As the World Wept

Evening, all.

Welcome to the weekend and another mini milestone. Just two weeks left!

As for today’s countdown day subject, while I do my best to keep things on the lighter side and celebrate the fun stuff, there’s just those days when we have to acknowledge watershed events.

Unfortunately, today is one of them.

As we’ve gotten to know each other a bit in recent weeks (and, of course, for those of you who may know me many years), you can probably tell that I have a solid memory. On a day like today, though, I’ve come to realize that it can very much be a double-edged sword.

For you younger readers, news of things – both good and bad – didn’t travel anywhere nearly as fast as they do today. And on that morning, Tuesday, December 9, 1980, just before 8am, I was sitting at a table in my high school cafeteria, completely unaware of what had occurred at 11pm the night before.

In fact, my biggest worry that morning was that I still had to cut three pounds for a wrestling match later that week.

So, sitting there, busy trying to figure out how in the hell I was ‘gonna cut those three pounds, I finally learned of John Lennon’s death.

I remember heading to class shortly after hearing the tragic news, watching people hugging and consoling each other, not knowing quite what to make of it all.

A short while later, I wandered into my Language & Literature class, only to find my teacher staring out the window, stifling tears and trying to compose herself, as the bell for 3rd period started to ring.

Shortly after class began, an announcement came over the loud speaker, reaffirming the seemingly unthinkable news. Even now, 43 years ago to the day, I still remember our teacher, walking out into the hallway, so we wouldn’t see her crying.

In the many years since, I have often thought of that terrible day, wondering how different things might have been.

Some of you may have seen a film entitled Yesterday (2019), the story of a struggling young musician named Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) who is involved in a freak bus accident that triggers an unexplained global blackout.

When he awakens, Jack soon discerns that the Beatles never existed, and he suddenly finds himself performing their songs, becoming an overnight sensation in the process. For all the fun the film brings, perhaps the most memorable sequence involves Jack’s journey to visit John Lennon, now 78 years old and living on a quiet and secluded island somewhere in the North Sea.

John Lennon’s death may have been my first lesson in grieving over someone I’d never actually spoken with or had ever even seen before.

And when I think of what music has meant to me throughout the course of my life, i understand more and more what we all lost that day.

(Just a brief addendum for today. I didn’t want to shoehorn anything in here, just to stay faithful to our countdown, but I did learn that the number 14 track on The Beatles White Album was/is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a personal favorite and one I used to sing to both my daughters at bedtime.)

Make it a great night, and I look forward to reconnecting tomorrow.


@Copyright 2023 by John L. Fischer


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