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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Imagine There's No Lennon

Twenty-five years ago tonight, John Lennon was murdered in the street.

I was in college, a senior at Bowling Green State University, taking my last on-campus classes before going home to do my student teaching. I woke to the news the following Tuesday. I grew up with the Beatles (see my previous post), and I couldn't believe it. John Lennon! I thought of my sister, Patti. John Lennon, gone. It didn't seem possible. Or fair. An odd thought crossed my mind: I had always held out hope for a Beatles reunion. Not any more. I got ready for my Romantic Poetry class and, on the way there, I could hear people talking about the shocking news.

We sat in the classroom in University Hall, waiting for Dr. Wolfe to come in, and some of us talked about John Lennon. A few got pretty dramatic about it. Some people didn't seem affected at all. After about ten minutes we noticed the time; it was unusual for Dr. Wolfe, a short, sweet, and "Underdog-as-Shoeshine-Boy" type man, to keep us waiting. Someone mentioned the Fifteen Minute Wait for a Full Professor Rule. We waited. Finally, in rushed Dr. Wolfe, pink-faced and disheveled. We were stunned. It was obvious that he had been crying. He stood at the front of the classroom and struggled to compose himself. "I cannot possibly conduct class today," he said, gulping for deep, jagged breaths. "They're shooting poets now."

And a sob broke free as he turned and left the room.

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