Peace & Love For John
Back when the Beatles first came to the Bay Area in the early-mid 1960’s, I tried to meet them. Early on, I had a crush on Paul for his cuteness and an even bigger one on John for his lyrics.
I was 9-years old when a family friend, Kathy, and I devised a plan to meet the Fab Four inside the hotel we discovered they were staying.
We decided that we could pass ourselves off as an adult reporter if we dressed as a man in one of my dad’s suites. Kathy was a year older than me, so she wore the pants, while I put on the suit jacket and hat. I then sat on her shoulders, and when we looked in the mirror, we thought we looked like a full-grown man.
I was tiny for my age, but that did not stop me. We practiced being an adult man for hours. We stood and spoke in front of a mirror, pretending we were a reporter. Being the top portion of the disguise, I got the speaking part and did my best to say, “I’m a reporter from the Palo Alto Recorder.” But no matter how hard I tried, I kept saying, “I’m a recorder from the Palo Alto Reporter.” I thought that was our biggest hurdle.
So the day came. Kathy and I packed our suit halves and set out to walk the 5-mile stretch to the hotel. Along the way we saw the helicopter flying above transporting the boys, urging us to walk faster.
A 5-mile walk carrying a suite and lunches turned into a long trek. About a mile or so before we neared the hotel, we realized it was going to get dark, we were tired, and hungry. I’m not sure who made the decision, but we ended up turning around and aborting out meet and greet. But, that sparked a life-long love of all things Beatles.
Now it’s 30 years since John’s death, a day I will always remember as one of those moments I could not perceive as true. His writing and voice and independent way of living was, and still is, embedded in my psyche. He taught me to be who I am, to write my way, to love myself, and make the most out of this short life.
In the words of John…
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”
I miss you John, and so does the 9-year old me standing tall as the Recorder from the Palo Alto Reporter.