26 Years Ago Today...."An Unspeakable Tragedy in New York City"

26 years ago, on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment building on the upper West Side of New York. I heard about it while laying in bed in Denver that night while my then-spouse was watching Monday Night Football. Howard Cosell interrupted the program to announce "An unspeakable tragedy tonight in New York City."

I was nine months and three weeks pregnant -- way overdue -- and had just returned from the hospital where they tried to induce labor but failed. Immediately after hearing Cosell's announcement, I heard a loud pop. My water had finally broken. I rushed to the hospital and a few hours later, at 1:00 am MT, the TL kid was born. I tell more about the events of that night here, and how for the past 26 years, I have told the TL kid that when John Lennon's spirit left his body, it must have entered his.

John Lennon has been a spiritual member of the family ever since. From listening to his music, discussing his life, and at least once a year in New York, where the TL kid attended college and is now finishing law school, canvassing the sidewalk art shows for Lennon memorabilia, he's always been in the background of our lives. December 8 is a contemplative day for us, but it is followed by a day of celebration, the TL kid's birthday.

I'm not sure which I'm more amazed at tonight, that John Lennon has been dead 26 years, or that the TL kid is 26 years old.

Last year, Newsweek took a long look back, particularly at the effect of his death on Yoko and his former wife Cynthia and their respective sons, Sean and Julian. It's a sad article. This comment by Yoko struck me most:

"You know, this is like a Shakespearean drama almost," says Ono. "Each person has something to be totally miserable about because of the way they were put into this play.

To Yoko, Sean, Julian and Cynthia: There are millions of people in this world whose lives were enriched by John Lennon, his persona and his music. He told his truth and it was the truth of an entire generation. His death was a tragedy, but his life was an inspiration. His legacy is timeless. I hope someday soon you can focus on his life instead of his death and that the memories of your time together bring you great joy.

With peace and love, from Jeralyn and the TL kid.

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  • Display: Sort:
    John Lennon, RIP (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by duckpin432 on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 07:39:26 AM EST
    The one word on his grave marker says it all:

    Genius..... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 09:30:02 AM EST
    Weird coincidence....I've had the "Ballad of John and Yoko" stuck in my head for three days, and here it is the anniversary of his death.

    "Christ you know it ain't easy, you know how hard it can be, the way things are going, they're gonna crucify me"

    That line really hits home lately for some reason....how hard it is to live free these days without getting crucified, aka punished, for it.

    The only good (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 09:45:53 AM EST
    I can see from this is that Lennon is not here to see what has happened to us despite his admonition to give peace a chance. Peace had no chance as of Jan 20th 2000.

    Thanks for the effort John. Alas, today it all seems to be in vain.

    But George sang "Give me hope" and that is what we need now. Never give up.

    Thanks, John.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 09:59:02 AM EST
    • "Peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace."
      --John Lennon


    • "Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is dynamism. peace is generosity. It is a right and it is a duty."
      --Oscar Romero

    Tragedies and Birthdays (none / 0) (#1)
    by clio on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 05:55:58 AM EST
    While my husband was dying I read all sorts of things trying both to come to terms with impending loss and have some idea what to expect as my children grew.  Having a loved one die over time is tough and tiring, but it is not as immediately shattering as the totally unexpected loss.  The shock trickles in day by day instead of bursting into consciousness and drowning all familiar landmarks.

    One of the things I recall most vividly was the statement "Everyday is the end of the world for someone."  Conversely as my family has come to know and as your son's birth and life prove, everyday is also a new beginning. L'chaim!

    Happy birthday to the TL Kid!
    Congratulations to his mother!
    Many happy returns!

    PS.  About due dates:  my mother swears she carried all her children for 10 months.  She maintains that the extra time went into brain power.  Who am I to argue?

    John... (none / 0) (#5)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 09:51:17 AM EST
    Lennon left us much to cherish, so the wind won't blow it all away.

    Picture yourself... (none / 0) (#7)
    by HK on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 10:12:27 AM EST
    Just for your information, the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool will as of next May be offering flights directly to and from New York on a daily basis, I believe.  So you can all come over here and visit me (I live just across the River Mersey).  Provided you don't mind all sharing a room...

    Not fair..... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 10:16:31 AM EST
    you get a John Lennon Airport and we get a Ronald Reagan?

    There is no justice in this world....lol  


    A warm Raygun (none / 0) (#9)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 12:30:14 PM EST
    The justice is the knowledge that Lennon didnt get his primarily for making the rich richer. No  matter how many self lobotomies are performed,   the truth dosnt change.

    Release Mark Chapman? (none / 0) (#10)
    by bx58 on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 10:21:48 PM EST
    To be honest I have no strong opinion on it. Except for the notiriety he would've been out by now. Like the Manson girls he'll probably never be released.

    Hmm..... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 10:14:31 AM EST
    I'm all for reducing the prison population..but I'd start with the guy we read about here on TL serving 55 years for selling some reefer....not cold-blooded killers like Chapman.

    I'm ok with life sentences for cold-blooded, pre-meditated murderers....for the murderer of a rock-n-roll legend or "joe blow" alike.


    Mark who? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 10:16:02 AM EST