Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Day the Music Died

The Matron was just a Young Miss when John Lennon was killed.

In her first year of college, she was just acclimating to the ups and downs --and dramas -- of dorm life. Evenings, she air-popped popcorn and made cocoa on a hot plate. She, of Liberal Inclinations, all sorts (and farther left as she ages, actually, which extends to an appreciation of people who don't share her views) was assigned to a fur-coat, fraternity-hopping, Republican party girl for a roommate.

It didn't take long before they hated each other. But that's another blog post.

On December 8 -- the day of Buddha's enlightenment and her own mother's birthday -- Young Miss and her roommate were pretending the burnt red hatred in the room didn't exist and studying in silence in the dorm room. When the building exploded with grief.

Cries of "John Lennon is dead!" "They killed him!" popped through the hallways. People pounded on their door. Students poured into the common room, weeping.

On the lawn, a bonfire instantly appeared, where distraught, sometimes wailing, young people kept vigil all night, worlds shifted because of a loss of not just an iconic figure, but someone who touched each of them personally.

When the news first broke, here is what Young Miss said:

"Who's John Lennon?"

She didn't know. She had never heard of the Beatles. No, she didn't grow up in a cave but a psychological and aesthetic desert, which she's accommodating for now.

Clearly seeing how important the death of 'what's his name' was for all her peers, the Young Miss pretended that she too believed the end of the world was nigh. She stayed up at the bonfire, feigning an odd combination of grief and knowledge.

Sitting at the all-night bonfire of grief, a college friend asked Young Miss: "What's your Lennon favorite?"

Young Miss (not knowing a single song or even certain if this Lennon guy wrote them): "He's such a genius. I can't pick!"

And so it went. But the bonfire was fun.

Flash forward a decade to when the then Young Miss was 'living in sin' (according to 58.9 of the Catholic family members and she means people, not percent; someone was on the fence) outside of marriage with her soon-to-be husband.

John, while listening to the radio: "Isn't that a great song?"

Young Miss: "Was that the Beatles?"

John, establishing patience as a virtue: "Mary, that was Joni Mitchell."

Before you judge her, know that anyone can read four sentences from Gone with the Wind and the Matron can supply, from memory, the next sentence. This is a HUGE book. She'll pit that against the Beatles fans any day. Plus, she named her daughter Scarlett. Where are all the Lennons in the kindergarten class?

But now she knows who John Lennon is and got a little whimsical (and outraged) yesterday. And she's forgiven the college roommate and wishes her well, hoping the same psychological courtesy has been extended in her own direction.

7 comments:

patti said...

I had the same college room mate! It only lasted a semester. And did you make ramen noodles in a hot pot? We went out and toasted John Lennon with beer, I was 18, the legal drinking age, then.

Yolanda said...

Its been awhile but glad to have found you again . I really enjoyed this post.

kcinnova said...

I haven't raised my kids in a cave nor in a psychological and aesthetic desert (which pains me for your childhood), but we recently discovered they couldn't name a single Beatles song. I hope they have good faking skills.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I get the cluelessness. Really. It's as if I learned everything in my 20's that everyone else knew a decade prior to that. Weird.

I can recite Little Women. And I'm proud of it. "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents!"

MJ said...

Joni Mitchell went to my high school (well before my attendance). I grew up singing Joni Mitchell's songs and thought "Yellow Submarine" was written about me ~ give me a break 'cause I was 5 years old & desperate to have a song with Maureen in its lyrics!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I am actually like you were with the Beatles--I have NO clue about Joni Mitchell!

Jil said...

While growing up my brother played the Beatles songs over and over. While stoned I am sure. But that was ok because it was the 70's! I know every song!

My daughter's middle name is Leigh after Vivien Leigh. Love GWTW. Best book and movie. I hope my daughter grows up to as Scarlett was in the book but no Asley, please!

BTW, I was pleasantly surprised to see your daughter's face in the newspaper today for an advertisement of the Little Match Girl.