Archive for the ‘Love Stories’ Tag

Our Journey

 

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We were nineteen years old fifty years ago today (July 16) when we were married in Kansas City, Mo. We stood at the church altar exchanging our vows, pledging our love, and devotion to one another, feeling as if ready in some ways, yet somewhat apprehensive about what life might bring. Two weeks later, Wayne went to his appointment at his draft board to hear their decision.

It was 1966 and the draft was in effect for the Vietnam war in southeast Asia, which meant that all males, eighteen to twenty-five could be called up to serve. They all had to carry their draft cards with the status, age and identification current and listed, registered and ready. Those who refused to serve were arrested, or dodged service and ran off to Canada. Hundreds more protested in open street demonstrations and things became violent. If they were in college, or enrolled in one by the time they were drafted they were required to keep a GPA of 3.00 or better to be in an exempt status.

Our prayers, faith and an acceptance letter from the college where Wayne was enrolled that fall exempted him from serving, so it was California, “Ready or Not, Here We Come,” and we headed off to school and new jobs in Los Angeles.

Four years later in 1970 we headed back to Kansas City after our daughter’s birth and his graduation. Our second daughter was born before we moved out to Colorado, which was like coming back home for me. Though we met and married in Kansas City while living there neither of us were originally from Missouri. He was from Kentucky, and I, from Colorado.

Life during those fifty years threw us some curves; tough times that challenged our faith, and what seemed at times like ‘Mission Impossible’ assignments. But, we got through them, and grew stronger through the experience because we have a friend in Jesus, who’s always there, always forgives, and wipes away every heartache and tear. We learned to rise above difficult situations, not give up and overcome those obstacles, or mountains in our path in order to climb to this point in life, today. Whether we will make it beyond our fiftieth, God only knows, but we will be together, until death do us part, rich or poor. Our moments here on earth are temporary, fragile and unpredictable, but those with Him are eternal.

At the time of this posting Wayne and I will be in Alaska seeing some beautiful country and embarking on an Alaskan cruise enjoying this moment in our lives, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. And when I return I will have photos and stories to share of our journey.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

“Not their last dance” (A Valentine’s Day poem/story)

Recipients, waiting for hearts

Pray faith imparts

What most they need

From one’s kind deed

~~

With hope the hearts that are reserved

For both preserved

That each receive

Will they believe

~~

Grant to them both extended life

Husband and wife

And not by chance

Be their last dance

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Footnotes; The above poem is called a “minute poem” according to the writersdigest.com site. It is named for having a total of sixty syllables because a minute has sixty seconds, thus giving it that name. The poem contains three (verse) quatrains, each having twenty syllables, in a four line stanza with the rhyming scheme done in aabb/ccdd/eeff/ rhyme fashion. Cutting some unnecessary words, rhyming with them all in their right position, can be tricky, so I reworked this one several times. I always look forward to receiving my quarterly issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as it is packed full of great information and articles for writers, and gives me opportunities to practice new forms of poetry.   

The above illustration is mine, written in a story form of a married couple, both needing heart transplants, and both receiving their new hearts at the same time. Because of Valentine’s Day coming up on February 14th (next Sunday) I have decided to use this poetic verse rhyme to tell my little story. I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy  my little story. JEJ


Mellowed through the years like a fine, aged wine

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Mellowed through the years

like a fine, aged wine

Love is that thing

that invites itself into

your heart and seeks

to make its home.

________________

Even though it was such a long time ago I can still remember the year; 1966. We were engaged, planning our wedding and looking forward to our move to California to begin our marriage as 19 yr. old newlyweds starting college and new jobs in L.A. We were kids never having been out on our own before.

As the years rolled by I remember how busy we were, raising our girls, involved in so many things with our school and church, then as our girls grew up things slowed down a little and we could begin to relax. There were nice dinners out, roses and bouquets, those special dinners I fixed at home on holidays, and cozy nights on a cold wintry night in February, celebrating another Valentine’s Day expressing our sentiments and messages in cards like the one above my husband gave me one year.

The years were not all roses, or as sweet as aged, fine wine, but then I never really did like wine much.   🙂 But, roses I loved. They were like the kisses and fragrance of God’s sweet breath that blew softly upon our union, and when difficult times came the roses just made things all the more bright and beautiful when we learned that the best gift we could give each other was just respect. And when things seemed crazy, out of order or weird we learned how much better life could be when we learned to just laugh at our mishaps, and know that with every new day the sun did shine, even though at times it was behind a cloud. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Bridging our lives, together – Forty-seven years, today


Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson


 BRIDGING OUR LIVES, TOGETHER

Like flood waters rushing beneath a bridge,

so too have the years, behind us raced by.

We think back to a moment in time, and say,

“Do you remember that? The place?

What we did, where we were, the day?”

Our children we raised together, and prayed

through every situation, the happy, and sad.

Albums and boxes are full of those times;

the photos and mementoes of places we’ve gone,

of our children born, grown, and raised,

the vacations taken, miles traveled and logged,

family dinners, holidays, grandchildren’s births.

Even the spontaneous and randomly unplanned,

those we look back as if they happened today.

All is recorded in the margins of our lives,

filled in the pages of journals, and poems.

So, it is on this momentous day and time

We stand here blessed on that bridge of life

Thankful we can remember all gone by.

_____________

poem by: Joyce E. Johnson (July 16, 2013)

Happy wedding anniversary to my husband, Wayne

with love, on our 47 years of marriage, today (July 16, 2013)

______________________


When Dark Closes In, Chapter VIII – Fallout

English: 1965 Ford Mustang 2D Hardtop frontvie...

English: 1965 Ford Mustang 2D Hardtop

WHEN DARK CLOSES IN

Chapter VIII

 Fallout

     1966 – Clear Creek, WA.

    Scott boarded the southbound bus, and turned around to find her waving. He smiled, found a seat, and the bus pulled out, headed for Fort Lewis. He promised to write. She could only pray his letters would never stop, that he would return to her, and the child he knew nothing about.

    There could not be a hole anywhere on earth deeper, or greater than the one she felt in her heart as she made the lonely drive home in his 1965 Ford Mustang. Even with a window down the scent of his sweat mixed with his after shave and soap he used when he showered lingered. She caressed the black, leather upholstered bucket seats. She knew how much he loved this car, spending hours buffing and polishing it after a wash. She would call his father and have him pick it up. One day at a time: it was all she could do, and hope for the year to pass quickly.

    But, there was something she could not put off any longer, so locked it and reluctantly went inside where she knew her parents waited. They sat at the kitchen table in their usual place, reading the newspaper over their coffee. It was around the kitchen table where they had their family sessions, laughed, and talked about their day. This time an awkward silence filled the room, as if a pall of doom had followed her inside making its home there, uninvited.

   “I’m very sorry, dear. I know Scott’s leaving has been a sad and difficult thing for you, but perhaps, when you return to school things will be easier then, and you can meet up with some friends there.” Erin said.

    “I’m not returning to school in the fall.” Jennifer said, pointedly.

    Her father’s head shot up, his facial expression always an easy barometer to read. His broad, bent shoulders stiffened, as he straightened in his chair. Jennifer did not look forward to this.

    “What kind of nonsense is that? You’re going back to school. I won’t allow you to quit school, and mope around here over that boy.”

    “I’m not going back, daddy. Not now. I need to tell you both something. About why I can’t. I’m…Scott and I… I mean, I am going to have a baby. I’m pregnant.”

    Her words fell on them like the mammoth trees felled in the Olympic National forests where her father managed the logging camps. He could determine the exact angle and position as each was felled to the ground. But, he could not determine her fate. Right or wrong, alone or with their help, she would make her own way. Another long pause.

    Erin McAlister found her voice. “Have you been to a doctor? How far along are you?” she asked.

    “Yes, I saw the doctor. I’m three months.”

    “Does Scott know?” Erin asked.

    “No. I didn’t tell him. I’m not going to. Until he returns home. I don’t want anyone else to. I don’t want his family to know, because they will think it their duty to tell him. He has enough to deal with just being over there in that war.” The days of holding back tears, the stress: all of it was gone now, as she unleashed it all.

    “Mom, could you get me some water. I feel…light headed.”

    Erin got up, and brought her some water and a cold compress.

    “Thank you.”

    “Jenny. Jenny. What have you gone, and done?” Her father slowly shook his head. “Does anyone else know about this?”

    “Dana does. I told her when I found out. I just wanted to share it with someone that… would understand.”

    “How can a girl like that ‘understand?’ Someone who has no morals of her own.” Jim said, his Scotch-Irish brogue more noticeable when angry.

    “Jim. That’s enough. Maybe she wasn’t taught the things we have taught Jenny, so what else would you expect? It is rather sad they let her do all the things she was allowed to do. She lives the way she wants.”

    “Which is why our Jenny should not be hanging around with the girl.”

     “Jim! Stop that kind of talk. You don’t know…”

     “Daddy. I’m tired of you calling Scott, ‘that boy,’ and Dana, ‘that girl.’ They’re my friends. I love Scott. We plan to be married… when he comes home.” She cried into the wet compress, shoulders shaking.

    “Jenny, it will be alright. Your father is just trying to be…”

     “Sensible. Someone needs to be. I hope you have gone to confession, talked with the priest.” her father said.

    “No. I don’t need a priest. They hide behind their confessional like an imposter as if afraid, or too ashamed of you to even look at your face, and tell you what you need to hear.”

    “Jenny! That’s enough. You cannot speak that way. It’s…” Jim spat the angry words back.

    “What? Disrespectful? Are they hiding from our shame? Or theirs? Aren’t they guilty of sin, too? Isn’t it God we should confess to, and ask for help?”

    “God knows we can use his help.” Erin said, quietly.

    Jennifer walked upstairs to her room. She picked up her rosary beads sitting on the night stand. As a child she was taught to practice the good Catholic rites of faith. A confession when she did things that were wrong, regular attendance at Mass, bowing and saying her prayers before the Virgin Mary. It all seems so pointless, so empty now.

    She looked out into a clear night sky from her upstairs bedroom window. The moon was out, and the stars looked like shiny crystals scattered about. She wasn’t into astrology like some, but she found them more comforting than rosary beads.

    She fingered the tiny diamond ear studs she wore. Scot had given them to her the night they watched the sky explode in every shape and color, bursting through the dark void on July 4th, over Puget Sound.

    She went to bed, but slept little.

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To be continued

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

         

WHEN DARK CLOSES IN – Incoming Tide, Chapter IV

This is a chapter and scene from my novel, When Dark Closes In, about young adults in the sixties era. A bit of history  about that time: During the years between 1963 – 1975,  the military draft was implemented to increase the numbers of troops needed to fight the hated war in Southeast Asia, known as the Vietnam War. It was a historic time in the U.S. when the  ‘hippie’ generation experimented with pot, a promiscuous lifestyle, held protest demonstrations against the war and rebelled against the ‘establishment’ of rules and regulations. It is a generation that rocked and danced to the beat of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and other popular groups and singers on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. All of this story is fiction, simple as that. All characters are fictional, created only for this story, alone. Their lives and character are not based on any values or opinions of my own, but their story could be that of many out there, given the history and facts of that era and time. The history and references to the Vietnam War in places and localities are truthful and factual. You will find the prologue and first three chapters and parts of this story all posted under my ‘fiction’ category on my blog.

When Dark Closes In tells the story of Jennifer, Scott and their friends who lived, loved, fought and died during that time, succumbing to  the shadows of a dark period in history. But, from out of the darkness comes a light of hope, grace and redemption for those whose lives will be forever changed from that moment on.

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WHEN DARK CLOSES IN

Chapter IV

Incoming Tide

Jennifer waited while Scott showered and dressed. She looked at framed pictures he displayed on the walls, one of them together, taken years earlier. His apartment was filled with things and touches of the man he was. A collection of miniature die-cast model cars and planes was arranged on the mantel beside the picture. On the other side rested an old baseball glove and hard ball from his days with their high school baseball team he played on when he was their star pitcher. A desk in one corner held textbooks and notebooks from his three years in college. A stereo unit with a stack of records propped up beside it took up space on the other side.

She turned on the stereo, tuning in to the local hit parade AM station, and the Beach Boys revved up and roared to life in, Little Deuce Coup.

The door to his bedroom opened. He was dressed in khaki pants, knit shirt and deck shoes. His hair with natural blond streaks, still damp, had a mussed up look adding to his rakish charm. His aqua blue eyes and captivating smile were just a couple of the things that attracted all the girls back in high school, she remembered. His recent tan was evident he’d not spent all his hours indoors at his uncle’s garage, working on cars, or in a classroom at SITE (Seattle Institute of Technology and Engineering).

Gads, he looks good.

“I left my grungy clothes in a pile on the floor for the maid to find. She’s off today.” He quipped.

“Oh. That’s too bad. I guess you will just have to wash your own clothes. Hmm…is that British Sterling I smell?”

“It is. You remember.” he replied, grinning.

Jennifer nodded. “I gave you a bottle of it the Christmas before I left for Notre Dame. It is my favorite men’s cologne.

“And now mine, too.”

“Oh, do I have that kind of effect on you?” she said, teasing again.

“Don’t you know what you do to me?” He walked over to the stereo, turned off the Beach Boys, and picked out several records, stacking them onto the cylindrical record changer. The strains to, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” began playing.

“Come here.” He said, motioning to her with his forefinger.

She went into his embrace.

“What are you thinking, with that smug grin?” she said, looking up into his eyes.

“Just how happy I am to have you all to myself tonight. We don’t have a third-party hanging around this time.”

“Who are you referring to?”

“Someone. Anyone. It seems whenever I want to be alone with you there is always someone around. But, tonight it’s just you and I, here alone in my apartment. And, since I am your ride back home tonight, you can’t get away from me.”

“I realize that. You certainly arranged this well, didn’t you? My father used to warn me, ‘Watch yourself with that guy.’ But, with my car in your uncle’s shop waiting to be serviced I could hardly refuse the ride, could I? But, Scott, don’t assume…”

“Jennifer… relax. Let’s just dance. Then we’ll go to dinner somewhere.” His arms tightened around her and he began coaxing her gently into a slow dance, their legs and hips coming together, moving together, with the music, the lyrics capitalizing on the mood, and the physical sensations she was feeling.

“Scott… I realize it’s hard for you to understand. It’s just that…well…”

“Understand what? Jennifer, I love you. I respect you for the person you are, and I’m not going to force my intentions on you. But, we’re adults, now. Let us have our time, our moments, together. Make your own decisions. Right or wrong. You’ve allowed your parents and your old-fashioned virtues to stand in the way too many times of finding some happiness for yourself.”

“It isn’t just that. It’s the consequences we live with if we make a mistake we aren’t prepared to live with, and could regret.” Her words, spoken quietly were so muffled she could barely hear them herself as she leaned into him, feeling the heat of his body, penetrating into her’s. Jennifer wanted to pull away, but couldn’t make herself do it.

The scent of his British Sterling cologne was intoxicating, his hands on her lower back, electrifying. Even as she said the words, “I think we should wait.” she knew he did not want to. She did not think she did either, anymore, as she allowed herself to be carried along, the pleasure, the blissful gratification, an ecstasy, she had never known before, and knew she could not stop. His kisses sent a wave of desire through her, gently at first like an incoming tide, then increasing with such intensity it was like the surf pounding against her groins, would not let her retreat. She succumbed to the moment, returning his kisses with the same intensity, and they forgot all else.

_______________________

On a personal note: My husband and I were just nineteen in 1966, got married and lived through that time. He was placed on exempt status from the draft so he could attend college in L.A., CA. Because, he attended four years of college, graduated, and the arrival of our first-born child in 1970, he never had to fight in that war, of which we are very thankful.

Joyce E. Johnson

THE RETURNING SAILOR

The below story poem is a narrative ballad I wrote many years ago. I posted this last June on my blog, but am re-posting it for this week’s word prompt on Geraldine’s Woven Dreams: A Creative Prompt Blog. This week’s word prompt is alive. I hope you enjoy the story and comments are always welcomed.

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THE RETURNING SAILOR

Down the coast and out to sea,

a voice, a whisper beckons me.

It is the sound of her calling my name.

Would she still love me, a man with my shame?

Will she remember the hands that caressed

her face and body, and how I confessed

of the love and tenderness for her in my heart,

wrenched and torn, when we had to part?

Now, I’m returning and will look for her,

alive with the burning desire to stir

the love we shared when I left for the sea.

I pray she’s still there, waiting for me.

There was a fight. Oh, God! What a mess.

It was late that night. I drank to excess.

I did not know, but did not care

that her husband knew of our love affair.

Coming alive with a fist to my jaw

intent on surviving once the knife I saw

I sprang with shifting feet in dread,

landing a blow with my right to his head,

then felt the piercing pain and might

of flashing silver turned crimson bright.

With his knife to my flesh, and muscle it tore.

Bleeding and enraged I came down and bore

the knife I captured, to his chest then came

in self-defense went at him the same.

His breathing stilled, and he lay dead.

Was justice served this way instead?

I went away broken, feeling despair

leaving her behind, her grief to bear.

Like an anchor weighed down

with heavy remorse

wherever I sailed, wherever my course

I could not forget how she once loved me.

Now I’m returning from a dark, cold sea.

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Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson

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