Posted by: loripalooza | December 8, 2008

Remembering John

imagineI wore all black today, as I have every December 8th for the last 28 years, my silent tribute to the anniversary of John Lennon’s death.  He died at a time in my life where every little thing was poignant, 19 years old, sophomore in college, four-months pregnant and chock full of hormonal angst, so you could imagine the shock when something big happened, like hearing about this icon, this genius poet, this angry, potent music maker, peace lover, political artist, this man being ripped so violently from our lives!

I was sitting at a cheap fold-up card table (that was to be my dining room table for the next four years, it turns out), in a chilly one-room apartment, struggling over my Latin homework I took on a whim with my boyfriend–so romantic!  So stupid!–and looking for distraction from the complicated, dead words in front of me, from the unending wobble of the table, from the ever-so-slight swell of my belly that occupied my mind’s every waking moment.  I turned on the little portable radio that was sitting on the table, tuned to KUGS, where Hannah and I were DJ’s together for a short time, but there was something wrong.  There was some sort of a scuffle going on, on-air, and then I figured out that they were saying John Lennon was dead.  How could that be?  Then, as the disjointed story came together, I sat numb.  And my stomach seemed to harden a bit under my too-tight shirt and I looked down in fear, then wonder, as I saw and felt a ripple cross beneath my skin.  I had felt my baby move for the first time!  A tiny Loch Ness monster swimming across the surface of  my belly! How could one experience such a mix of sheer  joy and utter sadness and horror at what was playing out in New York at the same time?  With tears, apparently, buckets and buckets of tears, happy, sad, scared, confused and thrilled.

Now, whenever I think of that awful moment of realization that Lennon had been killed, I think of that other moment where life reared up to meet death.  And when I think of John now I’m not so sad; I think of him singing.

And where were you when John Lennon died?



  1. I was watching a Beatles movie, maybe Hard Days Night but I don’t remember for sure, in the Fairhaven dining hall, taking a break from studying for finals. There was free coffee and donuts. Some guy ran in yelling that John Lennon had been shot and we told him he had some nerve making that kind of a joke during a Beatles movie. It turned out he was telling the truth. I think I pretty much flunked whatever final I had the next day.

  2. I was also in college, studying at Holland Library at WSU. When I got home, three of my friends were waiting for me by the front door and we all fell apart. For some reason, I had been in my heaviest-ever John Lennon mode for those past few months. Years later, when I went to New York for the first time, The Dakota was the first place I visited, and Strawberry Fields the second. When my son was a baby, I played “Beautiful Boy” often, holding my baby and heaving with sobs. I guess I used Lennon as my guaranteed-crying release. I wish I could say he was ALWAYS my favorite of the Beatles, but I loved Ringo when I was 4. I switched to John when I was in fourth grade, and stayed loyal.

  3. I remember coming home to the duplex that I shared with 2 roomates and Howard Cossell had just annonced the news on Monday Night Football. My roomies and I put on the white album and burned a fatty.

    I also remember a moment of silence that they had on FM radio about a week later. I was home visiting my folks and I went into my bedroom and cried like a baby. The only other time I’ve shed tears over the passing of a celeb was when Jerry Garcia died in 1995 (although I will admit to squeezing out a few when Steve Largent retired. If I’d only known what a douch he’d reveal himself to be I’d have kept my tears for somone more deserving).

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