Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

03 December 2010

Five for Friday

I'm loving the season of Christmas music but to be honest, I don't want to overdo the seasonal music this early in the month so I've decided to redirect. There's a story here though, so you'll have to suffer through it, as I've decided to reminisce.

A pivotal event changed my life during the summer before grade seven, in August of 1976. I was visiting my grandmother's house. Not the cool one either - the one whose house had nothing in it for kids to do except help Gran in the kitchen or watch the Tommy Hunter Show on a long, rain-soaked Sunday afternoon.

Sitting on the stairs watching a spider spin a web, I noticed the bookcase on the landing. I'd seen it before but I'd never - you know - NOTICED it. It was a big one, stuffed right full of about a thousand Readers' Digest magazines, dating back to the mid-1940's. For a bored pre-teen, it was better than nothing, although I now understand the intrinsic historic interest of those old, perfectly-preserved magazines.

Each had been read exactly once, by my grandfather, and placed in chronological order in the landing bookcase for posterity. I had little respect for such meticulous organization and with adolescent carelessness, I pulled one after another out of the shelves and began seeking out the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" pages, stacking each book beside me as I moved on to the next. Occasionally, my attention would be drawn to an article or a picture and I'd skim through but, until I reached one particular issue, it was simply a way of passing the time.

On the front cover of the October 1966 issue, much as they do today, Readers Digest had listed the keynote articles. I registered something about the Beatles, a music group from the Middle Ages that I had vaguely heard of at some point in the past and, with the bored detachment of long-suffering youth, I flipped to the page indicated, thinking that if I'd actually heard of them, they must've been worth the mention, sort of like Beethoven.

There on page 72 was an ink line drawing of three girls watching TV with typical teenage dramatic intensity ... oh, I totally GOT that. Within a few lines, I was giggling. You see, I'd been there, my friends and I, only a few months earlier, except the band that owned our hearts then had been the Bay City Rollers. Now, in my jaded 12-year old maturity, THEY were baby stuff. I was a prime target for the charisma of Beatlemania.

As I read, my excitement grew. THIS, I understood! This was perfect - there were four of them. My three best friends and I had recently made a pact NEVER to like the same boy, so that worked out well. The girls in the article could've been US! The article was 10 years old, so the Beatles were really old now - a major drawback - but all the pictures I had seen of them were from the 60's so the ILLUSION was right. THIS could be the answer to our prayers ...

Finishing the article, I squealed in excitement and did what any teenaged girl would do upon making an important discovery - I ran for the phone to share the WONDERFUL news.

That was my introduction to the Beatles ... despite an admittedly unmusical foundation, my early case of Beatlemania developped into a life-long love and admiration of their music and their history. A few years later, I asked my grandfather for the magazine and he gave it to me. I still have it, along with various other collectibles that I unearthed amongst my older family members. It still amazes me how many people were touched in some way by this group of musicians.

Some childhood things follow us into adulthood - they are meant to be part of our lives. I have recently begun collecting cover versions of Beatles's songs. Some are treasures, some are merely atrocious. This is the theme of my playlist. I offer it to you in the hopes that you are led to remember some way in which the Fab Four has touched your life. Enjoy!


Jamie said...

What a delightful story. As time passes it becomes ever more obvious just what a miracle the Beatles were both as a group and as individuals. You included "Across The Universe" which was one that I hadn't really heard until the movie by that name came out. Great song.

Mike Golch said...