Some of the best evenings of my childhood were spent with The Beatles when my parents were out. Once a month they had theater tickets and they would leave me to the charge of my two older brothers. After the requisite torture of the little sister, they would inevitably break out the Beatles’ albums.
My dad had a sweet 70′s stereo turntable, big bass woofers, and speakers on both ends of the living room. We kids weren’t allowed around the stereo system. But, what they didn’t know never did seem to hurt them. Whenever they went out, Scott would bring out the latest Beatles albums and spin them on dad’s stereo.
We would jump around the living room, singing every word at the top of our lungs. Scott, ten years older than me, would pick me up and twirl me around the room, dipping me and tossing me over his shoulders. We danced and sang until we were read-faced, sweaty, and panting with big, huge grins on our faces.
Then there was the live music. Both the boys played guitar, and I used to sit at their door listening to them play Yesterday, harmonizing. If they were feeling especially generous, they would let me sit in their room to listen, but I only remember that happening about twice. Anyway, it smelled funny in there.
On pretty frequent occasions I got a private concert. Scott would bring the guitar into my room, sit on the edge of my bed and take requests.
It has been almost two and a half years since I officially lost Scott. I say officially because that was when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. But actually, I lost him many years before that when the schizophrenia took over his mind and twisted my sweet, kind brother into a paranoid, frightened and very angry man.
It’s still hard for me to listen to Beatles songs. After Scott got sick, I listened to them less and less. My brothers and I were grown up and had our separate lives. We saw each other infrequently, and I don’t think we ever as adults listened to one Beatles song while we were all together. For a long time when I would hear a song on the radio or in a store I would feel simultaneously a pang in my heart and an instant mood lift from all the happy memories. A couple of years ago when my husband and I visited Las Vegas, the one and only show I had to see was Cirque’s Love.
Since Scott been gone, though, it’s hard for me to listen to a whole Beatles song without my eyes getting all drippy. Sure, there are lots of good memories, but hearing those songs makes me feel like I’ve bumped a big gash that’s just now finally scabbed over. You know how when that happens to you, your eyes reflexively tear up? That’s what happens to me when I hear a Beatles song.
Those melodies will forever be the soundtrack of my childhood.