Saturday, December 08, 2012

Imagine ...

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon.

I always have this feeling of great sadness on this day. Every year. As soon as I remember that it is the anniversary, I remember that day. It was probably the most personal moment of my college days. It was certainly the most memorable. To this day, I can remember almost every detail of that day with a clarity I cannot achieve with almost any other day in my life — even one as recent as yesterday.

(The sole exception to that would be the day my mother died, but that is another story.)

I've grown used to that, but I wasn't prepared for the realization that, on this day a mere eight years from now, John Lennon will have been dead as long as he was alive. Sean, the son Lennon and Yoko Ono had together and about whom Lennon sang on his last album before his death, will be 45 — five years older than his father was when he died.

I still find it stunning when I think of all that Lennon accomplished in his 40 years — and all he could have accomplished had he lived.

I have always felt that was the great tragedy — all the contributions to art and music and social thought that Lennon could have and almost certainly would have made in the 1980s and beyond but were lost on that December night in New York 32 years ago.

My memory is of a melancholy Christmas that year. All my thoughts were overshadowed by the shooting of John Lennon. The Beatles, you see, played the music of my childhood. I cannot remember a time when I did not know songs like "A Hard Day's Night" or "She Loves You" — they were played so frequently on the radio when I was little.

Losing the first Beatle was a traumatic experience.

It wasn't any easier some 20 years later when George Harrison died, but at least there was some advance warning that allowed Harrison's fans to prepare themselves. He had been sick for awhile.

But Lennon's death was entirely unexpected, a real shock.

Imagine what might have been.