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.

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?

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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