Thursday, December 08, 2005

25 Years Ago Tonight

I was lying on a couch in the Field lounge, Field being one of the four dorms on Orchard Hill at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, watching Monday Night Football, the Patriots in Miami against the Dolphins. Absurdly, perhaps, I remember distinctly New England coach Ron Erhardt deciding, on a 4th & 1 -- less than 1 -- at the Dolphin 2 yard line, on their opening drive, to kick a goddamned field goal!! I mean, what a dope! Like, Grady-stupid!

And it wasn't long after when Howard Cosell made the announcement:
"An unspeakable tragedy that came to us from ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Dead on arrival."
The shock and the pain was immediate and overwhelming. I was devastated, and the tears came quickly and easily. Lennon was 40. I was 21.

Few students living on campus that evening would sleep. Candle-lit gatherings formed incongruously about the campus center and along the pond. It was very late and not many would speak but they would hug and they would bawl. The experience was surreal, as is its memory.

And only a moment ago it was.

1 comment:

Let said...

I was 7 ...had no idea who John was, what he stood for. Just that he looked like an old hippie and people seemed very sad he was gone so he must have been a good man.

Today I'm 32. My daughter Sofia is 8. She doesn't know John, but she asked yesterday when she caught me tearing in front of the tv if he was a good man, and did I know him.

Life experience and the internet offers those of us who may have been too young to appreciate his life, to learn to love him after his death. Through his music, I think we did get to know him. If only for a brief while. He now has one more 8 year old fan.