Dedicated to Johnny – the drummer boy

My brother Johnny was a very stylish and talented young man. In his teens, he was already a fantastic drummer in a band that played at local dances in Toronto, including the school we attended in Willowdale. He wore all the great styles of the 60s inspired by the British Invasion. However, sometimes he imagined clothes that weren’t available. So one day he designed a suit and bought pinstripe fabric in a unique shade of green, perfect for the stage! (It’s hard to describe this shade because it was not bright, not dull, not dark or pastel.)

Johnny asked me to make his suit. I was 16 by then, but I started sewing as a child. My first creations were hand-sewn, designer fashions for Barbie. My mom bought a sewing machine and I began sewing my own clothes at the age of 10; first, a lovely summer sundress in a pretty shade of pale yellow and then several shift dresses and floral bell-bottoms, which were very fashionable at the time. Johnny’s suit was my first and last! It was a lot of work and frustration, never having had experience with tailoring, but amazingly – and to Johnny’s approval – it turned out great! He wore it with pride!

Just a few months later, on December 1, 1968 Johnny was killed in a horrific car accident. I am so glad I was able to make that suit for him, which he loved and was buried in.

Forty three years have gone by and time has not healed the wound, I miss him more every year!!

carmen2

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About carmen

Beauty is only skin deep, but health goes deep to the bones. Money can buy designer clothes, but it can’t buy health. https://fashionableover50.wordpress.com/
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17 Responses to Dedicated to Johnny – the drummer boy

  1. robjodiefilogomo says:

    It is such a tragedy to lose a loved one when they are so young. Yet it is a truly a blessing that you have some comfort regarding his suit.
    I can’t imagine this loss for you, yet you write about it so wonderfully, Carmen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jm says:

    Carmen, I saw the post about Johny back, but had not seen it, I’m excited. I can share your pain and your joy at being able to bring happiness to your brother. You too can sew?

    Like

  3. joni says:

    Oh, you know I am so happy you pointed me in this direction to see this post about your sweet brother. As soon as I saw the title I began to tear up. I’m so sorry to hear about your sudden loss and I know how painfully long lasting the mourning is. I lost my little brother, Joe, in 97 when he was 20 years old. He was very creative and free spirited and dressed in old man clothes from thrift stores. He was killed suddenly by a car full of teenagers on an island near Seattle while riding his bike. The pain is horrendous. Ironically, just like you, I wrote a song for him on my rarely played guitar just 2 days before he died and he was buried wearing a favorite shirt of mine that he loved and borrowed it from me all the time. You and I now have a wonderful understanding and connection because of them. Thank you so much for writing to me so I could read this. I’m going to go back over it and study his sweet face. πŸ˜‰
    take care and I will be thinking of you with great warmth!
    Joni

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    • carmen says:

      My dear Joni! I can hardly write through my tears (sad tears and happy tears mingled). We share the same heartache of suffering the loss of our dear brothers–Joe only 20 and Johnny only 18. Both boys so young with a whole lifetime ahead that was snatched away, leaving a void in our hearts. But also the joy of a new friendship, knowing we care and share happy memories too!

      I love what you wrote … we have a wonderful understanding and connection because of them! I would love to see a photo of Joe; how sweet that you wrote a song about him!

      My daughter lives in Seattle (and has a fashion blog http://jeanofalltrades.wordpress.com/ ) She is the one who inspired me to start blogging. It’s a great way to meet people we might not otherwise have met and brings us together with common interests. Jean also has compassion blog and interviewed me recently http://sunshineandslaughter.com/2014/06/15/vegan-profile-1-carmen-coburn/

      So glad we met!
      Blessings!!

      ❀ carmen

      Like

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  8. Lucky Duck says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful tribute about your brother. I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m happy that you have this special photograph and memory of him. Lots of love to you.

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  9. Hi. I just found your blog. Your story is so heart-breaking. I am so sorry. I am just so completely sad and heart-broken for you and your dear dear brother.

    Like

    • Carmen says:

      Thank you Danielle! How wonderful to have compassionate people like you that care. I, too, have felt the pain another human being is going through, even though I don’t know them. My heart goes out to those who suffer loses and there is no way to change what happened, yet for me, knowing someone cares enough to share some words of love makes me immensely happy!!!

      Again, thank you!!!

      Like

  10. ceilismith says:

    What a lovely tribute to your brother. I’m sure he would be proud of his little sister.
    And what a good-looking young man. It would appear good looks run in the family!
    Thanks for sharing Carmen. Although it is a painful memory, I’m sure this picture helps you remember the good times.

    Like

    • Carmen says:

      A heart-felt thank you! Happy memories are treasures, I am thankful for pictures that have captured these moments.

      Thank you for reading my story about Johnny and I appreciate you taking the time to comment and encourage me.

      Like

  11. gracefully50 says:

    Hi Carmen, Thank you for sharing your brother’s story. It’s so awesome that you were able to make his suite…..such an incredible feat for a young girl of 16. I hope the smile of your brother’s face in this photo carries you thru today. Cyber hugs to you!

    Like

    • Carmen says:

      Thank you for your kind comment!!! Your loving words comfort my heart like a warm hug!! Hugs are always helpful and love conquers all!!

      I have a myriad of good memories; unpleasant memories fade like wilting flowers but happy memories are treasures of the heart and remain vivid in my mind!!!

      Like

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