December 1980

When I was three years old we had a big couch that folded out into a bed. It was a perfectly 70s looking thing. It was black and white with a paisley pattern. On the weekends or special occasions my parents would pull out the bed and we would all curl up to watch a movie or whatever. This morning while drinking my coffee and surfing the web I came across a news item that, in an instant, took me back to one particular memory I have of that old couch.

It was New Year’s Eve, 1980. We had the big bed pulled out and it was covered with blankets and pillows. My baby sister must have been long asleep, as was my dad on the sofa bed next to me. My mom and older brother were frittering about, and a Christmas tree remained lit up off in the corner.

On the TV was some sort of year-in-review kind of thing, I don’t really remember exactly. What I do remember was a man on the TV saying that 1980 would always be remembered as the year John Lennon was killed. What followed was a montage of John Lennon through the course of his entire career. Set to the song, Imagine.

I remember my mom and dad being emotional, and I remember how sad it was. Maybe I was just picking up on how sad it was in my house in those couple of weeks following John Lennon’s death. I was hardly three years old. I’m not sure how I remember any of it. But, I did. I even called my mom before writing this, and she verified the memory to be pretty close to correct.

For me, that New Year’s Eve tribute to John Lennon and hearing Imagine playing in the background was my very first clear memory of being affected by music. And to this day, after all the millions upon millions of times I’ve heard Imagine through the course of my lifetime, it still makes me sad.

My first memory of John Lennon was that he was killed way before his time. The entire landscape of music was forever changed on December 8, 1980. The day John Lennon died. 28 years ago today.

I imagine we’ll never really know what we missed having him taken from us too soon.

I imagine no matter how much time may pass; we’ll never really get over it.

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