After a Whole Foods grocery outing, Catherine and I came back to what I call “diaper”. It’s a term my brother, Bobby, defined to me in my mom’s hospital room when she was sick (we have/had — I never know how to write that anymore– the same mom and different dads). He stayed the week I think. We slept in the hospital room every night. Small. Real, real small. The hospital staff was amazing to let us stay as often and as long as we did. I slept on a pullout cot, my brother in a blue recliner, and sometimes we’d switch (we often accidentally refereed to the hospital as hotel).
Late one evening, we were chatting and I learned that my brother was looking forward to his “diaper day”. I was like, “what are diaper days??” “When you sit around and watch football and you wish you had a diaper because you don’t want to move off the couch.” “Diaper Days” have caught on in our household, having quickly morphed into just using the word “diaper” as verb. This makes us laugh, still. We have the sense of humor of 12 year old boys sometimes. Many times. A lot of the times.
I turned on the TV and remembered I had left it on CNN earlier when I found out the US announced that they killed Osama Bin Laden. After watching for a few minutes, I flipped through our DVR and nothing exciting had recorded. So, for the first time in a while, I actually flipped through the channels. The Bio Channel’s “John Lennon: All You Need is Love” was on. I LOVE The Beatles. Especially John. John was an artist. A rebel. And married an artist. And the two of them, Yoko and John, were two peas in a pod, constantly inspiring the other.
I didn’t know a lot of the details that surrounded John’s personal life. Okay, so there was The Beatles, head leader, musical genius, some Yoko, some visits to India and then drugs along the way, and oh yeah, the FAME! I remember he was a rebel and there was something different about his parents but it was never clear to me what actually happened to him.
I learned that John’s father, Alfred Lennon, was away much of the time during World War II. His mother, Julia Lennon made an attempt at raising him but was criticized her sister for being a bad mother and for also, “living in sin”. She ended up handing John over to her sister Mimi, who seemed to be able to better care for him.
After encouraging his wife to go out and play while he was away, John’s dad came back from the war and learned that she had taken him seriously. She was about to have another man’s baby! Alfred was willing to put the past behind them and help her raise the baby (now that’s one hell of a guy) but Julia wouldn’t have it. Why? Not totally sure, I will have to read more about that one.
John felt like it was his fault in some way. Even though he lived now with his Aunt and Uncle, his mother was still close and was able to visit with her often. During their time together, she encouraged him to experiment with music, even going so far as to buying him his first guitar. John found the guitar difficult so she ended up teaching him banjo and ukulele chords, which were easier.
On July 15, 1958, when John Lennon was 18 years old, Julia was killed by a car (driven by an off duty police officer) while walking back from Mimi’s, where John awaited her at the house she shared with her boyfriend.