Monday, August 27, 2012

Lennon Sightings by Pat Simmons

In the Feb/March 1985 issue of the fanzine, Instant Karma!  Beatle fan, Pat Simmons was asked to write about her experiences "sharing air space" with John and/or Yoko.   Pat wrote up the following letter.   Only one of the photos she sent was published in the fanzine.   I would like to hear more about the party after the George concert at the Hippopotamus club.   Recently photos from that event have surfaced. 

Sean and his nanny:  October 8, 1979 (eek! it was my 3rd birthday!)  photo by Pat Deese

Sorry I never told you about seeing John and Yoko.  Actually I never really met them, just saw them so there’s a not a lot to tell.  I saw them at EMI in August 1968 and 1969.  Most of the time then, John would just help Yoko out of the Rolls, wrap himself around her just about, and go up the stairs with her.  He was Very protective of her because “fans” (if you can call them that), would call Yoko various uncouth names.  He never stopped and talked and I can’t really blame him.  None of them would really.  Well, I saw Paul stop a couple times but only to sign autographs on the run from car to stairs.  The crowds were unreal.  In 1968 when we were there, I‘d say about 50 or 60 people were waiting around EMI.  By 1969,, more fans had begun working and of course the first thing you saved up for just about was to go to England!  So the crowds by ’69 were closer to 100, and Emi is on a tiny street.  With a tinier parking lot crowded with cars.  About the most outstanding thing that happened was one time when getting out of the Rolls, Yoko caught her foot and fell forward, colliding into Lynn (my high school friend I was with).   Both Yoko and John apologized, while Lynn looked at John as to say, “Run into me anytime you fool.”  But John hadn’t run into her, Yoko had.

The next time I saw John wasn’t until 1974 when we were in New York for George’s last couple of concerts.  That was funny!  We were waiting around at the club where the after-tour party was with our eyeballs glued to the doorway to see who would arrive.  We’d found out Paul was in town so we were kinda hoping we’d get a double whammy and get to see Paul and George.  Anyway, I was busying staring at the doorway when one of my friends said under her breath, “oh my God, it’s Lennon!”  He had arrived by limo but the limo had pulled over to the curb a fair distance from the club doorway because of the traffic and parked cars. So they had to walk from there to the doorway.  Anyway, after Tempy, the friend of mine, made her announcement, I whipped around and said, “Lennon?”  I was so shocked!  By that time, Mr. Lennon was about a foot away from me with a big smirk on his face – he’d heard me!  I couldn’t have said, “John” right?  I had to say Lennon.  I felt so stupid.  John, meantime, was immensely enjoying watching everybody whip around and their eyeballs popping out of their sockets.  He said, “Keep cool everybody, keep cool.”  And looked at me and grinned, and then I knew he’d heard me.  I wanted to crawl under the pavement!  It lasted a split second, it was embarrassing, but God, it was neat!

The only other time I saw him was for another split second in 1979, the day before his birthday when he took Sean to Tavern on the Green.  We saw him come out of the doorway, get into his limo, which was parked under the archway, and then when he came back, he got out of the car and stopped long enough to take some birthday presents from some fans.  Laura, one of my friends sitting in the car with me, whipped outo f my car, ran up to him, shook his hand until his arm nearly fell out of its socket., and said “happy birthday John God I can’t believe this….”  Despite the crowds, he ate it all up, particularly getting the presents!  Laura managed to babble something about would he mind if she took a photo and when he said no, go ahead, she took one but she was shaking so hard it’s a tad bit blurred.  Knowing Laura, she also probably forgot to focus too!  Poor child.  It meant a lot to see him because we’d been waiting all week and only saw him that once, and after not having seen even a photo of him for so long.  One last thing – when I first saw “the” license plate number (which we’d industriously memorized when the limo picked him up and pulled away earlier) in my rearview mirror and announced John was coming, I opened my door and nearly crammed it into  that limo, which by then was right beside me.  I could just see me putting a big dent in that limo!  Two other friend of mine (Pat Deese and Ann Tishelman) were in the back seat and we were so flustered in getting out of the car (I zipped out into a street full of moving cars without even looking and left my car door wide open!)   I forgot to move the seat lever so that Pat could get out of the back seat.  Pat was so flustered she forgot the seat had a lever, so she contorted her body and squeezed out between the seat and the car, landing on West 72nd Street on hands and knees, whereupon she crawled over to the curbside.  It must’ve been hilarious!  I laughed for an hour when she told me about it later.

I’m enclosing the photos my friends and I took. I took a whole roll just about at EMI, and that particular roll was in the camera that I LEFT ON THE TRAIN on the way to Liverpool!!!  I was more upset about the film than the cheapo camera, needless to say.

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