Tomorrow is a long-awaited birthday, the one I’ve hoped to attain my entire life, my sixty-fourth. I have literally waited for this day for the last fifty-four years. I know I’m getting old (my grandkids think I’m already there, phht) but it’s a day that will make me feel delightfully young again. I plan to dance and sing loud enough to shake the rafters. Even if it’s snowing and the temperature stays below zero all day, the sun will be shining in my heart and eyes as I revel on this special day.
I understand if you are searching for some relevance for that particular number. It’s not one of the Big 0’s, it’s not three-quarters of a century, or four-score and seven, not even the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. So why, you’re wondering, has my sixty-fourth been such a big deal for so long?
It’s my Beatle Birthday. Allow me to explain.
In 1967 I loved the Beatles, I and every other girl in the Western world and most of the Eastern as well. I mean, LOVED them, and would have happily swooned at any one of their live performances. Their songs spoke for, to, and of a generation, my generation. However, having been born at the tail end of the baby boomers I missed the ‘Revolution’ by eight long years.
As a ten-year-old (don’t torture your brain, I was born in 1957), I wasn’t old enough to be a hippie or Love Child, but I longed to be. British fashion invaded America with the Beatles. Art exploded with color. Songs told stories of righting wrongs, ending oppression, gaining understanding and brotherhood. Television pitted young activists against hawkish conservatives, entertaining both on different days and during varying hours.
Happenings were happening all around me and I longed to participate. I wanted to march against the Vietnam War, sit-in for civil rights, sing folk songs with students planning a social revolution. But instead, I was babysat by them or dismissed as their younger sister’s friend, not accepted as one of their own. Sigh. So it is in every young activist’s life.
1967 was also the year the Beatles released their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. I’d always enjoyed their music but was more fascinated with their personalities, especially John. However, that album changed the way I listened to music forever. It took root in my brain and became the first, but certainly not last, to be played repeatedly wherever I was, over and over, for days to weeks to months. I knew every line of every song, finding depth and human wisdom in their stories of everyday people.
Each of the songs have been special to me at various times of my life, She’s Leaving Home and For the Benefit of Mr. Kite pretty much defined my early teens. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the song), Lovely Rita, and With A Little Help from My Friends explain a lot of my young adulthood, and then there’s the one I’ve loved most (yes, even more than Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) over the years.
When I’m Sixty-Four
When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings? Bottle of wine?
If I stay out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?
When I’m sixty-four?
The rest of the song is entertaining, but it’s the first two stanzas that have tickled me for a rather long lifetime, teasing me with questions for my future.
Finally I know the answers. My sweetie still sends me a Valentine, birthday greetings, and if not a bottle of wine then a pricy, fancy, box of chocolates. I never see a quarter of three without her lying by my side. She still needs me. She still feeds me.
And now, I’m Sixty-Four!