Thursday, December 11, 2014


When you get to my age, you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the facilities. For me it's usually around 3am. Often when I get back to bed I can't get to sleep right away. I don't count sheep but I think about a variety of topics. Here is a sample:

* Why does it take a knife to open a fresh loaf of bread? Are there nuclear secrets in there?
* What the heck is "breaking news"?
* Why do the real estate agents always have their pictures in the ads?
* Why does Hawaii have interstate highways?
* If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
* When you see those road signs that say "depressed storm drains" should they seek professional help?
* Are those "reduced salt" signs on the side of the road, watching their blood pressure?
* How does a 300 page book get downloaded to your Kindle in 3 seconds?
* If the Weather Channel tells you its 0 degrees outside today, and tomorrow its going to be twice as cold, how cold will
   it be?
* If a book about failures doesn't sell, is it a success?
* Why do all those cars in the tv crime shows, show up at the crime scene without a spec of dirt on them?
* Why do some bottles of water have a list of ingredients?
* Why do we have to pick up dog poop, but not horse poop?
* Why would we buy all those drugs advertised on tv, when the disclaimers and side effects are longer than the product
* When a weather forecast says there is a 50% chance of rain, what does that mean? That its going to rain on one side of
    the street but not the other?
* How come the Post Office has a "postage due" sticker when you mail something without enough postage, but when you
   put too much postage on, there is no "refund due" sticker?

Usually after thinking about all of this, I finally nod off!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Next Wednesday November 26 will be the 50th anniversary of my coming home for the first time from college. One of the most emotional times of my teenage years was the first year I went off to college. I didn't come home for the first time until Thanksgiving and I was pretty lonesome at school and missed my parents, my sisters and my dog Horton. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I got a ride from Edna Barker and I had her drop me off on Sisson Road in front of the old high school, now the middle school instead of our house on South St, which was a quarter mile away. I guess I wanted to savor the moment!

I walked down the school drive, passed the old high school, recalling all the good times, and when I got to the edge of the field at the east end of our property, by the old pine tree, I whistled for Horton. I had a special whistle I always used to call him. I had told my parents I should be home around 6pm so please have Horton waiting on the back steps and I will call him from the far end of the field.

At first I didn't hear anything, but then I heard the jingle of his dog tags on his collar getting louder and louder. It was dark, and I was squinting towards the west and then I saw him. He saw me too, and started yelping away and must have jumped 3 feet into the air to greet me! He was barking away, running in circles around me, giving me kisses as I bent over to pat him.

I had tears in my eyes and could barely see. All that was missing was Tom Jones singing the Green, Green, Grass of Home, And we did have a big, old oak tree in the back yard too! We ran together to the back door, me carrying my little duffle bag, and went into the kitchen to greet everyone. Little Frannie Larkin was home!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


33 years ago today, a third of a century (yikes!), I ran and completed the New York City Marathon. I had run off and on since the early 70's, but when my father died in November of 1980, I decided to train for a marathon and dedicate the race to Dad. I had run some road races and had a base already built up and I had several books and mags on running. I picked out a training routine to finish the marathon in about 4 hours. I just wanted to finish and not try to set any speed records! And over the course of a year, I followed the training routine and didn't deviate from it very much. I didn't want to get carried away and get injured.

One of my brother in laws and a nephew drove down from Topsfield, Ma. the Saturday before. We lived in Danbury, Ct at the time. I drove down to New York City with a racing buddy  the week before the marathon to get our numbers and race kit. They had them available at the Post Office right next to Madison Square Garden. We got pizza the night before to get those carbo's into the body.

The next morning we got up early and drove down to Staten Island, with our neighbor, who was a great runner and had done the marathon several times. So he gave me a lot of tips, although he would finish well ahead of me. My brother in law and nephew drove back to downtown Manhattan and parked in a garage near the finish line in Central Park and began the long wait!

For the male runners, they had set up the world's largest outdoor urinal. It was a wooden trough that was tilted at a slight angle and had running water going down it. I think it ended up in one of the sewer drains. For the ladies, there was a large row of portable potties. As it got close to the starting time, I walked up to where the first time runners and top lady runners were. On the other side of the bridge, it was the top men. I didn't want to stay at the back of the crowd and take 10 minutes or so to cross the starting line, so I positioned myself near the front of the first time runners, but well back of the top ladies. I certainly did not want to interfere with them.

When the starting cannon went off,  I crossed the starting line in a few seconds. It was finally here. I had trained for over a year and had thought of this moment for months. It was a clear day, temp in the high 40's and the Manhattan skyline was to my left. Fire boats were sending streams of water high into the air and helicopters were circling above. What a sight. And you read about the first mile being the toughest because its uphill on the bridge. I didn't even notice. I was so excited and plus I had trained on a lot of hills. So it wasn't any big deal.

I had on shorts, and a light sweatshirt, with no hood, my famous red winter hat and garden gloves. And in the left glove, I carried my father's last drivers license. I made sure not to go out too fast, despite all the excitement. I wanted to run about 4 hours or maybe a few minutes less. 2 weeks before when we were visiting family in Topsfield, Ma. I had gone for my longest run, 22 miles. I can still remember every mile of that training run, and occasionally drive parts of it, and think back. After that run, I showered, went to Mass, and then we drove back to Danbury. I felt good so I figured I could break 4 hours.

I ran on the left side of all the runners. I did not want to get tripped up by running in the middle of everyone. All the spectators in Brooklyn were high fiving and low fiving all of us and cheering us on. It was fantastic support. I felt great and hit the halfway mark a little less than 2 hours. I purposely was holding back and then wanted to up the tempo for the next several miles. And then as  I was crossing the 59th St bridge, my right knee started hurting. What the heck was this? I had no injuries for the past year and did a conservative marathon build up. I had stretched and was as flexible as I could be. The pain got worse and worse. I tried some stretching and asked someone at an aid station what it might be, but they didn't know.

I ran, walked the rest of the way. I was in a lot of pain, but I had dedicated the race to Dad and was not about to drop out. I finished in 4 hours and 46 minutes, about 46 minutes longer than I had hoped. My brother in law was starting to get worried where I was. I told him I would probably finish in about 4 hours. Then he saw the red hat coming down the last quarter mile. When I got to Central Park South, I said the heck with it. I am going to run the last mile and change without stopping. And I did. The pain didn't get any worse.

My neighbor had finished in about 3 hours and change so they were all waiting for me. But I finished. I did it. And I pulled Dad's license out of my glove, looked down at his picture, smiled and gave him a kiss. This was for you Dad!
We all talked about the race on the ride home. My right knee ached and I took some aspirin when I got home. I remember calling my mother to tell her I did it! The next day it was back to work and I had promised everyone at the regional office in Westport, Ct. that if I finished, I would bring in donuts for everyone. So I stopped and bought 6 dozen donuts for everyone.

I went to a running doctor a few days later, and the cause of the pain was my ilio tibial band (the ITP). That's a muscle that runs from the hip down to the knee and crosses over the outside of the knee. That had tightened up and was rubbing against the bone. That's what was causing the discomfort. I had to rest the knee for several days and then do special stretching exercises for the ITB and I was ok. And for the next 30 years as long as I did the stretching I could run and do races without any problems. I went on to complete a triathlon, a 25 mile bike race and over 100 road races, most of them 5 miles or 10K's. I finished every race and never had to drop out.  I stopped running 6 years ago. I figured there are only so many miles on the tires so why chance it.

So for the last 6 years, I walk, hike, bike, kayak and snowshoe in season. I have not done a century(100 miles) in bike riding so I think I will do that next year. That will complete my own personal trifecta, of completing a marathon, triathlon and a century. So as Paul Harvey said many years ago, "Now you know the rest of the story."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


In 1964, my senior year in high school, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty. Here we are a half century later. So how are we doing?
* 1 in 5 children live in poverty
* 1 in 6 adults live in poverty
* 1.2 million students are homeless, including 100,000 athletes
* Here in Massachusetts 25% of families in the suburbs of Boston are on food stamps
* In Massachusetts last night, 2000 families spent the night in a shelter and 2000 more in a motel
* Here in Newburyport, Salisbury and Amesbury there are 7 soup kitchens and 5 food pantries
* In these same 3 towns there are over 200 homeless students
* Within 1 mile of my house are 3 tents with people living in them year round

I don't think the War is over. Far from it. We have a long ways to go. Eliminating poverty or significantly reducing it is a complicated process. I think one of the keys is education. We have to keep our students in school. Today 25% of high school students do not graduate or don't graduate on time. And 50% of those entering college do not graduate. What happens to all those who drop out of high school? Many will be homeless, commit crimes, turn to drugs, get pregnant and get minimum wage jobs, if that. A recent study indicated that close to 75% of all crimes are committed by high school drop outs. If we keep them in school, see them graduate, they will earn several hundred thousand dollars more over a lifetime than a drop out. So poverty goes down and so does crime. There are close to 2 million prisoners in our jails. The average cost is close to $80,000 a year per prisoner. Keep them in school and the cost to incarcerate prisoners drops significantly as well.

Short term there are many things we can do to alleviate poverty in our towns, increase awareness of those in need, and raise money and food. 6 years ago one person in Newburyport had a dream-that if every citizen just put 2 cents a day into a can, donated 2 food items a month to a food pantry and volunteered 2 hours a month, we could make a difference. A non profit was formed, made up of all volunteers, no salaries and hardly any overhead. Today over $70,000 has been raised and given out as grants and donated to the food pantries. Food drives the past 3 years have raised $19,000 worth of food that was donated to the food pantries. Over 80 businesses in the community have Pennies containers on their counters for donations, which goes to the food pantries.

If everyone just in Newburyport, Ma contributed 2 cents a day, that is over $120,000 a year. 2 food items a month is over 400,000 a year and 2 hours a month is over 400,000 a year. And this is just one town. Imagine if every one of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts did this? It wouldn't eliminate poverty but would ensure most of our citizens went to bed (somewhere) with a full stomach.

So the war is not over, there are many battles to be fought and won. Let's continue to march forth.

Monday, October 20, 2014

DAD AT 100

My father would be 100 years old on November 2. He was born in 1914, just as WW1 was beginning. And died November 25, 1980, a young 66. Look at all the wars he lived through, all the inventions, all the technology advancements. Like all of us, he had his strengths and weaknesses. As I remember him on his 100th, I would rather focus on this strengths. He was a WW2 veteran,  a very handsome man and in his younger days had a  great physique. He was a great outdoorsman, and an excellent shot with the shotgun during Deer Week. And he was the unofficial arm wrestling champion of the Cape, besting  a fisherman from Provincetown, who had arms like Popeye, at the 28 Club in Dennisport.

And Dad was a great story teller. At our annual family reunions on the Cape each summer, everyone would gather around Dad as he told family stories and history and did his famous St Patrick paper trick that no one has ever been able to figure out to this day! He knew all the family history and would tell us all about our grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles. I wish I had tape recorded all that history.

As Dad got older he let himself go and gained weight and came down with Type 2 diabetes and ended up taking a shot of insulin every day. His health got worse and eventually he lost toes and then part of his foot. Complications set in and he passed on, 2 days before Thanksgiving. I still remember that entire sequence. Dad died on Tuesday, late that afternoon we are making arrangements with the funeral director, Wednesday I am picking out a casket, Thursday we have a subdued turkey dinner, Friday is the wake, Saturday is the funeral, Sunday we drove back to Connecticut, and Monday I was back at work!! I remember sitting in my office, thinking "what the heck just happened. A few days ago I had a father and now I don't"

When my mother died several years ago, we were going through her papers and found a letter I had written to her a few months after Dad died. It was full of the usual news about the kids and how work was going etc, but I closed with a few thoughts about Dad and here is what I said. They applied back then and still do today:

"I was thinking of Dad this past Wednesday, Feb 25, 3 months already since he died. Its hard to believe I don't have a father anymore. I wear his watch every day plus keep his last driver's license in my wallet and I have his army picture framed and on my bureau, plus I wear a lot of his clothes, so while he may be far away, he is still near. I hope he realized how much I loved him, thought about him, admired him and respected him, and especially for all he went through the past three years. And I hope he was proud of me and all I have accomplished and I hope I did the right things for him when we came to visit. I hope he realized how much I appreciated everything he did for me and I can't thank him enough."

Happy 100th Birthday Dad. I love you and miss you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Off to College 50 Years Ago!

50 Years ago last week I went off to college at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. It was definitely an exciting time but at the same time I was pretty nervous and apprehensive. And those were pretty turbulent times back then. It was only 10 months after JFK had been assassinated, the Cold War with Russia was raging, the Viet Nam war was starting to ramp up, especially after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution had just been passed, Civil Rights news dominated the airwaves-bombings, killings and marches in the South and President Johnson declared a War on Poverty. So that was the atmosphere I went off to college in!

The times were different back then. Hardly anyone spent weekends in the fall of their senior year in high school visiting college campuses. You basically went to the one you applied to and got accepted.  I wanted to major in sports broadcasting and Boston University had a very good program as did UMass.  I did visit B.U. for one day, taking the bus up from the Cape. But I couldn't afford to go there so it was mainly an exploratory visit.  I did apply and got accepted. It cost $3400 a year back then!! I could go to UMass for less than a thousand dollars a year, and that's for room, board, and tuition. The works. But I also got into UMass and that is where I went.

The first time I saw the campus was in August. There was a 3 day orientation for the freshman. I took the bus up from Hyannis  and switched buses for Amherst in Park Square in Boston.  Most of that bus was full of freshman going to the orientation. We were given a tour of the campus and I remember asking the upper classman guide how much studying we had to do in college. And he said "Remember the busiest day you had in high school? Every day is like that here." I remember thinking what I did I get myself into to. We met  the Dean of Men and he told us to look to our left, and then look to your right, one of you won't be here in 4 years! Yikes. And he was right!  And he told us if we got caught drinking beer, don't tell him we found the beer by the tree down by the pond, because he had already checked that tree.

Right after Labor Day it was time to leave home! I said goodbye to my dog Horton, and gave him a big hug. I probably wouldn't see him until Thanksgiving. There was not a lot to pack in those days. I had a suitcase, a table lamp,  a radio and a small hi fi set. That was it! Dad and Mom sat in the front seat and I sat in the back seat of the 1958 Chevy with my two sisters. It was about a 3.5 hour drive up Route 3 and out the Mass Pike.

We checked into Hills North and my room was 114. The rooms were pretty spartan back then. There was a bed, a desk, a wastebasket and a bureau for each of us. My roommate had not arrived yet. There were no TV's, phones, hot plates, or refrigerators allowed in the rooms. There was one tv in the community room for everyone to watch and the football players controlled most of the shows. And back then there were only 3 channels to watch.  Years later when we brought one of our daughters to college, some of the rooms had more furniture and fixtures than our first apartment when we got married. There were no computers back then either. All of our term papers were done on a Royal typewriter.

And there was a curfew for the ladies. 11:30pm weekdays and 1:00am on weekends. My dorm was at the bottom of a hill and around 12:45am every weekend all the cars with their dates would go flying past, going up the hill to the female dorms. There were no co-ed dorms then and if a guy was caught in one, he would be in big trouble. And the class schedules were a lot different. I had a math class Mon, Wed, Fri at 4:40pm and I had Spanish Tues, Thurs and Sat a 8am and History at 10:10 those same 3 days. And my sophomore year I had a Zoology lab Sat 9-12! Yikes.

We walked around the campus for a while and then it was time for my family to leave. We stood out in the parking lot-hugged, kissed and shook hands. They wished me luck. I had a feeling I would need it! My father backed the 58 Chevy out and they drove down the road in the front of the dorm, waving  out the window. They went past the Newman Center and around the corner, out of sight.  I was on my own. And little Frannie Larkin was about to begin the next phase of his life.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Reflections on Fathers Day

Tomorrow will be the 34th Fathers Day without my father. He died in November 1980. But not a day goes by where I don't think of him. And for the last third of a century I have carried his last drivers license with me, in my wallet, so Dad is always with me wherever I go. When I had a big presentation to the Chairman of the division I worked in at IBM or to the vice presidents, I took Dad's license out of my wallet and put it into the pocket of my white shirt, right over my heart. I figured that if Dad was that close to me, I wouldn't screw up the presentation and it would go well, and it always did.
  I ran and completed the New York City marathon, in 1981. I trained for a year and ran it in his memory. It was a fairly cool day and I wore a pair of garden gloves, and Dad's license was inside the left handed one. He was with me the entire way and helped get me over the tough spots. I also have the watch my mother gave him for their 25th wedding anniversary. I wear it on special occasions in his memory.
  I have a lot of family letters in my bureau that I have kept over the years and also a lot of miscellaneous Fathers Day cards, thank you notes, etc. I have the letter my grandfather wrote to my mother during her first year of college. And the ones my parents wrote me during my freshman year. Lots of advice and good wishes in them.  One of the letters  I wrote to my mother in February of 1981, a few months after Dad died. There is a lot of family news in the letter, what our kids were doing, what my wife Kathy was doing, etc. The last part of the letter I was writing about my father, and what he meant to me. With Fathers Day around the corner, this can apply to all of our fathers.
   " I was thinking of Dad this past Wednesday February 25. 3 months already since he died. Its hard to believe its been three months already plus hard to believe I don't have a father any more. I wear his watch every day plus keep his last drivers license  with mine in my wallet, and I have his army picture framed and on my bureau, plus I wear a lot of his clothes, so while he may be far away, he is still near.
    I hope he realized how much I loved him and thought about him and admired him and respected him, and especially for all he went through his last three years. And I hope he was proud of me and all I have accomplished and I hope I did the right things for him when we came down to visit.  I wish we could have gotten down to the Cape more to see you all and to be with him. I hope he realized how much I appreciated  everything he did for me and I can't thank him enough."
     To Dad and all the fathers out there and to all those who have gone before us, Happy Fathers Day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thoughts on St Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day

St Patrick's Day was always a special day in our house growing up. It was my father's favorite holiday. We never had corned beef but instead had a New England Boiled Dinner-a pork shoulder or picnic ham, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, all cooked together. Delicious. And I can still  see my father, sitting at the head of the kitchen table, having a few sips of liquid refreshment and singing tura lura lura, his favorite Irish lullaby.

I am only part Irish but my wife and her family are 100% Irish- My wife's name is Kathleen Maura Sullivan. That's about as Irish as you can get or as Irish as Patty's pig!! My wife had a sister named Patricia Sullivan and she was born on March 17. So every year for the past 40 plus years, this was a big party in the family. We would have the party in Massachusetts and for many years, when we lived in Connecticut, we had the party there. And often we would make the drive back to Massachusetts for the party. We would have corned beef and all the trimmings. I would make Irish Soda bread and my wife would make a birthday cake in the shape of a shamrock. We would have some Irish Cream and sing happy birthday to Patty. It was her favorite day of the year and she would open all her presents. The house would be decorated with shamrocks and lots of green.

But Patty died last year, 3 days before her birthday. And a few months later, her mother, my mother in law and good friend, died.  So for the first time since I can remember we did not have a party. I don't think anyone was in the mood. We did go out to diner and toasted Patty. Maybe next year.

And we can't talk about St Patrick's Day without mentioning Evacuation Day. This is a special day in American history and doesn't get the attention it deserves. If it hadn't been for what happened on this day, we might have lost the Revolution. Henry Knox owned a book store in Boston and became friends with George Washington. The Americans had recently captured several large cannon at Fort Ticonderoga in New York. Knox was asked to bring those cannons back to Boston in the winter of 1776. . This is one of the great achievements of the war. Knox loaded the cannons on sleds, and had oxen pull them through the snow, down towards Albany and then east across the Berkshires, to Cambridge and Dorchester Heights. It took 6 weeks and they didn't lose a man.

The British General Howe and his staff looked up one morning, and saw these cannons on Dorchester Heights and in Charleston. Howe decided to retreat, and the British left Boston for Nova Scotia on March 17, 1776. This was the first victory of the war and a great morale booster for the 13 Colonies.

Each year on March 17 I have a tradition. I put on some Irish music and pour a glass of Irish Cream on the rocks and I toast all my family, friends, classmates and relatives who have gone before us. I start with my grandparents and work my way forward. I recite each one of their names individually & hoist my glass in their memory. In recent years I usually have to pour a second glass since so many have passed on. In just the last year I have lost a sister in law, mother in law, college room mate and a good friend. They are gone but not forgotten.

In closing, to all my  family, friends and relatives who are on the other side,  "May all your days be sunny and your skies always blue, and wherever you are now, I will always  remember you."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rose Valland- Little Known WW2 Hero

Last week I went to see The Monuments Men. Some critics thought it was so-so but I thought it was great. I knew that the Germans had plundered all kinds of paintings, sculptures and so much more and hid much of it in secret locations and mines but I did not know that there was a group of men called the Monuments Men and their job was to track down and locate and return all this treasure as the Allies advanced across France and into Germany.

And I had never heard of Rose Valland before. What a hero she was. She worked at  the Jeu de Paume museum which was right next to the Louvre. This museum was the headquarters for all the art the Germans stole. The Germans let her continue to work in the Museum probably because she appeared to be quite unassuming and had a quiet demeanor. Unknown to the Germans Rose knew German and could follow everything they said. And she also kept a secret journal of what art was taken and where it was shipped to (over 20,000 thousand pieces). She also passed a lot of her information on to the Resistance. Had the Germans known what she was up to,  she would have been shot.

As the Allies freed Paris, she gave the journal to one of the Monuments Men, James Rorimer, which greatly aided the Americans locating all the artwork as they advanced into Germany. After the war was over she continued her work and was recognized for her heroic efforts. She received the Legion of Honor, the Medal of Resistance and was made Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. The United States awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom  and Germany gave her the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. And finally in 1953 she was awarded the title of Curator! I think she deserved it! And there is a memorial plaque on the outside wall of the Jeu de Paume. The next time I am in Paris I am going to make sure I go there and see that plaque and walk through the Museum and walk where she walked.

She died in 1980 and is buried in her home town of Saint-Etienne-de-Saint-Geoirs. A foundation has been established there to honor her life and accomplishments and there is also a web page And Amazon has a biography of her life available for download on the Kindle.  I am going to get that and read about this wonderful woman, this truly great hero, who thanks to her efforts, and all the risks she took, she basically saved the culture of hundreds of years for most of Europe. What an amazing lady. The next time I am in France I would like to go to her grave and place a bouquet of roses there in her memory.

I would recommend going to see the movie. And I just finished the book The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel.  And he has written 2 others. One is a pictorial book on all the artwork that was recovered and another book is just on the artwork that was recovered in Italy. He had too much material and it all couldn't fit in the Monuments Men so he did another book. And one quick back story on the movie. The producer was in an airport book store, waiting for his flight, and he saw the book, The Monuments Men, and thought that this would make a good movie. And he was right. And isn't that every author's dream? I  think Robert Edsel is selling a lot of books now and enjoying his movie earnings!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Today is Truck Day!

Some of you might be wondering "what the heck is Truck Day?" Its the day that the Red Sox equipment truck leaves Fenway Park for spring training in Fort Myers, Florida. And that day is today, February 8! But its more than that. Its another sign that spring is coming! As of February 1, there are 52 more minutes of daylight. The sun is now setting after 5pm. Pitchers and catchers report February 15. And one of the great seafood restaurants on Cape Cod, the Kream and Kone in Dennisport, opens on February 13. So despite the 9 degree temperature this morning and about a foot of snow on the ground, spring is coming!

Hundreds of fans gather outside of Fenway to watch the crew load the 18 wheeler with bats, balls, gloves, uniforms, medical supplies and all kinds of equipment. Red Sox officials are there, the team mascot, Wally the Green Monster is there and they all watch all the equipment being loaded from about 7am to noon, and then that giant 18 wheeler with "World Champions 2013" on its side, will roll down Yawkey Way and out to 95 South! So if you are driving on 95 in the next couple of days between Massachusetts and Florida, look for the truck, and honk your horn a couple of times and wave to the drivers.  Spring is coming! Its Truck Day!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

50th Anniversary of Beatles on Ed Sullivan

This Sunday, February 9th, at 8pm, will be the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I remember it like it was yesterday! I was a senior in high school and was in my room upstairs doing homework, when my father called up and said "They are going to on in a minute." My 2 sisters and I rushed downstairs to watch. It was so exciting. We had heard and read all about them and were listening to their songs, and heard about their long hair. And there they were in person and the audience going nuts.

They took rock and roll by storm. There was nothing like it before. They were the opening salvo of the British Invasion. So many other groups and individuals came after them-The Rolling Stones, the Animals, Herman's Hermits,  Dave Clark Five, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, MaryAnn Faithful, Donovan and so many more. And many of these groups were influenced by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley. A great research project or thesis, would be why did this all happen in the early 60's, in Liverpool and the London area? Why there and why not other places in England? Or why not in Paris or Berlin? I asked Peter Noonan from Herman's Hermits this after a concert in Connecticut several years ago. He said one of the reasons was Liverpool was a sailing town and many of the sailors would buy American rock and roll records and bring them back to Liverpool and play them. And that inspired many of the local groups.

I think the Beatles were dropped from a spaceship. They wrote over 200 songs, most of them by Lennon and McCartney.  How did they do that? And they supposedly wrote some of their melodies in ways that had never been done before. Their music evolved over the years and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band may be one of the classic albums of all time. I think music fans will be listening to Beatle music 100 years from now. And thanks to YouTube we can always watch them and there  are several tribute bands that tour the country. Last year we saw 1964 The Tribute. They looked like the Beatles, sounded like the Beatles,  and played the same instruments the same way as the Beatles. It was really amazing. It was almost like the Beatles were there in front of you.

And of course, I can't help but think about Pete Best. He was the drummer with the Beatles for two years, from 1960-1962 but  when they did their first studio recording, the Beatles and some of their managers were supposedly not happy with his drumming in the studio, so they let him go and replaced him with Ringo. Yikes. Look at all he missed out on.

So this Sunday night at 8pm, crank up YouTube, watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan once again. I will be and I will hoisting a glass of Irish Cream on the rocks, and toasting the Fab 4 and those days gone by.