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Free as a Bird, Ch. 1 Chapter One
"W
hat a noise!" my mother said.

I just have to call her my mother; it sounds odd to make something else out of it just because she isn't my real mother. She, and the rest of her family had been very well in making me feel at home. There weren't many besides her.

I had one sister, Jane, who was two years older than me. We were getting on great and mostly had the same tastes. My mother had part-time jobs on and off and my father helped some long-time friends out in their furniture business.

For the rest, there were some friends coming in and out, and after long pleading from me and my sister, we had our own lovely small dog (he was just looking to shabby and thin to leave there on the sidewalk).

It made me think a bit of my own situation when I was a baby so I figured we really had to take care of this. We called it anything that popped up in our minds and couldn't decide on a good name. Besides, it listened to anything we said to him. By the time the music scene got filled with rock'n' roll singers my sister started trying every name she could remember of them. Eventually they stuck to "Ringo." Believe it or not, but it had to be from an old country song they heard on the radio, or some cowboy film or my sister who was just as crazed about the Beatles as me.

Right now we were watching the nth pop program that featured some live clips from their first visit to the States.

"Across these, people know them over there?" my mother said.

"Well," my father said, laying down the paper he was reading. "They've been in shock there since Kennedy died, so I think this is quite a welcome change," he went on.

"They live here, not?" my mother said.

And that was the first time he started about one of the people in that furniture area he worked in. "That guy was crazy, or at least they thought he was over the top."

I never knew what he meant with "they" but he must have been talking about the Beatles' manager.

"His parents got some music store, and he worked there and then these guys came in," he went on. "The Beatles, well I don't know if they were called like that back then in Liverpool, but he contracted them and..." the rest got lost behind some thoughts that popped up. Liverpool, that's where I came from. So that must be why their accent sounded so familiar. Gosh, if I really came to meet them like I dreamed about with my sister, then I could talk real Scouse with them and translate it back to her while we showed them whole London.

First you got to know their names! I said to myself.

I hadn't had the chance to dig around in papers as my parents read them and threw them away after that. My sister always forgot to look around in the magazines she was reading. We hadn't followed their whole ride to the top from the first single, we only heard of them when some later single was on the radio and one of the few aunts that lived in America started taliking about the whole hype that was going on there.

But at this moment only the music mattered, until months later, everything was completely turned all around and upside down. When march came, my favourite month, the hectic period started for me. And it brought more than I could have dreamed of.

Things started off with our English teacher who started to analyse the first three singles of the band. It turned out she was quite studied in information about them. I had laughed a bit at first, not that I knew anything about them but it wasn't something for her to gather information about something like the Beatles. She started off with their first single, and really it was the first time things annoyed me. Two girls in the back row screamed at the top of their voices and the connecting door to the next class opened where the headmaster had just been giving a speech.

"Just don't be the next for Heavens' sake," he sighed. Well at least I wouldn't be, especially when things went toward the Beatles names.

"Paul McCartney," she said. She wrote it down on a blackboard.

"Did she spell that right?" a girl next to me said.

"Don't know, it's the first time I heard it." It was really cool, she went on telling something about how he got into the band (strange, there wasn't really much of a biography) and she held a poster in front of the blackboard and pointed at the face on the right.

I couldn't really see anything because people in front of me started to laugh and some boys behind me weren't at all intrested in this and started playing with my hair and chattering about what these guys would do if they met girls like the ones in these classes.

After a silence call it went on with the next single and then things went really fast. Someone knocked on the door with a piece of paper, I vaguely heard my name and saw some faces directing at me but then things got quiet again.

All through the whole analysing of this song I wondered what the fuzz was about me. Was I called off for another talk in this small grey room, or was it even time again for that terrible cane slamming over my hands so that I at least couldn't help out with the dishes after dinner?

I went through all the sad things that could have been written on that paper until the story went on with the next Beatles. This time it was really short, but it made me sit straight in my chair at once and having a hard time to keep my expression normal.

"John Lennon."

Long ago that I heard that name. In the back of my mind I heard some other voice echo the same words.

This couldn't be, this was just untrue! I tried to recall the faces I'd seen on the tv screen. One of them had given me that deja vu feeling, as if I'd seen it before but wasn't sure whether I'd just dreamed it or not.

But it went off with quite a different story than I knew. First of all his mother gave him away, or so the teacher said. She didn't even have names, and places of where he was living, except some large house in a street that I must have walked through one time or another. Coincidence, all just a case of the same circumstances with two different persons. There's enough peopole around who have exactly my whole name.

Nevertheless the name kept echoing through my mind and this time when the poster came on, I really tried to see a bit, but right when she wanted to point at it, the bell rang and everyone went up in such a hurry and back with loud noise that it distracted me. Things where packed up again and people started to walk out chattering about the Beatles.

Only one boy walked to the small record player and put the needle back again. "Time for some party!" he called out and turned the volume real loud. I couldn't believe it. He picked the teacher up from behind her desk and tolled around a bit.

"Dan, stop it!" she said. "That's meant for these clubs you go to and not this decent school." Through the last words she started to laugh. She pointed him out and then told me to sit down.

I had just been hanging around because the thought of this piece of paper got back to my mind again.

"Not again," I sighed.

"What?" she said while she pulled over some chair for manother table and set down beside me.

"This thing on my hands, I really had enough of that."

"They use that here?" she said.

She really didn't know about this? Well, after all she was rather new here but she must have had some information about how things worked here. I told her that and she really got me surprised.

"As if they're gonna tell me that kids get hit when they do something wrong." she said. "They know that's cruel and they're just afraid no one will come in when he hears about that."

"But you won't leave, please?" I said.

"Why should I?" she said.

"Because you're working in some school where this master seems to threaten to cut your fingers if you don't say 'e's right." By now I got really concerned about it. And if something made me angry, my whole accent from the past gave away.

"Oh, I'll keep up with it," she said with a lighthearted smile on her face. "Now listen, this is not fair, you're the only one that won't slam someone in the face when they're naughty and he won't listen?" I said. Really, I switched over from this typical accent to the London English I was getting used to now.

"What am I here for," she said. "I'm here to help people out, and oh, that reminds me of something, this little note...."

"Let 'em get lost with that one." I sighed. She seemed to notice the whole difference as she kept looking at me all the time.

"It's nothing awful, it's something from me personally," she said. "I made a plan."

"Oh, I have to study more?" I said.

"No please don't!" she said, which made me laugh. I was quite enthusiastic for all the subjects she gave us and she probably got a bit annoyed with all the extra homework she had to correct for me.

"Now listen up." she said while leaning back in the chair. "I got a niece, Patty and she's an actress....er...a model, sorry. This whole thing was planned out to bring things over to this subject. I mean, I know you like the Beatles and that's actually what made me read some more about it."

"You could give me a few of her books," I said, assuming that she would go on about a pile of biographies and magazines this Patty had in her room.

"No, well maybe. Don't know if she has some, you could go to the library, but anyways, at the moment the Beatles are on tour in the States, but they're scheduled to make a movie at the begining of March. And now there's this sort of small fan club or magazine I'm not exactly sure, but they had some contest where winners could ask one of their friends along to act as fans in some crowded scenes. Now she seems to be one of the more professionals but these fifty or so girls are all couples and she said she didn't want to be singled out like the one that was coming all on her own. Well one girl more or less, that won't matter, and as she wanted to invite someone, I thought of you and..." I sat there silent. What did this mean? Was I going to be in one film with my favourite band?

"Wow, great, thanks." I stammered.

"You will have to do a bit of screening of course." she said. "You can't step in there at once so..."

"Oh that's ok, they'll be sure I can scream so...."

"Well, I guess it's the only thing you need to do there," she sighed. I wouldn't mind if there wasn't any text for me to say in that film, the only thing mattered that I might be on one set with these four guys, and finally our dream wold come true. It would only be the beginning.

Everyone congratulated me, and the strangest thing was that Jane wasn't even jealous.

"If they're filming outside here, I'll jump all on top of that cameraman and scream so that the windows will fall out." she laughed.

Well, they wouldn't be filming near our house but that was ok. I got some papers to invite me to the screen test. It wasn't an audition to select people. It was more a test to see if all the people they picked out where good enough to be in the film. I was so excited, I couldn't wait for all of this to start. One thing was still nagging me...

"John Lennon..." I thought. "John...Lennon..."

Then it hit me, I'd finally know for sure who was behind that familiar name.

********


Chapter Two

Written by Yvonne. May not be reproduced without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.

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