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The Beatles and I - My Introduction to the Fab Four

Updated on December 9, 2013

The Beatles and I

It was early 1964 when I was first introduced to The Beatles. I hadn't turned ten yet, but I still remember all the awe and emotion associated with learning who the Fab Four was. It's been easy to remember, I've carried those same feelings for the past four plus decades. Believe it or not though, it did not happen immediately, as I didn't understand what was going on. It did not take long for me to get it, however. Once I did, that was it for me. I made a life time commitment.

It's The Beatles and I, all the way.

The Beatles and I

Graphic designed by and courtesy of ProCW
Graphic designed by and courtesy of ProCW

The Deluxe Diner

My Grandma and Grandpa Bates standing in front of 'The Diner'
My Grandma and Grandpa Bates standing in front of 'The Diner'

The Kitchen at The Diner

My dad and I in the Diner's kitchen 1961.  Note the fashionable polka dots and saddle shoes.
My dad and I in the Diner's kitchen 1961. Note the fashionable polka dots and saddle shoes.

The Beatles Touch Down on American Soil 1964

The Beatles and I - "A Beginning" - My Introduction to the Fab Four via Lillian

My younger sister, parents and I lived with my paternal grandparents, upstairs over top of the Deluxe Diner, which was and still is, situated in the tiny hamlet of New Sarum. Grandma and Grandpa owned the Diner, my parents worked in it and my sister and I stayed out of the way. Well, mostly.

One day, I was sitting on the steps going down into the kitchen, for no reason in particular. I was a shy child, but liked to come out from behind my books and Barbies once in a while to peek at the outside world. The only other person in the kitchen just then was Lillian, one of the local girls that cooked and waitressed for my grandparents.

Lillian was pencil thin and wore very tight skirts. She was tall, so I suppose she had good legs, but I don't know. I was a kid and a girl. I really didn't know or care about such things. I do know that she always crossed them when she read the paper, and the day I'm talking about held no exception to that. She sat there, long legs crossed, leaning back against the dumbwaiter. Her highly teased bleach blonde hair was visible over that day's edition of the newspaper. While I thought that a funny sight, it was not nearly as comical as when she pulled the paper away from her face.

Poor Lillian was nearly blind, even though she probably wasn't twenty yet. She had to wear glasses to see anything. Very large, very thick glasses, what we used to call, 'coke bottle glasses'. They made her blue eyes and masscaraed lashes enormous. I mean B-I-G! I never was quite sure whether I was more amused than frightened, or the other way around.

All that aside, myopic Lil liked to read the newspaper. That day, the one where it was just she and I in the Diner's kitchen, she read aloud to me one of the news items. I don't remember the exact wording. It was a report about a new music group from England. Apparently, they had arrived in North America and teenage girls were screaming and fainting over them before the four group members had even left the plane.

I'd never heard of such a thing. How silly. Crazy, really. I was confused, didn't understand at all, though I felt a bit stupid for not understanding.

"Have you seen them?" Lil was still looking at the paper but talking to me.

No, I hadn't seen them, didn't know what she was talking about. She showed me the picture that accompanied the article. I looked at a black and white photograph of four men in suits, standing on that stair thingy that they push up to the airplane doors so people can get out and down.

"They're called, The Beatles."  Like that made everything clear. 

I was still perplexed. They needed haircuts, boys didn't have long hair. I still didn't understand what the big deal was. Lillian seemed far more impressed than me, so I figured that it must be a grown up thing, you know, something that had you had to old (at least 17) to comprehend. Basically, I dismissed the whole business and went to hang out with Barbie.

Little did I know that in a couple of weeks, those long haired guys would become one of the biggest, longest lasting loves of my life.

The Beatles and I - Ed Sullivan Gives Me "A Taste of Honey"

Every Sunday Night, I watched the Ed Sullivan Show. I was glued to that table top RCA for the whole hour that show was on, hoping to see Topo Gigio or Lambchop. Sometimes, Jimmy Durante was good for a laugh, too.

One Sunday night, about two weeks after the episode in the kitchen with Lillian, I was laying on the couch, paying rapt attention to what Ed was saying. I didn't want to miss hearing that evening's line up of guests.

I don't have any memory of the exact date, only have it in the mental archives as being February 1964. I looked it up. It was my sister's sixth birthday, the 9th. I'm not sure how I lucked out having the T.V. to myself in light of it being her birthday, but I did. I seem to recall that she was off to the side somewhere playing quietly.

So it was that I was alone with Ed, comfortable on the couch while crossing my fingers that I would get to see that cutest little mouse in the whole wide world, Topo Gigio. Was he on the show that evening? I haven't the faintest idea.

Ed Sullivan introduced that new group that Lillian had told me about, The Beatles. I heard someone coming up the wooden stairs from the kitchen in a hurry. I can't remember for sure, but I think it was my mom and maybe one other woman. They had read in the paper that the Fab Four was making an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and didn't want to miss it. Me, I just wanted Topo Gigio and if that wasn't possible, than give me Sherry Lewis and Lambchop. I'd change my mind in about a second and a half.

Before the first chord was strummed, the audience started going wild. In fact, girls were screaming as soon as Ed mention The Beatles. What a strange thing all this was! I watched, trying to understand. Everyone else seemed to, I didn't why I wasn't getting it. Then it happened.

At the first sound of a guitar, I got chills. As they progressed to singing, I swung my legs to the floor, sitting up and leaning towards the set. The camera was showing close ups of their faces. My God they were beautiful! I was mesmerized. I was literally moved to tears. Pretty strong emotion for that age. I hadn't turned ten yet, but I was pretty sure that I had just fallen in love. What I didn't and couldn't know at the time was that those same reactions to The Beatles would never, ever change. My fate with them was sealed, my love a commitment.

Not a long time after my introduction to the Fab Four, I devised a plan to run away to England to marry Paul. You may think it silly, but I was convinced it was a good, solid plan. I even packed a bag and got up in the middle of the night in preparation to execute my brilliant, no-fail scheme. That's another story, though.

My love for the Boys has remained constant. I have memorabilia, music, books, but that's not what it's about for me. It's about how some part of me resonated and connected with The Beatles and their music that February night in 1964. It affected me deeply. 

That's why it's The Beatles and I - forever.


The Beatles Items

Graphic created by ProCW
Graphic created by ProCW

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