SOMETHING: An Interview with George Harrison, November 2001

Interviewer:  How did you get into music?

George: Ever since I was a small boy all I wanted was to be a musician – or a gardener (laugh). I remember the first time I heard Elvis on the radio. I didn’t know who he was at the time. This incredible voice was coming from someone’s window as I rode by on my bike and I had to find out who he was. Making music wasn’t about being famous; that was just a bonus. It was a way for me to express my soul. All I wanted was to make music and be in a band like John and Paul.

Interviewer: How are you and Paul getting on?

George: Paul’s a genius and he’ll be the first to say so! Listen, we love each other like brothers and always will but we have our fall outs, just like all families. We can really get on each others nerves but you just don’t stop loving somebody for that. The thing about Paul is his relentless need for mental stimulation and public adulation. He craves attention, being the center of the universe. He thinks he’s right all the time and won’t give up on something until he gets his way. That’s his personality, not mine. I’m an easy going guy and he treated me like a mariachi band guitar player at times. You think that didn’t hurt? He can be damn manipulative but from the day we met I felt he was truly great. It’s been my privilege all these years to make music with him.

Interviewer: Care to comment on the “Paul is dead” story?

George: Not really.

Interviewer: You’ve got to admit there’s some compelling evidence out there.

George: Conspiracy theories abound! Anything is believable if presented the right way. We all decided not to make a big deal out of the story. If we came out fiercely denying it, well that would have just drawn more attention to it. We felt it best to leave it alone and stay out of it. You can make up your own mind, man. I’m not going there.

Interviewer: Fair enough. How was your relationship with John?

George: John was brilliant, incredibly creative and spontaneous. People saw him cutting up and joking around but he was surprisingly insecure and withdrawn. John’s brain never stopped and he had a wickedly funny sense of humor. He could be a saint or a bastard but he was always honest and I loved him. And no matter what anyone felt – myself included – John was one with Yoko. They had an amazing bond; they loved each other deeply and just wanted to be in each other’s company all the time. They couldn’t help it and they didn’t care how people felt about it. That’s why Yoko was always a presence and I applaud John for that. After the group split our paths rarely crossed. Then that psycho shot him. This man of peace … killed so violently … the very thing he vehemently opposed. I like to think I’m a forgiving man but that is the one thing I will never forgive. (George stares off into the distance; we’re quiet for a moment)

Interviewer: What about Ringo?

George: Ha! Ringo! I smile just saying that name. He’s a really great drummer but he took a lot of shit from John and Paul, as did I. Ritchie was an easy target but he was thrilled just being in the band. He’s one of the happiest people I know. What you see is what you get with him. No airs about him at all. We were really good mates until I mucked it all up and had an affair with Maureen. That was a grave error in judgement on my part. Ritchie forgave me because that’s how he is but we lost that tight closeness we had. Listen, let’s be honest – we all had our share of infidelities. That doesn’t excuse what I did. Ritchie is all about peace and love. He’ll do anything for his friends. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Ritchie.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about Eric Clapton.

George: (Big sigh) Eric. Well, what can I say? He’s my brother, you know. We have a connection – as close as the fine strings on a guitar.

Interviewer: What about his affair with your wife?

George: Well, it wasn’t exactly a stellar period for any of us. Eric was obsessed with Pattie for a long time. She was such a free spirit, luscious, impossible to resist! Pattie loved us both passionately but I had my flings and she chose to be with Eric. I don’t blame her. I was disappointed with them, sure, but how could I judge them when my behavior was just as bad? We all just moved on.

Interviewer: Which of your songs do you consider the best?

George: You probably think I’m going to say “Something”, right? Well, you’re correct because I always knew I was capable of writing a song like that but neither John nor Paul believed I could do it. Even George Martin had his doubts. They certainly didn’t give me much of a chance. Do you know Frank Sinatra said it was the greatest love song in the last 50 years? Well, I guess I showed them, didn’t I? (laughing loudly, coughing). But right up there with “Something” is “My Sweet Lord”, my first solo number one release. Both those songs are on the album for Bangladesh which I honestly believe is my best work. It wasn’t about just writing songs; I had something important to say, a message to get across to people. It was a very fulfilling time in my life.

Interviewer: After the split, did you think The Beatles would ever reunite?

George: No. We four guys – we came together to make music. We created something special and ended up making history. In a short period we lived a lot of lifetimes and as a group we were burned out, ready to have a go as solo artists. I had all the material things one person could ever want. What I needed was spiritual fulfillment, to be the best person I could be. I’m dying, you know. Cancer. My days are numbered. Those years with the Lads – they were brilliant. I’ll never forget a moment.

Dedicated to the memory of George Harrison on the anniversary of his death, November 29, 2001.

NAR © 2021

https://youtu.be/UelDrZ1aFeY

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS

 “Use the call button on the side panel of your bed if you need a nurse. My shift is almost over. Can I get you anything before I leave?”

It took me a few seconds to remember where I was as I stared at the friendly face of the nurse standing over me.

“Pain meds would be lovely” I answered immediately. I had been in an accident earlier, falling three feet off a friend’s deck and shattering my hip. At first I felt nothing; then incredible pain started coursing its way up from my toes to the crowns on my teeth. Moving a millimeter caused me to scream out in agony. Too bad I’d forgotten to wear my suit of armor!

“Your next round is in two hours – a specially-prepared cocktail to get you through this. Until then, try to get some rest” the nurse suggested.

I’m a firm believer that copious amounts of pain medication should be dispensed frequently but apparently here in the hospital my opinion is worthless. I smiled wanly and asked the nurse for my iPhone; if I couldn’t have propofol at least I could have music.

Trying to rest in a hospital is next to impossible. Patients crying out, buzzers buzzing, machines whirring, carts rolling, elevators dinging, doctors discussing. Even the mourning doves who held dominion over the sparrows on my windowsill were cooing incessantly.

I slip in my earbuds and cue up The Beatles “Helter Skelter” – the best and only hard rock, heavy metal song they ever recorded. No matter how shitty I may be feeling at any given moment, listening to that masterpiece makes life perfect for 4 minutes and 29 seconds.

Someone wheels in my dinner cart. Lifting the lid I see a bowl of soup, a sandwich, a beverage and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Not feeling hungry just yet, I go through my collection of albums trying to decide which one to play. Ah, “Revolver”. You can never go wrong with that beauty. I close my eyes and revel in the genius that is George Harrison singing “Taxman“.

I’m suddenly aware of a rush of air and find I am now outside floating uptown over the streets of Manhattan, my hospital gown flapping like laundry on the clothesline. I hear the old-fashioned car horn sound of “Ahooga” behind me and swivel round to see a flying ice cream truck being driven by none other than John Lennon. Somehow as bizarre as it all is it seems perfectly normal.

“You getting in? We don’t want to be late” John says.

“Late for what?” I ask.

For whatever comes next” John replies with a grin and I slide onto the seat beside him. “It’s very rude to be late, isn’t it?” and we zoom off.

“AHOOGA!!”

“What’s on your bucket list, me darlin’?” John asks me and I answer without hesitation “To go to Liverpool!”

“Ah, me lovely Liverpool. I won’t be going back there again, I’m afraid. Next stop: The Dakota!” John calls out and we swoosh away.

No, John. You mustn’t!” I beg him and I start to cry.

Oh, but I must! Now dry those eyes. It is what is and we can’t change that.

John turns to face me, taking my hand in his, and continues:

When Paul and I met for the first time, do you think we had any idea what tomorrow would bring? Of course not! We didn’t have a clue where we were going in our lives. We were kids still wet behind the ears! Then we met George and we three became as close as brothers, but we didn’t know that the best was yet to come. George brought Ringo into the group and look what happened. Well, you know; you were there with us at Shea! It was a phenomenon!

You can never stop tomorrow unless you stop today just like I can’t stop what’s going to happen to me. I’m scared but this is my destiny. Tomorrow will always happen and yet tomorrow never knows.”

He was silent for a moment, deep in thought, then he spoke very fervently to me looking me straight in the eyes.

Nancy, listen to what I’m going to say. Aim for the stars. Work hard, love with your whole heart, be the best person you can be but never ever forget to have fun. Time is fleeting so always eat dessert first. Got it? Good! Now, let’s be on our way.”

And as I nod in agreement I can hear the faint words “Try to realize it’s all within yourself. No one else can make you change and to see you’re really only very small and life flows within you and without you.”

And in a flash John and his flying ice cream truck were gone.

I open my eyes and prop myself up on my hospital bed pillow. Dinner is still there, right where I left it, and I find I’m suddenly starving. Ignoring all the food on my tray, I go directly to the Ben & Jerry’s, pop open the pint of ice cream and dig in. I realize until this moment nothing in my life ever tasted so delicious.

NAR © 2021

STARGAZING

Marcy Grey was sixteen, neither a kid nor a woman. She was one of those unpopular girls, just her unlucky lot in life for which there was no explanation. A wisp of a thing, she had a constant look of sadness in her eyes. Having no friends she’d spend most of her time alone, often on the roof of her apartment building gazing at the stars and listening to her parents Beatles CDs. Their music and message resonated with her more than anything else in the world and it was the only time she didn’t feel lost and scared. 

Her parents worried about her, as parents are wont to do, and they encouraged her to pursue activities in school or join a club of some sort. Marcy half-heartedly tried a few times but never felt accepted or welcome and eventually gave up. School was almost over for summer break and while others were chit-chatting about going to camp or planning a family vacation, Marcy knew the long days of July and August would be no different for her than any other day in her life. Her parents worked hard, barely making ends meet; there was no time or money for recreation. 

One night Marcy overheard her mother talking on the phone with her sister, Marcy’s Aunt Rita; from the snippets of conversation she knew they were talking about her. “She really needs a diversion … We’re worried … She’s so sullen … Well, that sounds wonderful – are you sure? … I have no idea how she’ll feel about it, though … Yes, I’ll talk to her and call you back.” 

Not surprisingly a few minutes later Marcy’s mother knocked on her bedroom door. “Aunt Rita bought a little beach café in Atlantic City and wants to know if you would like to spend the summer with her. Rita would love the company and could use some help at the new place.” 

Marcy frowned and told her mother she’d think about it; at least that wasn’t a flat rejection. And she did think about it, weighing her options. The pros: she really liked Aunt Rita; Marcy had never gone anywhere, ever; she was stuck in a small apartment with her parents; she could look at the wide-open sky at night and the stars dancing off the ocean; she might actually have fun. The cons: leaving her rooftop comfort zone. The next morning she shocked her parents by announcing she would spend the summer in Atlantic City with Aunt Rita. 

Marcy was met at the bus depot by Aunt Rita all decked out in her bright pink sundress, straw hat, Ray Bans and sandals, giddy and happy as a clam. As she drove to her house Rita talked non-stop about her fabulous new beach café, The Pink Flamingo. Even Marcy found her aunt’s enthusiasm contagious and couldn’t help smiling. 

There were seven other teenagers waiting tables at the café; all of them were nice and greeted Marcy warmly. Work wasn’t easy and it took Marcy about a week to get accustomed to her new life but she found she actually liked it. Surprisingly Marcy enjoyed being with her co-workers and meeting new customers every day. But the best part was climbing the dunes at night, sitting on a blanket and gazing at the stars while listening to “Rubber Soul”. 

One night on the beach Marcy saw someone approaching. She got nervous until she realized it was Adam, one of the guys she worked with. He asked if he could join her and Marcy said yes. Adam had an MP3 player, as did Marcy, and she asked him what he was listening to. He smiled shyly and answered “Revolver. I was raised on the Beatles”. Marcy grinned and handed Adam her earbuds. Music wasn’t the only thing they had in common; Adam spent most nights back home gazing at the stars. He was a loner with no real friends and this was his first time away. And to their complete amazement they discovered they both lived in Queens, NY. 

Marcy and Adam met at the beach every night and talked about everything. The end of summer was drawing near and their time together in Atlantic City was almost over. They rode the same bus back to Queens, exchanged phone numbers and gave each other a quick hug before going their separate ways. 

Late that night as Marcy sat on the roof of her apartment building she got a text. It read “Hey, Stargazer. Dream sweet dreams for me”.

Smiling, she quickly wrote back “Dream sweet dreams for you”. 

Stars aligning? Time to make a wish. 

NAR © 2021

FOUR-HEADED MONSTER

Famous? Fame was not the goal. Money was not the goal. To be able to know how to get peace of mind, how to be happy, is something you don’t just stumble across. You’ve got to search for it.”

So said George Harrison when The Beatles split up after only eight years – an incredibly short time when you think what a phenomenon they were. As John Lennon once sang: “So Captain Marvel zapped us right between the eyes!”, their music amazed us. It was like no other.

The Fab Four, The Lads, The Mop Tops, The Four-Headed Monster; those were just a few of the nicknames given to the group. They skyrocketed to fame in the U.S. after appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and the following year performed before 56,000 screaming Beatlemaniacs in Shea Stadium. I was there and that awesome day remains one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.

Sadly, George and John are no longer with us. Today marks the 19th anniversary of George’s death – stricken by a cancer that ravaged his once healthy and supple body. And John, the peace-loving, anti-war, anti-violence activist, was senselessly gunned down in 1980 by a madman whose name will never cross my lips.

There are no words that can express how deeply The Beatles touched our hearts and souls. We embraced them and their music changed our lives forever. In all the world there is only one group with the word ‘mania’ attached to its name: the greatest band ever – The Beatles!

ZAP!!

The Ed Sullivan Show, 1964
Abbey Road

I tell you, there is no other band,
there will never be any band like them ever,
for eternity. They are the best.
I say to you here in 1965
that the children of 2000
will be listening to The Beatles.
And I sincerely mean that.”
Brian Epstein, Manager

NAR © 2020

SHE’S LEAVING HOME. BYE, BYE!

Melanie! Breakfast is ready. Better hurry or you’ll be late for school!” Evelyn Coe yelled up to her daughter from the bottom of the stairs.

Frank, I don’t know what’s gotten into Melanie lately” Evelyn complained to her husband. “I can’t keep up with her mood swings.”

Remember when she was dating that loser Jeffrey and we insisted she end the relationship?” Frank asked. “I wonder where he is and what he’s up to. You don’t think she’s still seeing him, do you?”

Last I heard he was selling used cars. Melanie said something about him working at that lot on Matthew Street near the Cavern Club, I think. I hope she didn’t go behind our backs and continue seeing him. She wouldn’t do that to us, Frank, would she?”

Stubborn girl!” bellowed Frank. “Don’t forget how she fought us about going to public school with the ‘cool kids’ instead of attending Rigby Academy! She has never wanted for a single thing her entire life. She takes everything for granted. She’ll be going to college in a couple of months. Hopefully she’ll get her head on straight.”

You’re right, Frank” Evelyn agreed. “But now she’s talking about taking a break before college to ‘find herself’. I can easily find her; she’s upstairs sleeping!”

Evelyn marched to the stairs and called out: “Melanie! You better be down here in two minutes or I’m coming up!”

“There’s no way in hell Melanie is taking time off to go gallivanting around God knows where!” Frank threatened. “Tonight we’re going to have a serious conversation. She’s had a very privileged life and if she thinks she’s going to take advantage of our generosity, she better think again!”

I’m going upstairs and dragging her out of bed.” Evelyn thumped up the stairs to Melanie’s room but moments later came running into the kitchen clutching her handkerchief, tears in her eyes.

“Frank! Melanie wasn’t in her room. I found this letter. She’s gone! Our baby’s gone!” Evelyn wailed.

What do you mean ‘gone’? Let me see that” and Frank snatched the piece of paper from Evelyn’s hands. He read out loud:

Mother and Father.
I’ve run away with Jeffrey. I want my freedom.
I’ve lived under your thumbs long enough and
for the first time in my life I’m doing what makes me happy,
not what you want me to do.
Please don’t come after me or try to find me. Goodbye, Melanie

Running out of the house, Frank yelled for Evelyn to call the police. When he returned he breathlessly informed his wife that Melanie’s car was gone.

The police arrived soon after; Detective McKenzie asked the usual questions: Did the Coes think Melanie was forced to write the note? Did she leave against her will? Were any of her things missing?

Tearfully Evelyn answered the detective’s questions. “Her suitcase and some of her clothes are gone. She wasn’t forced to leave. She left us for Jeffrey. She did this to hurt us!”

I’m sorry, folks, but unfortunately we have to wait 24 hours before filing a missing persons report. My hands are tied” Detective McKenzie replied sympathetically.

God knows where they are by now!” Frank exclaimed.

I can’t believe she would leave us!” Evelyn lamented. “She has everything here; a nice home, lots of clothes and her own car. Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly? How could she do this to me?”

We never thought for ourselves. We worked so hard all our lives to get by. What did we do that was wrong?” Frank cried in desperation and frustration.

Hundreds of miles away Melanie and Jeffrey were speeding down the highway heading for a new life.

Any regrets leaving home like that?” Jeffrey asked.

None!” Melanie replied without hesitation. “I’m finally having fun and that’s the one thing my parent’s money can’t buy!”

She snuggled close to him and they sped away without looking back.

Melanie Coe

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Countless numbers of people are familiar with the song “She’s Leaving Home” by The Beatles. In 1966 Paul McCartney read a newspaper story in the Daily Mirror about a girl named Melanie Coe which inspired him to write the song. Although most of the content in the song was embellished, McCartney said that a great deal of the story about Coe, who was 17-years-old at the time, was accurate. Coe left with her boyfriend, a croupier; she did not meet a man from the motor trade (as the song says), although her boyfriend previously had been in that business. She left in the afternoon while her parents were at work while the girl in the song (and in this story) left in the early morning as her parents slept. The names of Melanie’s parents, Frank and Evelyn Coe, as well as her boyfriend Jeffrey, are fictitious. Coe was found ten days later having previously mentioned where her boyfriend worked. When she returned home, she was pregnant and her mother took her for an abortion. An update on Coe appeared in The Guardian in December 2008 and she was interviewed about the song on the BBC program The One Show on November 24, 2010. In May 2017 Rolling Stone magazine carried an interview with Coe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

NAR © 2020

THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES

When I tap my hat with this magic wand and say the secret words you will instantly turn into a blackbird!” declared my brother, Derek. “Are you ready, Lucy?”

“Sure, David Blaine” I replied with about as much enthusiasm as a rock. 

Ok, here goes. Ob-La-Da!” TAP! And nothing happened. “Hey, what’s going on?” wailed Derek, truly stumped. 

“Oh, here’s a wild guess: maybe you got the words wrong” I said sarcastically. “Take a look at this and profit from my knowledge of all things Beatles”, and we Googled the White Album. “See, you got it wrong.” 

“Oh yeah! Ok, let’s try again. Ready?” Derek ceremoniously whirled his wand and said “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da!” TAP! 

And the next thing I knew I was soaring through the sky, flying across the universe. Here, there and everywhere I gazed in amazement at the clouds, the water, tree tops and strawberry fields. I spotted a row of houses below and gracefully swooped down, perching on a windowsill.  Hopping inside I landed right on top of a bathtub.

“Well, hello! What have we here! A little housebreaker?”  exclaimed a man behind me. 

“No, silly! I’m a blackbird. I came in through the bathroom window” I said and turned around to see — George Harrison!! 

Welcome, blackbird!” George said, not at all surprised to find a talking bird in his house. “You remind me of a little ditty John and Paul wrote. Would you like to come with me to visit the Lads.” 

“You mean John, Paul and Ringo?” I warbled with excitement. 

Well, actually just Paul and John. Ringo had a bit of an accident and went to see Doctor Robert. But do try to act naturally.” 

“Oh no! What happened to Ringo?” I asked in misery. 

 George whispered “Do you want to know a secret? Ringo was following the fool on the hill and he couldn’t slow down. He fell head first, he did, into an octopus’s garden and nearly drowned!” 

“Wasn’t there anyone to help.” I asked tearfully. 

Just the two of us!” exclaimed two voices in unison. We turned to see Paul and John grinning broadly. 

“You’ll be happy to know we got Ringo to the doctor straight away and he’ll be right as rain very soon. He’s getting better all the time” added Paul.

“So tell us, little blackbird. Do you have a name?” asked John

“Something tells me, Johnny, it’s ‘Mother Superior”. Am I right, little bird?” inquired Paul. 

“No, nothing quite as impressive as that. I’m just plain Lucy”. 

“Just plain Lucy!? Rubbish! Much more genteel than Sexy Sadie but every bit as pretty as Dear Prudence!” exclaimed John. 

George reached into his pocket and took out a teeny pair of pink glasses. He delicately balanced them on my little beak. “Perfect! Kaleidoscope Eyes! Let’s go show Ringo!” 

And off we went singing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. 

Suddenly I was in my bed and I wasn’t a blackbird at all. And the Lads weren’t here either. It was all a wonderful dream.

But when I looked over at my nightstand I gasped; there sat a teeny pair of pink glasses. Imagine that!

NAR © 2019

JUST AN ORDINARY SUNDAY

Eavesdropper! Go away, Cathy, and stop being so nosy!” 

“I’m not an eavesdropper, Susan! I was just walking down the hall. Besides, you’re not my boss!” 

“Don’t make me come up there, girls! What’s going on?” shouted Cathy and Susan’s mother Evelyn. 

The girls stomped down the stairs, both yelling at the same time. 

“QUIET!” They took one look at their mother’s face and immediately stopped talking. “That’s better! Now, one at a time tell me what happened. Cathy, you first.” 

“Why does she get to go first?” whined Susan.

Because I said so” sneered Evelyn. “I’m tired of you girls arguing all the time. Start talking Cathy.” 

“I was on the phone talking to Marcy about Rabelais and I saw Susan listening at my door .. as usual.” 

“About him .. your French boyfriend” teased Susan, making goo-goo eyes and kissing noises. 

“Excuse me?” Evelyn asked sarcastically. “What’s all this about a French boyfriend?” 

“It’s true”, replied Susan. “I heard her talking about him .. how he’s smart and funny, he’s a writer and a doctor. He must be ancient .. like 30 or something!” 

“Nice trap you set for yourself, Susan”, commented Evelyn. “For someone who claims she’s not an eavesdropper, you seem to know an awful lot about your sister’s private conversations.” 

Susan’s face turned bright red in embarrassment and anger and tears welled in her eyes.

“But, mom…..” Susan stammered.

“But nothing, Susan. Be quiet! Cathy, you start explaining just what’s going on and it better be good!” Evelyn demanded. 

Mom, there’s no boyfriend. And Susan, you’re such a dummy!” snapped Cathy. “Rabelais lived during the French Renaissance! Do you even know how long ago that was? Marcy and I were discussing our book reports about him. Mom, she’s just jealous because you gave me a Princess Phone for Christmas and not her. I am 15, after all.” 

“It’s not fair!” cried Susan. “I’m 14 and all I got was a stupid record player!”

“The very same record player you use every day listening to your beloved Beatles?” interjected their dad peeking over his newspaper. “And if I’m not mistaken, the famous foursome are appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show tonight. Now .. if you think there’s even the slightest chance you’re going to watch that show then you better stop arguing, apologize and help your mother set the table for dinner.”

“We’re sorry!” the girls sang in unison and ran happily together into the dining room. 

How did you manage that minor miracle?” Evelyn asked her husband.

“Elementary, my dear. It’s called communicating.”

Is that so? Sounds more like ‘bribery’ to me!”

NAR © 2018

THE EIGHTH OF DECEMBER

While cradling my year old son 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 Bill as he sat on the sofa, his head in his hands, told me his team was playing badly. I kidded him about being so serious about a game but he didn’t react. I softly called his name and when he looked up at me there were tears running down his face.

As I sat next to him he turned to me, took my hands and 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 fell to the floor sobbing 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 my husband held me in his arms and I wailed in unimaginable anguish and disbelief. We sat on the floor for a long time, clinging to each other, unable to stop my tears or unhear the words coming from the tv.

At one point my three year old son crept down the stairs, frightened and wondering what was wrong with mommy. My husband quickly scooped him up and returned 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 in the world was ever ok again.

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

NAR © 2018

THE YUS BUS

Other people often popped in and commented on her FaceBook posts, especially the rock music and Beatles groups. Reading their comments was an enjoyable way to pass the time. For some reason most of the responders were guys. Many posts were benign remarks, some were a bit more animated while others were downright hostile. Once in a while she would respond to the posts but always ignored the vitriolic ones. Why throw gas on a fire? 

One response to her Beatles post caught her attention. The guy who responded was intelligent, imaginative and his comments were thought-provoking. He didn’t kiss-up or act like a know-it-all. He mentioned music and groups which she was familiar with and that intrigued him .. pieces like Supper’s Ready and The Cinema Show by Genesis. To her surprise, she was delighted that he was a huge fan of this magic music. 

They began a casual correspondence on FaceBook, exchanging music videos and introducing each other to new artists. But the glue of the relationship was their love of the Beatles. The more they chatted the more they realized how much they both adored the Lads .. really got them and appreciated them above all others, especially John. How ironic, how enjoyable, how lovely. 

While “talking” one day, they discovered another common love existed .. writing .. and he encouraged her to pursue a long-abandoned passion for writing. They exchanged emails and a most unusual and unexpected relationship blossomed. He sent her rough drafts of his stories, asking for her opinion, critiques, etc., and she did the same. It didn’t take long before this became a frequent routine. It came as no surprise that they greatly admired each other’s work. What was unexpected was the multitude of similarities they shared .. not just in music and writing but in everything in their lives. There was only one word to describe their relationship – ineffable. 

It’s rare for two people who have never met to develop an inexplicable union .. one in which messages are exchanged at the exact same moment and identical words are used to describe feelings and sensations. They communicate daily ..  emailing and phoning, sharing a smooth cyber slow dance, afloat in an indescribable soulship of loving affection .. a bond that can’t be broken. There is no longer “him” nor “her” .. in fact there isn’t even an “us”. They are simply “YUS” .. riding THE YUS BUS. 

NAR © 2018

TICKETS TO RIDE

“Well done? You call this well done? Not one single seam is sewn straight. Sloppy! Now rip it out and start again.” 

More anger and ridicule rained down on me by my mother. Living with her was not all shits and giggles, as the saying goes. 

A rigid, controlling, aloof perfectionist who never let her emotions show or her guard down .. which is why what happened that ordinary day in August left both me and my sister bewildered .. squinting our eyes and scratching our heads much like the Pythagoreans trying to decipher that damn theorem. 

Suddenly the sky parted, a brilliant stream of light landed on the envelope in my mother’s hand, angels sang and my sister and I hugged each other, jumping up and down, screaming and crying tears of joy .. for peeking out of that envelope were three yellow tickets which read:

Sid Bernstein Presents

‘THE BEATLES”

Sunday, August 15, 1965
Shea Stadium, Flushing NY

Three passes into a world we only dreamed of, a fantasy land more majestic than any national treasure in the universe, tickets more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Clapping her hands, mother brought us back down to earth. “Hurry and get dressed. The show starts in four hours and traffic will be a nightmare. Dresses only, girls. No blue jeans and no shorts!” 

Sacred tickets in hand, we jumped into our 1957 Ford Fairlane 500. It seemed to take forever to arrive and we sang one Beatles song after another. In the distance we caught our first glimpse of Shea Stadium … glimmering in the sunset like the Land of Oz .. and the four wizards were there waiting to play just for us. Well, us and approximately 56,000 crying, screaming, hyperventilating and fainting fans.

My sister and I grabbed the binoculars and ran to the bottom of our tier to get a closer look. Hearing anything over the cacophony of squealing girls was almost impossible and we screamed and cried right along with them. At one point I looked back to see my mother singing and dancing in the aisle. Unbelievable! 

That night my greatest dream came true. I had reached Mecca, climbed Everest and walked on the moon. Being there was beyond surreal. It was the most electrifying and exhilarating experience of my life. That night remains etched in my mind and my heart for all eternity. 

Well done, Mother. Well done. 

NAR © 2018

#9 DREAM

Head resting gently on his shoulder, her ever-so-slightly parted lips barely grazing his neck, he inhaled the intoxicating aroma of gardenias in her hair and traced her perfect ear with his mouth. Her arms caressed his upper back while his hands slid down hers and he pulled her closer. They swayed across the dance floor to the smooth rhythm of John Lennon’s “#9 Dream” – their first dance together as husband and wife. 

Twenty seven years ago their mothers were best friends – army wives and neighbors, sharing morning coffee, exchanging recipes and sometimes a handkerchief to wipe away tears. Their babies napped  in the same playpen…..he a dark-haired, brown-eyed, sweet-faced charmer and she a fair-skinned  blonde little goddess with eyes as green as dewy grass. 

When they were four she surprised him with a worm and he plucked a dandelion for her that made her giggle. As time went on and days turned into years, they remained  inseparable – climbing trees to see if they could touch the clouds, catching lightning bugs and making a wish before setting them free, sitting in her room sharing their dreams, listening to their parents Beatles CDs while stretched out in his dad’s station wagon, kissing for the first time and a second and a hundredth. 

They “went steady” in high school and became lovers in college. They found an apartment above a shuttered café in Brooklyn. They talked about taking a chance on the old place and bringing it back to life. They worked together and finally celebrated the grand opening of “The Glass Onion Café”. 

It poured like cats and dogs on their wedding day – the old adage of a long and happy marriage.  Could this be reality, their happily-ever-after? Dreams shared in a teenage girl’s bedroom come true? 

Something old: her grandmother’s pearl necklace. Something new: the minuscule miracle of life growing inside her. Something borrowed: her mother’s “army wife handkerchief”. Something blue: her sapphire engagement ring. 

The Master of Ceremonies made the introduction of the new Mr. & Mrs. to the guests and invited everyone to join them on the dance floor. The photographer snapped shot after shot of the stunning couple – she in her exquisite gown of Scottish lace and he in a fitted, perfectly tailored tuxedo. 

It was the magical night everyone intrinsically knew was meant to be; their #9 dream come true. 

NAR © 2017

#9 Dream serigraph by John Lennon