Beatlemania!


English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arr...

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arrive in New York City in 1964 Français : Photographie de The Beatles, lors de leur arrivée à New York City en 1964 Italiano: Fotografia dei Beatles al loro arrivo a New York City nel 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My brother, sister, and I lie on the twin beds in my parent’s bedroom to watch the tiny television on the dresser.  It is 1964 and Paul, John, George, and Ringo are about to invade America.  We watch as each Beatle pops out the cabin door of Pam Am flight 101, shocked to find 5,000 American fans waiting for them at the newly named John F. Kennedy Airport.  Like any normal thirteen-year-old female, their mop head haircuts make my heart beat faster.

There were times when my mom did something really unexpected and rather cool.  One morning she sat at the kitchen table tucked into the breakfast nook reading the Sunday paper.

“Do you girls want to go see The Beatles in concert?” she asked, casually.

“Do we…what??…yeah!”

She carefully cut out the coupon in the Los Angeles Times and sent in the $4.95 for each of our tickets.  We waited a couple of weeks before we knew if we made it in, and one day when we arrived home from school, there on the  table sat two tickets to the Hollywood Bowl, in Row R, which means you could see the Beatles about as well as  one of our cockroaches across the room.

But we were ecstatic!  On the night of the concert, my sister and I got all dressed up.  I wore stockings and heels, since I was now one year into teenhood, and my sister, eleven-years-old, also wore her favorite dress.  No one thought, or cared, how we were going to get the twenty miles to downtown Hollywood, and my mother finally told us to take the bus.  There were several transfers involved, and although it wasn’t rocket science, I didn’t have much experience.  But hey…it was The Beatles!  So off we went.

Somehow we got on the right buses and made it down to Highland, near the Bowl.  Now what?  I looked around and saw hundreds of people, all walking across the street in the same direction.  Everywhere I looked were men with longer hair than me…much longer than Paul, John, George, or Ringo!  And the clothes!  Dirty bell-bottomed jeans, flowered shirts and beads.  Clearly, we were had entered another universe.  Oh well.  We followed the crowd.

The Beatles stepped on stage and the crowd went wild.  The screaming and cheering did not let up for three hours.  It was hard to even tell which of my favorites the Fab Four were singing. From our seats in the nose-bleed section, we got a glimpse or two when a friendly seat neighbor took pity on us and loaned us her binoculars.  I stared at the face of each one, my heroes.  A few times during the night I thought about what I was doing…sitting in the middle of a screaming mob with my baby sister in tow, all alone.  For her sake, I wore my brave face.

After the concert ended, the idea was to take the several buses back home and walk from the bus stop.  It never occurred to me that this was not something you asked of a thirteen-year-old girl and her eleven-year-old sister.  Thirteen then and thirteen now are two completely different ages.  I was still playing with Barbies.  But hey…it was The Beatles!

Somehow I got mixed up and we missed the last bus home.  It was the middle of the night, and the two of us stood on a street corner in downtown Hollywood after calling home and raising my Dad’s wrath.  As we waited for him to drive the twenty miles to get us, cars blew past, some honking their horns.  Guys leaned out their car windows shouting to us, only to laugh and stick their heads back inside when they saw we were children.  I felt responsible for the situation we were in, worried that I had messed up by missing the bus and getting my sister and me in a dangerous position and in trouble with Dad to boot.  Where was he anyway?  Didn’t he realize something could happen to us out here all alone by ourselves?

All You Need is Love.

– John Lennon

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14 comments on “Beatlemania!

  1. I missed the last three of these because I didn’t know you posted them….It is like reading a good book and frustrating cause I want to keep reading….Linda, your story is fascinating and I can feel the little girl’s pain and abandonment. What a miracle you are…….love you, D.

  2. Thanks Dixie. I added the “Follow Blog Via Email” to the left just in case something didn’t work. I’ll be posting often so let me know if you don’t hear from me!

  3. Linda Clarke on said:

    I related to what you were talking about Linda. One weekend I went to visit my now husband at college I lived in the Bay Area at that time. I took the bus and had to have my dad pick me up at the bus station, only to be told that my parents had friends over and he would be there when he could. I couldn’t believe that my father of all people would leave me in a bus station until it was convenient for him to come to get me. My heart sank when I read that you had to call your dad and perhaps experience his wrath. I too was raised in the 60’s. I am looking forward to hearing all of your story.

  4. A very cool mom, indeed! That would NEVER have ever occurred to my mom. I was probably a little older than you at the time. Luckily, I had a boyfriend who was cool — and he took me to see the Beatles in Chicago — 1965 – and a few years later. Guess it worked. We’ve been married for mucho decades!

    • Linda,

      Thanks for writing and for looking at my blog! I love to tell people I saw The Beatles in concert. Those were the days, huh? I also saw lots of other groups over the years, including The Rolling Stones, but seeing The Beatles is one of my claims to fame! I absolutely love your blog. I ended up becoming the matriarch of our small family at 38-years-old, and I didn’t ask the questions I wish I would have. I am always thinking that when I have a little more time I will join Ancestry.com and get started. Your blog is wonderful, and I’ll be checking it out. Thanks again!

  5. Hi Linda…..it’s Greg from Calif. Wow….I was very touched by your blog. You have an amazing writing style….it makes one feel as though they were standing right there with you. Good for you! Your story is captivating….I believe it will touch many hearts…..the Lord bless you for sharing! Please give my regards to my buddy….:-)

  6. Jane on said:

    I was amazed that Anybody would do such things. Know that I am reading with great expectations. So many things, so many memories and so much to absorb.

  7. JR Reynolds on said:

    Grab another cup of coffee and keep writing. You have stories to tell. Love it!

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