Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.


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Thursday, December 08, 2005

It Was 25 Years Ago Today...

... that the world lost John Lennon.

I won't venture to explore Lennon's life, body of work, or influence, since so much has been written so well by others (check out almost any news site today), and I could not come close to doing these topics justice. But I do want to share a personal recollection, since I think Lennon's murder is the "where were you when...?" event for the children of the 50s and 60s, as JFK's was for our parents' generation.

I had come home to Silver Spring from YU for a few days that early December 1980 to celebrate Chanukah as well as my double birthday (being 19, my Hebrew and English birthdays coincided that year). I had to catch an early train back to NYC on the morning of the 9th, so I went to bed early the night of the 8th, and rushed out of the house the next morning without a chance to even glance at the morning paper. Thus, during the three-hour train ride, I was blithely unaware of what had occurred the night before. I did notice that people on the train seemed more subdued than usual, but didn't think much of it. It was only after arriving at Penn Station that I saw the blaring, unbelievable headlines on every newsstand daily.

Over the next few days, there was non-stop Beatles on the radio, not only on rock stations but even on ones that typically did not play that type of music. The general reaction at school, at least among my circle of friends, was shock and sadness, and many attended the vigil at Strawberry Fields that Sunday (I was sick in bed and couldn't make it). For a few days, us yeshiva bochrim were all Beatles fans, sincerely mourning the loss of a man whose lifestyle and values were far outside our Orthodox Jewish ethos.

There were two specific reactions to the death that stayed in my memory. One is the words that Walter Cronkite used to open the news that evening: "The death of a man who sang and played guitar, overshadows the news from Poland, Washington, and Iran tonight." It was vintage Cronkite; just the right mix of sincerity, earnestness, and gentle irony.

My other vivid memory is of a young caller into WNEW-FM that Sunday. With an anguished, trembling voice, he cried out: "I don't understand. How can John have been killed? How can something like this happen?" The DJ - who was either Dave Herman or Ken Dashow - was dead silent for a beat or two. Finally, fighting his own emotion with obvious difficulty, he choked out, "I have no answer to that. Stay with us. We'll get you through it."

I imagine there is a heaven reserved for those - of any beliefs - who brought joy and pleasure to the world. May John's reward be as great as the impact he had.

2 Comments:

At 12/8/05, 4:39 PM, Blogger Elster said...

Nice post. It's funny, here we are 25 years later and Q104.3 in New York has Breakfast With the Beatles every sunday morning.

Their music hold up so well 25 yrs later bvecause it's timeless.

 
At 12/9/05, 2:05 AM, Blogger Daniel S. said...

John is missed.

 

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