John (and The Beatles) have been part of my life for my whole life. They are part of my DNA, my history, my insides... They were the first thing I remember claiming as 'Mine'. You know- those things, whether they be bands or authors, or fashion styles, or concepts? The ones you know more about than anyone else, that you love more than anyone else. The ones you knew about before anyone else and the ones you return to after all the other fads and fleeting fancies have faded. They are yours. The Beatles are, and always will be, mine,
In 2008, my Lovely Husband took the Awesome Teenager and I back to the UK to meet his beautiful family. I was so proud to be able to stand beside him and meet his parents and siblings and say (on the inside) "This amazing man of yours chose me." His family embraced Max and I and made us feel so welcome. They made us theirs.
And, because the Lovely Husband is also the Unbelievably Cool Husband, he indulged my Beatles fanatacism, and we added a few Beatles pitstops along the way :-)
We crossed the pedestrian crossing at Abbey Road....
So fun. We did it about 6 times- totally pissing off the local traffic!
We went to The Cavern in Liverpool
It is apparently totally acceptable in any Beatles place, to write all over everything! The front fence of Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern all were just covered in words of love, names, signatures. My name is on a table right near the stage in The Cavern. Look for it when you are there next....
We went to Penny Lane...
We didn't see the barber shaving another customer, or the banker sitting waiting for a trim... but we did see some pretty scary parts of Liverpool!!
And then, when we went to New York City, we visited the Dakota Building......
And we stood in the place where John was shot.
I remember Maxy saying, "Smile, Mum" as he was taking the photo. I didn't smile. Couldn't smile. I felt so wrong standing there. And I was so angry and disappointed that there was nothing there.... it was just a building. No plaque, or flowers or anything memorialising the terrible, fucked thing that had happened there. The doorman (in that little bronze tube thing) just looked at us, with absolutely no expression or emotion. Like he had seen us a million times before. Like the fact that I had dreamed about standing on this spot and adding my tears to the millions that must have been shed there for as long as I could remember, meant nothing at all.
We walked across the road into Central Park where there is a memorial garden for John called Strawberry Fields. And even here, there was no monument huge enough to match the need I had to mark my feelings for John. I wanted a visual representation of the fact that John had died. That he had died and he was mine.
Three years later, I am still confused about my feelings on our visit to the Dakota. Our other Beatles stops were fun and awesome and so cool. They made me re-remember how much I loved them, how important they were to me. But standing at the Dakota just made me remember that shit things can happen. That life is often unfair. That it is ghoulish and creepy to sensationalise a death, or the place of a death. Or to focus on the negative aspect of life.... to see the shit, the crap, the death.
So today, on the day of John's death, I will remember to be positive. I will remember running across that pedestrian crossing in St Johns Wood over and over again, laughing with my soon to be husband, my 12 year old son and my beautiful Angela-sister. I will remember calling my Dad from The Cavern club- waking him at 3 in the morning back in Oz, cos I just had to share it with him.
I will remember that my beautiful, Lovely Husband made my dreams come true.
*Edited to fix GLARING error!! 8th of December is not John's birthday, and I am a dumbass.