Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah

, February, 1964

I'm sprawled on the living room floor, playing a cut- throat game of Candy Land with cousin Patty. Patty's sister, 14-year old Vicky,  was glued to the "Ed Sullivan" show. Our television had Ed on every single Sunday night. Not to watch Ed was un-American.

I had just moved my game piece three spaces down Lollipop Lane, when cousin Vicky emitted this loud, feral scream.

"Paul. Paul. I love you, Paul!" she chanted, all the while shimmying and shaking like that one time at Christmas when Grandmom had too much eggnog and danced the 'Charleston' until she passed out under the tree.

I stared at my parents black and white RCA television set, trying to determine what was driving Vicky absolutely  mental.  All I saw were four young men, dressed alike in gray suits,with the shaggiest hair I'd ever seen on a man. In my whole five years on Earth, I'd only seen men with no hair, short hair, or crew cuts like my Dad, the ex-Marine, always wore.

I immediately started to scream along with Vicky, because screaming was fun. These young men,  it seemed to me, had some mysterious ability to get girls to do naughty things, like use their outside voice in the living room. These were bad boys

I liked them.

Thus began my life long love affair with The Beatles.

The Beatles, it seemed, had a knack for getting me in trouble. Once, in the seventh grade at St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, I asked sister if I could bring a Beatles album into school to play the next time it rained and we were stuck inside for recess. She agreed, much to her regret. 

When it rained a few days later, I  put "Abbey Road," on the classroom record player, and started to get down. or, least, getting down as much a 12-year old Catholic girl can do.  Everything was fine as kind until "The Ballad of  John and Yoko" came on. 

"Christ, you know it ain't easy, you know how hard it can be, the way things are going, they're gonna crucify me," John sang.

Sister sprung into action with an agility that belied her age, which I believe was about 187 years old. She ran to the record player, turned it off, and gingerly lifted the album off the turntable. She only used her thumb and forefinger, as if she was afraid that the devil his own self would somehow leap from the vinyl into her very soul. Sister slid the album into the sleeve and  returned it to me without a word. The next time it rained, the class got to spend the entire recess and lunch breaks listening to the groovy musical styling of Jim Nabors. 

Entire books have been written about The Beatles and their influence on society. All I know is this.....I can watch old clips of  early Beatles, and will still find myself screaming, using my outside voice. 

After all these years, those boys still have it. 

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