So the big day has come and gone. I turned 64 on Wednesday, October 13 2010. This age has been looming large on my date horizon for a couple of years now. It all really started back in 1967, when I first heard When I'm 64 off of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. An amusing little throw-away ditty by Paul McCartney that was catchy and fun. The tune stuck in my head for a while, then it was filed away with all the rest of my musical memories, to be taken out, dusted off, and played every so often. I always Loved Sgt . Pepper's, but this was not one of the stand alone songs from that particular album. With A Little Help From My Friends, A Day In The Life, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, all more memorable.. or so I thought.
In 1968, I shipped off to Vietnam for a tour. Came back in '69, a little worse for wear, a little more mature, though not enough. I met my first wife, we married in '70. Throughout these years, Sgt. Pepper's would be taken out, dusted off and played. When I'm 64 had become more appealing to me, because now I had a son, though I didn't name him Vera, Chuck, or Dave. Time went on furiously. We loved, we fought, we had another son (Still no Vera, Chuck or Dave). The end of the Vietnam war came and, along with it inflation and the economic crisis of the mid-seventies that eventually extended to the mid eighties. I was laid off from my job with Ma Bell (Western Electric). I desperately searched for another job. I got two, both of them did not equal one half the pay that I was making before. My wife strayed, and kicked me out. Sgt Pepper's Band played on. I was given custody of my boys because my wife wanted to "Find Herself". Sheryl went through similar times. We combined our families, laughed, loved and married in '79. Danielle was born in 1980... one month before John Lennon was murdered. We cried when we heard the news ('Oh Boy'..). John would not live to see 64... he stopped at 40. My father died in '81 and the age of 58.. another loved one that would not live to see 64.
The song resonated more loudly with me now. By the mid '80s, I was silently obsessing on the age, I turned 40 in '86 and went through my own mid-life crisis as quietly as I could. I'm sure my wife was aware, although she never said. I had returned to Ma Bell 'New York Telephone' in 79. I was now a manager with them and stressed out. Trying to raise 5 children with my wife, who was now working as a manager for the United Artists Theater chain. We both worked furiously, our hours just did not coincide. She worked more nights than days, and I was bogged down with work. Still, we managed to raise five children and maintain some semblance of a home life. Sgt Pepper's Band still played occasionally, although now on CD.
In 1990, I went back to craft, giving up management. I started making more money and was more peaceful. Sgt. Pepper sounded better than ever, and When I'm 64 started to have more meaning to me. The years, I realize had flown by. We had only one child left at home. The others were all gone. I turned 50 in '96. Aside from the occasional minor crisis, typical in any family, life was good. I had a job that I loved, my wife had left the theater, and the economy was booming. I tore up my shoulder and my back in 2001. I was told I could never work again. And so it has been. 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans' as John Lennon wrote in 1979.
So, we have drifted along for the last 9 years. Danielle got married. We now have 14 grandchildren, and I have passed the magical number of years, 64. So, what now? As time speeds up, and it most certainly does as you get older, we head towards eternity accelerating towards the speed of light and -the end of the line, where all time stops. I find myself contemplating the meaning of it all more frequently. I think, and I fear, that there really is no answer that we could ever begin to understand. All I can do is sit back in wonder at what a long, strange trip it's been.