On December 8th, 1980, Howard Cosell interrupted the play-by-play of Monday Night Football to announce that John Lennon had been gunned down outside his apartment building in New York City. I was asleep when the news hit, so I didn’t find out until the next morning-December 9th.
In 1980, I was a junior in high school. The teachers in my school district went on strike from mid-November through December which meant that I stayed home from school. I didn’t miss going to school everyday, but I did miss seeing my friends and since this was a crucial time in the swim season, I was losing valuable training time. To make up for it, myself and some of my teammates got up at the crack of dawn to swim at the local Y.
On the morning on December 9th, I swung by to pick up my friend Kelly. Her family lived in the same subdivision as my family. Most houses already had up their holiday lights so the streets looked festive that cold snowy morning. As Kelly got in the car, the DJ announced that John Lennon had been murdered. We looked at each other-- in shock and then we both looked up at her house and realized that the huge pine tree in her front yard was nothing more than a stump. Apparently In the middle of the night, someone had cut it down. We looked at each other and broke out laughing.
For me, that tree and John Lennon are forever linked. It's sad though--two beautiful things cut down in their prime, the same night.