I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy birthday, John

Yesterday would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. I saw many references to it, and I find it very interesting that thirty years after he was killed, he is still remembered and even revered by so many. He was the Beatle who meant the most to me, and I followed his career closely. I was among those who were devastated when he was shot and killed.

I found this picture of him on the Internet, and if you enlarge it, you can see it is made of myriad different images of him. I remember when he took several years off to raise his little son and be a stay-at-home dad. Not many men would do that in those days, although today it's much more common. He was such a creative and amazingly talented person, but I am still surprised that he is still in the hearts of so many of us. I still miss him, and I wonder what he would have done with those thirty years that were taken from him.

Today is a special day in other ways, too. It's October 10, 2010, or 10/10/10. Next year we'll have an 11/11/11, and the year after that, 12/12/12 which is supposed to be the End of the World. Or some believe it's 12/21/12, to be exact, right at the Solstice. I spent some time reading about it on Wikipedia and found that the ancient Mayan calendar ends at that time, and several other people and fringe groups project significance on the date. I suppose as we get closer we will have many more apocalyptic warnings. Reminds me of the Y2K hysteria.

Today, however, I can simply admire the symmetry of the alignment of all those tens lined up in a row. Exactly the same number of years that John had stolen from him by a madman's gun. I can still wonder what he might have accomplished in those years. When I look at Sir Paul McCartney's thirty-year journey, and compare what I think John would have accomplished, I speculate about where John's brilliant and unique mind would have traveled.

We were of a similar age. He was born in 1940, and I was born in 1942. I will be seventy in two years, and it's been an amazing thirty years, when I think back to the person I was in 1980 and travel backwards in time through my memories. One event stands out: a few days after John was killed, there was a worldwide solemn moment of silence planned at noon, I believe. I know it was in the middle of the day, and I was in sunny Boulder just leaving one of my favorite restaurants. Suddenly it grew quiet all around me, and I remembered the planned moment of silence and stopped where I was and allowed myself to feel the heaviness in my heart.

It grew very quiet, no cars whizzing by. The only sound at that moment was from a young man riding by on a motorcycle with a boom box on it, playing "Strawberry Fields Forever" at full volume. Everywhere around me I saw tears glinting on faces, loss and grief fresh for a man we only knew through his music. But what music it was.

Happy birthday, John. I still hear your music wafting through the airwaves, almost every day, thirty years later. Your songs have never lost their magic. I guess they never will.


Grandmother Mary said...

A statue of him was dedicated yesterday to commemorate his birthday. Our loss for sure.

CiCi said...

That is a pretty cool picture of John. He is one musician I admired tremendously for more than his musical genius. He is missed very much.

Linda Reeder said...

Where was I in 1980? I was a busy stat-at-home mom with two little kids, five and seven, the same age as my grand kids are now! I had not had my ear to popular music for quite a while, between struggling as a young teacher, getting masrried, starting a family. So Lennon's death did not strike me as it did so many others. It was only in later years that I began to catch up to the message in his music.
A nephew of mine is getting married today, and from what I understand, many other weddings are taking place today as well, on 10-10-10. I don't know if it is an auspicious day, but it will be easy to remember.

Anonymous said...

In Canada we have a radio program on CBC which is called Vinyl Tap. It's hosted by Randy Bachman. Last night the whole program was on John Lennon. Bachman played music of John Lennon which was not produced commercially. It was an awesome 2 hour show.

Anonymous said...

I always have Pandora.com tuned to the Beatles, so I hear John's voice a lot. Love his DOUBLE FANTASY cd.

Two of my friends were convinced the world would come to an end at the turn of the 21st century. Well, never happened. LOL.

Jo said...

I'm so glad that in all the tributes paid to John Lennon, no one has mentioned the name of the horrible, deranged person responsible for John's untimely death. He did it just for the fame, and Lennon wasn't even his first choice. How random is that!?

That's an amazing photo of him.

PeterDeMan said...

Nice story, well written; enjoyed it. We can only hope it will be Strawberry Fields forever. The world was such a different place during the time when the boys from Liverpool invaded our country, Few people my age will disagree it was a better world then.

Gigi said...

A truly gifted man - he is mourned by many.

Paige said...

so sad hes gone.

Robert the Skeptic said...

I was never a big Beetles fan until after Sgt. Pepper, when they started to become truly unique.

When I hear "Imagine" I still get tears in my eyes.

Buz said...

The time Mr. Lennon took to be a househusband (after his son Sean was born) really impressed me, and the retreat from the spotlight was refreshing.

The 2012 stuff is just another opportunity to exploit our fears and take our money. It has already started with movies and books, and now I'm trying to figure out where to book my inter-planetary flight. Better safe than sorry! ;-)

Donna B. said...

I liked John alot, but I flipped over Paul. I even wrote him letters. I remember hearing of John's death and I literally stood in shock. I could not believe he would no longer spin his creative mind making music, wrtiing and I ached for his son Sean.

I always admited his LOVE IN he and Yoko had.

I saw the film 2012 and wrote about it when I first started this blog. I also remember all the panic for the year 2000.

I'm with Linda. In December,1980, when John was murdered, I was raising my two daughters who were one year and three.

I remember reading an article in Playboy about John and Yoko. John said something about not worshiping idols like James Dean or John Wayne, but stars who had survived, like Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson... I think he would have been such an interesting older man.

Another well written, open and genuine post DJan. I just love reading your work.

Far Side of Fifty said...

The other day I wondered..what would he be like at 70..It seems that these singers that die young..like Elvis get to be larger than life and more famous after they die.
That 12 12 12 stuff is just spooky:)

Rosaria Williams said...

I'm here because of Eva's blog. I figured that all her followers might lift my mood!

Linda Myers said...

Nice tribute.