A Christmas Memory: A John Lennon Memoir — 1969

One of his causes was peace for the world and in this season of giving and peace, let’s remember him.

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John Lennon, Toronto, early 1970s

For those of you who missed this three years ago, I’m publishing it again and this time, it includes something really special — a contact sheet of photos of me, John Lennon and Yoko Ono during our interview in Toronto, Canada.

Once upon another lifetime, I worked for a major US publishing magazine and I decided that we weren’t giving enough attention to the publishers to the north of us; the Canadians. I began attending a yearly meeting of Canadian publishers and on one of my first visits I was booked into the same hotel as John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s WHO You Know

Well, if you’re inordinately lucky, you have a relative who is a very good friend of a close friend of theirs. Follow? Then you take a large measure of chutzpah, pen an anything-but-memorable note which states that your relative, friend of so-and-so, says hello. You leave it with the clerk at the desk and go to your room.

A few hours later, the phone rang and a man with a strong British accent asked, “Would you like to come up to the suite to talk to John?” Could there have been any questions?

They decided that I could come up later in the afternoon and I grabbed for a Toronto yellow pages to look up photographers. I can't imagine what the photographer I called thought when I told him that I had an exclusive interview with John Lennon, wanted him to meet me in the lobby, and not to tell anyone. He agreed and an hour later I met someone I didn’t know and had no idea whether he could use a camera or not and we went up to the suite.

The Door Is Opened

The door was opened by someone, I don’t know who, and then the fellow who had called, Derek Taylor, introduced himself and led us into a room where a table, complete with a white tablecloth, had been set up.

John Enters Quietly and Introduces Himself

Without any notice, like trumpets or an announcement or something, John stepped into the room, followed by Yoko. I looked at him with his long hair and round glasses and impeccable white pants and shirt and all I could think was, “He’s not tall. He’s very thin and not tall”.

He turned. Looking at me and speaking to Yoko, he asked, “Doesn’t she look like Shirley MacLaine? I think she looks like Shirley MacLaine.” She agreed somewhat quietly, and I made some forgettable retort.

The two photographers kept clicking off shots and shooting videotape while I fumbled for something to ask. What about his book, his writing, what?

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Toronto, Canada, unknown photographer

Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, WebMD consultant, SAG/AFTRA member, author, interested in film, writing & health. Website: http://t.co/VT8mvcAvRz

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