Had his life not been cut short by an assassin's bullets in December of 1980, John Lennon would be celebrating his 75th birthday today. I have vague memories of the night Mark David Chapman took a husband from Yoko, a father from Sean and Julian, a partner from Paul, and a Beatle from the rest of us. I was 7 years old. I have images of sitting on the floor in our family room with my brother Scott. The TV news was on. Someone, my mom or my sister was wrapping Christmas presents. I remember the big effect the news of the shooting had on my brother and not understanding why. Minutes later my dad came in and gave my brother a Beatle record he and my mom had bought him for Christmas. I guess they thought, considering the circumstances, giving it early wasn't going to hurt. I'm sure all of these images in my head happened within a scant few minutes of each other, and then I went back to being a blissfully unaware, happy 7 year old.
It wasn't until about 6 years later that I became a fan of the Beatles, a very big fan. I remember almost feeling cheated, not that John had been taken from me, but that I wasn't old enough to share in the grieving process with my brother and all of the other people for whom his music meant so much.