December 8 1980 – The Day My World Stood Still: The Killing Of John Lennon 1


We were tired as every morning when we had to go to school. Together with my brother I sat at the breakfast table when my grandmother turned on the radio. I can’t even remember if it was a snowy day, but because I remember that my brother and me always were hoping for the news that the school busses couldn’t reach the hill top where we lived those days because of the snow, I guess it was one of this cold, snowy days. This would have mend a day off.

I still see the display of the old wooden radio in front of me. I remember that I put my bread back on the plate and stared at my brother in disbelieve after the words of the newscaster:

‘John Lennon has been shot and killed.’

It was like the words of the news caster where echoing through my head over and over again. If felt as everything stopped at this very moment. The seconds of silence that followed seemed to take hours. It couldn’t be true. It was not supposed to be true.

Hey, I was a 14 year old boy and the walls in the room I shared with my brother were plastered with posters of John Lennon and other artists. How could anybody harm our hero? We just lost our nephew at the age of 19 a little more than a year before. Why was there so much fucking pain in the world.

Even my grandma was shocked. ‘Oh my god’ was all she could say.

The rest was like a rush. It seemed that without talking to each other my brother and me had decided not to believe that. We headed to the bus stop and went to school. We both knew that this wouldn’t be a school day like all the others and it wasn’t. At least not in my perception.

I can’t say if it was less noisy in the school bus compared to other days. I just remember that as usual I didn’t had a seat and stood all the way to our destination. It was like I was locking myself out for all external impressions. I stared out of the window and so now and then I looked at my brother in silence while the words of the newscaster where still echoing in my head.

When we sat down in the class room and our teacher came in some of us said almost at the same time: John Lennon has been shot dead.

She answered that she knew and that she felt really bad about it and that she had problems setting it aside. I think I never felt a deeper bond with her than at this very moment. I couldn’t express my feeling back then but now I would say that I felt the urge just to hug her. We never hugged teachers back in the 80th.

Today it’s 30 years ago that this happened. John Lennon was at the age of 40 and I was just a 14 year old boy who wanted to be a rebel like him. He was the guy who grew up without a father just like me. He was the guy who made it and lived life on his own terms with all his creativity. That was just what I wanted and I’m still trying very hard.

Gosh I’m now older than John Lennon was when he died. Unbelievable how time flies. He inspired me to pick up a guitar at the age of 15 and build up a band with 16 that had it’s own repertoire of more than 70 songs when I was 17.

OK, I never came that far but at least I’ve tried and I still could play Blackbird when I picked up the guitar back up in 2006 after a very long time:

Trying to become as creative and cool as John Lennon and spending most of my time with it took its toll. I refused to do what everyone else was doing and in one way or the other I still do. One of this things was doing my homework from school. My grades went down and I didn’t gave a shit about it. This is why I had to repeat the 9th class. But I didn’t even care about this as I would be a rock start right after I finished school. So this was a little sacrifice and hey, there where nice girls in my new class. This by the way distracted me in a way that I nearly had to do that sacrifice again.

OK, in the meantime you know that I skipped the rock star part in my life but let me tell you this: If I just learned one important thing from John Lennon than it is not to follow the status quo blindly.

In my opinion he expressed this in a outstanding way in his song Watching The Wheels without even mentioning it directly.

Yes, I could find me for the full 100% in his words and this remembers me on a conversation between my teacher, my mother and my grandmother. The both were complaining because they thought I was going insane with music, drawing and this kind of stuff. They were very concerned because I notorious neglected my homework. To my surprise the answer of my teacher was: But he plays guitar very well.

Believe it or not, I even had a good singing voice when I was a teenager. I stood on stage and people didn’t throw tomatoes or rotten eggs. They applauded. I know that this is hard to believe if you listened to my singing experiments here on the blog in the past but trust me on this.

30 years after John Lennon got killed I’m sitting here sharing my thoughts with you and it still makes me sad. I think the reason is that what happened 30 years ago had made a huge impression on me. Just like the 9/11 attacks 21 years later, though we can’t compare this two events.

What moves me at this moment is that even people who are much younger than I am right now love the work of John Lennon and regret the loss. And as I already said in this post on October the 9th I often imagined what he could had brought us in the last 30 years if he wasn’t taken away from us.

Especially now where I found a second home in New York (the city John Lennon love so much) thanks to my chosen sister Ilaria and her wonderful family, all this memories feel a little bit more intense. I wonder if I would have had the opportunity just to say Hello John during a walk through Central Park or Manhattan and then just walk ahead.

Of course I immediately would have send a message to my brother starting with something like this: You don’t believe who just said hello in Central Part a few minutes ago…

Alas the chance to do this has taken away from me by a murderer who isn’t even worthy to be mentioned by name here. Everybody wants to be remembered one day. You, me, everyone. Everybody wants to be remembered by as many people as possible once he or she is gone. No matter what we try to achieve this, let it be something positive and worthwhile.

There are so many murderers in the world but there was and always will be just one John Lennon!

Rest in peace, John. I love you, man!


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