Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Invited inside Friar Park






This is a story about when one lucky fan was allowed to meet George Harrison inside the gates at Friar Park.   This story appeared in the July 1977 issue of "With a Little help from my Friends" fanzine.  The thing is that this story is confusing.   I think in part because it was written by someone who is not a native English speaker.   But mostly because I think part of the story is missing!   Does anyone have the June 1977 issue of this magazine and could check for me if the beginning of the story is there?  I don't know how Renia got inside of the gates, but from what I infer in this story is that she was invited inside (by maybe George's Dad) and was showing him photos that Pat Simmons had taken of him during the Dark Horse tour.   The fortunate fan (who left with not only George phone number but also a kiss) was Renia Frankowska from Poland.

 
Then I wanted a photo of George and Olivia, and I told them, “and now both of you, please. I know you hate it, but please…”

“That’s all right, “said George. He embraced Olivia, they both smiled and seemed ot be very happy together (lucky Olivia….)

As I said, I took out the photos from George’s tour, and was giving him them, by turns.  He seemed to be very interested in them, as he never saw them before.  Also Harold was looking at them.

George kneeled down now, and when he was watching the photos, I took pictures of him.  Oh, yes, those photos where he kneels down and looks at something – they are these photos!  I was near George all the time, but then I thought, why not move on, approach him a bit more?  So I changed my place and squatted very near him, so near that my arm could feel his shirt and arm.  II don’t have to say how sweet and nice it was for me!  The nearness and the presence of his person made me so very happy!  And while George occupied himself with the photos, I was looking at him. I looked at his hands.  Wonderful.  His hands, with long slender fingers, have always been the object of admiration for me and my friends in Poland.  And I remember them “ordering” me to see his hands carefully, if I meet him. Oh, please don’t laugh, but it’s true – I wanted to see them, close to my eyes.  Thank God I had a very good pretext - George had a very nice ring on his left hand on the last finger.  It was, I think, the same ring he has in the picture you sent me recently from “Hit Parader” magazine.  You can hardly see it in my photos though.

So I took his left hand in mind and said, “Oh, what a beautiful ring!”

“Yeah, it’s from India, eight carrots…”  I hope he didn’t guess what I was really doing – looking for an opportunity to see his hands..suddenly.   George shouted (almost)(  “Look!”  He pointed at someone in the photo, at the aum sign.  It looked so sweet and funny that I had to smile.  “How many people did you have in the group?”  I asked him.

“Oh, I twas also as Indian group – there were about 15 people  ... the group was too big…” he said, lost in thoughts.  And then he said, with big enthusiasm and animation, pointing at Billy.  “It’s Billy Preston!  Do you know – did you hear about Billy Preston?”

“Of course, I did.”

“He’s fantastic on stage!  So full of energy!”  He gestured with his hands how full of energy Billy was.  “But you are full of energy too, aren’t you George?”  I asked, but he said nothing.  And then I said something – well, all the girls think the same, but where did I have so much courage from?  I said, looking at him, “Oh.  You’ve got such long lashes..Some girls don’t have as long lashes as you have…”

And I looked at him, scared of what I said, but George said very quietly, “No…” shaking his head and cast his eyes down and smiled in a special way.

In one of the concert photos he was photographed during his talk with Ravi, and he looked at it and turned ot Harold.  “Look, kids take pictures even at these moments.”

“Kids?  She’s not a kid!”  I said.  “She’s 27!”

“Well, people.”  Said George.

“She has seen you so many times…”

“What’s her name?”  he asked.

“Pat Simmons,” I said. 

“Pat Simmons..yeah,” said George looking as if trying to find the right person in his mind to this name.

“Yes.  She’s also a big fan of you.  She has seen you many times.”

“Yeah?” said George.

In one of the photos, he is standing with the acoustic guitar, so I asked him, “It was during ‘My Sweet Lord’ or what?”

“yeah.”

“You’ve got many guitars, don’t you George?”

“Yes.”
“How much?  Fifty?”

“Nooooo! (he was thinking for a few seconds) about twenty.”

“Oh that’s nice.  You gave one to Mary Hopkin.  When I read it I was not too pleased.”

“Yeah, because she wanted to play a guitar and didn’t have enough money, so I bought a guitar for her.”

“Oh.  You’re so good, George!” I said.  Next I had black and white photos which I gave to him to see.  During that time Olivia had gone (only Harold was still standing near – unfortunately!), but now she appeared again and said something to George, very quiet, point at the door.  So I got up quickly and said “Oh, George, you’ve got to go….”

“No, that’s all right,” said George, stretching out his hand for another photo.  It was so nice of him.  “How many concerts did you do?” I asked.

“About 45.”  I mentioned about his pirate flag, and George looked at it, trying to restrain a smile and said “I don’t know who put it on, looks so stupid…”  During that time Olivia came again and said to George that this man, a manager or somebody important (in show biz) is still waiting – don’t know what she said exactly, so I got up and said, “You’ve got to go, George…”  But he only showed by gesture of his hand that I should squat again, and said, “Not, that’s all right.  You came a long way, waited for so long.”  And I think it was Harold who said, “You are not just anybody else, you are on special privileges.” And smiled.  Oh please don’t think that I’m presumptuous and that was my invention, but he really said that!  I was so surprised and so very happy of course.  Then George said, after Harold, “Yeah!” I told George about my meeting with an Indian man a few days ago and about a letter he advised me to write to him.  I also told him that this man wasn’t too pleasant.  About the letter he said, “Oh, that’s not necessary,” and smiled gently.

“It was Kumar Shankar, you know, Ravi Shankar’s relation,” I said.

“Kumar.  I don’t know what is going on with him.  You shouldn’t care.  He just doesn’t like when somebody disturbs him,” said George.  (When Harold heard about my letter to George, he said, “So you’ll get it tomorrow,” and George just laughed.)

Then I asked George, “Do you still practice yoga and meditate?”

“Yes.”

“Every day?”

“Yes.”

“How long?”

“As long as I can.”

“Oh, George, thank you very much for all the books about Krishna. Once, you took my letter to Los Angeles and went to Temple and asked to send books for me.  Thank you!”

“Oh, that’s all right.  Were they sent to you?” he asked.

“Yes!  Thank you very much!”  And then I said, “I was receiving letters from many people from Krishna movement – form Holland and West Germany.  They were asking me if I could help them to open the Temple in Poland, but I don’t think it would be possible.”

“They were trying in Moscow too, you know, but no…” George said.

Then I asked him, “Is it hard to meditate?”

“Yes, it’s quite hard.  Some people say it takes years before they could meditate.”

“Does it help for sadness or something like that?”

“Oh yes.  And your energy is going inside, not outside.  You know, everybody shows energy outside and it’s inside.” He said accenting some words.

I said, “I would like to be able to meditate.”

“You should while you are in England.  Look at the yellow part of the telephone book,” he said pointing a finger at me.

“Yes, I will.”  And then George became serious and started to explain something to me, he was translating something.  He was very involved in what he was saying, looking straight into my eyes and was expressing everything by hands, used them a lot, and was talking and talking and talking.  But what was he talking about?  With a big shame, I have to say I don’t really know because during that time I was looking at him and forget about the whole world.  I only remember that I was nodding my head and smiling stupidly, but I wasn’t listening!  George had ot notice this, as he sometimes tried not to smile.   Anyway, I’m sure he was telling me about meditation, yoga and religion, about God and Krishna.  And then, suddenly, somebody called on George from the door.  It was Olivia and she wanted to remind George that this man was still waiting.  So George looked at me with a sweet smile and “I’m sorry” expression in his eyes and on his face, and said that he was very sorry but now he really had to go.  It was almost 45 minutes that we were talking anyway!  So I said, “Oh, George, I’ve got my school for 6 days, all the weekend will be free, so could it be possible to see you just for a few minutes?”

“Yeah all right,” he said.

“As I wouldn’t like to take your time, to disturb you.”

“Yeah Yeah.”

“So maybe I should write and ask if I could meet you, or you could telephone me?  Oh I don’t know where you could telephone, I’ll not be staying at that woman’s, maybe I could just telephone you?”

And you know what he said?!?!

“Yeah, ok!”

“So could you write me your number?”

“Yeah, of course,” he said.  And George took my ball-pen and my memoir book which he signed and wrote his telephone number.  I was so surprised and happy, and I said, “Thank you very much.  I will not give it to anybody.  I promise!”

“Yeah.  All right. Yeah,” he said smiling.  And then he said, “I have to go.  A businessman is waiting for me, you know, I’m making a record,” and started to pick up all the presents I brought for him.

“Oh George, thank you very much indeed.  I’m sorry for disturbing you and taking your time (I tried not to cry, as my voice started breaking down).  George was standing looking at me, and I held out my hand to shake his, and then I made a gesture as if I wanted to kiss him on the cheek, and I wanted to ask him if I could, so I said, “can I? “  But I didn’t have time to finish, as George guessed what I meant, and you know what he did?  He just said, “all right.” And put his hand at the back of my head, at my hair, and kissed me on my right cheek.  Well, it was my chin, very near my mouth and then on my left cheek.  It happened so quickly that I didn’t know what was going on.  I was so shocked and so very happy.  It was so sweet and great and gentle.  So it was George who kissed me rather than I him.  But of course, I kissed both of his cheeks too.  Kissing him, I had to put my face in his beautiful hair.  George smelled sweet of freshness and cleanliness.  Oh my God, it was really wonderful.

I forgot to say that when George was giving me his telephone number, Harold said that when there’s nobody else at home there’s a machine, a sort of tape recorder, so you can leave a message and your telephone number, so George would know who was phoning.  And I said, almost shouted, like a fool, “Oh, it’s like in films!”

You can’t imagine how George burst out laughing!  And he said, pointing at me, “So you have a capitalistic country!”

So,  like I said before, George started to withdraw and I said, “goodbye George.”

“Goodbye.  God bless you.”

Olivia hung out from the door and said, “Goodbye Renata.”

“Goodbye Olivia.  God bless you.”

“God bless you!” she said with a smile.  And George started to go into his home.  I didn’t cry.  I was too happy.  And too shocked to cry, but I could feel how terrible and said it was that it was over.  I took the last photo when he was disappearing but it seems it didn’t turn out.  I looked for a long time at George, at his home with the flying pirate flag at Friar Park all in the brightness of golden sunset.  It was 7:35pm.

And we started, Harold and I, to go back, through the grass, shorting the way.

By that time, I turned my head a few times saying “Goodbye” in my mind; and I was talking with Harold a bit.  Especially we were talking about the girls who wanted to see George and some to Henly to see him.  Harold said that George wouldn’t mind to see and meet all of them but he has not enough time to do it, or he couldn’t do anything else but meet fans and answer letters.  I thanked Harold for such a big help. I really was very grateful!  And we shook hands, said goodbye, and I started to leave this paradise.

I went out through the gate.  It was open, of course.  The last look at Friar Park and I started to go down through a narrow street, near the fire station, called West Street leading to Hart Street.  I still wasn’t crying, I was too happy, too shocked, still having George in front of my eyes.  I think, I even was smiling to myself, and I had to look very happy when I was going back.  I suddenly saw Harold again, along with his son.  They were driving in their Rover car.  They saw me and waved to me form the care and I waved to them.

My dad said that he will be waiting for me upon the Thamas, as it was very warm and sunny.  On the way to the river there is a small church, just near Red Lion Hotel, called I think St. Mary.  I went in to pray, to thank God for all that happened.  And there, I burst into tears.  Then I started to look for my dad.  He was going by the river, opposite me.  And I saw him, I started to run and almost shouted to him, “Dad!   I saw him!”  I saw him!” 

“It can’t be!  Impossible!”  he said.

“It’s true,” I said, and showed him a memoir book which George signed, and photos he signed.  And when my dad saw them, his face brightened up.  He was so moved, started to hug me and kissed my hands and cheeks.  People were looking at us, that crazy pair, but we didn’t care!  My dad took a few photos of me to remember my happy face and we started to go back to our bus stop to get back to London.

And this is how the most happy and the most beautiful day of my life ended.


2 comments:

  1. Aww😍😘😍! If he were alive, I would do the same thing that Renata's doing. I love his short wavy hair and the English accentπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€. My name is Georgia! We both almost have the same name!! What a coincidence that isπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What was really moving is Renata's father reaction. What a loving dad he is.

    ReplyDelete