“And I Love Him”

If you are one of my 8 faithful readers, you may recall that I’ve mentioned Paul McCartney in a previous blog (“The Rock(y) Road to Country Music”) and alluded to my devotion to the Beatles, especially Paul. Let me say right now that I know this was (is) a shallow crush, based on physical attributes. In my defense, I offer this argument: What baby boomer woman of a certain age doesn’t have the Beatles in the soundtrack of her life?

It started when I was eleven watching the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”—standing in front of a black and white television in the basement of my parents’ home. The rest of the family was upstairs watching on the newer TV. I was alone because I was in trouble (nothing new) and because I didn’t want those people spoiling it for me. I was still in my St. Bernadette’s uniform—blue jumper and white short sleeved blouse with a Peter Pan collar. (It wasn’t a good look for anyone.) The first time the camera zoomed in on the regular features of the cutest Beatle, I was a goner. Throughout my life (so far) I have been drawn to the Irish-Anglo look, brown hair, and a face that shows warmth and self-deprecating humor. Not having dated Paul, I can’t attest to his sense of humor, but my first real boyfriend had a great sense of humor and his first name was James, which is Paul’s first name. Bet you didn’t know that. Anyway, my Jimi (yes, that’s how he spelled it) was also a brown-haired charmer, who thoroughly broke my heart when I was 15.

In 1965 I saw Paul, and the other three, in person when the Beatles performed at D.C. Stadium. In those days, I could name (and sing) every Beatles’ song in three chords. I had the order of the songs on the albums memorized because I had played them so often on my pink and white record player. Seeing the Beatles, even from a distance as was inevitable in a stadium, was so thrilling that I can’t remember it. I mean that the experience was so huge I was just in the middle of it and had no room for storing memories. So while I can’t recall specific moments, I’ll never forget the feeling. I was twelve then and no other concert has ever surpassed the sheer thrill of that one. I wonder sometimes if our iPhones have pushed us back from experiences. I mean it takes you away from the moment to take a picture, tweet a comment, or post your status. You lose the connection and immediacy or at least I do. Over 50 years ago I watched those tiny gods of music on an unadorned wooden stage without big screens or pyrotechnics and listened to probably marginal amplification. But I was there, present, completely overtaken by the sound, the sight, and the wonder.  I’ll never forget it.

For a few years, I flirted with devoting my personal Beatlemania to John, the smart and tortured (but not as tortured as George) Beatle. My cousin Sandy and I would cut out and save pictures of our favorite Beatles from teen magazines. She would give me the Johns and I would give her the Ringos. But at home, I had a secret stash of every adorable expression that crossed Paul’s face. Before this gets sickening let me mention that I had a real life, too. I went to college, got married, had a career, got married, had a son, got married. But I always kept my eye on Paul. I liked his post-Beatle music, his nearly 30 year marriage to Linda, his devotion to his children, and his obvious grief at Linda’s passing. He and I lost our spouses in the 90’s—that was a bond. I like that Paul was and is the marrying kind. I especially like that Paul usually marries women who are friends and in an acceptable age group (no twenty year olds, thank you very much).

Flash forward to 2005, when my husband and I saw Paul perform in Sacramento. It was an amazing concert, just as the concert on October 8th was amazing (more on that in the next blog). At one point I took my eyes off the stage and looked at Mike, my self-deprecating and generous husband, with his Irish-Scottish DNA, brown hair (no mullet, thank God), and sometimes brown and sometimes hazel eyes. Yes, the resemblance is definitely there. I’ve come full circle.