John McCalla
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
Tributes and Condolences
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Happy Birthday  / Franny (friend)  Read >>
Happy Birthday  / Franny (friend)
So I'm a day late.  So what.  I thought it was today until I came to this site and saw that it was yesterday.  45.  45 used to be old.  I'm going to be 52 and sometimes I think where did the time go?  But we would be 45 and 52 and fabulous.  I think of you often and I smile.  You made things fun and you were more than a friend.  For a while, you were my best friend.  Life took over and we didn't keep in touch.  I wish I could have a do over on that.  I take comfort in the fact that  I let you know how I felt about you since the first moment.  You knew.  You always knew.  You'll always know.  So happy birthday, John.  loveyameanit. Close
It feels like yesterday, the pain is still so deep  / Nicole Escobar (baby angel )  Read >>
It feels like yesterday, the pain is still so deep  / Nicole Escobar (baby angel )
Uncle John, your unexpected death almost destroyed me. I am not in denial but I have not yet accepted it. I still find it hard every day to deal with the loss of you. Then I remember that you would have wanted me to live my life and live for me, in the best way I can. You were a part of this family that no one can compare to. You were too young to go to Heaven, but I know God needed another Angel. You were an Angel before you left this place. You were loved by all who met you, and you are missed by all who knew you. Your death touched so many people some way, but more importantly, your life touched so many in tremendous ways. You are wonderful; there will never be a person as cool as you. I picture you and Mom Mom in heaven, at Billy’s house, and all the pictures that you took fill my mind. I see Mom Mom in black and white, drying her hair with the drill. I can hear the two of you laughing so loud, as only our family can. I love and miss you more every day. My time with you, as I’m certain many feel, seemed far too brief. But while you were with me, I truly knew heaven on earth, and realize I never felt love like I did with you. The way you touched my life will live for eternity, and having you in my family was the most precious gift I could receive. Until we meet again, Junk, I will hold you close in my heart, and not one day will go by without me missing you, loving you, remembering you, striving to be as great as you, and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to have been your baby angel. I try to be more like you every day. We will one day see you again, and we will rejoice together in Heaven. Keep watching over us. I love you. God really only takes the best, save a spot up there for me…and in the meantime I’ll try to think of you in Brandywine with lots of mad money, having crazy fun with Mom Mom! Love, your baby angel forever Close
john / Marcio Sene (friend)  Read >>
john / Marcio Sene (friend)
I was just thinking about John today. Miss him >looking at his pictures now...I know he's in a better place... Close
not something teen  / Franny (playmate)  Read >>
not something teen  / Franny (playmate)
I still remember that turning 20 was a big deal.  It meant not being something teen anymore.  My son turned 20 this year as did and will some of his friends.  That is my birthday wish to them.  Congrats!  You are not something teen anymore.  It's funny how the smallest things stay with you in such big ways. 

I was thinking about John a lot yesterday.  He will always be big to me. Close
what a web  / Annette Earling (friend)  Read >>
what a web  / Annette Earling (friend)
just finished reading charlotte's web to my now 7yo...john knew calvin when he was weensy and he would definitely approve of the quirky funny kid that he's growing into. in any case the last paragraph of the book made me catch my breath and it felt as though john were sitting here next to me as i read it aloud:

"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

much beloved and greatly missed. Close
Miss, Long  / Amanda L.   Read >>
Miss, Long  / Amanda L.
Funny that. I never realized how apropos your name for me would be -- or how long Miss Long would be missing you. Sometimes it's like a big ol sinkhole every where I turn. Today's was opened up by an article in the Post about Christopher Hitchens. Why? Because he lives in Kalorama is hilarious and smokes. Close
I'm almost 49  / Franny   Read >>
I'm almost 49  / Franny
And today John would have been 42.  A lifetime ago he was 18 and I was 25.  "That's not a big age difference" he would say.  "Well John when YMCA was being played on the radio I was dancing to it in disco clubs and you were in fifth grade."  As I got to know this still-teenager I saw that he was correct.   There really was no difference.  He was wise beyond his years.  He was teaching me about being a grown up.  I was feeling like a teenager again.  He couldn't wait to turn 20 so he wouldn't be something teen anymore.  I never regarded him as something teen.  He was always 20 to me.

Some stars are too bright for this world.  Beautiful on the outside doesn't hold a candle to beautiful on the inside.  Happy birthday John.  Close
Costa Rica  / Erin Killian   Read >>
Costa Rica  / Erin Killian
I'm going to Costa Rica over New Years with my boyfriend Adam (I wish you could meet him you would tell me he's hot and has beautiful eyes like yours.) And all I can think about is how I want to ask you where you went. I remember you said you rented a car and stopped at the first place you saw and it was magical. Meibe those are my words. But where was it John? Missing you on this rainy night. Close
John I guess I know you a bit  / Marcio Sene   Read >>
John I guess I know you a bit  / Marcio Sene

Guess I know you a bit

If you're an aquarius...

You have a great sense of humor

and you like to share

you're a giver

you are determined you are dense intense

curious by nature open to life

you like Brazilian Girls (Hey I do too!)

you like connecting to people

yet keep you own private world

you know what the word  'contradiction' means

you act by impulse .you're a risk taker

but still safe(!) you're goofy but responsible

free independent

but like boundaries. Why?

maybe to see if you can cross the line?

You are bad in taking orders

but still want to know what they think

You are happy sad crazy...

John: I'm very proud of you.


Satellite / Amanda   Read >>
Satellite / Amanda
Last Saturday I parked in McCallarama (Kalorama to the rest of D.C.) and walked your sidewalks to Adams Morgan's Crafty Bastards fair. You should have been there to mock the hipsters and their cute  monster tees.
After a full afternoon seeped in your geography I was feeling your absence like a knitter's needle (oh yeah there was lots of knitters there too).
On Sunday went for a run and heard the song that I never truly heard until you died Satellite and walked into the gym with a big ol lump in my throat.
A woman who I refer to as "one of the gym ladies who think I'm a cardio dancing fool" came up to me and said four months later: I just wanted to tell you how much I loved that article you wrote about your friend."

And then I balled right there next to the exercise balls.

But it's good to know your satellite is still in orbit and coming through. Close
What Would John DO?  / Nicole (Soul Mate )  Read >>
What Would John DO?  / Nicole (Soul Mate )

So I don't know..What would John do? I have tried to suppress my emotions for far too long. He was all I had; the idea of him was all I had. Someone perfect someone fun someone surprisingly witty someone amazing. My husband says "do what Nicole wants to do" but I want to be with him even BE him (Amanda you know what I mean). As sad as I am I think what would he be doing what would he would want.

Uncle John I think about you everyday. You are the only inspiration in my life the only strength. I wish you were here more than ever; I need you. There is no replacement……………..I never want to forget even one small detail of you……YOU are EVERYTHING to me the only love I’ve ever known.

The Last Act  / Amanda   Read >>
The Last Act  / Amanda
An article I never wanted to write about a eulogy I never wanted to give for a friend and dance partner I'll never forget. The column is called XX Files, but I'll just think of it as my XO File. Close
Glory Days  / Amanda   Read >>
Glory Days  / Amanda
Just wanted you to know I'm sorry for my relapse in paying tribute and writing notes to you. I blame Facebook, a short-staffed magazine and Obama. Of course, I blame you for me even being on Facebook, or at least for me being  super status-conscious. When you were in the room , there was never any question of living in the moment, as opposed to documenting the moment, and trying to sound oh so clever while doing so. Oh yeah, if you're keeping track of things I blame you for, let's just recap: 2007 (or at least my slingshot rationale of professional decisions), being one of maybe five people who gets nostalgic in Rosslyn, Kathy G.-induced tears, avoiding the the Mass. Ave exit of Rockcreek Parkway,that Karen Walker satiny, see-through-ish shirt I wore at your service and not being able to watch this damn Bruce Springsteen halftime show without thinking of the one reason you'd turn on the Super Bowl. Close
Auld Lang Sign  / Franny   Read >>
Auld Lang Sign  / Franny
I made my annual Mummer's Day trek to the city of brotherly love and sisterly devotion.  You know I love that cheesy, tacky parade and all of it's bad drag.  The whole time I was there, I had thoughts of John and Jerry O'Neill in my head.  Jerry's b-day is January 4 and of course we know the significance of January 5.  (I know they are having a good time somewhere along with our Anthony, Jimmy Kerr and Michael Bowen.)  I went to visit my Aunt Mary - yes - Mary - on January 4 in the nursing home.  I signed the book and said to my Aunt Peggy, "today is Jerry's birthday and tomorrow is John's anniversary.  I was so caught up in visiting with my family for the rest of the day that for a moment, I don't want to say I forgot. but it escaped my memory.  On Monday, I was riding with my sister to go pick up my mother for some shopping and the radio brought me back to what day it was.  "hey, hey, hey, hey.  Ooooh, oooh, oooh, OH!  Won't you come see about me.  I'll be alone, dancing you know it baby."  I started to cry.  Then I smiled.  Thanks for tapping me on the shoulder.  More than miss the bluest eyes. Close
Where in the Woolly is John?  / Amanda (friend)  Read >>
Where in the Woolly is John?  / Amanda (friend)

Well, looks like you're still center stage in 2009. Last night (NYE), I returned to the Woolly Mammoth theater. It was the first time I'd been back since your memorial service. I stayed in the audience this time. Robert and I went to a fantastic, mind-blowing improv show (from the NeoFuturists in Chicago, where else?!) that was composed of 30 plays in 60 minutes.

The four-person troupe passed out a list with all the titles of each play and then did them in the order shouted out by the audience. It was quick and hyper and a bit manic (like my own "performance" there) and most were funny or bizarre or both but some were serious, including one with just one actor on stage, following the instructions of a voice off stage that was telling him to do all these simple things such as:"Sit in the chair. Stand up. Lean back. Lean back more (until he fell over) Kick the chair. Go ahead, kick it, you'll feel better. Stand up on the chair."

Intermittingly, the voice would ask, "Are you comfortable?"  and he'd say, "Yes."

Then someone came on stage and took the chair away. The voice told him to sit down, as if the chair was still there. So he's squatting, awkwardly on stage and for the first time, after going through all the motions and doing what he's told, he speaks.

"Where's Peter?" he asks.
The voice says nothing.
Again: "Where's Peter?"

He's up there, all alone in a vacuum of silence, uncomfortable and frustrated with no answers. She finally asks again, "Are you comfortable?" And this time he says, "No."

Lights go dark.

The name of the play: How to talk to your dead friend.
The name of the actor: John.

New Year's Day  / Luis Escobar (Nephew in Law )  Read >>
New Year's Day  / Luis Escobar (Nephew in Law )

All is quiet on New Year's Day.
A world in white gets underway.
I want to be with you, be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.
On New Year's Day.

I... will be with you again.
I... will be with you again.

Under a blood-red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspaper says, says
Say it's true, it's true...
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one.

I... I will begin again
I... I will begin again.

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, maybe the time is right.
Oh, maybe tonight.
I will be with you again.
I will be with you again.

And so we are told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes
On New Year's Day
On New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

I wish I could have one night with you, like some of your loved ones!!!!!! They were lucky. You inspire me with your U2 original sound tracks!! My wife Nicole “baby angel” is always thinking of you every day. One day we will meet again, one day. Love always your nephew in law!!It’s a beautiful day just thinking about you!!! Can’t wait to see you uncle John!!

John, Wait (e)!  / Amanda   Read >>
John, Wait (e)!  / Amanda
"I ain't missing you, I ain't missing you at all ... Since you've been gone, AWAY. I ain't missing you ... No matter what my friends might say."

There are many pathetic things about my relationship to this John Waite song.

One, I did not have to Google the lyrics to it -- and could keep going for a few more verses from memory.

Two: In seventh grade, after returning from a weeklong visit to see my half sister, I got a call from my boyfriend, Jamie Crawford, who said he spent the week flirting with one of my friends at the county pool and going to her house to ride three-wheelers. And he wanted to change "our song" from Bryan Adams' "Heaven," to this one, at which point he held up the phone to his boom box and played it. He thought it was wickedly funny. He DID NOT get the irony (did I just misuse that word, Alanis style?) Anyway,I was too heartbroken to to explain the whole "doth protesting too much" thing, John Waite was trying unsuccessfully to convince himself that he was not aching with longing, nor did I point out the much more telling lyrics: "You don't know how desperate I've become and it looks like I'm losing my mind."

And now for the third and most pathetic connection: I can think of no other song than this one right now when I think of John. It's unforgiveable, truly, given all the songs that he played for me, filled my iPod with, forced me dance too -- and vice versa. And it's not as if I haven't broke down in tears at the first few notes of any of them these last few years, but right now I just want to grab John and say to him what I didn't say to Jamie in 1984:

Do you miss me at all?

Now that's pathetic. But I get mad a lot these days at the no-Johnness of my life and I find the question creeping in before rational thought can quiet it. Do you miss me, John? Did you ever miss me when we were apart? How lopsided was the difference between when you'd call from pittsburgh, prague, philly or p-town (pfffft) and say, "Miss ya, Darlin" and when I'd sit at work bored out of my skull at the extreme ordinary, inappropriate touching/talking/instant messaging-free day I was having?

It's impossible to imagine you lonely. I know you were hon. I do. But alone -- as in without others physically near you? No way. People rushed into fill up the space, to get a taste, to feed off the energy, the chemistry. the love, the words, the charm, the seduction, the attention, those eyes. Hell, I used to just like inhaling your smoke. And I don't smoke.

No wonder you were spent. I'll never forget what I said to you after one of those gazillion times when you wanted to cancel on a blind date or dinner party or cocktails with the agent or something -- but wouldn't. You didn't feel like being everything to every audience member. Or the beautiful but brainy one, the Men's Fitness reader with The New Yorker talking points. So I said, "John, you can't always be your Friendster profile."*

(*this was when before the myspace/facebook empire took hold.)

Good advice, but selfish too. I liked the non-glossy, not so-ready for-his-close-up John. The one without his "going-out" choker necklace/graphic-t combo. The one who'd call me and cancel tenative after 9 p.m. plans because the couch was calling and forgive me when I did the same. The one who'd ask me to walk down to the bank with him so two balance-statement fraidy cats wouldn't be alone. The one, who en route to CVS for our respective vices (candy and ciggies) would be able to commisserate about dental bills and too-smart therapists who wouldn't be fooled by our charm, humor or insurance excuses.

I'm off topic and in a funk. See, this why I'm relying on an 80s Brit pop star for my topic sentence. I cannot write about John. I've been trying to put together an article, a first chapter of a book, a nonrambling blog entry(contraction in terms?) and I just can't. Well-meaning friends and former editors tell me I should.

But I don't wanna.

I don't want to write about my dead best friend because I don't want him to be dead and I don't know if I deserved the whole best friend thing.

I don't want to write ANY more about my dead best friend because I've been writing about him since that fkin awful day when I had to write emails to boyfriends in other continents, relatives in the worst kind of pain and obituary writers in need of a cohesive quote and nice pix.

I don't want to write about him because I don't know how it will end. What's the tidy theme? What's the lesson learned? What change has this brought about it me? Don't ask me. I"m not there yet.

And that is why I am so glad Nicole is. She's found the balls (she is his niece) and the will to write about the one we all loved to read.

So help her out. Tell her ( your John stories and don't hold back -- maybe even grab your boom box and hold it up to the phone so she can hear the soundtrack of just how much you miss John.

How do we pay tribute?  / Nicole   Read >>
How do we pay tribute?  / Nicole

You know death is a thing that we all experience in our lives, and before it actually reaches us, it touches our soul. I wake up crying every morning lately, and the only thing I can think of to do is to write.

No one in this world has inspired me to write more than my Uncle, even at a young age. I was wondering if I should write a book about my Uncle and the feeling that come to people experiencing loss. That would be all of you, and me. He always told me when writing to get "just the facts", and sometimes when reporting facts, they could also be reporting feelings.

I would love to "interview" every one of you, and everyone that has touched my Uncle's life. I know that the impression that he has made on everyone would be immense. I want to know all about this experience and how people feel.

Maybe it will make me feel "better"; maybe it will stop some of the missing to see him in some other memories.
Please let me know what you all think. Feel free to e-mail me, call me, etc. I will reach out to as many people as I know he knew within this next year.

laughing / Franny (friend)  Read >>
laughing / Franny (friend)
Todd and Steven and their little girl were here this past weekend.  I showed him this site.  He had never seen it before.  Then I showed him some old emails I saved.  Who would have thought that I was saving them for a reason?  I loved reading John's writing.  My favorite was one about Prague with John describing how it began to snow.  Beautiful.  Christmas.  So simple.  Those few words gave me a feeling of warmth and peace.  I just can't explain it.  I am sad that I will never get to read any new stuff.

The Todd family was here a few months back.  Their little girl, Maya, has some special needs.  We went to Legoland and while she was on a ride with my little girl, Emily, Todd said to me, "Maya reminds me of Dot from MadTV.  She has this wonderment about everything."  (I have gum.  Where is my glove?) Then we bust out laughing because I know who DOT is.  I said that we are rotten, horrible people and Todd said no we aren't.  It's just funny.  It was really nice getting the front of the line pass because Maya can't wait an hour to get on a ride.  Front of the line for 6 please.  While we were all waiting at the front of the line to get on a ride, and dealing with the stares of the people standing in the hot sun for an hour waiting to get on said ride, Maya began signing out of nowhere, "Hey there Georgie girl."  What else could we do except join in.  We all laughed like crazy.

Hope you are watching over all of us. Close / Baran Numanoglu (a Friend )  Read >> / Baran Numanoglu (a Friend )
I just returned from a short trip in the Cappadocia today to learn that my favorite American friend has passed away. I was @ the Kayseri airport and ran into Claire (Our mutual friend) she told me that we lost John...I am in total shock that I cannot find words to explain. I left America in 2003 and John was the first person to e-mail me and ask me to keep in touch no matter how far we are. Now I feel terribly bad that I didn't find time to check on him :( I have lost a very good friend. I lost a friend without even a good bye. This is a very sad day for me as I will miss John alot. I will have a bit of a tough time with this for a while. I feel like my connection with my days in DC is gone... I'll miss John, Baran from İstanbul, Turkey Close
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