Thursday, November 12, 2009

Canada John meeting '69

This story comes again from Beatlefan magazine (because I have a large collection of Beatlefans magazines!). This time it is from the April/May 1985 issue and was written by Robert Davis.

I remember standing on the balcony of my house looking up at a clear blue sky. A plane was skywriting a message. AF er a half hour, the cloudy letters collectively read: "War is over if you want it." It was December 17, 1969. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were in Toronto with their Bed-in for Peace.
At this time, my mother was the secretary to the Toronto correspondent for the New York Times.

Later that day, the Lennons were holding a press conference at the Ontario Science Centre. Like any 13 year old Beatlefan, I wanted to be there. But upon arriving with my mother, we - and the 500 other non-press fans - were not allowed inside. My mother instinctively pulled out her press card and flashed it at the security guard. New York Times? No problem. And in she went. Not me, thought. So I left my mother with these instructions: "Get an autograph."

Anyone who knows my mother will attest that one of her strongest attributes is she's fearless. No circling photographers, journalists or talking heads were going to stop her from fulfilling y request. She approached the main podium. She was stopped. She flashed her New York Times card. No problem. She ended up sitting less than two feet behind and directly in between Lennon and Ono. I've affectionately called my om the Fifth Beatle ever since.

Now, at these moments in life it pays to be fearless. She approached Ono, handed her a sheet of paper.

"Excuse me, Mrs. Lennon, but would you mind signing this for my son?" She signed it Yoko Ono Lennon, then passed another sheet to Lennon, who just scribbled "John" on it.

The sheets used were the mini posters of their peace campaign message, "War is Over if you want it -- Happy Christmas from John and Yoko." They immediately because priceless treasures, the envy of all my friends and soon after, wrapped in plastic and stored away in my attic.

Mid-December 1980, for obvious reasons at this tragic moment in our lives, I started thinking about what had happened to my autographed posters. Eventually, after searching through a decade of accumulated stuff, I found them. Someone had ripped them both in half. Even more horrid, the monster had taped then back together, placing the scotch tape used, now quite yellow and brittle, over the autographs!

They are still treasures though, even more so in 1985. They say so much. Once just pieces of paper thrown into a crowd of fans back in 1969, today, autographed by Lennon and Ono, their meaning is even more powerful and the event still stands tall in my memory.

War was eventually over, just as we always wanted it to be. And the only happy Christmas we didn't have since then was Christmas 1980.

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