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Lovers and Friends


Chapter Twenty

I emerged from my room into the suite that next morning, all ready to start my day; Anne was still nursing a mild hangover. Ringo and Paul were in the suite, eating cornflakes brought up by room service. I was my usual bright-eyed self in the morning. I chirped, "Good Morning, fellas!" with a big smile.

Ringo looked up from his bowl and muttered, "Mornin'," between spoonfuls.

Paul looked at me strangely and got up from the table. As he walked towards me, he said, "Miss, I don't believe we've met. My name's James Paul McCartney. And yours?" He offered his hand to me.

I played along and shook his hand. "Jillian Ruth Dearborn, pleased to make your acquaintance." I laughed and whispered to him, "You didn't have to take this 'clean slate' thing that seriously."

He whispered back, "Well, maybe so, but I didn't want to mess up this chance!" We smiled at each other. I sat down at the table with them and dug into a bowl of cereal. Paul sat back down at the table and finished his cereal. As we ate, he mentioned, "I hear that you and Anne are going to talk to Murray the K this afternoon."

"Yeah," I replied through a mouthful of mushy cornflakes. "I don't know how Brian talked us into it, but he wants to keep the Beatles on the minds of everyone in New York up until you guys are on Ed Sullivan. Do you know what he'll ask us? What do I say if he brings up all the tabloid crap?"

"Well, he'll ask you how you two beautiful young ladies got to be so lucky travelling with four dashing young blokes for two weeks. I don't know if he knows about 'us' us, I don't know if he'll ask, I don't know how much information has crossed the pond. It's water under the bridge now, just tell him that we dated for a while, but you had to return to the States and it just didn't work out between us, but that we're still friends and you are very proud of my successes."

I sarcastically said, "Oh, very modest, Paul. Yeah, I'll say exactly that. Could you write it down for me?"

He playfully slapped my arm. "No...just answer his questions, he's less harmful than the regular press people, like the ones we have to face this morning. We have to talk to Murray ourselves this morning, too, I think at ten." He lifted his bowl to his mouth and drank down the rest of the contents. I guess Ringo thought this was a good idea, so he did the same. When Ringo did it, he tipped the bowl up too far, and milk and tiny soggy cornflake remnants came pouring down his chin! We all had a good laugh over that one, but we at least helped Ringo clean himself up!

***

Anne and I spent the morning at the Statue of Liberty, and did a little shopping. We were due at the radio station at 1:30. When we got to the radio station, we were led into the studio. We saw Murray the K in the control room. He saw us and winked and waved at us. For some reason he was totally different than I had pictured. He was average height, average build, average looks. I guess I was expecting someone larger and less obnoxious. He was wearing a fur hat, which actually did look pretty good on him. He got a couple records started up, then opened the door and let us in. "Girls! It's great of you to come out here for us today. Now, you're Jill and you're Anne, right?" he asked as he pointed to us. We nodded. "Great! Well, let's get you set up here, here's your phones to talk into if we do callers..." He got us set up and seated. "Now, this isn't going to be scary, I'll introduce you girls, ask a few questions about how life has been like the past 24 hours for you two...and Jill, of course we'll have to ask you about your stay in England, and your experiences there. We might have a few listeners call in and ask questions, too, we'll see how busy the switchboard is."

The song ended and he came back on the air. As he switched our microphones on, the big "On the Air" sign lit up. He said, in his energetic radio voice, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is Murray the K, WINS 1010, and we have a huge treat for you today. In our studio, live right now, we have two girls from the Midwest who have been lucky enough to accompany the Beatles on their two-week trip to America. Say hello to New York, girls." He looked at us.

Anne was frozen, terrified. I was a little nervous, but calm. I leaned into the microphone and cheerfully said, "Hello, NYC, this is Jill Dearborn from Illinois."

I looked at Anne. She was looking down at the microphone. I elbowed her, and she quickly said, "I--I--I'm Anne Ph-Phillips, Wisconsin." I couldn't recall seeing her this scared before, aside from a class presentation or two. She could play a violin solo in front of a huge crowd without flinching, but when she had to talk, she clammed up.

Murray continued. "I'm sure every female tuned into this frequency is wondering how you two got so lucky to be able to be on tour with the Beatles. Tell us about it."

I knew Anne wasn't going to be saying much, so I piped up. "Well, it's kinda a long story--"

"That's alright, we've got time!" Murray replied.

I began, trying to remember to talk slowly; I had a habit of talking very fast when I was nervous. "OK...well, my aunt lives in England, and the summer of '62, between my junior and senior years of college, she asked me to spend the summer with her; she owns a record shop and wanted some help with it. She is friends with Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, and one weekend we took a trip up to Liverpool to see this hot new group that Brian was managing. Of course, the group was the Beatles, and I became good friends with them. I got to see them perform at the Cavern Club a couple times, plus some other places, small concerts and dances and the like. Anne and I here wrote back and forth all summer, we were college roommates, so she got to read my letters and live vicariously through me. I went back to Illinois for my senior year of college, at Illinois Wesleyan University, and we both graduated in May. Paul even came over to visit me last spring--"

Murray interrupted here. "Just Paul visited you?"

"Uh-huh," I said, wondering if I should have mentioned that.

"I see...was there something going on there between you two?"

I could feel the butterflies in my stomach doing some intense acrobatics. I was nervous to answer that question either way. "Um, yeah, I guess you could say that. We did go on a couple of dates that first summer I was there, and then we kinda picked up where we left off when I returned to England after my graduation. I got some attention from the media over there, mostly tabloid papers, and most of it wasn't really positive."

"But you did have to leave England, right?"

"Right. There were problems with my visa that I won't bore you with now, but I did return to the States. This is the first time I've seen Paul since then."

Murray tried to talk to Anne. "Now, Anne, you got to hear the music of the Beatles from Jill, from the albums that were sent over, right?"

Anne had loosened up a little by that time. "Yeah. It was really exciting to hear their music. At that time we really hadn't heard any British music over here. I liked it right away, and Jill got quite a few girls on our floor to like it, too."

I laughed and added, "Yeah, we had a central Illinois chapter of the Beatles Fan Club even before they had radio airplay over here!"

Murray asked me, "Now, when did you find out that you would be going on this trip?"

I responded, "Paul called me around Christmas and asked me if I would be able to get time off of work to travel with them when they came to the States. I couldn't believe it, it was a great opportunity. I've been to England three times, but I've hardly traveled within my own country! He even asked me for Anne's number, so he could ask her personally, too."

"So, where are the next stops on the Beatles' short trip to America?"

Anne chimed in, "We're in New York for a couple more days, then to Washington, D.C., and then to Miami. I think that's it, right, Jill?" She looked at me for approval.

I nodded (like the listeners could hear that!). "Yep, I think that's it. Murray, you should know, you're going with us!"

Murray said, "Yes, I am, and all you listeners keep your ears open for updates from the road! Well, we'll play 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' right now, and I'm sure these two lovely young ladies would love to answer some questions from our listeners, so if anyone has a question that you'd like to ask the girls, just call us here at the station--TR5-0900!" He started the record and flipped off our microphones. The receptionists for the phone lines were suddenly going crazy, fielding calls from listeners, lining them up to go on the air. During the song, Murray told us, "This is great, girls, I want to thank you for coming in. Now, the people who will be calling will probably be asking silly questions, but hopefully our girls are weeding out the worst. Just try to answer them the best that you can, alright?" Anne and I nodded. I knew Anne was scared, but I hadn't been up to that point. I really didn't want anyone asking about my personal affairs, but I figured that that would take up the bulk of the air time. I had a bad thought that some squealing twelve-year-old would be asking me questions about my personal life. If tabloid papers could be bad, jealous girls could be much worse.

The song ended, and Murray flipped the microphones back on. "That was the Beatles, and they are our subject right now. In the WINS studio are Jill Dearborn and Anne Phillips, who are on tour with the Beatles on their first visit to America. We have some listeners waiting to ask the girls questions, hello, you're on the air," he said as he picked up the phone in the control room and pointed for us to pick up ours as well.

"Hello?" a timid female voice asked.

"Hello, who is this?"

"Angela Fairfield from Long Island."

"Well Angela Fairfield from Long Island, what question do you have for Jill and Anne here?"

"Um, the question I have is for Jill, um," she giggled, "I was wondering, is Paul a good kisser?"

I rolled my eyes. How the hell do I answer that one? "Well, Angela, I would tell you, but I'm not the kind of girl to kiss and tell. But thanks for asking." Murray hung her up, stifling a hearty laugh. It took all I had to not crack up laughing as I answered her silly question. Anne scribbled on a piece of paper, "Are they all going to be like this?" and passed it to Murray.

He picked up the phone line again. "You're on the air, who's this?"

"Cindy Gallagher."

"Alright, Cindy, what's your question for Jill and Anne?"

"Well, I really don't have a question...wow, I'm speechless, you were really Paul's girlfriend?"

"Yep," I replied, silently praying that not every question would be about Paul and me.

She continued, "Well, I just wanted to tell you two that you are so lucky, being able to meet them and be on tour with them! I'm sure you know that already, but I am so jealous of you two; I would give an arm to meet the Beatles!"

Anne laughed. "Jill did!"

"What?" Murray and Cindy asked at the same time.

I explained, "Well, not exactly. I broke my left arm last summer falling out of a tree in Paul's aunt's backyard at his 21st birthday party. Got the cast signed by all four Beatles."

"Wow..." a bewildered Cindy replied. "Do you still have it?"

"No, it's actually framed and hanging in my aunt's record shop in London."

Murray hung up Cindy and said, "Wow, that is a cool story! Well, not that you broke your arm, but the rest sure is fab! Let's see what our next caller has to say. Hello, you're on the air."

"Jill and Anne?"

"Yes, who is this?" Anne said.

"Beth Tyler."

"Hello, Beth," Anne and I said.

"Um, I want to ask you two what the Beatles are like in person."

I said, "Anne, you want a go at this one?"

She cast a nasty glare at me, but cheerfully said, "Sure, Jill. Um, John is absolutely hysterical in person; he's always trying to crack a joke. Paul is incredible, he's very good at handling all this press, and is congenial with everyone he meets. Ringo is very fun to be with, and a good dancer as well. George is a little shy, but a very sweet young man. They're all great fun to be around."

"Thanks," Beth said.

Murray said, "This is our last caller, hello," as he went on to the next caller.

"'Ello?" a very weird voice asked. It sounded like a little old British man.

"Hello, you're on the WINS, who is this."

"Yes, this is Dr. Winston O'Boogie, I am a musicologist here in New York with the university, and I just wanted to say that I think the Beatles are the best popular music group I have ever heard. It's quite refreshing to see one of today's groups writing their own songs. They are such nice young men, especially that Lennon one. I can't wait to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show tomorrow evening." I immediately knew it was John on the phone, right after he said the "name". I scribbled a note to Murray, reading, "It's John Lennon on the phone, seriously!" As I slipped it to him, he looked at me and nodded.

Murray replied, "Well, thank you very much for your comments, Dr. O'Boogie, do you have a question for Anne and Jill?" Anne and I stifled our giggles.

John continued his disguise. "Yes, I was wondering which Beatle the girls like the best?"

I answered first, "Well, I'd have to say I'm a little biased, but Paul is my favorite. He's so good-looking, and very talented, and a great friend. Anne?" As I spoke, I scribbled, "John is BAD" and passed it to Anne.

She played along. "I guess it's a toss-up between Ringo and George. Both of them are so sweet and nice, and as musicians they are great, too."

Murray had seen the note. "Neither one of you like John?"

I replied, "Well, not really. His singing is a bit nasal, and his guitar playing leaves a little to be desired."

"And he's definitely not pin-up material," Anne contributed. By this time we were doing all we could to stifle our laughter. The phone lines were going crazy, I was assuming with many pro-John callers.

Murray decided to clear the air. "Alright, John, the jig is up."

He went back to his Liverpool accent. "Ah, Murray, was I that bad?"

I replied, "John, it was the Dr. O'Boogie that gave it away, you should have known that I knew that one! A valiant effort, though. John Lennon, ladies and gentlemen." I applauded a few times for him.

John said, "Alright, I need to go, we've got more interviews to do, I just wanted to see if I could pull your collective legs. 'Ta."

Murray got back on. "Well, that was an unexpected treat from John Lennon of the Beatles. In honor of that, let's play 'Love Me Do'." He put the record on, and turned off the microphones, still laughing. "Ah, that was good, I didn't expect him to call in like that. Alright, can you two stick around a little longer, I'm sure there are more callers lined up." We both nodded.

Anne said, "Yeah, we'll stick around, we don't have to be anywhere until later on tonight, I think, right, Jill?"

I added, "Not that I know of...but then again, I'm not too sure!" I chuckled, and quoted the guys with, "Brian knows where we need to be, so we don't need to think about that!"

Murray put his fingers to his lips and flipped the microphones back on. "And that was the Beatles with 'Love Me Do', like all their songs here it's climbing the charts! Speaking of the Beatles, we are joined today in the studio by two fantastic young ladies who happen to be travelling with the Beatles on their trip to America. Their names are Jill Dearborn and Anne Phillips, and now that New York has had the chance to ask them some questions, now it's my turn. Girls, what do you think of all this 'Beatlemania'?"

I decided to answer that one. "Well, I got to see it first-hand in England last summer. I remember the concert, it was at the Playhouse Theatre in London, actually a taping for a British television show. I had just been back for a few days, it was the day after I broke my arm, and Paul arranged for tickets for my Auntie and I. I hadn't seen them perform since late in the previous summer...well, needless to say, it was absolute pandemonium. Girls screaming, crying, one even fainted. And the sound level--I almost couldn't hear the music! It was a bit unsettling because Paul and I were dating at that time, and, well, it's a bit weird to see girls who have never met your boyfriend screaming that they love him! But I was so excited about their success; it was obvious that at that point, there would be no looking back, they were headed for the big time!"

Murray looked pleased. He asked, "Well, you're certainly right about that. We haven't seen anything like this since Elvis and I doubt anything's gonna be this big anytime soon. Well girls, it was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for coming over to talk to us this afternoon on WINS."

"Thank you, Murray," we both said. And with that, he flipped off the microphones and went to a commercial.

He shook our hands and said, "Really girls, thanks for coming in. It's great to see two fine upstanding young girls like yourselves, who are into this music but aren't all crazy with the screaming and all that. Just to let you two know, I'll be travelling with the group, too, at least until Washington. Maybe the three of us can go out and have a drink."

"That sounds good, thanks a lot!" Anne said.

Murray asked, "So, how are you two spending tonight?"

I responded, "Well, you know I really don't know, I haven't thought about it much. I don't know what the guys are doing, but we'd love to do some more sightseeing around the city."

He replied, "How about this girls, ask Laura the receptionist for some tickets, I know there's a great place on Broadway where Bye Bye Birdie is on at least through April, I've seen it there and it's great, you two have to go. Just ask Laura, she'll hook you up. Uh-oh, commercial's almost over!" He wheeled his chair back to the control board and got ready to go back on the air. We excused ourselves and quietly slipped out as he waved good-bye to us and greeted the listeners.


On to Chapter Twenty-One
Back to Chapter Nineteen


Copyright © 1999-2006, Winona Patterson.