On this particular occasion I was studying the photo of the four guys with the long hair when my mother stopped to look over my shoulder.
"Look at them," she laughed. "They look like little page boys from King Henry's court."
I agreed with my mother (something I was still doing at that time in my life), even though I didn't know who King Henry or what a page boy was. I was twelve years old without a clue who I was, let alone King Henry and his page boys.
But I read and re-read the article, several times, in fact, and the more I stared at the photos of these four guys, the Beatles, the cuter they looked and the more intrigued I became.
I started surrepticiously listening to my mother's radio station but never heard their songs. I'm not sure who connected me to the Philadelphia rock station WIBG, but it was from the disc jockey named Hy Lit (or, as he called himself, and subsequently all of us, his 12-year-old fans called him, "Hyski-a roonie-mcfatio-zoot") that I got my first taste. I was immediately hooked. And of all the WIBG ( or "wibbage", as we called it) Good Guys (as disc jockeys used to be referred to back then) 'Hyski" was my preferred dealer.
Now, every 12-year-old girl back then loved the Beatles, even though (or maybe because?), as my old grade-school chum Michelle recently reminded me, we were barely out of Barbies. But those other girls didn't love the Beatles the way I loved the Beatles. I had Beatles pins, sweatshirt, posters, magazines galore, every record they made as soon as it came off the press, wallpaper - Beatles wallpaper for goodness sake! (Romaine - do you remember that Beatles wallpaper that I made Mom put up in our bedroom?)
To say I was obsessed with the Beatles was probably accurate.
But looking back in retrospect I believe it was more than that I loved their music and thought they were cute. I believe that for me the Beatles opened the door to adolescence. They gave me an identity: I was a Beatles fan. I now had some sense of myself, a way to present myself to myself and to the world. And I did. Boy, did I!
There was one other girl in my seventh grade class whom I'll call Peggy (changed her name, she'd probably want it that way) who was in competition with me for being the most hard-core Beatles fan. But then one day she came into school bragging that the night before there'd been some kind of gas leak at her house and her parents tried to make her get out of the house until the gas company got there to fix it because the house could blow up, but Peggy stayed inside in her bedroom because she couldn't leave all her Beatles stuff so she decided that if her Beatles stuff was going then she was going with it!
I remember being in awe of Peggy (and goofy enough to have asked her whether her house ended up blowing up). I relinquished to her any pretensions to the position of The One Who Loved the Beatles The Most.
But by eight grade things were different. I was different.
And at the beginning of my freshman year of high school I prevailed upon my mother to take down the Beatles wallpaper. Immediately.
I still loved the Beatles. Fifty years later I still do. Just not enough to have them staring at me from the wallpaper in my bedroom.