The dream is over, and has been for 25 years.
Here I am, trying to get it together enough to finish this godawful writing task I have to accomplish for Family Systems, and I'm thinking about John Lennon, Dimebag Darrell and RFK.
I don't remember watching the moon landing live, but I think I might have witnessed the RFK assassination live on the local TV news. I remember the news being on, and RFK making his speech. Then a horrible noise and a tussle. My mom cried out "OH MY GOD!" and began sobbing...she was a big RFK supporter and had voted for him in the primary that day. My dad, however, was nonplussed. His dog in the fight in '68 was Nixon. And he was never huge on public or even semi-public displays of grief.
Now I'm thinking about how I heard about Jim Morrison being found dead in Paris 3 years later. I was on a summer camp schoolbus with my trusty transistor radio. They were playing "Riders On The Storm" on Boss Radio 93 KHJ. It was raining that day, so the song really affected me...it was actually creeping me out. We were in the middle of a storm in Agoura, and Jim Morrison is singing about a storm and a killer on the road. Is that killer anywhere close by? Would the bus driver pick him up? Were we all going to die? I really allowed my mind to run away with me. What do you expect? I was 7 years old.
Anyway, after the song faded out, I think it was Machine Gun Kelly who said "We've just received word from Associated Press that Jim Morrison was found dead today in his Paris hotel room. I repeat, Jim Morrison is dead." Incredibly vivid memory. The killer on the road was nowhere near Agoura, California that day...he was in Paris to steal Jim Morrison's last beer-perfumed breath.
I think there isn't a coincidence that Reagan was President-elect when John Lennon was shot. I remember how bummed I was that Reagan beat Carter, who in spite of being a soul perhaps a bit too gentle to hold the office of President of the United States was not necessarily the worst President we had. I couldn't vote this time. I was too young. My first Presidential election would be 1984. I would reach my 18th birthday in a year.
Anyway, I was in a foul mood already that night. I was watching stupid television after a stupid fight between my mother and me over her stupid boyfriend. I was sitting there alone in the house when I channel-surfed over to the football game. Just in time to hear Howard Cosell announce the death of John Winston Ono Lennon. You made my night, Howie. Thanks for making my evening complete.
Update 10:22: Wow, that was certainly an unfinished post that makes me sound awfully petulant and blaming Howard Cosell for my misery of that night. No, I don't believe in shooting the messenger. Let me continue. Anyway, the announcement of the horrible news was the cherry atop one of the worst days of my life. I was walking around like a zombie for days after that. Why couldn't someone else other than Lennon bite it at that point?
However, what I'm saying here is that Lennon was making a big comeback at the same time Ronald Reagan was getting ready to assume control of the United States. It is not tinfoil hat territory to say that Lennon was already under FBI surveillance and there were people in our government who viewed him as a threat. It wouldn't be a very long stretch to assume Reagan would be one of those people who would think that way.
And of course George Herbert Walker Bush, former CIA chief, was his VP. I would imagine it wouldn't be a very long stretch to assume Bush The Elder would have independently regarded Lennon as a threat as well, but that's not necessary in this tinfoil encased scenario. Reagan was President-elect, Bush The Elder was Veep-elect. If Reagan said "frog" Bush would jump, that's the way stuff like that goes. So...you get the idea. Like I said, it's pure tinfoil and conspiracy gobbledygook. However, it's also one of those "things that make you go hmmm."
Wrapping this up: Dimebag Darrell was shot on the same day as John Lennon, 24 years apart. In a way it was even more disturbing of an incident because the bastard who shot Dimebag actually shot him on stage. My husband is a musician. Being on a stage, the focus of attention, is actually a very precarious place. If someone wants to turn your performance into the finale of Phantom Of The Paradise, it would be quite easy for them once they got their weapon of choice past security. Certainly at Corporate Rock events where everyone is wanded and patted down that's not going to happen.
But at a little hole-in-the-wall club? Dear Goddess, that's vulnerability. Ever since Dimebag bit it, when Richie has to go play an out-of-town gig I'm not comfortable at all about it. To a lesser extent, local gigs are sources of anxiety too. It was a horrible incident. Not epochal like Lennon, but horrible nonetheless. Here were my thoughts on that day. Look towards the end of the post.