Did you all watch “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A GRAMMY Salute”? Are you old enough to remember 50 years ago last night? Sometimes it’s sigh-worthy being the oldest person in the room—or in this case in the Wranglers’ round corral. I find myself looking around to see if there’s anyone else there who remembers the things I do. I know D’Ann, Kristi, Shawn, and Margie don’t remember February of 1964, but I do. And the memories are definitely sigh-worthy. In a happy, heart-thumping, huzzah! kind of way.
It was a life-changing time for me. I was 13, not the best of times for most of us. Home wasn’t happy. Puberty was bumpy and painful and full of silent, don’t-look-at-me hysteria.
And then there they were. Handsome and talented and funny and different. George Harrison, my Beatle (everyone claimed ownership of one) was quiet, and I just knew he’d probably had a miserable adolescence, too.
So he went with me. When I first wrote romances—though I didn’t know they were romances—George was at their center. My heroes were always handsome, with great hair and cool clothes and sometimes even a British accent. The heroines were always pretty and talented and smart. Everyone always had money and nice houses and convertibles.
Conflict? Well, no. Motivation? Huh? Goal? Yeah, I had that part. Even then, when I certainly didn’t believe it would ever happen for me, it happened in the stories I wrote on lined paper and didn’t show anyone. After the story had its beginning and middle, it had its end, its Happily Ever After.
Things have changed in 50 years. I’ve learned about conflict and motivation. My heroines tend to be Everygirl and my heroes are flawed (though they still have great hair).
But I still have a tender spot in my heart for George Harrison. He did for me what romance novels often do for their readers. They provide respite from pain, rest from weariness, and—sometimes—answers to questions they didn’t know they had. Their Happily Ever Afters provide hope in empty places and leave tender spots in hearts that need them.
One definition of “tribute” is that it’s an act to show gratitude. So this is my tribute to the Beatles, especially George. Thanks for everything.