When I was in elementary school I made my first friend outside of my family and the kids that grew up in my neighborhood. She was (and still is) a sweet girl without a mean-spirited bone in her body.
She had this gorgeous long hair and adorable freckles and when she sang soprano she had the voice of an angel. I was soooo jealous of those freckles and pretty hair. Mine wasn’t awful, I admit now. It was long, too, but thin and fine. When it was all the rage to have high bangs this girl showed me how to do it and man, no one’s bangs went higher than hers.
Her home was quite a distance from mine, both in actual distance and in family life. My dad wasn’t around much, if at all, and I didn’t (and don’t currently) have a relationship with him. I have an older brother and a younger sister but our ages are close, somewhat. My brother has 10 years on my sis which can be interesting. That age difference may as well be a generation, I think.
She also had older siblings but they had already graduated and moved on to college or whatnot. I’m not sure I ever met them. She also had a younger sister who was about the same age as mine. Her parent were together and seemed to have kept it all together and I remember a feeling of envy in that.
My new friend absolutely loved The Beatles. She knew every song by heart, could drop trivia answers without breaking a sweat and essentially was ahead of her time musically.
She was the first one to let me know I shared a birthday not only with John Lennon but his first son. October 9 for those not in the know. She also was the first one who made me truly understand the sadness of the assassination of John Lennon in 1980. I was so happy to coincidentally share a birthday with a member of her favorite band. It was a nice connection.
I’ll admit now that back then I thought their music was hokey. You wanna hold my hand, really? Cheesy.
Finding out some whack job had killed him made me infinitely sad and way more patient about listening to their music. The White album comes to mind most. I was quite the sensitive child and that may have been the first real sign of it, that patience with another person’s music. Enough repetition and I eventually did grow to love The Beatles.
As my music tastes “matured” I slid more towards The Doors but The Beatles were always there, hiding in the background at parties. I remember in high school when someone finally figured out the lyrics to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and I was all, well yeah, they went to India and discovered LSD and rattled off all sorts of facts I had learned in middle school. Trippy that I remembered and awesome how everyone looked at me that day. Knowledge is power.
My friend and I drifted apart as kids tend to do. Through all my travels and with all the people I’ve met, however, every time The Beatles were brought up or when I had a birthday, this friend would be on my mind. Thousands of miles apart, years whipping by and this girl remained in my thoughts. I imagined she had an interesting life and wanted to know she was okay but… I was thousands of miles away and couldn’t check on my old schoolmates.
We reconnected through FaceBook a while back and I have to say she’s one of few I was thrilled to see on the people you may know list. And I was right. She has one of the most interesting lives. Check out daydreamsfromthespectrum.com if you’re curious.
The anniversary of John’s murder had me thinking more about those distant connections. Or the near hits and misses.
A very popular bassist went to our high school. He dropped out, eventually joined up with a HUGE band and made a name for himself. Definitely our most famous alum.
In high school I knew his former guitar instructor through friends. We used to go and party there all the time. One night we went to the man’s house and I imbibed a little too much and passed out in a side bedroom. That bassist showed up that night and hung out and I missed it. Seriously.
So that’s a connection but not, right? Connected through school and friends but never actually met in person. I assume he’s a great guy and I’ll defend him to the death because of those connections.
Our lives are a series of events, a series of people we meet and forget and a series of but a few people we’ll remember when we have Alzheimer’s and are in the home. I imagine I’ll be talking to a nurse about Aquanet being the best hairspray to keep bangs high and how triangular colors on our eyelids can make them look bigger and have the color pop and she’ll nod and pat my hand and not know that this information could save her life one day. Or something. Hopefully, in the background, will be a loop of the songs that twang the heart strings and bring back the sweet memories of my youth.
Post Script: my friend let me know I erred on which son of John’s I share a birthday with. Allow me to offer my correction and apologies. As she said, “Poor Julian. Always forgotten” but not intentionally, my friend.