Could it really have been 35 years ago?
How is that even possible?
I remember that day, so very well. Actually, I guess I remember the morning after that terrible day.
I woke up in our apartment, pretty early in the morning for a twenty something young woman. My husband had already gone to work, but my shift at the sandwich shop didn’t start until eleven.
I woke up. I stretched and yawned. I think I cuddled with my cats for a few minutes. Then I guess I got up and made coffee: I don’t remember this part of the morning. This part came “before”. I probably poured a cup and wandered into the living room, where our big old TV sat in its big heavy oak box. I probably plopped into the armchair in that small living room after hitting the button to turn on the news.I probably sipped my coffee.
I don’t know for sure.
All I know for certain about that morning is that I heard the news man saying, “John Lennon was shot to death last night outside of his apartment in the Dakota.” I remember that I gave a cry, that a terrible sound of shock was torn from me. I remember that I stood up, and that I walked toward the TV screen.
And I remember that someone described the shooter, saying that he stood “in a military stance, with both hands holding the gun and aiming at the target.”
I remember falling to my knees and crying.
John? John Lennon? Our John? I couldn’t believe it. I was numb and in shock and shaking.
I had already lived through the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy, of Martin Luther King. I had been to peace marches and rallies and anti-war gatherings.
I had grown up with the Beatles. I saw that first appearance on Ed Sullivan. I memorized every word to every song.
I played “Revolution #9 Backward” to see if Paul was really dead. I cried when I heard about Yoko. I cried when I heard that the band had broken up.
John Lennon was like my older brother; handsome, wise, talented, a little bit mysterious.
I couldn’t believe that he was dead.
Mostly, though, I couldn’t shake the image of someone facing him “in a military stance, with both hands holding the gun and aiming at the target.”
How horrific! How could we live in a country, I asked myself, where anyone could get ahold of a gun like that and kill someone so good and caring and talented? How could someone just take John away from all of us?
It’s now 35 years later. My questions remain the same. The answers remain just as elusive.
John, we sure could use you now.