Whisper Quick

In Loving Memory of my brother,

Airman Roger  J. Johann

July 24, 1935-May, 4, 1955



Life is a whisper quick–

as he balanced the cigarette on his lip

I was just three, sitting on his knee

the kitchen chair, him and me

then he passed the cigarette my way

naïve I was what can I say

when a puff of smoke I did inhale

and I felt ever so pale

big brothers have their ways

and we did bond deeply in that stay.

It was Christmas Eve and I was four

I was waiting for him who I adored

Snuggled in his bed asleep

He picked me up and down the stairs we did creep

There underneath the lit Christmas tree

Colored chalk and blackboard waiting for me!

Off to England and Iceland next

There he was the Air Force guest

Then the day became the night

His life was lost on that flight

Only nineteen, it was not fair

So young and so much to give for freedom’s dare

The North Atlantic took him to the Lord

And his eight friends who were aboard

Now the years have come and gone

Still I remember his gentle song

My Mom sat with me

Beneath the window breeze

Pointing to the sky

To the military formation for me to fly

There were the planes one by one

Except for yours, they flew their song

How deep her sorrow for you she wept

In her heart, the love she kept

How many young people have given their life

For freedom, that day, became your wife











19 thoughts on “Whisper Quick

  1. Yoshiko says:

    Nineteen 😦 ?



    • Yes, Yoshiko, Roger was 19…he was the oldest of the eleven of us. He and the rest of the young Air Force crew were on some kind of reconnaissance mission, whatever that means, and the fuselage blew up midair, somewhere over the North Atlantic Ocean. All were lost in that explosion. I was five years old. There was a Catholic funeral for him at home–just a box draped in black — because of course there was no body…I recall everyone dressed in black –in those days it was the tradition. Inside the Church was a pulpit–it was never used during my lifetime—at that age, I thought Roger must be up in that pulpit hiding. For years, I imagined him there and would think he was watching over us all.


  2. God bless him for his service and sacrifice


  3. Gentle and moving memories, Jane. May he remain forever fresh in your heart, dear friend 🙂


  4. Nancy Williams says:

    How Beautiful, Jane.Brothers are are Best Friends.I truly Love Mine. Joey came home from Vietnam hurt, but he is still here physically. They never come home the same.

    Hugs n Love



  5. Hikari Yori says:

    Condolence to you and your family


  6. psychopathsgetbored28 says:

    This is so heartfelt and beautiful. I feel that the death that we see while we are young somehow has more effect on us because its presence seems dull but the memories are very powerful. May his soul be in peace.
    Thank you so much for finding my blog so that I could find yours. I love it. ❤


    • Thank you for your compassionate thoughts! Yes, it was a poignant time for me. In those days, at least where I lived in that tiny village of two streets (still the same today), people did not express their emotions…and there was no grief counseling. It was a very difficult time for my parents. My Mother was told the news in a very harsh manner. It had been broadcast on the radio and many knew before my Mom, as we did not listen to the radio in our home. I do not even think we had one until I was a teenager. Then a tough, local policeman came up the backstairs of my parent’s home and yelled for my Mom saying, “Hey, Mrs. Johann, your kid was killed!” Horrific!

      I am glad I came upon your blog and enjoy reading your thoughts!


      • psychopathsgetbored28 says:

        Oh dear, I can’t even imagine the pain. It must have been so difficult to cope.
        I had a similar experience when my grandfather passed away, he had Parkinson’s disease which consumed him slowly and we could do nothing about it. A death on account of helplessness is the worst. And one morning the security guard of the apartment came up and said that he was no more or so ‘he heard someone say’. When I went there and saw the dead body, I couldn’t even cry because he looked so peaceful, the way he never was when alive.


  7. I am so sorry…it is never easy to lose those we love…it is always a painful loss…and I think our society is so ill-equipped with expressing empathy…we seem to becoming harder, as I read some of the resentment towards the children running to our borders for help…
    I am sure your grandfather is now living in peace and joy!


  8. I am so sad for your loss, still fresh after all these years. I understand completely. I lost my brother and my sister. Bereft.


    • I am sorry for you, too, Brenda. I guess that is how love is…we never stop loving even after they are gone…I had eleven brothers and sisters…four have now died. It is difficult, but we have to go on and be and do our best. My Mom had a great deal of strength and I do not come close to hers. She lost both of her firstborn two sons too soon…Roger at 19 and Robert at 6…that had to have been so hard! Yet, she continued to care for the rest of us in joy. That is amazing to me!


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