What are the odds that we would have classmates whose names read forwards and backwards? It’s not exactly like a “palindrome,” an example of which is: Madam, I’m Adam. (If you read the letters from right to left instead of left to right, they say exactly the same thing.) Anyway, I’m talking about Johnston Wray and Wray Johnston — and they wreaked all kind of havoc at Burbank High because of the similarity of their names.
John Wray (whose wife is Donna Canzoneri) wrote:
Just read the comment from Skip Johnston, that reminded me of the day at BHS that I got sent to the counselor’s office. I was congratulated on my winning a scholarship for I think, Industrial Art. I was stunned, I was not involved in Industrial Arts and had no clue what the counselor was talking about. He said, “you’re Wray Johnston, aren’t you?” and I said, “No, I’m Johnston Wray.” Up to that point I did not know there was someone else with my name except backwards. Needless to say the scholarship was for him. He goes by Skip and I never got to congratulate him, so here is a much belated “Congratulations, Skip.”
So Wray Johnston (who goes by Skip) wrote back: Oh, there’s more to John’s story. First, you gotta know his full name, Johnston H. Wray III, is an almost impossible but near exact reverse of my given name, Wray H. Johnston II. (Or is my name the reverse of his? Anyway…) “Skip” is the nickname given me by my parents so as not to confuse me with my Dad. I, of course, named my son, Wray H. Johnston III. Skip used to tell his son about the “kid in school that had my reverse name and how, when one or the other of us would get called into some authority figure’s office for something the other did (or not), we’d feign innocence and plead clerical error.”
Skip remembered that one day his son came home from 7th grade at Luther Burbank and found there was another kid named Johnston Wray, thinking it was John Wray’s son. (However, he didn’t know at the time that the other Wray had daughters!)
He continues: Oh, and when my son had a son, he named him (surprise!) Wray H. Johnston IV. Don’t know if John has a grandson. But if he does, I hope he’s named Irving.
Skip’s wife’s name is Sandra and they have been married 13 years. He has four kids from a previous marriage and she has two, and together they have eleven grandchildren. For 30 years he was a graphic designer, illustrator and art director who did marketing for the entertainment industry. In 2005 they sold their Burbank house and bought an 11-acre horse farm overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina.
He sent along this photo. “After seeing the post with the pic of John and Donna in Rome, I found this (pretty bad) shot of my wife and I taken earlier year. Coincidence . . . ?”
(For a photo of John and Donna Wray in Rome, see my earlier post by clicking here.)