Every year on this day, I think about the back seat of my dad’s station wagon. It was a cold December night. I don’t remember why I was up so late nor do I remember why my Dad and Mom let me stay up but I was in the backseat of my dad’s car. My dad at the driver’s seat was pushing the radio preset to one of our favorite stations. Ok folks. Everyone stop for a second and think about that radio with the 6 six silver buttons. When you pushed it, the lighted orange dial would move to the station set. It was the coolest piece of technology man would invent, or so we thought.
We were waiting for my mom. She went to pick up my baby brother from the baby sitter’s. Dad and I were singing a song on the radio when the song cut off and an announcement was made. My dad sat silent. He told me the man who sang a lot of the songs I liked from The Beatles was shot and had died. He kept telling me that he was a good man who wanted peace in the world.
I remember the news announcement said it happened in New York City and that it was close to his home. I couldn’t comprehend why someone would hurt a man who didn’t harm anyone.
For some reason I had to see my brother right away. I kept asking my dad why it was taking so long for my brother and mom to come out of the house. He told me to be patient but I just wanted some visual confirmation they were ok.
I recall staring into my mittens as if my mittens had powers that could produce my mom and brother in front of me. It seemed like an hour had passed when in actuality I’m sure it was only a few minutes. When they finally appeared and got into the car, I recall making sure my brother’s seatbelt was strapped tightly around his baby seat. I’m not sure why John Lennon’s death did what it did but from that night forward I wasn’t the same person.
There was a realization that innocence is fragile and fleeting. I wanted us to experience the joys of innocence and a carefree life that every child should have. I learned that day that there are powers out there that are beyond rationalization. There is good and bad and for some reason they are co-dependant.
By the way, thanks go to Michele for asking the question, “Where were you?”