Mr Johnson's love story.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is for the competition that Delilah is hosting.
It is dedicated to Kenzie, she had a dream of the plot, and i well tweaked it a bit. Hope you like it.

Submitted: December 04, 2011

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Submitted: December 04, 2011

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Almost 450 years ago, William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) wrote the great tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet and how their death united two feuding families, a story of the power of love.

Our history teacher set us the task of interviewing a World War II survivor. The project seemed simple enough and the first person that came to my mind was Mr Johnston our next door neighbour. I knew that he was a war veteran, because every year on Remembrance Day he dresses in a smart black suit and sports a row of medals on his left breast and my father drives Mr Johnston to the Peterborough Cathedral where many other people remember the soldiers and civilians that died during the War. This is his story … 

One afternoon I went to Mr Johnston’s house and asked him if I could interview him on the War years. The elderly Mr Johnson became emotional, I detected tears in his eyes and after he hesitated speechless for a few minutes he raised his head and looked far away, probably my visit rekindled thoughts of the past.

“Mr Johnson it would be an honour if I could interview you on your life during the Second World War. May I?”  I asked and thoughts buzzed through my head like a busy beehive. Did he loose his family? Mr Johnson never seemed to have had a wife or children. Was it the terrible experiences of the war? The aircraft? The bombs? My silent questions stopped as Mr Johnson went to get a tissue.

“Here come in.” he said still quite shaken from my question.

“Are you sure Mr Johnson?  I don’t have to interview you. It really doesn’t matter.” I said fidgeting with my fingers and biting my lips nervously.

“No, I would love to be interviewed” he said. “What is this for?” he asked sitting on the sofa and I on the arm chair opposite him.

“It’s for a history project.” I got out the piece of paper that had my homework typed on and gave it to him.

“Ah, I see. Would you like anything to drink?” he stood up

“Just water please.” I replied politely. When he came back he had also brought a weathered leather bag covered in dust.

“This bag opens so many memories,” he said slowly unfastening the bag with slightly shivering hands. When it was fully open I saw lots of pictures, letters and a few other things that I could not recognise.  Mr Johnson showed me all the pictures of himself in the Second World War. There were some pictures of Mr Johnson with a beautiful young lady. The young lady was looking at the young man with starry eyes, surely a gaze of love. I asked who the lady was; I was expecting her to be his wife that perhaps was lost during the war. Mr Johnson told me that her name was Jessica, his girlfriend for a couple of years. He stared at the yellowing photograph and said he would explain later.

Mr Johnson’s first name is Thomas, but his friends before the Second World War called him Tom. Tom was born on the 6th December 1924. For the first 16 years of his life he lived with his mother in Havenhill small village near Cambridge. His mother worked in the local bakery. When Tom was six years old he met his mother’s friend’s daughter that also worked at the bakery. Her name was Jessica and was 3 months younger than Tom. The two friends grew up together and became very good friends. When Jessica and Tom turned 16 years old they both went to London to seek work. Their affections for each other grew stronger by the day. Tom worked at a newspaper factory and Jessica worked as a seamstress in a high street shop. One day Tom plucked up the courage to ask Jessica to be his girlfriend. Jessica said yes and then the War separated them in 1942 (when Tom was old enough to fight with the British Army). Tom regularly wrote letters, but Jessica never responded.

At that point Mr Johnson became uneasy. He started to doubt the idea of the interview, he then suddenly said, “It is time for me to share my long pain?” He continued his story.

In 1945 he returned to England from the War to find that Jessica married another man. Tom was heartbroken. He never heard of Jessica again. Neither did Jessica hear from Tom. Tom went back to his mother’s house to find that it was ruined in a bombing raid. He asked the neighbours what had happened. They told him that a stray bomb from a returning German bomber had dropped on his mother’s house while she was sleeping; she did not survive the explosion. Tom was devastated and went back to London to the newspaper factory and continued working there until he retired at the age of 65. He now lives in a peaceful neighbourhood on his own. He never got married or had children and lives a lonely life.

After I had handed in my project I wanted to reunite Mr Johnson and Jessica. It was very difficult; I spent hours searching on the internet with no result. Mr Johnson gave me all the details he knew and so we went to an agency where they were able to trace Jessica. Mrs Sanderson of the agency asked Jessica to meet Mr Johnson. Sadly she did not remember him at first but when we showed her photographs of their youth she gradually remembered him. She is now a widower and has a son and three grandchildren all about the same age as me. It was exciting meeting Jessica’s family. The tragedy of the story is that Mr Johnson still loves Jessica and I detected that she also loves him, but in their minds they feel it may be too late to rekindle their love for each other. I just wished they would throw that thought to the winds of the past and enjoy their senior years together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Copyright Kimberly Derrington Sunday, 04 December 2011 


© Copyright 2017 Kimberly Derrington. All rights reserved.

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