Monday, February 10, 2014

British Invasion

The British Invasion. That's how I remember the fifty years ago arrival of the Beatles. Yes, I was in love. Paul. No I wasn't one of the screaming fans in the streets, but I would have been if my mother had let me go all the way to New York City.

And that is the key. Not the distance. The mothers. And the fathers. Those parents who saw these Beatles as invaders. They didn't look threatening to me when Ed Sullivan brought them onstage. Threatening they were to an older generation.
So the boys in my school started wearing Beatles style hair cuts. The girls started wearing black. Not me, but a few of my friends. That didn't threaten me like an invasion should. I was young, having fun, forgetting that our nation's innocence was shattered only months before in Dallas, Texas. Nor did it threaten my mom. She laughed. She tsk-tsked. She knew it wouldn't last, as in "This too shall pass."


Fifty years later the tributes keep coming.

Fifty years later their music keeps charming the hearts of young people.

Nearly fifty years later I captured Beatles stories for Lessons Learned. How the eighth grade students begged the teacher to play their music during after lunch quiet time. How one boy lost his mop-top wig during a Beatles impression in front of the PTA. How bluegrass music and Beatles music shared equal time at school dances.

I captured Kennedy assassination stories, too, from the same people. They didn't connect the two, neither did I until talking faces on TV this weekend pointed out that the timing of the Beatles phenomena wasn't all that a coincidence. It was us, the American youth, looking for relief from a tragedy not even three months old. Maybe it began our healing process.

Last week I interviewed a ninety-two year old man for a project I'm currently working on. He said one thing that reminds me that yes, we, those who lived back then, are authorities about the Beatles, about the Kennedy assassination, about the past.
This is who we are. It’s not that we’re so knowledgeable, but we lived what we know. If that makes any sense. The way we remember things is because we lived it. 
Remembering the Beatles, watching the tributes fifty years later, what joy that was to me, especially since three months ago the television and online buzz was all about a fifty year old sadness that never went away.

Catch of the day,


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