! To the dance!

"Well, I'd love to," he said with a smile. "Great!" said Fay with a grin. "My friend, Sally, doesn't have a date either, and I think you two would have a grand time together."

Um... WHAT? What just happened here? Johnnie was stunned, but saw no way out that would leave his dignity in tact. Fay hurriedly gave him Sally's phone number and waved over her shoulder as she left the gym. Always the gentleman, he thanked Fay as she left.

He did escort Sally to the dance, and it was their first and last date. Fay's date wasn't a keeper either, and Johnnie and Fay soon found themselves making plans for their own first date.
And the rest, as they say, is history...

After high school, Johnnie attended the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a naval ROTC scholarship. He graduated in May 1953 with a degree in journalism, and he married Fay on June 12 of that year at historic First Baptist Church of Roanoke. (In a few weeks, they're gonna celebrate their 55th anniversary, ya'll!)
Johnnie then served his three year commitment in the US Navy. During that time, the newlyweds lived in the armpit fine city of Bayonne, New Jersey while he went through training and were eventually stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Johnnie was aboard the USS New, a supply ship, toward the end of the Korean Conflict. Fay had a civilian job on the base at Naval Station Norfolk during most of their time there.

When Johnnie was finally discharged, the young couple decided to return to Roanoke and start a family....


GoSuze! said...

Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh...yep I like it so far...*pops popcorn, fluffs pillows, puts up feet*...waiting for more good stories!!!

Anonymous said...

What a handsome couple.
Ruby's Fairy Godmother

Anonymous said...

hmmmm - degree in journalism huh? Figures! Must be in the genes.