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When Ponyboy finally picks up the copy of Gone with the Wind that Johnny left to him, and lets it sink in that Johnny was the one who killed Bob, and that Johnny is now dead. A note from Johnny falls out of the book. Among other things, it says:
I've been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you're gold when you're a kid, like green. When you're a kid everything's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold. Keep that way, it's a good way to be.
It also instructs him to tell Dally, but it's too late now. Ponyboy realizes that Dally has died because he let his gold fade, but that it doesn't have to be that way for all the Greasers and disadvantaged people.
Johnny's letter is more reflective than happy or sad. He wants to make his friend aware of what's truly important.