Thursday, June 27, 2019

Close Encounter of the Third Kind

Ann and Paul 6/25/75

Margie and Paul 6/25/75

Close Encounter:  Of the Third Kind
By Margie Paturzo
The Write Thing
February 1978

It's hard to believe, but it's almost three years since my friend Ann and I met Paul.  It was an event that even we found hard to believe, that why we thank God that we were able to get pictures to prove it.

It all began that first day we arrived in England, June 23, 1975.  After checking into our hotel room, we took a taxi to Paul's house in St. John's Wood.  Upon arriving, we rang the bell and waited.  Nothing happened.  We later learned that Paul was in Liverpool that day.

Next day we were back again.  This time when we rang the bell, something did happen.  We heard voices and suddenly the gate opened to reveal Mary, Stella, and Rosie, Paul's housekeeper.  Somehow I got up enough nerve to ask Rosie if Paul was home.  She replied in the negative.  Meanwhile, Mary and Stella stood by her side, curiously looking us over.  They were beautiful.  I then told Rosie that we knew one of Paul's relatives and we wanted to give him a belated birthday gift.   She motioned with her lips to us to return the next day at 12:30.  She didn't want the kids to hear her telling us that.  Anyway, we thanked her and asked if we could take pictures of the children.  She told us no, saying that they tell their father and mother.  So, we watched as they walked down the street, headed for the park.  Then we left.

The next day we overslept.  Typical, right?  We got up at 11 a.m. instead of our intended time of 7:30.  We rushed around the hotel room getting ready for what was to be the biggest day in our lives.  At 12 noon we left the hotel and went to a liquor store to buy Paul a bottle of his favorite wine.  We also picked up a belated birthday card.  Then we got in a cab and head for "the gates."

We arrived a little early, believe it or not!  So, we sat down.  Ann on a milk crate and myself on the ground.  We watched as people walked in and out through the famous gates.  A lot of important businessmen were amongst them, so we figured Paul had to be home.

Finally 12:30 came and I got up to ring the bell.  Rosie answers and I explained that we were there the day before and she had told us to come back and all.  Well, there were some workmen drilling and stuff across the street from Paul's and Rosie couldn't hear me talking.  So she said, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you" and that was it.  I went back to Ann, positive that she wouldn't come out to see who we were.  All of a sudden, the gate opened and there was Rosie.  We ran over to her and showed her the bottle of win and the car, which she took.  Then she told us to wait and went back inside.  We nervously giggled and tried to prepare ourselves for Paul.   After waiting for what seemed like ages, Rosie returned.  By this time we were back to sitting on the ground and on his milk crate.  She motioned us to get up off the ground, telling us that Paul didn't like to see us sitting there.  She then told us that Paul wanted to thank us for the gift, so he was coming out.  then she shut the gate.

We were left standing there in shock.  When we finally realized what was about to happen, we began to pace back and forth nervously.  I kept going over to the keyhole and looking through it, reporting to Ann everything I saw.  After a while, we heard a car starting up and coming towards the gate.  I looked through the keyhole and saw it coming.  Then it stopped and we heard a door slam.  We backed away from the gate and stood there, waiting for what was to happen next.

The right side of the gates swung open and lo and behold it was HIM!  He looked so good in blue striped grayish colored pants, black velvet slippers and blue t-shirt  His hair was in a long shag and he looked so young.  We just stood there so he said, "Hi!" as he walked out.  What followed I'm putting down in dialogue form.

Us:  Hello
Margie:  Happy belated birthday!
Paul: What?
Margie:  Happy belated birthday!
Paul: Oh, thank you!  (He walked over to the other side of the gate and opened it, then came over and stood by me).
Paul:  Where are you from?
Margie:  The States
Paul (slightly amused)  I know that.  But where?
Margie:  Connecticut...Connecticut (Ann later told me that I repeated that about five times, showing how nervous I was).
Ann:  Can I... (She motioned with her camera)
Paul:  Why sure!  you want her in it too? (He reached over and put his arm around me and mine immediate went around him)

Ann was shaking as she tried to take the picture.  Paul must have gotten a kick out of that because he began shaking motions with his hand on my shoulder.  By this time, I had tears of joy rolling down my cheeks.  Anyway, somehow, somewhere, Ann got up enough courage to say "don't do that Paul."

After she took the picture of me with Paul, I told her that I would take one of her and Paul.  I went over and took the camera from her and she went over to stand near Paul.  Right at that point, Mary ran out and hugged Paul's leg, something Ann and I were just dying to do!  Ann thought for sure that Paul would forget about his picture with her, but he didn't.  He gently easies Mary off his leg and reached his arm around Ann, pulling her against him.  Ann immediately put a huge smile on her face.  for that matter, so did Paul. I must have been shaking too cause he started the shaking motions with Ann the same way he had done with me when she was taking the picture.  I almost died, and Ann did too.  She said that she could feel his whole body shaking next to hers.

After that, we thanked him for the pictures and he started towards his car.  As he was walking (or rather, bouncing) back to his car, Ann yelled out, "Love your new album!" which at the time was "Venus and Mars."  He turned back to us and said, "Why thank you!"  Linda was in the passenger seat and Joe English was in the back seat by then.  Paul pointed to Joe and said to us, "Here's another American.  He's from Rochester.  Can you believe it?  Rochester," as he bounced back to the car.  I said, "Who, Joe English?" and he said, "Yeah, Joe English." He was so very pleasant.

Paul got in the car and began to drive slowly out the driveway.  We stood there, watching him.  When he got to the curb, he stopped to look both ways before pulling out into the street.  He waved and smiled at us.  Then he pulled into the street, went a little way, turned and waved to us again.  Then he was gone.

Rosie was standing there with Mary and Stella as we both burst into tears.  Mary and Stella looked at us like we were nuts as we blurted out, "Your father is beautiful!" or something like that.  Rosie was smiling and she asked us why we were crying.  We told her it was because we were so very happy.  Then we told Mary and Stella how beautiful they were.  Those eyes, just like Paul's.  Then we said out thanks to Rosie and began to walk away, still crying.

It was surely a dream come true.  My favorite is John, but I think that if everyone can get to meet one of them, it should be Paul.  He is definitely the nicest and easiest to talk to.  No matter what, I believe that he does love us.  All I can say to him is "thanks" with much love and warmth for that special day in 1975.


  1. often wondered what the lads (and not just their kids) really thought when adult fans would burst into tears meeting them

  2. made me remember when Paul was in a really good mood for a pic, he'd put his arm around you, get close and rub your back a bit

  3. +10 for the full mullet. +25 for the haughty St. John's Wood cat in the background.