12/17/17 — A dream kept alive

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A dream kept alive

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 17, 2017 3:05 AM

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George Watson of Goldsboro, Johny Watson's grandfather, helped with some of the renovation and interior work that is now Johny's Dream, a day spa and gift shop at Village Green which recently opened.

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Melissa Watson, left, poses for a photograph with her son, Johny, who died Dec. 15, 2016.

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A portrait of Johny Watson is held by his grandmothers, Glenda May, left, and Frankye Watson.

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Lynn Baker, a massage therapist at Johny's Dream, is pictured in the hair salon of the business located at Village Green in memory of 17-year-old Johny Watson. Pictured at right is the uniform he wore as a student in the cosmetology program at Lenoir Community College and a replica of a fedora, which he often wore.

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A corner of Johny's Dream is dedicated to Johny Watson's favorite city, Paris, depicting a cafe and featuring his favorite flower, the red rose.

Johny Watson was larger than life.

And full of dreams.

He hoped to one day travel to Paris.

A good student, he graduated at 16 from Spring Creek High School and immersed himself in the cosmetology program at Lenoir Community College, with aspirations of one day opening his own salon.

He was also an old soul -- carrying a pocket watch and often wearing a black fedora, quipping that he was "fedor-able."

But his life, like his dreams, appeared to be short-lived when the car he was driving was struck by an alleged drunken driver in December 2016.

Within a week, after having had emergency surgery and a medically induced coma, the 17-year-old died last Dec. 15 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

The anniversary of the tragedy is being marked in a poignant way by Watson's family.

Johny's Dream, a combination day spa, gift shop and photography studio, opened its doors earlier this month at Village Green on the outskirts of Goldsboro.

The two-story building is a tribute to the young man for whom it is named, thanks to his mother and other family members.

Melissa Watson fights back the tears, recalling all the efforts to turn her son's ideas into a reality. She, along with her son's grandparents, pooled their resources for much of the renovation and decorating. George and Frankye Watson of Goldsboro and Glenda and Steve May from Sevierville, Tenn., were most supportive, she said.

"His (Johny's) favorite quote was, 'Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day,'" Melissa said. "I think back on that often because even when we lost him we had a horrible day and still do but he was an organ donor and helped six other families get their Christmas miracle, which was a good day for them."

Still grieving her loss, she said it helped to have the project to occupy their time and keep her son's memory alive.

"His uniform is hanging up here," she said, pointing to the black outfit he wore at LCC, topped by a replica of a fedora, in the salon. "He had been talking about this (business) since high school.

"He wanted a spa with photography and where people could come and feel better about themselves when they left."

The business features a lot of handmade items in the gift shop, including some of Melissa's artwork. It also offers purses, scarves, candles, birdhouses and gift boxes as well as Himalayan salt lamps.

The photography studio has a green screen with different backgrounds. Johny's best friend, Dominic Rybolt, is the photographer.

Against the back wall near a staircase on the first floor is a nod to Johny's favorite city, in the form of a "Paris corner."

A takeoff of a quaint cafe, a small table is surrounded by three wrought iron chairs, with roses, her son's favorite flower, a prevalent accent.

The full service hair salon downstairs offers color, cuts, perms and styles.

Other amenities can be found upstairs, where there is a massage room, offering Swedish, therapeutic and hot stone versions, said Lynn Baker, massage therapist.

They also offer body wraps and have plans to add a nail technician and offer tanning beds in the future.

The salon is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The business offers an array of specials and also sells gift certificates, Baker said.

For more information on specials and the business, visit the Facebook page, Johny's Dream, or call 919-778-9990.

The profound void experienced one year ago cannot be replaced by brick and mortar and some splashes of paint, Watson says. But as she looks around at all the touches that came together to represent her son's tastes and flair for beauty, she can't help but think he would be pleased.

"He couldn't fulfill his dream, so we're trying to," Melissa Watson said. "We want to make the customers feel as good on the outside as they do on the inside."