It’s Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday today. Talk about redefining age. When Paul and I were young, being 70 meant you were on the verge of death. And now it means that on his world tours, during his nearly three-hour long 36 song sets, he wobbles a bit on the high notes.
Dearest Paul, I have loved you since January 1964 – with a few breaks, yes, the late seventies and eighties when I was busy with my life and you were busy with Wings. Though I did not approve of Linda singing with your band, I didn’t mind her as your wife by then, wasn’t insanely jealous as I was of poor Jane Asher, who appears in all my stories as a vicious alcoholic. (Once, she threw herself into the lap of my then boyfriend as we all sat in a night club. “Thish guy,” she slurred, “knowsh how to shatisfy a woman!” Heartbroken Paul apologized and drove me home; we fell in love and got married. Which was how many of the stories ended.)
In the nineties, Paul, you sang your way back into my life, where you belong. It’s a fine sweet love now, comforting, based on music and our shared past. Truly, our relationship has been so rich and intimate, it feels as if we’ve known each other since childhood. It’s hard to believe there’s someone so vital to my existence whom I’ve never met.
As I said, I wrote lots of stories about you in 1964 that I’m thinking of turning into a storytelling evening of some kind. To that end, I have an appointment today at 1 with an accent coach. For some reason, I can do a passable Irish accent and Scottish and others, but I cannot do a Liverpuddlian accent. And you talk a lot in my stories.
As in the one below, which I wrote in March 1964, when I was 13 years old and you, my dear Paul, were 21 and sitting at the desk beside me in my tiny green bedroom in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I wish you the happiest of birthdays, old friend. Thanks for helping me get through my young life, my old one too, and for a lifetime of joy.
I can’t,” I groaned. “I just can’t!”
looked up from the mag he was reading while waiting for me to finish my
homnework so we could take a walk.
up?” (‘Oop’ in Liverpuddlian.)
Look at it. I’ll go nuts,” I wailed. He marched over and took me by the
listen. Homework is there, it’s got to be done. Even dreamy minds like yours
‘ave got to do homework.” He looked at my books, then grimaced. “I’ll ‘elp.”
shoved my History at him and for the next ten minutes he gently and patiently
went over all the facts and dates, making me repeat them till I knew them by
heart. The time flew by and I nearly forgot all my History when I saw him
sitting there, so seriously bent over my book, his hair falling into his eyes. And
then he’d look up, pretending to be severe and scoled when I forgot, or send me
into convulsions of laughter imitating the teachers, or sit gazing at me, as I
recited, with his dark, velvety, merry eyes.
finished it, and began Math. Here he too was weak and so we learned together. We
puzzeled through problems, argued through axioms and decided, through
diameters, that it was time for our walk. When we’d returned (he had several
smudges of lipstick on his face) we continued the math. Again my heart missed a
beat as I watched him. He sat in the chair with both long legs sprawled out
before him, holding the pen in one hand, a ruler in the other. His hair,
tousled and gleaming, again flopped into his eyes, so he kept pushing it away
distractedly. He read the problems aloud in his soft voice, and then sat back in
the chair sunk in thought. Suddenly he’d sit bolt upright, grin triumphantly,
do a few complicated things with the ruler, and then, proud to bursting, he’d
explain the mass of lines on the page, looking seriously at me. But his eyes
danced – oh, how they laughed!
never done my homework so quickly or pleasantly, and my Math and History marks
have been high ever since, for as I do them, I can see him – Paul, the
mathematician and Paul the historian and Paul the scholar, Paul the boy, and
Paul, the boy I love.