Karen Meets John Denver Page

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In late 1972, I fell head-over-heels for John Denver. I began writing fan letters to him – sometimes three in the same day. John’s secretary, Peggy Johnston, eventually contacted my mother about allowing me to go backstage at one of his concerts. This page tells the story of that most significant event in my life.

Above:  Letter from John Denver’s secretary to my mother, revealing a plan to surprise me by allowing me to go backstage at one of his concerts.  The letter did not make it past me.  I recognized the handwriting on the envelope as the same handwriting on the envelopes of the 8×10 glossy photos I occasionally received of John.  I thought the letter was a complaint about my many fan letters, and ripped it open before my mother saw it.  I did not get in trouble (my mom was a cool person).  I showed this letter to many people at school and church.  Some people thought the letter was written by a prankster, but I knew it was for real because of the handwriting and the Aspen postmark.

Above:  Letter which was used as a backstage pass.  We showed this to a security guard during the concert.  He took it up to the stage during the intermission and came back excited because the folks on the stage confirmed that the letter was authentic and instructed him to escort us backstage after the show.

Above:  I thought I was going to die!!! He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen in my entire life!!!  I was so awed to be standing in front of John Denver that I could not look at him; I was looking at everything around us.  To get my attention, John put an arm around me, and when I turned toward him I was looking straight into his calm brown eyes.  He was the  most beautiful human being I ever saw in my entire life.  He had a gentle disposition, and a warmth that was unforgettable and indescribable.  I know I will love him forever.

Above:  I had a doodled cartoon in my purse which I asked John to autograph. I didn’t even think that maybe he would find it unflattering (look at the expression on his face). Open mouth, insert foot!

Above:  Autographed unflattering drawing (hey-I was thinking of him – I thought it was the THOUGHT that counts!!!!)  I learned something about myself that night.  I always screw up whenever I’m around someone I’m crazy about.  I cannot tell you how many times I have said or done wrong things to people I love.

Above:  My mother, and my sister-in-law Dodie.  My mother passed away of breast cancer in September of 1988.  She always loved John Denver because he was so kind to me during the busiest time of his life, and it shows in her smile in this photo.  I like to look at this photo and imagine the two of them standing together arm-in-arm right now in Heaven.

Above:  Rose, who has been my best friend since childhood, getting an autograph from John.

We had to wait a few minutes to see John because Kris O’Connor said he was in the bathroom when we went behind the stage. The next day, Rose said to me, “I sure hope he washed his hands!!!”

3 Comments to Karen Meets John Denver Page

  1. Janet says:

    I can never listen to John Denver without thinking of you. Thanks for sharing the photos and stories. RIP, John, and know you will never be forgotten!

  2. Debra says:

    I love this story! My best friend and I were also constant correspondents with Peggy Johnston. She was a wonderful person, very kind, and never complained about the plants we sent her, or the odd little gifts we sent to her and to John and Annie. I have very fond memories of the mid-1970s, and John Denver and Peggy Johnston. I’m can’t tell you how happy reading this story made me!

    • dutchy says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! There have been times when I’ve wondered if I should have included this page, as I don’t want others to think I’m boasting. However, this was a young girl’s dream come true, and even now, 39 years later and at age 53, I still remember it as the happiest time of my life. I remember it so vividly and I still dearly love John Denver.

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