Ed note: Here is the first of many Beatles stories.
By Nancy Knipe
By Nancy Knipe
This is a story about Beatle songs and what they will drive one to do. Specifically I remember most of the music from the Beatles’ Second Album, especially “You Can’t Do That,” with Harrison’s 12-string guitar.
I’m a nice kid, now a nice, old kid. Never really got into trouble for some odd reason and was always doing the right thing. I didn’t grow up with much, and when my best friend, Janet, bought me a ticket to the Beatles’ concert at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, I thought I would die. The year was 1966.
We arrived in Cincinnati, 5 girls, 4 of them with irons for their hair, and stayed in a well-established, some say questionable, hotel in the city. The day we arrived we all sat down to write Western Union Telegrams, which we promptly sent off to the only hotel in Cincinnati the Beatles were likely to stay in: the elegant Vernon Manor.
Then we all dressed in our finest shorts and blouses, all new of course, and taxied over to the hotel. That’s where we split up. Janet and I, still friends to this day, stayed together. We walked the perimeter of the hotel trying to decide the best entry point. Our other friends just walked into the lobby along with every other wobble-kneed teenager.
Janet and I found a floor of windows close to the ground on a quiet side of the building.
We tried each window until we found one that would open. What luck! We slid the gargantuon thing slowly open and kept watch while each of us slid clumsily inside.
What we climbed into was a totally dark, dusty holding area above the kitchen for old chairs and other furniture. We could look down through heavy chicken-type wire and see people working in the kitchen. We were careful not to knock things around and give ourselves up. But with no way to move beyond the furniture, we had to back out of the window and reassess our situation.
By now, of course, we were covered in black dirt. I still remember what I wore: beige shorts and a bright red polyester sleeveless turtleneck. I thought I was hot. Now I was dirty and not really all that hot.
We decided maybe the front entrance would be more accessible, so we entered the huge lobby full of girls with board-straight hair and cute outfits. There were lights and cameras and news people interviewing all the enthusiastic fans. Janet and I were looking for bigger fish.
We slid down a corridor and found the stairs. Once in the stairwell, we ran for our lives up to the third floor where we stopped, opened the door, decided it was too quiet, and shot up another two floors. We entered the hotel corridor on the fifth floor in front of a huge window which overlooked the pool. Two suited men came from nowhere and pushed the elevator button.
“Oh look,” I pretended, “there’s Mrs. Schneider and her daughter,” as though we were guests.
“Oh, and Sheila,” Janet chimed in.
The elevator bell dinged, the doors opened, and one of the men turned to us and said, “Let’s go girls.” We rode down to the lobby with five suited men, three of them English.
Not the Beatles, but quite possibly Brian Epstein and who knows who else.
We were promptly thrown out of the hotel. Later we learned that the Beatles had taken all of the third floor, and the fifth floor was being used by their managers. So close, yet so far away.
You know you can’t do that.