Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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April 9, 2014

The long and winding road

Been listening to a lot of Beatles music lately. I suppose that’s only natural, considering all the hoopla this year, the 50th anniversary of their first appearance in America.

You know, the television specials, parades, legislative proclamations, ship dedications, days off from work and of course the ceremony in which Ringo Starr was named a Sagamore of the Wabash and given an honorary degree from World Wide College of Auctioneering.

Or maybe I have it mixed up with Presidents Day.

Anyway, the big deal that it was in 1964 has come back around again in my house, and it is not uncommon to hear “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “She Loves You” blasting from the hi-fi at any given time.

(Note to you kids: “Hi-fi” is ancient terminology for an antiquated piece of equipment on which we played “records” in order to hear “music.” Today’s equivalent would be that little telephonic gizmo you listen to through those little buds which seem to have taken up permanent residence in your ears.)

Most Americans of my approximate mileage remember with great clarity Feb. 7, 1964, the night the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan’s television show.

I can still see the Redmonds gathered around the family Zenith waiting to see this new group from England — Mom and Dad skeptical, we kids eager and excited. And millions of Americans have pretty much the same memory from their kidhoods. Especially the skeptical parents part.

But what looms equally as large as that Sunday is the Monday after.

As I got on the school bus that morning, the bus monitors — two eighth-grade girls wearing safety patrol belts and badges — were singing (and doing the hand jive to) every song on the “Meet The Beatles” album. The class clowns were singing “I Want To Hold Your Gland.” Girls were writing Beatle names all over their blue cloth binders. Guys had already begun training their crewcuts into Beatle hair. And the Beatles were the ONLY topic of conversation.

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