Tag Archives: memories

Question of the Week: What Was Your First Rock Concert?


Okay, so this one will really date me!  My very first rock concert was the Beatles live in Baltimore on their first American tour, September 13, 1964, at the Civic Center.  I wasn’t even supposed to go because my mother thought I was too young to really enjoy it—since I was only in the fifth grade—but then, after reading more about how famous these four guys were becoming, she decided this might turn out to be something historic, so I should go along.  (My mother hadn’t liked the Beatles at first, but all that changed after she saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show.)   I’d heard the Beatles’ songs for months, since my sisters had been playing them over and over again on our record player in the basement.  I was  particularly thrilled, I remember, to hear “‘Till There Was You,” the love song from “The Music Man,” done by Paul McCartney.  My favorite line was “But I never saw them winging…” because it was so precious  how he pronounced it “sawr.”

The Poster for the Show

Here is what I remember about the concert:  girls screaming and pulling on their hair; the whole hall being so loud that you could barely hear them sing, but you could hear every word of “She Loves You,”  since it was so loud.  The crowd went crazy and sang along with the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.”

Paul and the Gang
Check out the man and his son!

Most of all, I remember falling in love with Paul McCartney.  I wasn’t too young for that.  I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen in my whole life, and when he spoke in interviews on television, I thought I was going to die.  I hate to say it, but he still has that effect on me, even now, when he is pretending to be an old man.

Apparently, tickets cost $3.75 each.  And the Beatles stayed at the Holiday Inn!  I came home from that concert and joined the Beatles Fan Club—I still have my membership button!



Now it’s your turn!  Please, share a story of your first rock concert with us. 

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Question of the Week: What News Story Brings Back Your Early Teenage Years?

This is an experiment to see if we can get our readers to join in more of a dialogue with us.  We are going to pose a question each week, and see if we can get some interesting responses.  The question for this week is:  “What one news story do you most associate with your early teenage years for you and why?”

Here’s my answer:  The assassination of Martin Luther King

And here’s why: at the time of King’s assassination, I was living on an Army post in Germany and feeling sad about our tour there coming to an end—and I was more than a little worried about going back to the States and entering high school.  There was a string of assassinations that summer—first King and then Bobby Kennedy—and these events had a powerful effect on me, much more so even than John Kennedy’s death, since I was only in the 4th grade for that one.

The thing is that James Early Ray changed more than just one man’s life that day when he pulled that trigger:  my whole world was turned upside down.  The news stories and the pictures from that one event was that the United States had changed, in my head, from a place where beloved relatives lived and you could buy a wonderful hamburger into a land where good people got shot down.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta

The States suddenly seemed dramatically different from our secure, enclosed post at the top of a hill overlooking the little town of Landstuhl, and I couldn’t think about going back there without having day-mares and nightmares.  And now, whenever I think about King’s assassination, I feel that same scary, sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.  His death was not just the death of a great person—it was the first of many events that shook up my world and made me feel very aware of death, very aware of evil, very aware of how unpredictable and frightening a place the world could be.


Thinking about the Bee Gees

“Feel I’m going back to Massachusetts…something’s telling me I must go home. And the lights all went out in Massachusetts the day I left her standing on her own.”

Another Bee Gee is dead, and I’m depressed.  When Robin Gibb died recently, it got me thinking about the big chunk of my life that is forever tied to Bee Gees songs.  I am not one of those Johnny-Come-Lately’s that discovered the Bee Gees with Saturday Night Fever and disco.  For me, the importance of the Bee Gees’ music started way before John Travolta ever thought of putting on a white polyester suit.

In 1965, when I was 12, my family moved (our second tour overseas) to an Army post in Landstuhl, Germany. Since my parents wanted me to become fluent in German, they enrolled me in a school in town, a Gymnasium–the kind of school that prepares German students for the university. I entered the school as a rising 7th grader but was quickly demoted to the 4th grade because of the language barrier. But the principal of the school, a very kind and generous man, agreed to let me try to gradually work my way back up to my age level. With the help of tutors, understanding teachers, and very friendly fellow students, I was able, over the next 3 years, to catch up with my grade again—so that when I came back to the States, I could enter high school.

So this was a stressful time for me. School was tough. The language barrier was immense. The school itself was extremely challenging. It was hard staying up late every night, translating my homework before I could begin to complete it. It was tough navigating cultural differences. But the Gymnasium was also a wonderful place. My classmates made me feel accepted into their world. Almost all of my teachers treated me with patience and kindness. And, although I was given special treatment at first, the best part of the whole experience was when people stopped giving that special treatment and started expecting the same level of work from me that they expected from the other students.

Weaving through all the good times and bad times–the stress, the expectations, and the confusion on one hand, the fun on the other– were the songs of the Bee Gees.

Robin and Brothers in the Early Days

I attended my first dance and danced my first slow dance—with a very handsome eighth grader, an “older guy” named Michael Krick who was actually my age, unlike the boys in my class—to the lyrics of “Words”: “Smile an everlasting smile, a smile can bring you near to me….”  I dreamed long daydreams about kissing that same boy to “To Love Somebody” (“You don’t know what’it’s like to love somebody to love somebody the way I love you.”)  I worried about an endless drama with a mean girl in my class (some things transcend cultural differences)  to “I Started a Joke” (“Oh, but I didn’t see that the joke was on me!”)   I later mooned over my best friend’s brother, who was also our very glamorous newspaper delivery boy, to “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You.” And when I worried about leaving Germany and going back to the States, the words of “World” played in my head.  (“Tomorrow…where in the world will I be tomorrow?  How far am I able to see?”)

The Bee Gees are so much a part of that whole time for me, that time of excitement and longing and restless imagining—that when I hear one of their songs start up, I get transported right back to the  EisCafe Dolomiten , where, in the 8th grade (my last year in Germany) everyone met up after school to eat Italian ice and flirt.

I was sad to see Robin go.  There is something way too jarring about having two Bee Gees dead.  I felt the same way when George Harrison died.  It’s one thing to lose a childhood icon to a tragic, untimely death–like John Lennon–but somehow it’s a lot harder when someone just dies, from some regular old disease, just  like the rest of us. Continue reading Thinking about the Bee Gees