One of my colleagues was in my office the other day and asked me, “So, do you just sit here and listen to The Beatles all day?”
“Well yes, I do,” was my reply. “Is that bad?”
In fact I listen to many things, but I have found this online Beatles station that I will sometimes pull up on my computer and keep up for days and days and days. Weeks, even.
I was the child who, at eight years old, cried real tears upon hearing of John Lennon’s death.
This is one way that I am absolutely the daughter of my father.
My parents had married and then separated by the time I was two. Romantic relationships that are begun at the age of 16 are not usually meant to last, and the if these relationships produce a child, that does not normally improve the chances for the union’s longevity. And so it went the way they normally do with these things…my parents each went their own way, putting many states between them – Mom and I in Connecticut, Dad in Florida.
My first visit to Florida was via a flight at the age of six. As an “unaccompanied minor” – that’s what they called me – I was ushered to my connecting flight in Atlanta by a “stewardess” – that’s what we called them. I wasn’t scared for a minute. For years to come I always regarded flying with wonder and awe, because it always reminded me of going to see my favorite person in the world.
Florida and summers with my father were like Heaven on earth. Dad, unfettered by the daily responsibilities of caring for a child, was relaxed and ready to enjoy each moment with me. He didn’t just speak to me, he related to me, and on many levels regarded me as equal to him. I was just this tiny person, and yet he treated me with great respect.
So it began during these very early visits that my father would venture into his stack of Beatles records and play music for me, telling my what my mom’s favorite Beatle’s song had been, telling me anecdotes about the Fab Four, and trying to express just how rapidly the world was changing when the Beatles were making records.
Much of our time together was spent listening to Beatles music, and when our time drew to a close each summer and I returned to Connecticut, I was both comforted and overwrought to hear a Beatles song, for I was reminded of precious time with my father and also of how very long it would be until I could see him again.
My father told me that the question had once been asked, how had The Beatles been so successful? The answer was that it was because two of the greatest songwriters in the world had grown up within one mile of each other. In a depressed, working-class city in England four very young men came together and made music that was so rousing, penetrating, and transformative that today, several generations later, I have students in my office noting my Beatles calendar and remarking that they too love the music. In fact I had a kid in my office recently who spent a half an hour making his case as to why John was the better songwriter than Paul.
Just think, for almost 35 years I have been listening to these songs and have not yet tired of them. Even today I hear these songs and I feel love for my Dad. Either that speaks for the timeless and incomparable talent of the group, or it speaks for the indestructible bond that I have with my father. I believe that it speaks for both.