I was still living with my parents then (Rent free as long as I stayed in college) and as usual for a Monday Night, we were watching the Football game. Monday Night Football was an event in and of itself. It was what people talked about the next day, even if they didn't normally follow football. My dad was a die hard football fan, so we always watched. We weren't particularly interested in the teams playing that night, but this was the pre-cable era and choices were much more limited.
And then we saw and heard this:
I found it somewhat frustrating that no one in my immediate circle felt quite the way I did. I longed to be somewhere like Central Park in New York, with the ongoing memorials that lasted for days. Those people were at least having company in their mourning. As someone who was born at the beginning of the 60's, I was hardly new to the idea of assassinations or death by violence. Although I have only the faintest recollection of JFK's death, I have vivid memories of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy; of Kent State (only 15 miles from my home, much covered in the local papers) and many others. And I had observed the hysteria of Elvis' death 3 years earlier as well. Lennon's death was like the perfect storm of all these events coming together.A music icon dying violently. And I, just a few months short of my 21st birthday, felt this was the worst coming of age gift ever.
Since then I have listened to a lot of Beatles music and a lot of Lennon's solo music. It has certainly stood the test of time, at least to me. Just like a really good book I find new things each time I listen. And as I get older many songs take on different meanings.
My most profound feeling, at the time, was of being robbed. Robbed of his talent, of his presence, of the music. Only one other time in my adult life have I felt so profoundly cheated by the creativity gods, and that was when Jim Henson died.
Time as the cliche says went on. A couple years later I finally found a friend who felt as I did about Lennon, the Beatles, and the 8th of December. It was she who accompanied me to Strawberry Fields some 31 years after the events. There was a certain closure to that moment, of a quest of sorts fulfilled.
All those years ago.