THE EIGHTH OF DECEMBER

A tribute to John Lennon who was taken from us on this date in 1980.
Roughly two years ago I had the great pleasure and honor to narrate a few of my stories on the BBC Radio program “Upload”. I also submitted “The Eighth of December”, never expecting to receive an email from the program manager of the radio station asking me if I’d be willing to read my story and do a live interview. To us here in The States, The BBC is a pretty big deal so I was rather blown away and, despite my nerves, I agreed to the interview. The format of the radio station changed and “Upload” has since been replaced by another show; it’s now impossible to find my interview.
All I have is my 5-year-old story to share with you.
Every word is true.
Here is “The Eighth of December”.

The Dakota, home of John Lennon at the time of his death.
The people you see are some of the mourners
who had just learned the awful news.
Notice the flag atop the building already at half-mast.

While cradling my year old son David in his bed after a bad dream, I sang softly to him my favorite Beatles song, In My Life. He stared up at me, his blue eyes moist with tears. Slowly his breathing became calm and his eyelids began to flutter. At last he was asleep and I kissed his eyes, removing the last traces of salty droplets as I pulled up his covers.

Closing the door gently behind me, I went back downstairs where my husband Bill was watching Monday Night Football. One look at him as he sat on the sofa, his head in his hands, told me his team must have been playing very badly. I kidded him about being so upset over a game but he didn’t react. I called his name and when he looked up at me there were tears running down his face. Something was terribly wrong.

I sat next to him and he turned to me, taking my hands in his. As if in some sort of fog, Bill told me that John Lennon was dead, shot on the doorsteps of his home, The Dakota. I stared at him in shock. Why would he say such a horrible thing? Who would ever want to hurt John?

He turned the tv volume back on; the game had been interrupted by the report of an incident involving John. I dropped to the floor as the reporter droned on about ‘rapid gun shots’ .. ‘police/John/hospital’ .. ‘dead on arrival’.

I cried uncontrollably and kept repeating no! no! no! as Bill held me in his arms and I sobbed in unimaginable sorrow and disbelief. We sat on the floor for a long time, clinging to each other, unable to stop our tears or unhear the words coming from the tv.

At one point our three year old son Billy crept down the stairs, frightened and wondering what was wrong with mommy. My husband quickly scooped him up and brought him to his room, whispering that mommy was very sad about something she saw on tv and she would be ok tomorrow.

But I was not ok the next day. I was not ok the next week. I was never truly ok after that night. No living, loving soul was ever ok again. The entire world was grieving.

These days, almost 38 years later, as I cradle my grand-babies in my arms and rock them to sleep, I sing In My Life and I remember John. 

NAR © 2018

23 thoughts on “THE EIGHTH OF DECEMBER”

  1. The Beatles were and have remained an important part of my life. I’ll never forget that day, and I can’t imagine what went through that dreadful person’s mind.
    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A beautiful message, Keith. Even people who aren’t Beatles’ fans were affected by this tragedy. There are memorials all over the world in John’s memory. I don’t like thinking about that “dreadful person”; the fact that every appeal his lawyers have filed has been denied speaks volumes. ‘Imagine’ a world without violence and hatred; I wonder if that day will ever come? 🕊️

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    1. Beautifully put! When you think how many millions of people were deeply affected by John’s death, it’s easy to see just how beloved the Beatles were and still are. They were a phenomenon we will never again witness in this or any other lifetime, of that I am sure. I’m proud to say my grandchildren are familiar with the Beatles and are learning their music in school band, orchestra and private lessons.

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  2. Beautifully written Nancy!
    I remember the shock of it, then the incredible sadness. I was working as a newspaper reporter at the time, and we all got together that night and played Double Fantasy over and over while weeping. Whenever I hear one of the songs from the album, it brings me right to that night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that beautiful story, D! It’s good to share with others who loved the Beatles and know how very real and personal this senseless tragedy was for all of us. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and leave a lovely comment. 🎶 💔

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    1. “Some have gone and some remain.” John may be gone but he remains in our hearts forever. No one can take away the beauty and wonder of the Beatles music. I’m so grateful to have been a part of their generation and to have seen them in person. If you have not seen the movie “Yesterday”, I highly recommend you watch it. If you’re as sensitive a man as I believe you are, you will be in tears toward the end. Watch it then let me know I was right. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What an incredible story, I am so glad you shared it with us (and the world). Although such a sad event. I found the song at the end very moving after reading your article. Take care. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know there are people who don’t get how much we loved the Beatles. That’s ok; for my generation, they were beyond special. It was an experience never realized before or since. I’m glad you appreciated my story; those are memories that will stay with us forever. Thanks for your lovely comments; they mean a great dealt me. 💕

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