Happy Birthday to my Brother – Overshadowed by the Lennon’s Death

My brother was only 8 when John Lennon was shot and killed. Ever since that horrible night in NYC, he has shared his birthday with the death of one of the most beloved humans, John Lennon.  Unfortunately, that matters to my brother. Even though we love and celebrate his birthday, there is a melancholy aire about this date every year.

I was reading from my teen journal not too long ago and saw this written on a piece of paper in there. “Dad woke me up and told me that John Lennon is dead. I know Dad didn’t like him but I think he was crying.”

I DO recall when Dad came to my room that night. I went straight to bed after working at the York Steakhouse at the Altamonte Mall.  He woke me up and delivered the news that John Lennon was shot and killed. He didn’t like how I had changed my my taste in music from Motown and R&B to the hard rock of Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Lennon, Clapton etc. Dad didn’t agree with Lennon’s acts of civil disobedience.

Mom and Dad loved the clean act of the orginal Beatles as a boy pop band, Ray Charles, Ricky Nelson, The Partridge Family and such. They could never imagine that all of their fave acts were also living a secret life of civil disobedience, drugs and alcohol abuse, and more.  Dad was square. He was then and is still anti-beatnik / hippie. Yet, ask him now and Dad will tell you, “John was always my favorite Beatle.” I believe him.  

I was too idealistic about love to blame Yoko for the break up of the Beatles. John seemed happy to me. So what’s wrong with finding your soul mate and living your life to its fullest INSTEAD of being a rock star?  I always respected him for standing by her and walking his own path of truth.

After all these years, I am still angered by the same injustices. The love that Yoko and John shared for each other still inspires me. The reckless passion to love others and work for peaceful solutions is the standard of courage in my book.

This is the image of John I had in my high school scrapbook. On the left side of the back cover I pasted the lyrics to The Pretender, my favorite song. On the right, my favorite picture of John underneath Lady Liberty herself.


Happy Birthday Denny!!


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