I was eight years old when, 25 years ago, John Lennon was killed. I don’t remember hearing about it, and I don’t think I would have known his name if I did. My mind was on treehouses, rope swings, and what the next few hours had in store.
I never saw Lennon perform, and I haven’t even seen him on TV or in a movie. It’s still startling to hear recordings of him speak, because for most of my life—every since 7th grade when I got my first Beatles mix tape from my sister’s boyfriend—all I’ve known was his music.
But the Beatles had such an impact on me. When I felt lonely as a kid, I’d lie in bed with the lights out, listening to “Nowhere Man” and “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.” I felt like I was connecting with something incredibly powerful and beautiful. It was during those dark nights, staring at the face of my illuminated alarm clock, that I fell in love with music.
And on September 11, I sat on the front lawn with some neighbors and sang “Imagine,” gazing over downtown Seattle and the empty sky. Despite all the sorrow and fear I felt that day, I was comforted that such a powerful statement for peace existed. It felt strong enough to keep my heart steady, even if the buildings fell around me.
A few days ago I came across lovely fingerstyle lesson for Lennon’s “Imagine”. I’m going to remember him today by learning it.