Don Barton, Pete Hobday, Johnny Czech, John Swainson, Don Simpson.
Fifty years ago today, my brother Johnny was killed in a horrific car accident in Toronto, Canada. I was living in Costa Rica with my dad at the time and literally deathly sick with hepatitis (which I didn’t know I had).
The phone rang in the early morning hours of December 1st and I awoke from a deep sleep to the shock of my mom calling to tell us of the tragic news. (My mother and Johnny were living in Toronto.)
My dad arranged for an immediate flight.
The first thing after landing in Canada and arriving at my mom’s place was that she was alarmed to see me in such a sick condition: she took me to emergency right away, where I was admitted and put in isolation. I remember my mom being angry that my dad had not taken me to a doctor in Costa Rica seeing how sick I was. I had never been this sick in my sixteen years of life!
My parents made the arrangements for Johnny’s funeral and my doctor gave permission for me to go to the funeral and then return to the hospital straight after.
There was no Christmas for us in 1968.
If it hadn’t been for me returning to Canada, so that my mother could take me to the hospital, I would have died, it was that serious according to the doctor.
Through Johnny’s death, he saved my life.
For this 50th year, I received a recording of my brother’s band from one of the band members. Johnny was the drummer and this was an unexpected, awesome surprise! Thank you with all my heart dear Peter!
The last Christmas our family was together: mom, Johnny and me (my dad took the photo)
Christmas is a joyful time we celebrate love, peace and hope—as the angel announced two thousand years ago, “… I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord … And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ ” ~from Luke chapter 2.
But for many it is a time of loss and pain.
May God comfort those who mourn and suffer.