I remember the day that John Lennon was murdered very clearly. I also remember the aftermath that seemed to stick around for years. because this was such a pivotal event in my life and would definitely be even more so to my characters from “Red, White & Blues”, I address the situation in the sequel. Here is the excerpt that covers the tragic event:
December 8th. Wes is trying not to nod off as he watches the final few minutes of Monday Night Football. The game is tied at thirteen; the Patriots have the ball when Howard Cosell makes the announcement.
“An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps, of all of The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which, in duty bound, we have to take.”
Wes sits up, disbelieving.
“What?” He begins to channel surf, looking for more news and finally lands on an interrupted broadcast of The Best of Carson.
“Oh God,” he mutters, his head shaking.
He picks up the phone and dials the number that Jimmy had given him.
“What?” What is it?” Sandy says, startled out of her sleep. She reaches over and turns on the bedside lamp.
“Sandy, it’s Wes Meyers. Have you heard?”
“I’m coming down there,” he says, and hangs up the phone.
When Sandy answers the door, Wes’ eyes are glassy with tears. As he tries to speak, his lips tremble.
“What?” Sandy asks alarmed.
Wes sighs, covers his face. “John Lennon’s dead,” is all he manages before breaking down.
Sandy stares uncomprehendingly. “What? What do you mean?”
“Oh, God! He was shot! He’s dead!”
Still not understanding, Sandy puts a hand on Wes’ shoulder. He turns toward her and sobs into her chest. As he cries, she realizes that it must be true.
“No!” she says, crying herself now. “No! No!”
They hold each other, cry and talk until dawn, when exhausted, they finally fall asleep.
In the morning, the news reports come in with all of the devastating details of the murder. It seems as if the whole world has stopped spinning.
Morning Glory Café closes early. It seems that no one can stop crying long enough to take orders.
At Full Throttle, the reaction is similar. John sits in the office with Salem as the radio plays endless Beatles music behind them.
“It’s terrible,” Salem says. “He was such a peaceful man.”
“Yeah. So was Pete. I just don’t understand this world sometimes.”
The following week, Lennon’s grief-stricken widow, Yoko Ono, calls for ten minutes of silence to remember her husband. Nearly every window seems to have a candle burning behind it.
Wes has joined Sandy for the vigil and afterward, he rises from the couch and goes over to the turntable. He pulls out Double Fantasy, the last album that John had released with Yoko. Sandy squints from her spot on the couch, trying to identify the cover. Wes holds it up.
“No,” Sandy says. “Not that. I can’t take it.”
Wes nods. The personal and deeply emotional songs about their son, Sean, and their own marriage are just too sad to hear just yet. In fact, it would be years before Sandy could listen to it again.