When I was ten years old, Jeanette lived next door.
Along with her mother and her aunt, Jeanette had moved into the elegant, white, extended ranch that sat a bit further back from the road, along the top of a small rise on the Exeter side of my house.
Jeanette was a teenager and, during the fall and winter of 1963-1964, I went over to her house after school and she would look after me until one of my parents got home from work.
Jeanette had a record player and records and she was crazy about this musical group from England that I’d never heard of called “The Beatles.”
Thanks to her, I was soon crazy about the Beatles as well. During those afternoons, we’d listen to their records, study the pictures in the many fan magazines she had and discuss their up-coming visit to America.
Ringo was my favorite.
I don’t remember which one was Jeanette’s favorite, but I do remember a conversation we had when we tried to decide which one of the Beatles should survive if their plane crashed on the way to the US. She said that it should be John because he was married and had a child. I said that it should be Ringo. Because… he was Ringo!
Inspired by Ringo, I decided that I wanted to play the drums.
My parents approved and got me a blue-sparkle-and-chrome snare drum with a collapsible chrome stand, a golden cymbal with its own, taller, chrome stand and my first pair of wooden drum sticks.
They arranged for me to take drum lessons from Mrs. Prebble, a music teacher who gave lessons out of her home on High St. in Exeter. Mrs. Prebble also opened my young eyes and ears to the wide world of music.
In the Fall of 1964, the Beatles came back to the United States for their “First American Tour.” They came to Boston for a concert at the Boston Garden on September 12.
Jeanette had a friend whose father had a friend who knew someone somehow connected to someone who had something to do with the Beatles. So, Jeanette was not only going to the concert, but she was going to meet the Beatles in person!
The excitement ran very high on Newmarket Road during the weeks leading up to September 12.
When I saw Jeanette the following Monday, she told me that she didn’t get to meet the Beatles after the concert. Something happened and it didn’t work out, but her friend’s father’s friend brought the girls some consolation gifts. Jeanette showed me a pair of hand-drawn, pencil portraits of two of the Beatles. They had been done by Ringo.
I was not lucky enough to get to see the Beatles, but, thanks to my good friend, Andy Inzenga, I did see Ringo perform with one of the editions of his All Starr Band. They played the Bank of America Pavilion on the Boston waterfront on June 25, 2008. Ringo was in fine form and obviously having a wonderful time. Midway through the evening though, when he sat down behind his drum set and kicked off “Boys,” (his featured number from the early Beatles’ shows) the crowd and I went completely wild.
Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey, on July 7, 1940, in Liverpool, England.
Thank you, Ringo. I hope you had a very happy 71st birthday.
Thank you, Mrs. Prebble.
And most of all, thank you, Jeanette.