Some dreams come true. For almost my entire life (since my wonderful dad bought me my first album by The Beatles in 1963), I have been a huge fan of The Beatles. As a bona fide Beatles fan, I have all of their original albums, enough t-shirts to wear for a month or so, considerable memorabilia, etc. I have also had not one, but two, opportunities to travel to the land of The Beatles, otherwise known as Great Britain. David and I have visited many sites in London that are associated with The Beatles, such as the headquarters of their company, Apple Corps, where they performed the famous rooftop concert. We have also visited Liverpool, the birthplace of all The Beatles, including many famous locales, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. The primary purpose of our most recent visit to Great Britain was to attend, along with our friends Bob and Nancy, the International Beatles Week, which is held in Liverpool every August. We planned our “dream vacation” for 27 years! And, it was everything for which I had hoped. Not only did we attend many festivities associated with the festival, such as unlimited access to the Cavern Club, where The Beatles performed in their early years, we had the privilege of touring John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes, attending the “Double Fantasy” exhibit at the Liverpool Museum of Art, and going on a Magical Mystery Tour. (Yes, they played, and we sang, “Roll up. Roll up for the mystery tour.” as we drove around in our fancifully decorated bus!) To make our trip even more meaningful, we went inside Studio 2 in Abbey Road Studios. Abbey Road Studios is a working studio, not open to the public, but because we just happened to be there at a time near the 100th anniversary of the studios (and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ album, “Abbey Road”), we were awarded the opportunity to attend a lecture inside Studio 2 that included time to wander around, look at many of the instruments used by The Beatles when they recorded their music, and take countless photographs. Regardless of what else happens in my life, good or bad, happy or sad, I will always be able to close my eyes and remember all of the things we saw and experienced. In the words of John Lennon (borrowed from a circus poster): “A splendid time was had by all.”
Ironically, I’m writing my part of this post on the anniversary of John Lennon’s tragically premature death 40 years ago. In the remembrances of him today, I heard a news item that quoted him telling Howard Cosell that, if he was only to be remembered for one song, Imagine was a pretty good one to remember. And so International Beatles Week was one of imagining, and remembering. Bob and Melissa were in Beatles heaven on that trip. But, it was truly a splendid time for all 4 of us as we explored, experienced, listened and saw the world the inspired the Beatles, including the truly blue suburban skies in Liverpool (on a super clear day). We didn’t know at the time that the trip would have greater significance because open and easy travel changed just a few months after our trip. But, we have our memories, thousands of photos, and a multimedia production Melissa and I created after the trip as mementoes. And, it was fascinating that it was far from being us 4 on this journey, but rather, thousands of fans from the entire world were with us! Who knows whether this event, which had been held for many years, will ever be possible again. This is a realization that makes this shared experience even more meaningful. One of the rewards of hard work is to have the ability to go on such adventures, to have experiences and this was one of a lifetime!