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Letter: An important soundtrack to my life

It was probably right after it was released in February 1964, that I bought Meet the Beatles at Werlein’s Music Store in New Orleans. (I still have it, although it’s seen better days.) That LP, along with Booker T and the MGs’ Green Onions, was a staple at the wild (for that era) dance parties my roommate and I hosted (picture those red bombe-shape candles wrapped with fishnet, empty bottles of Liebfraumilch), and I probably was most smitten with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” On Sept. 13 of that year, three days before they performed at City Park Stadium, another roommate and I left for Hollywood, where we’d already secured jobs. Bad timing.

Come November of that year, I met the man who would become my husband, an intern at Cedars of Lebanon, where I was a nurse; our song was “And I Love Her.” Although the marriage went south, I still love that piece; perhaps it’s the chords that touch me as well as the words.

Yet two songs stand out from the soundtrack of a painful period when we were living in Spring Valley, N.Y. The first, “Here Comes the Sun,” spoke of hope during an interminable gray winter when my sister, who was pregnant out of wedlock (this was 1970, remember) lived with us; I was also pregnant, and we delivered the following August within two days of one another. We both walked on eggshells around my husband and took comfort in sisterhood’s giggling as a release and the song’s words and melody.

The second, “Hey Jude,” with its 7-minute playing time, unbridled chorus of la-la-la-la-la-la . . . and message of risk-taking for love, that helped me extricate myself from a marriage and identity as a doctor’s wife that was utterly toxic. I can still feel the wind in my hair as I drove my 1967 white Porsche 911 down the half-mile straight stretch of Duryea Lane, “Hey Jude” turned on full blast on the Blaupunkt radio, singing at the top of my voice in those brief moments of freedom, foreshadowing the true freedom when the marriage ended.

Were the Beatles important in my life? You bet they were.

DARLENE OLIVO

Concord

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