Just a few observations about this story. The first is that Paul needed to have better security at his home in the 1960's. It sounds like girls were breaking easily and stealing things on a frequent basis. She didn't come through the bathroom window just one time. You would have thought that after the first time his clothes and things were stolen, he would have found better ways to secure his home so that more things were stolen. Another thing was just how nice George always is in these stories. He was so kind to the fans who traveled so far to come to his home. There have been so many stories about George and his willingness to chat with fans who have knocked on his door. The last thing that really stands out is that this story mentions Paul's girlfriend, Maggie. You don't hear much about her in general and I was always under the impression that she was a secret, but it seems that the fans knew about her. She even spoke with them, so I guess she wasn't the secret girlfriend after all.
This story was written by Sher Miller and was first published is issue #6 (from September 1978) of the McCartney Observer. All photos were copyright to Sher Miller.
It was Yesterday we met in a dream
By Sher Miller
August 23rd is a date that stands out in my mind for several reasons. It was John and Cynthia’s anniversary date, it was the date of the last time the Beatles did a concert in New York and most important of all to me, it was the date of departure for my parents and I go to England. August 23, 1968 was my first trip to England and definitely the best. Going to England was my High School graduation present from my father, and believe me it did a lot towards helping me work hard to pass my finals. We left New York the 23rd and arrived the morning of the 24th. London was a gigantic thrill for me; it had been my dream home since 1964 (along with Liverpool). It was incredible to finally be there, to really have the dream come true. We settled in our hotel near Hyde Park and attempted to get some sleep after the plane ride. I wasn’t haven’t much luck in my room. I was so excited. I called my pen pal Margaret and after chatting for a while we arranged we meet at the St. John’s Wood Underground station the next day so I could see Paul’s house as soon as possible. Next day I said goodbye to my parents (I didn’t see much of them during those two weeks but fortunately they were understanding) and I found my way onto the correct train to St. John’s Wood. Margaret and her friend Coral were already there and we said our hellos and exchanged presents. We walked towards Paul’s street and to me it was living in a fantasy. I just couldn’t believe I was really there. When I saw the famous Cavendish Avenue street sign and turned down the street I knew immediately this was very real.
|Paul holding Sher's peace beads in his hand.|
|You can just barely see Eddie's ears|
Before Margaret had a chance to say anything I spotted the huge gates that were in front of Paul’s house. We walked quietly past the deserted gates and peeked over the wall of the house next door. Everything seemed so quiet I began to think Paul wasn’t home. We went across the street and sat for about two hours when some girls showed up and stood by the gates. We watched them for a while just standing around and then suddenly they began to cluster nearer to the gates. Then we saw a head sticking out of the partly open gates and I about died. We hurried over there and there was Paul, holding Eddie (a Yorkshire terrier he had given to Jane before they split). Paul looked so beautiful. Maybe because it was the first time I’d ever been so close to this man who was my life, but I was just tongue-tied. I had my camera in one hand and a gift of some Indian peace beads in my other hand and I just stood there like a mummy not taking my eyes off his face. He wore a light blue turtleneck short sleeved shirt and dark pants. His eyes were so big and hazel and his hair dark brown with bangs. What a daze I was in. Paul spotted Margaret and said hello to her (she used to hang the house quite a lot) and I remember thinking later, “God I wish Paul would remember me like that. I believe he finally did remember me (not by name) in later years, but then I would’ve given anything to have been some of those English girls. Finally I got myself to pick up the camera and take a few pics. The camera was an instamatic that would advance the film automatically, and very noisily, and each time it zipped to the next picture Paul would look over at me with a “what was that?” expression. Ah recognition at last, even though it was because of a camera. After about ten minutes, I figured I’d better give him the gift, although by his reaction I needn’t have bothered. I help up my hand with the beads in it and said, “Paul?” He turned to me. “These are for you, they’re Indian peace beads.” I was absolutely choking on the words I was so shook. He took them from me and said (get this), “Thank you, very nice…not really, but you’re a guest.” Well thanks for nothing sir. I think I said something like, “you can give them back” but he pulled back his hand and wrapped them around it. He was smiling when he said it but I didn’t think it was so amusing. However, at the time I was in too much of a daze to let it bother me. Margaret didn’t think it was very nice though. He continued talking to the girls and posing for pictures for a little while longer then closed the gates. Margaret and I walked to the other corner slowly, deciding if we should go to the new Apple office on Savile Row (it hadn’t even opened yet at that time). As we were debating about what to do we hear this car horn going crazy behind us. We turned around and there was Paul driving up in his mini, waving wildly as he drove past. I was beaming from ear to ear, maybe that was his way of apologizing for the remark about the beads. In any event, I didn’t care what he had said and it ended my first meeting with Paul on just the right note. We did to go Apple after all that day but no one was there.
Unfortunately I didn’t keep a diary over there so a lot of the day following are sort of a blur except I know we saw Paul quite a few times driving in and out of his driveway. After days after my first time seeing Paul anther pen pal and I were walking up to his house and we noticed that something very strange was going on. A few girls were standing at the gate looking up at the bedroom window on the second floor. Well my friends and I looked up too and didn’t like what we saw. There were a few girls inside the house running around grabbing anything they could handle. Once in a while they’d stick their heads out the window and wave a sock or something thinking they were very funny – we weren’t laughing. Finally they ran out of the house (obviously Paul wasn’t home) and over the wall next door letting out Martha and Eddie as they did. They ran up the street and some people followed them and then came back to us reporting that one of the things they had stolen was Paul’s copy of Hunter Davies biography which he hadn’t even read yet and wasn’t released to the public. We were totally disgusted. They also got some papers and clothing of his. Well we decided to wait for Paul and tell him what happened, hoping he wouldn’t think we were involved. We didn’t have long to wait. He pulled up in the car and got out smiling at us. One of the English girls finally got up the nerve to tell him some girls had broken in and taken the biography. Paul looked furious and he asked us if we knew who they were but we honestly hadn’t seen them at the house before. We left as soon as Paul went in, after telling us to let him know if we see the girls again. Next day the girl who had stolen the biography hadn’t shown up and Paul sent Rosie out to see if she had come down. Finally she did come in the late afternoon with the book and rang the bell after we all really gave it to her. Rose answered and girl told her she’d give back the book if Paul would come out to get it himself so she could apologize. When rose came back on the intercom she said Paul would be out later. We stood around for a while then through a crack in the gate I saw Paul come down the stairs and get into his car, just then a cop came strolling down the street and we had to move away from the gate or be yelled at. We walked away just as Paul pulled out in the car expecting to see a bunch of girls waiting for him – what screwed up timing that was. Finally he spotted us standing down the street looking back at him. He drove the car up to where I was and said, “Who are the ones?” I pointed ahead of me to where they were standing and he zoomed up to them. The girl handed him the book through the car window, he said, “Ta, very much” and sped off without giving her a chance to say anything. I think it really bothered her that he hadn’t’ given her a chance to apologize but she was lucky he didn’t have her arrested.
Next day we found out from Rosie that Paul and Maggie had gone to Sardinia to get a tan so I had a chance to do some sightseeing with my folks for a change. Paul left on a Friday and came back on Tuesday. We were all down there when he arrived home looking very tan and handsome in a pink suit. Maggie was very nice and told us the Beatles would be recording later at EMI. Earlier in the week I had also had the chance (with Paul away) to see John’s home in Weybridge and unexpectedly Julian. He and Cyn were living there while John and Yoko were in London. We also saw Ringo’s house and his housekeeper greeted us at the door holding Jason (who was only a year old then). We seemed to be having good luck in seeing the kids that day. Lastly, and best of all we went to Esher and met George. He stood with us and talked at his front door for almost 20 minutes that day even though he had a house full of relatives. He was so absolutely fantastic to us; especially me for some reason, that even though this is a Paul newsletter I must admit George helped to make that trip something very special. He was just so nice and sort of shy and really down to earth. I couldn’t get over it. He posed with each of us, wore this crazy tie I’d given him around his neck the whole time. Told me when my finger was covering the lens of the camera one time when attempting to take a pic of him and Margaret then cracking up over it, he even went crazy over this plastic umbrella I‘d bought in London and called Pattie out of the house to see it (don’t ask me). He had his little nephew, Paul with him out there the whole time and his father watched from the driveway. He was just so natural and friendly to us this day it was a time I’ll never forget. Seeing Paul was something special to me because I loved him so much he didn’t even have to do anything, but George actually went out of his way to make us feel comfortable. It’s something I’ll never forget about him.
Anyway, the night Paul came back from Sardinia, we went around to Emi where there was quite a crowd, as there always was when the Beatles were recording. They were doing the White Album at the time and were expected to record the album for the better part of the month. I must say my timing was perfect. One of the Beatles assistants, Kevin, was passing out pieces of paper to the fans there and I managed to get one. It was an invitation to take part in a Beatles promotion film for “Hey Jude.” I asked Kevin if only the English girls were being allowed to go. He assured me that anyone could come and so we all arranged to meet at Paul’s the next day to go to Twickenham not really knowing how incredible the day was going to be.
First to arrive at the studios were John and Yoko sitting in the front of a small white (everything was white for those two then) van with Mal driving. It was Ringo being driven in huge black rolls by a chauffeur. He stopped the car for a few minutes while we all took pictures through the windows. Ringo just sat there as if it was something he just had to go through till he could run into the studios. It was a few minutes till the next member arrived and did it in class. A white Jaguar drove up and pulled into EMI’s driveway. George was at the driver’s seat and he stopped and rolled down the windows slightly to take pieces of paper form the fans for autographs. There was only one girl standing on the passenger side so I stood behind her trying to see into the car. The girl bent down at one point and I could see George and apparently he could see me too just then because he looked up at me and smiled and waved. I smiled back and walked away from the car floating on cloud 9. Sounds silly now I know, but it meant a lot ot me then to be remembered. I told Margaret what ha d happened and she thought it was really great he had picked me out of the mob. By the time Paul arrived quite a few minutes had passed since George had gone in. Paul always used to come last. Had to make his entrance I guess. He stopped the mini to let us take pics and sign autographs. Paul and George had been the only ones to do so for the fans. Paul looked very handsome indeed, still wearing his pink suit and looking quite tan. I took a few photos and he drove in and went into the studios. Unfortunately I had to leave to meet my parents so I missed them coming out but I heard it was very, very late. “Hey Jude” had just come out in England then and the first time I heard it I loved it. Some girls brought down a portable record player to Paul’s one day and were playing “Hey Jude” on it and Paul sent Rose out to tell us to cut out the noise. Haha!
Well, this point brings me to what is probably the most exciting day of my life: September 4, 1968. The entire story of the “Hey Jude” filmingwas printed in The Write Thing a fewissues ago so I won’t go into the whole night again. I’ll just tell you we were with the Beatles for five hours filming and re-filming the seven minute film that was on the Smothers Brothers TV show October 1968. In between the actual filming they would jam. Playing everything from “Hang down your head Tom Dooley” to the Stones records. It was amazing. I had never been that close to all four Beatles before, nor would I ever be again. They were so beautiful together, musically and personally. If I’d known that night how close the Beatles were to splitting up I would have never believed it. They seemed as close as ever. I guess that was a tribute to their professional abilities to forget whatever personal crap was going on for the benefit of putting out a perfect product. Just the fact that they decided to redo the film so many times was an indication of how carefully they created their music. It was a thrill and a pleasure to have been a part of what was to become the last time they ever performed in front of an audience as The Beatles. After the film some people (six of us actually) stayed at the studio while everyone else left for the ride back to London (Apple provided the buses to and from the studio which was in a small town outside of London). We had no transportation back to the city but we didn’t care at that point. We waited in the studio while the Beatles and David Frost re-did some introduction and while we stood there George once again amazed me. As he was sitting on the little stage smoking he turned full around to me (I was standing alone watching them) and gave me this huge grin. Once gain he had acknowledged me. One of the girls nearby said, “Did you see the look he gave her?” I was really happy as this was to be my last chance to see him this trip (and not again until 1970 it turned out). We walked out with Paul to this little studio kitchen and I asked him if we could all pose with him. He agreed and we stood all around him with Margaret taking my camera to get the picture. Of course the flash didn’t go off. Paul took the camera and turned it around in his hands a few times (trying to do what I’ll never know). Then he handed it back to me and said, “Catch me later.” Naturally the flash did go off a few minutes later but I never did get to pose with Paul. Oh well. After about an hour, George and Ringo came out and said goodnight to us and left in separate cars. Then Paul, John and Yoko came out together and I got a picture of Paul as he stepped into the lighted doorway. When the flash went off he flung out his arms as if to say “you got me!” (very hammy). He looked quite tired (it was 1am, so it was understandable) and when I asked him how the film had turned out he said, “great” and gave the thumbs up sign. He, John and Yoko all got into a limousine and Paul kept waving to us all the way down the road until they were out of sight. I left London two days later brimming with wonderful memories of seeing Paul for the very first time close up, of talking to him and finding out he was real. It was a chance to see the Beatles as a group close up and also, unknown to me at the time, it was the last time I would see Paul as a bachelor. There were so many things about that trip that have remained unsurpassed in the 10 years that have followed and the three other England trips since. I guess for everyone the first time is always the most special and a decade has done nothing to change that.