When I look through the obituaries each week in my Blade, I often find names that bring sadness but also bring beloved memories. Denny Kea and I were thirteen years apart in age so we were not classmates, but he brings back many fond memories. The dress shop of Delores and Woody’s opened just in time for fashionable clothes to be available in my teen age years. I spent many after school hours searching the racks and trying on the enticing outfits. Who could ever forget Key’s Café and the tables filled with tourists who had “followed the keys to Key’s Café.

I called him “little Johnny Black from across the street.” His family lived in the apartment across the street from my home on Church Street. When students walked by after school, he stood outside and waited for me to come over and play with him. I loved that time. He had many toys that I enjoyed, especially Lincoln Logs. Mrs. Nora had home baked cookies and chocolate milk ready for our tea party after school. I was heartbroken when the Blacks moved away after a few years. The next time I learned of “Little Johnny Black from across the street.” He had returned to Swainsboro and was a college president at East Georgia State. We had quite a reunion and both cherished our childhood time together.

I am saddened that Denny and Johnny have passed away, but they left a store of memories.

I have walked the journey of grief many times. The death of your child is not expected. A child should not die before the parent. “Should not” does not mean “will not”. On September 1, my oldest son, John Carrol Twiss passed from this life after a long battle with the demon of cancer. He left the world richer for his presence and for a life of faith, honesty, good humor, gracious affection, and generosity. He will always be missed in the heart of his family. It was a joy to be his mother. I wanted to share with my hometown. Write to Shirley at