Back in third year high school, ninety ek-ek, in Geography Class, we were encourage to have penpals from other countries, yup--snail mail! There was this service called IYS - International Youth Service, where we would put down our 'requirements' for a penpal, like, from what country, age, gender, likes, etc. After a week, you will be given a name and address, and you'll begin to correspond! During that time, I did have penpals from Germany, Denmark, and Tonga. Mama's best friend in Minnesota (and mama, of course), set me up with their next-door neighbor, Dean Johnson, a DJ that time, if I remember correctly.
We began corresponding and it lasted years, we each got married, had kids, and he moved from Minnesota to another state. That was when we lost track. The last letter I received from him was when he placed his email address--that was when emails were still 'greek' to a majority of people. When I got my own email, I think I emailed him once and sent a picture of Andee (then still a baby). And I never heard of him since.
The other day, I was deleting spam in my emails. For some unknown reason, it was an email I failed to delete. After refreshing the inbox my mind when blank when I saw 'Dean Johnson' as the sender amidst emails from friends and Cafepress. I opened the email and my heart sanked. It was a mass email sent out to all listed in Dean's email address book, from Tim, his brother... and it started as..
"...It is with deep sorrow that we are sending out this email....."
I immediately knew what it meant. Heart pounding, I read on...
"...On behalf of Dean's wife Kerry and his parents Frank and Lenora (Nory) Johnson, it saddens us to inform you that on June 7th, after a long battle with lung cancer and pre-existing lung problems, our brother, Dean Johnson passed away...."
I began thinking on how a great friend he was, then sharing things he like, talking about his DJ stints, his wife, Kerry, and his son. Sayang. I felt bad. My condolences to Kerry, and Dean's family. Now I realized how I missed those days waiting for his mail to arrive. He would share a picture of his cat, his picture with his favorite guitar, which right now, I am wondering where it was.
Farewell, Dean. I wished we never stopped writing to each other. But right now I know you are at peace. You are in good hands.