Dear John Lennon,
As of yesterday, it’s been 38 years since you prematurely left this world. Although it has been so long – before I was even born – if I may speak for the world, we still feel your absence.
When I was a little kid, I had a babysitter who I adored. She was a quirky artist with so much peace and imagination in her soul. She would take my sister and me on adventures across town or she’d bring the adventures to us in her cartoon monster bag. Every moment with her was a good moment. Possibly my favorite moment was when she introduced me to you.
She was the first music lover I ever met. As we drove from playground to playground she’d blast her iPod on shuffle and educate us about good music. Naturally, it was inevitable that your name came up. You may laugh, but the first time I ever heard you sing, you were proclaiming that you were “The Walrus.”
Maybe it was the silliness of the goo goo g’joob’s or the intensity of the orchestra furiously buzzing behind you, I’ll never know. Whatever it was I was hooked. I wanted to be a part of your world. With you, The Beatles and eventually Yoko, I could sit on cornflakes, ride in yellow submarines, wander strawberry fields even in the rain.
I went home and told my family The Beatles were my new favorite band. I listed for them the songs my babysitter had played. A month later it was my birthday and I was shocked to realize how big the list would become.
My uncle burned numerous CDs of Beatles songs and sent in the mail along with a tote printed with all your smiles. I was embarrassed as I giggled at the sight of Paul’s face. He was pretty cute in 1964, don’t you think?
I stood next to my dresser playing more of your songs for the first time. I read through the titles and lyrics of each one. I hoped they’d never end. Maybe somehow I could spend my whole life getting through that stack of CDs. Though I’ve heard them all sometimes a song will play, and it will have been such a long time, it feels just like it did that first time ten years ago.
As I’ve grown older I’ve learned more about you and the fab four. I learned that you were far from perfect and I learned there were even things you did that I hated.
But just because you made mistakes, I could never say that I hate you.
You once said in an interview – rather casually, “We’re all violent inside. We’re all Hitler inside and we’re all Christ inside.” Do you think we are also each other inside? I do. The entire world that is. Sometimes I find a lot of you inside of me and sometimes I’d like to think I see some of me inside of you.
I once had a professor who said you were a “utopian with a fried brain” and your song Imagine was your musical version of the communist manifesto. Yeah, he was a real whirlwind….
But he probably never actually heard what you were singing. I know if he could open his ears and mind, he’d see just how wrong he’d been before. I hope he does one day. After all, there’s still hope even for people like him to become dreamers.
Just imagine where we’ll be when more people like him strive for a peaceful world.
If I’ve learned anything from your life and music, it’s to be actively peaceful. There’s no use sitting back and letting things happen in the name of “peace.” I’ve got to do things in this world and live my life for peace. With each breath I take, I hope to spread your messages of love and peace across the universe.
Your spirit has never truly died and as long as dreamers live, we promise it never will. Please consider this open letter as a thank you from the dreamers still hanging out here down on Earth. And please don’t forget to keep an eye on us every now and then.
May you rest in peace, Walrus.