It was a wintry Saturday afternoon; sunny and just warm enough to walk the six or seven blocks to the bustling business district in Broadview. My friend, Nancy, walked the two blocks to our house on Harrison Street in Maywood and we started out, eastward, past the corner store, Fred & Ed’s, over the low bridge spanning the Eisenhower Expressway, past Zanoni’s, another corner store, down blocks of mid-century brick bungalows to the shops on Roosevelt Road. We swirled on stools at the the soda fountain in Woolworth’s and ordered cokes and fries, went into the Ben Franklin, where anything and everything could be found, checked out what was “cool” at the clothing store, then crossed over Roosevelt to look in the window of the local record store.
“Those are the Beatles” said Nancy, pointing to a poster.
“Who?” I queried.
“The Beatles. They’re the new singing group from England.” I stared at the poster of the four cute boys from across the pond, wondering. We went inside and picked up a copy of the WLS Silver Dollar Survey, browsed, giggling, then headed home, chatting away in the silly, companionable way of eighth grade girls with nothing else to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Sunday night, February 9, 1964, my family sat in front of our black and white Zenith television set, just months before it exploded into hundreds of tiny pieces, Daddy and Yia Yia sat on the plastic covered chairs (the plastic covered the slip covers which covered the French Provincial furniture, whose actual being I would not actual witness for several more years). Ma flitted back and forth from the kitchen. My dad’s cousin, George, and his wife, Athena, were visiting. They were sitting on the couch (also enshrined in plastic). My sister and I sat on hassocks. It’s funny sometimes what we remember, isn’t it?
We were all waiting for Ed Sullivan and yet another “really big show” to begin – and it did, with what became known as the British invasion. Paul and John, George and Ringo; the boys on the poster in the record store window in Broadview. There they were, singing “All My Loving” with all that hair, and all those girls screaming, and grownups wondering aloud what was happening that memorable night, 50 years ago.