|This photo does not go with the story -- but it was taken a few days before the story happened.|
From the Diary of a Beatles Fan
Originally published in the Jan-Feb 1968 issue of “Lennon Lyrics”
England! Oh much a beautiful sounding word! A word that meant a lifetime of dreaming and praying. To my friend, Lynne and I, England meant mainly: the home of the Beatles. And now, after three years of dreaming about their homeland, we were finally making our way across the Atlantic Ocean to land on “Beatle soil.” At first England didn’t surprise us too much, and gradually it became part of us. Something we could never forget. The four most unforgettable moments of our whole trip consisted of four days, and I’d like to share them with everyone.
September 1, 1967:
It was raining early in the morning as Lynne and I hailed a taxi and told the driver of our destination: St. John’s Wood. The ride wasn’t long from our hotel in Piccadilly – as a matter of fact, it was too short. When we arrived on Cavendish Avenue, I felt my legs turn to rubber and my heart drop a thousand feet! The street was quiet and, of course, all the homes were rich-looking. We then saw two young girls ahead standing in front of the house that I recognized so clearly from magazines! The next thing I knew, we were right in front of Paul McCartney’s house. But he wasn’t home, so the two English girls told us “But we met him yesterday, walking his dog Martha in Regents Park.” So, making friends, Lynne and I set off with the two girls for Regents Park and searched for a tall, thin dark-haired Beatle and his dog. The search was useless, so we headed back for his house.
Nothing was happening, so we began reading the remarks written on his white wall by other Beatle fans before us. We weren’t there but a few minutes when one of the English girls shouted, “Here he comes!” and the two of them ran. Lynne turned and looked up the road when she heard the squealing of car wheels, and I stood stiff. The next thing I knew there was this little green Aston-Martin pulling up in the front driveway, right in front of me! I couldn’t believe it because Paul McCartney got out of the car and passed me, brushing my arm as he went to see what was wrong with the lock on his big black gate. His hair was almost black, falling out of place and very silky looking. His sideburns became long as they came down the side of his cheeks to a curve. His long-sleeved beige sweater was wrinkled. As he began fussing with the lock, I noticed his neatly pressed flowered bell-bottom slacks and painted tennis shoes.
My attention became restless as he began shouting about us breaking his lock! So I quietly told him some man in uniform had been there earlier, fooling with the lock, but apparently he didn’t believe us and told us to “Be honest with yourself!” Lynne, who had been snapping photos of him, looking quickly over at me, and Paul turned his head and a crocked smile appeared. I realized I had just yelled at THEE Paul McCartney! Slowly my fingers came down and Paul came around to my side. Lynne, who had been carrying a huge oil painting of mine that I did of Paul, asked him if he would take it…”We came all the way from America,” she said. “Oh did we?” He smiled, going past us to see what another girl wanted who had just arrived, shouting something to Paul about him taking a picture of her that she held in her hand. Lynne put the painting in the front seat of his car and Martha, who had been sitting in the back seat, started to get restless. Paul was arguing very nicely about this girl being honest with herself, because he had never seen her before in his life. He got disgusted with her and got back in his car. Seeing my camera, he rolled down his green-tinted window and smiled for me as I took his photo. Then he waved good-bye and drove into this driveway.
His new housekeeper, Mrs. Miller, had opened the gates for him, and seemed extremely nice. She held the gates open for us so that we could take pictures of Paul’s house from inside the gate. We saw Paul jump out of the car with Martha at his heels, and run into the house like a small boy with his dog. Then the gates were closed and we stood looking, not believing that a few moments before we were talking to Paul McCartney, a normal human being, so real, so beautiful. I learned later, from his housekeeper, that Paul had put my painting on the easel in his lounge to study because, as she said, he is very interested in painting and wants to a self-portrait! Leaving his home that day made me feel sort of sad, realizing that it was all over. All the dreaming. But really it had just begun, because he, Paul McCartney, had made my life a bit richer.