It has been thirty years since John Lennon was gunned down outside his New York City apartment. I’ll never forget the night it happened. I had been out partying for my 21st birthday (December 7th) with my good friend Fred. We got back to my one-room efficiency off-campus in Bloomington late that Sunday night. Still buzzing, we switched on the stereo to hear the news that John Lennon had been shot and killed. We couldn’t believe it. Instant buzz kill, we broke off the party with a mumble — neither one of us in the mood to continue our binge. A hell of a way to matriculate into adulthood.
The next day, in a cold winter rain, I stood beside my fellow IU students and professors who had gathered in the wet fields of Dunn Meadow to pay tribute to John. We stood, some weeped, all sang along to our favorite songs from a memorial radio broadcast over loud speakers. “Imagine,” “War is Over,” “Instant Karma,” “Revolution.”
That morning, I had pinned a “Yippie!” button — one that I had purchased a few summers prior during a trip to Chicago to attend the “Rock Against Racism” festival — onto my vintage black cashmere doorman’s coat. At the end of the day, as I limply marched back to my pad, I looked down to see that my Yippie! button had fallen off. A naked wire semi-circle all that remained on my lapel. I had really loved that button, and held onto it as a token of the sixties revolution that I had just missed by accident of birth. Now, the button, that theater time, and my boyhood hero were never to be seen again. Never to be forgotten. Cosmic Giggle, I mused as I walked back home alone.