I remember exactly where I was when it happened: On a rocking chair trying to get an obstinate six-month old to go to sleep. The television was on but I wasn’t really watching the football game. That is, until Howard Cosell stopped his play-by-play to make an announcement he felt couldn’t wait. John Lennon was dead.
The baby sensed my shock and settled down. I put him in his crib. Then I went into the next room, turned off the light, crawled into bed, and covered my head with blankets. I stayed that way until noon of the following day. Only the week before I’d heard Lennon on the radio, returning from a five year hiatus from the lusting, grasping hands of adoring fans. He needed to get off the carousel, as he said, and learn to bake bread.
Although there are many great songs on his last album, Starting Over, I wish he’d become a baker instead. Many of you were probably in diapers (or perhaps not even a twinkle in your father’s eyes) and have no memories whatsoever of those dark days that followed his death but for me, it was the end of a dream.
I don’t have many pictures of Christmas mornings when my kids were small because let’s face it – who wants to have their picture taken after you’ve stayed up until 5 am putting together a bicycle using instructions written by someone of dubious technical skills and then been woken at 6:30 AM by children anxious to see what Santa brought?
The above picture was taken the year my Aunt Gloria knitted us all brightly colored beanies. Didn’t help – I still look like a bloodless vampire.
This picture was taken after I’d opened a box of fortune cookies from my “Secret Santa.” Look at how excited and happy I was. Thanks Cousin Penny; exactly what I wanted! Of course that was the year my sister and I drank a bottle (or two) of wine while making our contribution to dinner: scalloped potatoes. Dinner time came, everything was ready to go but whoops! We’d forgotten to turn on the oven. My step mother was not amused.
Eventually your kids become teens and it becomes impossible to wake them before noon, even on Christmas morn. When you finally get them out of bed, they look like this all day long.
At least Boo was attempting a smile.
At one time I was so good at the Christmas thing that my children got into fights at school with non-believers. Now Christmas Eve my daughter and I have been spotted enjoying Happy Hour at the local vegan, gluten-free beach shack as the sun sinks into the Pacific. Shhhh, don’t tell Santa.
Can you see my daughter Boo in the above picture? I’d gotten her up early and started taking pictures before her shower and beauty regimen so she refused to have her picture taken. What do you think Cam was excited about getting?
Happy Christmas from Boo, Cam, and their buddy Bobart (a nickname).
I’ll be away for Christmas – here are a few posts from past Christmases in case you miss me:
And my favorite Christmas song.
War won’t be over; fear won’t be a thing of the past but all is not lost. Down at Henri’s Beach Shack wine will be five dollars a glass until 7 PM. There might even be a jazz band.
We found ourselves in New York City on a beautiful day without any real plans when over beer I got the urge to see Strawberry Fields. Luckily the pretty blond waitress knew just how to get there: take the subway toward the Bronx, get off at 72th street and walk a few blocks east to the park. Once at the park it would be easy to find, she explained, as there were always people playing guitars, singing and passing out flowers. She didn’t mention that this route would take us past the Dakota.
When I realized I was passing the vestibule where Lennon was shot, my heart stopped as it had on that Monday evening a lifetime ago. I knew then it would never regain the rhythm it once had. The carefreeness of hope was gone forever.
But I mustn’t be grim. That we had him for the time we did, we should be grateful. And I am – yeah, yeah, yeah – YEAH!
Me and the lads hanging with the Maharishi!