Sunday, February 9, 2014

She Loves You, Yea, Yea, Yea!

It had a been a difficult year for me.    The previous summer in June of 1963 our family had -- it seemed to me -- rather abruptly packed all of our belongings into a gigantic Mayflower Moving Van and left my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi to go live Deep in the Heart of Texas -- Fort Worth.    My Dad had gotten a promotion at work and had the audacity to make the decision to move to Cow Town, as it was quaintly called, without consulting me or my sister, Ginny.  

To say we were upset and unhappy about the move would be a huge understatement.    I think we cried all the way to the suburbs of Dallas and at that point I realized we were moving to a very, very different place.    I had just finished up the 9th grade at Hardy Junior High School and was really looking forward to my first year of high school the next fall at Provine High School.    I thought I'd finally arrived at the perfect age and was eagerly anticipating what life was going to be like now that I had finally gotten to the big time -- high school.   All of that had taken a sudden about face as I realized I'd have to start all over making friends, going to a new school and all that a move like that entails.   

I made it through the summer that year without too much angst and met some new friends my age when we began attending a Methodist Church a few blocks away from our house.     I was a very shy teenage girl at that point in my life and very self conscious of my Mississippi accent and my Mississippi clothes that suddenly seemed really out of style with what my new peers were wearing.   I was approaching my 15th birthday that fall and I let my Mother know right quick that if I didn't get some penny loafers (Bass Weejuns) and a pair of white Levis I would die a mortal death right there.

I was just getting adjusted to my new hometown and figuring out how to make new friends at my brand new school, Arlington Heights High School.   It was a rather affluent school with kids that came from a wide area.  Some of the kids I went to school with actually were driven to school in chauffeur driven limousines.   A few lived behind gated mansions with servants and amenities I had never heard of, much less seen!    Of course, not all of the classmates there were rich and neither was I.   But it wasn't long before I found another lonesome soul like me and she and I became fast friends right away.   I was beginning to think I might do OK here in this Cow Town, so far removed from my old hometown in nearly every way you could imagine.  

Things were going well until the late fall of that year when the entire nation experienced a loss so great and so unexpected it threw us all into a kind of group mourning and state of grief.   It was the assassination of President John F, Kennedy.      I was in Mr. Van Meter's biology class when we first heard that there had been a shooting and by the time I got to my English class a few hours later we were told of the president's death.     There is no way to describe exactly how it felt but it was a frightening and very scary time for everyone to see our president shot to death and it happened in a town only 30 miles from where we were.  The President had been in our own town earlier that morning.  We were not prepared for such a devastating turn of events.   And for the next two months we all more or less went through the motions of living and tried to go on with our lives but it was extremely difficult.

In January of 1964, a buzz began to go around especially among the youth of the nation.   There was a new musical group that was the latest sensation in Europe.    They had an odd name and their clothing and hair made as much news as their music.    Some of their music began to show up on local radio stations and word of a trip to appear in person in the United States began to circulate.    For a nation still in mourning, it was a light hearted turn to something that would help us transition back to living again.  

That group was The Beatles and once they came on the musical scene, the world has never been the same.   They influenced music for sure, but they also brought in new hair styles, clothing and new ways of thinking.    Over the years that they were together,  their music evolved, too, and each fad of the way they dressed morphed into another.    Parents lamented their long hair, which by today's standards was anything but long.    Schools dealt with how long was too long and what to do with the boys who dared to break the rules for acceptable hair styles.  The Beatles were pretty outspoken, too, and the youth of the world began to listen to not only their music but some of their opinions about politics and even religion.

By February 1964, the arrangements had been made and the Beatles were scheduled to appear on the very popular variety show, The Ed Sullivan Show.    Mr. Sullivan was famous for having a wide range of  entertainers on his show featuring everything from opera singer, Robert Peters to dancing bears and the Line Backers from the Green Bay Packers.    Anybody who was anybody showed up on Ed Sullivan!    So the word spread like wildfire that THE BEATLES were going to be on Ed Sullivan.  

My sister, Ginny, and I were so excited to see our new found singing idols that we actually stayed home from our church youth group the first Sunday night they were on.   We were fairly quivering with excitement when the time came for them to come on stage.     Girls in the studio audience were swooning and crying, something we had never witnessed before.   My father, unabashedly a musical snob, was not impressed and rather vocally told us how he felt about the whole thing!   Undeterred, we watched with rapt attention and thus, Beatle-mania broke out right in our living room and truly,  all across the country and eventually world wide.

So on this 50th Anniversary of that occasion, I can't help but look back in fondness with all that took place during that time.     I was a shy, awkward teenage girl, searching for who I was and wanted to be.    I had been plunked down into a totally new situation and was finding my footing in a new place.  New friends, new way of talking, new way of dressing.     And layered on top of that to become politically aware of how quickly things in our world could change, it was almost too much for a 15 year old girl to endure.    The Beatles were a phenomenon that came along at the right time and place.  They sparked our imagination and made us smile again.    

Thanks to John, Paul, George and Ringo, I turned back to being a teenager again.    I talked with my best friend late into the night about which one of the Fab Four was the cutest.   We read our Beatle magazines from cover to cover and felt like we knew every aspect of their lives.    And one Sunday afternoon my Dad took me by the local record shop where I bought my very first Beatle album, Meet the Beatles.    I thought nothing could ever top that.    For a teenage girl, I thought I'd finally arrived and that all was right with the world.    

Every kid needs something to remember their teen years for that they will take long into their adult years.   For me, one of the highlights will be remembering my fascination, indeed, love for the Beatles.     They brought me great joy and happiness at a time in my life when I needed it.    They were the first real recording artists that I knew much about and wanted to buy their music.     The bonds of friendship that I had with my first friend I made in Fort Worth were knit from the common thread of our love of the Beatles.    Even all these years later I can hear their early recordings and smile and remember the words like I knew them at 15.     She loves you, yea, yea, yea.... Indeed.       


  1. Great, Marcia! It's so interesting to hear your perspective on the political events of the day as well as the iconic moment of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Living history!

  2. Great story! Loved reading it so much!

  3. How time flies, the world changes, and yet their music endures forever.

  4. I was only 4-1/2 when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, but I remember it well. I was mesmerized! I also recall Daddy just shaking his head in disbelief. :)

  5. Ha, did your dad say..."awe, it's just a bunch of noise." I shared on my facebook. Cindy


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