I see myself on the floor of my college dorm room in 1967.  I am next to the stereo surrounded by what my three roommates and I have strewn in the course of this week. I am holding an LP cover and listening to history in the making.  The Sgt. Pepper album has been released.

Iconoclastic, bombastic, fantastic, each cut on the album is a revelation. Amidst the political and cloaked in the cheerful, one tune carries a warning from the far future.  If I make it to age 64, I will certainly be on the thin ice of late-life affections.

Today, December 5, 2010, the bill from The Beatles comes due.  Last night at a small dinner staged by friends (vegetarian fare and Tuscan wine—a blending of the hippie and the lusty, not a bad metaphor for then and now), my daughter played “When I’m 64” on her guitar and sang along with the people I count on most.

I’m 64.  My daughter is 17.  Last night’s dinner conversation held some of its funniest moments in the recounting of what my (younger) friend’s grandson had recently said.

This coming week will bring the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.

The circle of life is a spinning top for those of us born of a boom.  The numbers are crazy and not necessarily lining up with what they meant in 1967.  I no longer feel 25–as I did for about 30 years–but I don’t feel like what I imagined 64 to be when I was 20, either.  I saw last night that yes, I am still loved. And yes, I still know all the lyrics.

This morning I realize I want to surround myself with songs.  Chants before meditation. “Happy Birthday” when another friend reaches another milestone.  And every damned Beatle tune I get the opportunity to recall.

This December birthday makes me a late arrival in the Sgt. Pepper march to maturity.  Most of my college contemporaries faced 64 months ago.  They survived, and so will I. And so will you if your Beatle Birthday is yet to come.  Turn up the music.  We’ve still got a lot of singing to do.

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  • Cynthia Casselman-Knudsen December 9, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I love the vision of your daughter singing to you on your birthday. What a joy! Happy Birthday and many more songs to come.

  • Ginger Andrews December 6, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Happy Day!

    I thought of you last week as I was turning my calendar from November to December– a couple of days late. I’m always so busy. Sometimes the new month arrives before I’m ready for it…. I knew your birthday was in December, but I didn’t remember the day.
    Yes to singing! Yes to remembering who our friends are on their special day, or the day after, or ANY day.

    Love and blessings to you

  • Sharon Maiman December 6, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Happy Birthday dear friend…who could ask for more?

  • Elizabeth W December 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Happy Beatle Birthday! I hope many nice people need you and feed you.

    I grew up a Beatles fan, and took note when each of the surviving Beatles reached his Beatle birthday.
    I loved this piece.