It’s Like Finding a Long Lost Friend
Precious Memories Memorial by Renae Johnson
Standing in a sea of headstones on a hot summer day can be a little discouraging. At times it feels likes you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack. But you keep searching and hoping.
That is exactly how I felt many times as I visited the 14 cemeteries
while writing my new book, Precious Memories Memorial. But just as I began to think I would never find it…there it was…the name I was looking for. And suddenly it’s like finding a long lost friend. The songs….the music…it felt like a fresh breeze had washed over me as I began to hum the words to the songs that made them legends. Songs forever remembered.
It seemed like a journey back to the way real country music use to you be. Heart felt performances by Johnny Cash, Johnny PayCheck, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings and I suddenly remembered the stories like it was yesterday. It truly became an experience of the heart as I visited where they had been laid to rest and researched the days leading up to their celebration of life. As I learned what brought their life to an end and who attended their funerals, what songs were sung…I could see myself sitting in a pew watching their faces of sadness…tears to have lost such a great person who had touched so many.
There were many Legends resting inside Mausoleums’. I had never been inside a mausoleum and I was surprised at the emotional feelings of reverence. It was like being in church….some place sacred. I walked around quietly reading notes placed recently by family members with photos and memento’s by fans. There were benches to sit on and windows to add light like the morning sun. I have been back to these mausoleums several times and each visit I felt like a welcomed guest.
I decided to include a Cemetery section with maps to each gravesite highlighted. This to me was the most important section of the book. I have highlight paths and given landmarks and even row numbers to make the search easier. How important is this??? Well I visited one of the largest cemeteries in Nashville and they gave me a map that was not even correct. The name on the map was NOT the person I was looking for….same name…wrong person. I went back to the office and brought this to their attention but I am not even sure it mattered to lady. When I inquired about these legends she just looked at me with a blank stare….and had no idea who this famous legend was. What a shame.
For fun I added a “Road Trip” section that gives you information to start a trip and a “Special Notes of Interest “section with additional stuff I thought was interesting. For example, did you know Johnny Cash served in the Korean War and his job was to decipher Russian Morse Code? He actually received the military message and new about Stalin’s death before President Eisenhower!! How cool is that.
But of course the most precious memories in this book is my personal one. This book is dedicated to my son Justin, who died in 2008. I tell the story of getting the phone call and how that experience changed my life forever. He was not a legend in country music but his memories plays every day in my heart.
Please get a copy of this incredible book of history and cherish the way Country Music use to feel and sound.
*All books purchased from my website will be autographed.