Fifty years! What did our parents say? Something like, Egad! Well, it has been fifty years since the Beatles first entered our lives, but Kit Bigelow, who lives near Washington, DC, remembers like it was only … um … Yesterday!
Every inch of my walls and ceiling was covered with Beatles pictures at one point. They were my obsession, as only young teenaged girls can have obsessions, complete and true!
I must have learned about the Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. in early February, 1964, from my favorite AM station in the Boston area, which had begun playing their tunes in late 1963. I knew they were to be on Ed Sullivan and did not miss a minute of their appearances. I have kept to this day evidence that I knew of their arrival with two photos from a newspaper, reprinted here.
I have kept plenty of other evidence of my first heartthrob (Paul was my favorite, a query that took place between each young girl during that period). Books, posters, magazines, and prized memorabilia.
I actually went to see the Beatles on August 18, 1966, at Suffolk Downs Racetrack outside Boston. Today I realize my seat might as well have been three towns away as I needed binoculars just to see their tiny figures. For years, I kept the binoculars at that setting — for it was how I had seen the Beatles!! All my “fellow” obsessed female companions did was scream, so we didn’t hear any of their music either. BUT we SAW the Beatles. Nothing else mattered.
My poor family. For about two years, I deemed any other topic to be booor-rring and would always find a way to tie my or my brothers’ school tales or world news to the Beatles’ latest escapades. During the 1964 Pacific typhoon season, I recall that Typhoon Kit interrupted the Beatles’ visit to Japan. I figured, well, it’s not the most pleasant connection, but the Beatles have heard my name!
My parents listened only to classical music and must have become convinced they’d brought home the wrong daughter from the hospital twelve years earlier. But when the wonderful Arthur Fieldler, maestro of the Boston Pops, played a Beatles song, Yesterday, I stood to my full height, looked both parents proudly in the eye, and said, If HE could appreciate good music, they might permit me to play my Beatles’ 45s and vinyl albums on their high-quality music equipment. I remember regularly losing that argument.
I don’t look at this 50th anniversary as a time to reflect upon a more pure or innocent period, although it certainly was. It marked for millions of us, women especially, the entrance into our teen years and the awakening of thoughts and feelings that proved to be the harbinger of more adult, more mature, and infinitely more complex times to come.