Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Sep 11th 2007 3:00PM by Jessica Robertson
Vivian, who died in 2005, long dodged the retelling of her years with Johnny. That is, until she got the blessing from the Man in Black himself. Together with television and radio writer-producer Ann Sharpsteen, Vivian recounts her years as Johnny's First Lady in 'I Walked the Line: My Life With Johnny,' a memoir written mostly with Johnny's words, via letters he wrote to Vivian during the lovers' three-year separation from 1951 to 1954. As Sharpsteen writes, the letters "provide a mountain of evidence contradicting many misconceptions the world has about Johnny, reveal startling mistakes Johnny made along his way to becoming a champion for people of all races and stature, and share Johnny's touching confessions and apologies for behavior he later became deeply ashamed of."
For the rest of the night, none of us slept. Cindy was inconsolable, devastated, virtually drowning in grief after the call. She had spent the last three months with Johnny at his home, caring for him, doting on him and she had just left for a quick visit to come see me. She was choked in grief now that she wasn't there when he passed. Helpless to do much else, I simply hugged her.
I knew firsthand the pain of losing a parent. I lost both of mine years ago. The coming weeks and months, even years, would be tough, not only for her but also for our other three daughters Johnny and I had together: Rosanne, Kathy, and Tara. Our poor babies would never be the same. I knew that much.
To the world, Johnny was revered as the Man in Black. But to us he was simply Daddy. To the girls, he was their world. And to me he is and will always be my wonderful, caring, protective husband and the father of my children. In disbelief I paced the floor.
Johnny was supposed to have been here in
Within hours, Johnny's death was the top story on all the cable news channels and morning shows. The media frenzy had begun. CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, every channel I turned to, were all talking about our family.
The music world is mourning the death this morning of one of it's most influential performers, Johnny Cash ...
Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, died this morning in a
One of the greatest voices in American music is silent today ...
It was surreal to hear them talking about Johnny in the past tense. Only eight weeks earlier, I had been with him in his home in
Ironically, it was during that visit that we discussed this book and I told him of my decision to write it. To be honest, I was a little nervous in telling him. I wasn't sure how he would react to me finally deciding to tell my story. Not only have I gone out of my way for years to not talk about our years together, but the real truth about our marriage and divorce has never been told. Now that I had decided to tell the truth, I wondered how he would feel about that.
My decision to write this book was a difficult one for me. Early on, I became aware that some of the things I planned on revealing would be upsetting to Johnny's second wife, June. I was also aware that some of her irritation might inevitably be targeted at Johnny. And with all of his medical problems at the time, I cringed at the possibility of imposing any additional misery on him.
Two months earlier, however, something happened that none of us expected: June passed away. It was a devastating blow to Johnny and to our girls, who had known June for many years by that time. However, along with the understandable sadness at her passing, I experienced a sense of liberation that I would be freer to say the things I have to say -- and Johnny would be freer to tell the truth too. The full story of our lives, the unvarnished truth, could now be told more easily without hesitancy. Would Johnny agree? I wouldn't know until I spoke with him.
During our visit, I settled in on a sofa by the fireplace in Johnny's bedroom and we chatted. It was so good to see him. He was enjoying improvement in his health in recent weeks. He had gone fishing for the first time in years. He had gone swimming. And he was walking again. On July 11 he took twenty-five steps unassisted. On July 12 he took seventy steps. It made me happy to hear of his continued improvement. And despite the fact that he was still obviously grieving the loss of June, I was thrilled to hear him say, "I'm happy."
One of the household help came into the bedroom with a silver tray carrying coffee and cream and sugar and set it on the coffee table. When she left, we finally had some privacy for me to share my news.
"Johnny," I said. As usual since the divorce, it was hard for me not to call him Honey. Years of habit are hard to break. I concentrated as I chose my words. "Johnny, I have thought long about -- and prayed about -- writing a book. I want to write a book and tell our story, and the truth of what happened. I spoke with the girls, and they are in support of it. So I've made a decision to do it," I said. "How do you feel about that?" I kept my eyes fixed on Johnny's face, watching for a change in his expression.
"I've been thinking about that for the past couple years," he said without a breath of hesitation. "I think it's a great idea."
"Are you serious?" I asked. It surprised me that he had been thinking about it for a couple years. I was floored.
"Honestly, I have been," he said. "Viv, I've been thinking for years, if anyone on this planet should write a book about me, it should be you. It's time."
As we discussed the book, Johnny became more excited. I could tell his mind was whirling a mile a minute. "If there's anything I can do to help, I'll do it. I'll write the foreword too. All my fans will buy it. I know they will. It's time."
"It's time." Was I really hearing him right? I was overjoyed! Those simple words, "It's time," took on so many dimensions. It was one thing to have his blessing, which I had hoped for. But to have his encouragement and active support was wonderful. I was so glad he thought it was time.
"I hope it will be healing for you too," he added. Ironically, I wished the same for him.