The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 1, 2005


Carlisle Comments Memories of Mrs. Johnson

This piece about Anna P. Johnson was written for a church function where we celebrated her 90th birthday. I am submitting it as written, in the present tense, because those of us who knew and loved her will always think of her in the present tense.

Longtime Carlisle resident Anna Johnson was photographed in July, 1989, in front of her home on Westford Street after being interviewed as part of the Carlisle Mosquito's Oral History Project. (Photo by Ellen Huber)

Anna P, Mrs. J., Ann, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Trouble, there are many names by which we refer to our friend Mrs. Johnson, but she has only one last name for all of us, "Dear." This makes us all one family in her eyes, and indeed we are, and honored to be. David Dear, Irene Dear, Bonnie Dear, and even Pastor Greer Dear. Think about it — as we are one family in the church, so we are one in the hearts of each other.

Mrs. J. has taught me many things over the years. Yes it is possible to live in a black and white world. Although I fall far short of it, she knows and lives the difference between right and wrong and does not compromise on her beliefs and says so loud and clear.

Mrs. Johnson has taught me to enjoy cut flowers in the house. I always used to prefer flowers outside where they grow, but have come to follow and love her example of keeping a vase of flowers in my house. And everyone enjoys them.

Anna P. has a great deal to teach about hospitality. She always housed the missionaries when they were in town, and stood up in front of the church one Sunday morning and told us all that we "should be standing in line to do the same." How many of us have received a call on Saturday saying, "Do you want to come to breakfast?" Who could refuse an invitation? And what a breakfast it was too, from fruit cup to pancakes and little wind-up toys.

Ann has a wonderful long-term memory. She can recite poetry, relate how her father made butter from their own cows, and volumes of ice cream too. She rode horseback to teach school while still in her teens and has stories about that ,too. She still can tell about her twin Ruby losing her leg in a farming accident at a very young age, and all of the gory details about that too.

No job was too big or difficult for her. Pancakes for 300 on the Fourth of July — no problem. "What do you mean you don't think you are capable of taking that job over? Just get started."

Missionaries? Send them on, send them to me, send them out into the world, send them money, send them prayers. Black and white.

Money? Budget your money so that when you need it, it is there, "dear."

Car trouble? Use mine.

Today, Anna P. has lost her short-term memory and although she still retains the past and all of its details, she doesn't always have a first name for "Dear." But "Dear" we are, and dear is she. We all love her and I am sure that she knows it.

Ed. note: See Anna Johnson's obituary on page 3.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito