Thursday, December 08, 2005

25 years gone — how can this be?

John Lennon signing an autograph for his assasin, Mark David Chapman, earlier in the day

I remember when I first heard of John's murder. It was during ABC's broadcast of Monday Night Football — I was waiting to see the 11 pm news, not watching football! — and Howard Cosell, clearly shaken up, made the announcement. I was so shocked I immediately phoned my friend Nina, who then lived on East 63rd Street in Manhattan, and she hadn't even heard about it yet.

One of my fondest memories comes from 1972 when I was living briefly in the West Village. My roommate and I were taking a stroll along West 8th Street one summer evening (this was the summer Scorsese was filming Mean Streets around the same area) when I noticed a guy wearing round wire rimmed glasses, olive green army surplus and carrying a Japan Airlines flight bag, waiting for a city bus. It pulled up as we were walking past him and, as he turned to get on, I saw his profile and that unmistakeable Lennon nose. I nudged my roommate and said, "That was John Lennon!" but by the time she turned to look he was gone. She couldn't believe it was him, but, hey. It was New York City. 1972. And I had loved that nose for nine years. I wasn't mistaken. I knew it was him.

May he rest in peace. Forty years forever young.