We lost John in a December, thus this particular blog, it doesn’t matter what year to me now. It was a long time ago. Many generations have grown up without his flame, but they still have his music, his art, his drawings, his books, his movies and his influence, but even that’s starting to wane. Young people of today don’t know that much about his campaigns for peace, just that he used to be in a band with Sir Paul McCartney, the founder of Wings. That he was the leader of the Beatles, that the Beatles were his idea, that he was the interesting Beatle, that he wrote the better songs, that he took the brunt of the abuse heaped upon the Beatles by paranoid politicians and right wing fanatics, that he told the world All You Need Is Love, that he wrote the opening credit songs for Help and A Hard day’s Night, that he loved cats, that he was a great poet and an artist and a philosopher. Yeah I get it. Paul is a lot easier to look at and to swallow, but that’s why you needed John—to balance out pretty with awesome, to give weight and authority to the poetry of rock and roll. John was the first young person through the locked gates of society and he declared them open to all.
Once when my wife and I went to the rock and roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio to see a John Lennon exhibit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There was his white baby grand piano shipped down from his apartment in the Dakota, there were his early school and childhood drawings, including the Daily Howl, confiscated by many a teacher, but passed around to lots of fellow students for big laughs, there were his hand printed lyrics and poems, and dozens of his pen and ink drawings, his lime green Sgt. Pepper’s outfit, videos of his interviews, performances with and without the Beatles, posters, record sleeves and much more, but I must admit I wasn’t fully prepared for the end of the tour. There in a tiny glass case sat a crumpled nondescript brown paper bag with his clothes in it that the police had given to Yoko after his murder. And up on a glass shelf above that horror were the actual blood-splattered glasses that had fallen off his face when he fell to the ground, gravely wounded from six bullet holes to his body. I couldn’t help myself in that numbing moment of stopped time and warped space, a leak of warm tears came to my blinking eyes, blinding me. I tried to swipe them away, but that only made things worse. Something in me broke all over again. I wanted to stay there with those glasses, to protect them, but my wife eventually pulled me away and we left. I was at a loss for words.
I miss John the person, the friend I never met face to face for a friendly conversation or beer. I guess that’s all I wanted to say here for now. I did see John Lennon once in a dream. We were sitting in a small modern looking kitchen with our feet up on a beautiful butcher’s block table in the middle of the room, both of us tilted back in our chairs. I noticed that he was wearing red socks, which I thought was unusual, but kind of like something he would do. I told him I loved him and we both started laughing and I felt happy about the fact that we were laughing together. Then I woke up.