It was 50 years ago today….

In 1965, I was apparently a deranged human being, and I was madly in love with John Lennon. Weren’t we all (those of us who were alive then, that is)? When the Beatles came to DC, I went to see them with my next door neighbor. Here in full is a carbon of the letter I then wrote to my roommate, which I must have saved for just this opportunity. Obviously I have no pride whatsoever and am willing to damage whatever good reputation I have left by posting this drivel, but I admit that I find it amusing. Who was that person?  I hope you can read this; had to play computer games to insert letter, complete with typos. One sentence is redacted to protect the innocent, and it’s in two sections.




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19 responses to “It was 50 years ago today….

  1. Martine

    If this letter wouldn’t predict the gifted writer you were to become, Leda, I don’t know what would. Wish I had known you then, but at least I know you now. What a woman.

  2. I’m with Martine. I found text between the lines, “watch me, I’m a future writer.” This is so wonderful that you shared this. I love it.

  3. Maura

    Leda, nothing I read or see for this anniversary will beat this letter! Thanks! I kept laughing out loud …. I couldn’t have kept up with you then, but so glad to know you now ….

  4. This is glorious, Leda. It brings back the utter hysteria of those days. John was my true love, too, and I still get teary thinking about his senseless death and the gorgeous music the Beatles made. I’ve been using Kathleen Krull’s picture book about them–The Beatles Were Fab & They Were Funny–in all my children’s lit programs this year and I introduce it by singing She Loves You with my audiences, some of whom actually know the words and still have a Favorite Beatle. It’s so satisfying singing that song, yeah, yeah, yeah. Some of the young teachers and librarians look mystified, but the older ones join right in.

    Thanks so much for posting your literate and compelling snapshot of your youth. Reading it makes me wonder why, with inspiration and a narrative like that, you aren’t writing YA. (Not that I’m complaining; I’m just saying’ . . .)

    • Thank you, Judy. I can’t write YA, though. It’s too far away now. Wish I could! And I’m happy to have shared John with you.
      And I can still cry about John any time. Still shocking.

  5. Rachel M. Wilson

    This destroys me. So. Much. Love. And it captures the fun of going completely crazy over something. There are so many amazing sentences. “Actually we watched the Ronettes, because they are beautiful and neat and I want to be one.” You should write the novel of the girl who becomes Julian’s governess.

  6. Julie Larios

    Oh, Leda, I have said publicly many, many times that I adore you, and I will say it again. This letter to your roommate convinces me we were sisters in spirit even then. I covered the inside of my school locker with pictures of John, though I never did get close…no Beatles concert for me. Just records played over and over and over and over, to the point of driving my parents and siblings crazy. I just love the line where you talk about the advantage of being “old” at 20…and say you do not look forward to 30 or 50 or 80. Well, here we are, darling, with Baby Julian now 50 years old!! I love you even more because you saved a copy of this letter all these years. Here’s to posterity, memory and history. And here’s to Hysteria – long may she subvert our held-together selves!!

    • Ah, Julie, what can I say? We are so very very lucky to have met each other and know we are truly sisters.
      You must be lying about baby Julian, though. It’s not possible. Although I now realize it must be.

  7. That is seriously the best thing I’ve read in years! You capture that excitement and energy and sexual longing soooo well, Leda. If you don’t write a YA novel (or short story) that includes this scene, I’m gonna come over there and… [Insert my grandmother’s threatening face here.]

    Seriously, Leda, I want to know more about “that girl” and everything else going on in “her” life. Write a YA novel set during this time!!! 🙂

    • Thanks, dear Coe! I sure wish I could. I’m just not there any more. Maybe I could write a novel about the governess Julian visits in the nursing home, etc. But you have given me something new to have nightmares about–your grandmother’s face.

  8. Leda, you say you’re not there any more and yet your letter is TIMELESS… every generation HAS it’s Beatles… hysteria… hero worship… longing and yes, LUST. Though I will admit that the John Lennon’s of this world are rare. I also encourage you to play around with this idea and this girl. Like one of your friends stated on FB — at least you had a plan. It was plans just like this that became the “inciting incidents” for every single Lucy episode. I even like the idea of the governess that Julian visits in the nursing home… it’s got great potential. Stop petting puppies and get thee to the computer. (I seriously wouldn’t want to risk Coe’s Grandmother’s face!)

  9. I loved this, especially after seeing the special last night on TV. Even Hollywood with all it’s glitz couldn’t destroy the real electricity of those amazing songs and that amazing invasion, half a century ago, of our airwaves and our hearts.

  10. I missed the show, Tim. But I did just watch a few clips, and finally found the whole thing. Thanks!

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