all those years ago

Over a month ago, on Saturday, February 8, I drank my usual cup of hot tea with honey and sugar and went to bed at around 9:00 p.m.   I know quite well that I was in Long Beach in 2014 then.    When I woke up on Sunday morning, though, I was in for quite a shock.   Somehow, upon opening my bedroom door, I appeared to have been transported back in time, precisely a half century, to Sunday, February 9, 1964.   Besides that I was in front of  the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.   At first I couldn’t possibly have known that I was so far away in the past.   After a few minutes, though, I started catching onto all the anachronisms.   Because of my having been so interested, for as far back as I can remember, with the era, I soon recognized all the then-current styles of vehicles, clothes and hair.   Billboards, taxicabs and buses advertised for the New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadow, and the movie, “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”.   A few stylishly dressed teenagers were listening to the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”, that was referred to as new, on Music Radio WABC 770 AM.   People were cussing out Lyndon Baines Johnson and Nelson A. RockefellerThe_Fabs, as they tried to recuperate from the recent assassination of Johnson’s immediate predecessor, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a few months earlier.   There was talk of Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council.   It all really sank in when I picked up a copy of the New York Daily News at a nearby newsstand.   My suspicions were confirmed.   It was that fateful day in the winter of 1964.   All sorts of references to, and pictures of John Winston Lennon, James Paul McCartney, George Harold Harrison and Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), were staring me in the face.   There were countless references to their upcoming appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” at 8:00 that night.   It’s quite interesting to take note of the fact that I was already alive back then.   I was a little boy in Jackson Heights, Queens, and I got a bit of a kick out of wondering if I  could come up with the nerve to go to 92 Street to say hello to my young adult parents, infant sister Mary Anne, and toddler me.   After a few minutes I looked up from the paper only to get quite a major shock.   The legendary John, Paul, George and Ringo were standing right in front of me.  In those days they were all still so very young and handsome.   Because their manager, Mr. Epstein, was still alive to keep them in check, there was none of the noticeable rampant excess that would characterize their later style.   They were quite a friendly bunch.   John greeted me with a jovial, “Well, ‘ello”, in their characteristic Liverpudlian scouse accent.   He then said, “‘Ey, Paulie, me buy, get a load o’ this fellow!”.   They were dressed quite casually, and George was wearing a bit extra because of his having recently recovered from a sore throat.   All their notorious Beatle charm shone through.   After a few minutes they invited me into the Plaza and we had a few drinks.   They told me a lot of stories about John’s wife Cynthia Powell and son Julian, Ringo’s girlfriend Maureen Cox, and Paul’s girlfriend Jane Asher.   George would meet Patti Boyd in a few months.  I ended up having to make quite a few adjustments in my attempt to explain to them my circumstances.   Never having been aware of all the etiquette of time travel- I don’t suppose there’s an official rule book that covers it- I tried ever so desperately to refrain from telling the young Fabs about what was up ahead of them.   They explained what went on, during their early days, with Klaus Voormann, Jurgen Vollmer, Astrid Kirchherr and all their other friends and family.   I tried, as they told me that they intended to sing “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “She Loves You”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that night at Studio 50, to maintain some semblance of composure.    I sat there uncontrollably stunned, somewhat politely humoring them.  They talked of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Who, the way just anyone would refer to his friends and people at work.   All I could think of were things like the infamously nauseating sexual revolution, drugs, the war in Southeast Asia and everything else that would make such a mess of a time frame that would be forever referred to as specifically the Beatles’ era.   Besides remembering that they’d break up in April of 1970 I couldn’t help cringing over the events of December 8, 1980, when John Lennon got killed, and November 29, 2001, when George Harrison died.   Assuming I should consider myself as having been sworn to absolute silence and secrecy, I asked more than I told.  “Gentleman”, I was tempted to say, “Even you, with your seemingly infinite imaginations, couldn’t possibly begin to imagine what you’re up against!”   Knowing about Lewis Carroll’s influence on the musicians of the 1960’s I kept thinking of it all as a trip through a looking glass, down a rabbit hole, or in some other offbeat out of the way direction.   They could even be seen as a four-part variation of Robert Browning’s Pied Piper, with Liverpool standing in for Hamelin.   From the point of view of an entirely favorable interpretation of their impact on the world they most certainly got rid of quite a few metaphorical rats.  We sang a bunch of their early songs together.   They showed me some guitar tricks.   Conveniently their sense of humor turned out to be quite compatible with mine.   I kept trying to convince them to put some colorful twists, of my invention, into their songs.  We kept cracking each other up. Throughout my lifetime I’ve always considered their early songs, style and image to be their very best so I was absolutely as high as  could be.    Conveniently I managed to avoid any anachronisms and all went quite well.  Eventually the moment of truth came to pass.  It was time to get ready for their legendary appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.   We all went over to Studio 5o.   I somehow cajoled them into letting me join them.   They even let me hang around backstage.   When they started the show, they sang, “All My Loving”,  and “Till There Was You”.   Immediately after Ringo’s world-changing drum fill and John’, Paul’s and George’s perfect chant of “She Loves you yeah yeah yeah!”  I was back in Long Beach yet again, in 2014, sipping tea with honey and sugar.  It’s a true story.

  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/writing-challenge-time-machine/#more-71990

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