When the Beatles made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, I was a toddler. It would be a few years before I truly understood who and what the Beatles were, and how they impacted our lives musically. And, who could forget the Beatles cartoons, or lunch boxes or any other Beatlemania memorabilia.
I was about eight or nine years old when “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let It Be” made their way to number one on the charts. I absolutely fell in love with those two songs, and to this day, they are still my favorites.
As soon as I hear, “The Long and Winding Road,” my hands-down, absolute favorite Beatles tune of all time, I am instantly transported back to early summer and my dad’s gold Buick. He was so proud of himself, because he was, in his words, “hip,” with his eight-track tape player, white shoes and new Beatles music.
Maybe that is why I get misty every time I hear that ballad. Not only do the lyrics move me, but the music is beautiful. The moment I hear the first few chords, I am instantly transported back to a simpler time; in my childhood home with my larger-than-life father, alive and well.
Several years ago, my parents took a trip to England, and they had a wonderful time. My mother told us of all the places we needed to see should we ever get the chance to go.
Well, March of last year, was my chance to go.
I flew solo to London, as my husband was stationed in the UK at the time. I packed my clothes and shoes into my dad’s luggage – the same suitcase he had used years before when my parents made the trip. Checking my bags at the airport, I smirked as I thought, “Hey Dad, your bags are making the trip again.”
Out in the midlands, a good hour away from London, I had the experience of a lifetime, living in a quaint English village. The scenery was out of a storybook, and my husband and I traveled to as many places as we could in the two weeks I was there. Of course we sought out the traditional fish and chip dinner at a centuries-old pub, and some had some other wonderful foods – likes crumpets, bubble-and-squeak and, of course, crisps. I was fascinated by the trains, taxi and Underground subway system. The traffic rounds and driving on the wrong side of the road took a bit of getting used to, and I can’t tell you how many times I tried to get into the passenger side and found a steering wheel in my way.
I was in awe that I was in the homeland of literary greats and the Queen Mum. I fell in love with England – the accents, the customs, the people.
The weather wasn’t the most agreeable during my time across the pond. But the weekend we chose to tour London was perfect – sunny and warm. We walked miles and saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Eye of London – all the tourist hot spots. Two of the last “must-sees” on our London list were Harrod’s and Abbey Road. But we were quickly running out of time. We didn’t toss a coin, because my husband and I knew what we would choose.
We chose Abbey Road.
Now, it simply wasn’t a matter of walking from the grounds of Buckingham Palace to St. John’s, where the famous Abbey Road Studios and cross walk are located. We had to find the correct Underground station and change subways routes a few different times to get to our destination. (Oh, by the way, when they say Underground, they mean it! I had no idea how deep into the earth we were as we traveled through London!)
We exited the subway station, and went to the Beatles Coffee Shop at the entrance. Without even asking, the owner handed us a map and sent us up the street to find Abbey Road.
What an amazing experience to walk the path that the Beatles made famous. Yes, we had to be concerned that we’d be hit be a car while snapping photos. Yes, we took many shots of us crossing the street, plus photos of Abbey Road Studios – where music history was made. We weren’t alone in our walk – not only were there plenty of tourists, we sent a text to our daughter, back home in the States, and she actually watched us crossing Abbey Road live, real-time, on a web cam. Think about that!
It’s hard to believe that crossing Abbey Road was such a highlight for my husband and me. But I guess it makes sense, when you think of how the Beatles impacted our lives, from the time we toddlers until even now. It was really awesome to walk that part of history, where Memory Lane meets Abbey Road.
© Lynne Cobb – 2014
What are your memories of the British invasion? Have you ever crossed Abbey Road?
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