Stories

Too Small To Live?

Shared by Will Johnstone on January 22, 2020
James McClure Johnstone was born in Denver, Colorado July 24, 1934.  He weighed 3#, 6 oz at birth at a time when preemies that small were not expected to survive.  Jim was lucky that this doctor had been called in when during the night of July 23 it became obvious that Jane McClure Johnstone, his mother, was going to deliver her first baby three to four months prematurely.  That he survived should probably be credited to this young doctor who had come to Colorado a few months earlier and who had a passion for saving these smallest of babies.  Obviously, Jim survived very well indeed.
     Associated photos are of Jim with the clarinet and his brother Robert with the trumpet while in high school in Los Alamos in 1947, Jim with his brother Bob, grandfather Merle M., father Don, and little brother Binky in 1948, and Jim in 1967( or '63?).
    Jim was a 1955 graduate of Yale University, served two years as a reserve officer in the Navy, returned to Yale on completion of that duty, and received his law degree in 1960.  For some 20 years he was a member of the Chicago law firm of Kirkland Ellis, in its Washington, DC office.  In the spring of 1983, reorganization established of a new firm of Wiley and Rain, with which he was then associated, still in Washington. Jim served as a warden of St. Albans church in Washington, DC.

Surprise Gift

Shared by Donna Bearden on January 21, 2020
We were in Washington for Jim and Julie's wedding.  Jim had arranged a dinner at a favorite Georgetown restaurant, an Italian place if I remember correctly.  We were seated upstairs in a private dining room.  The burly man serving us may have been the owner.  Working alone, he made multiple trips up and down stairs: wine, salads, main course, desserts.  His face was turning rosy and beads of sweat broke out across his forehead.  As dessert was served, the waiter/owner stopped his hustling up and down stairs to offer us an amazing gift.  He stood in the middle of the horseshoe setup of tables, turned to Julie and said, "Julie, this is for you."  And he sang a favorite song, acapella in the most beautiful tenor voice.  That was followed by "Jim, this is for you," and another song.  Then he took a step back and addressed all of us.  "This is for all of you," he said. When the last note of Ave Maria faded away, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.  

A Very Special Summer

Shared by Donna Bearden on January 21, 2020
Jim was 13 years older than me and was already off to college by the time I was starting school.  So I have few memories of him as I grew up.  He lived on the east coast, I stayed in the Southwest. But there was a very special summer after my sophomore year at college when I went to Washington DC to stay with him and his family.  What a summer it was!  He took me to a baseball game, my first, his 1000th probably.  He loved baseball!  There were concerts, plays, trips to the Smithsonian, and visits to many national memorials.  I watched fireworks on the 4th of July sitting in a canoe on the Potomac. Spending time at their beach house in Rohoboth, Maryland, was a treat beyond anything I had ever experienced. Eating seafood, walking the beach, making sand castles, collecting shells.  All the stuff you do at the beach that isn't readily available in New Mexico or West Texas.  He made that available to me.
So many fond memories of that summer! 

I have one confession.  The week after I got there, he and his family were leaving on a month's vacation.  They had arranged for me to stay with Christopher's teacher and her roommate that month, but they left me access to their house AND gave me the keys to their car.  Unbeknownst to them, I had only gotten my driver's license a couple weeks before.  My early driving was in Washington DC, even driving to the airport twice.  But I was 20.  What did I have to fear?  (I never told them.  I just acted like it was totally normal to give a newly licensed driver keys to a car in a very busy city with freeways with multiple lanes.)

  

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