As Benton looks to the Sept. 21 ceremony that commemorates George Harrision's visit in 1963, I am reflecting on a past conversation with The Beatle.
Louise Caldwell's family bought my family house at 113 McCann Street. I was the youngest daughter of Loren and Maxine Lewis. My brother is retired Judge Larry Lewis.
I was editor of the BCHS newspaper, The Echo, during my senior year. My sister Jean had also been an Echo editor.
Louise Caldwell called me and asked if I would like to interview her brother, George Harrison, who was on "Holiday" from England.
She said he was in "a band." Little did I know what that band was to become.
This was in the fall of 1963 before the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan in the spring. This "band" was not known in the States just yet.
I remember meeting Louise and her brother, George Harrison, on the front porch of the house. My first reaction was that I thought it strange that he had on socks with his sandals.
My next reaction was that his hair seemed long for the style at the time.
We went into the house and I asked him questions about his band and his impressions of the United States.
I don't remember any of these answers! He then played a 45 rpm record of the band's latest songs that were popular in England. Those songs were "She Loves Me" and "I Want to Hold your Hand".
George wanted to know what I thought of the songs. I said that I liked them!! They were definitely different rock n roll from what I was used to. George was very personable and relaxed. It was an easy interview.
My biggest regret is that I didn't ask him for his autograph! But, hindsight is always better. If I had only been able to read the future. All I remember about the article that I wrote for the student paper, was that I titled it "Meet the Beatles". Not a Pulitzer winning article.
I do remember watching the Ed Sullivan Show in the spring and taking pictures of the TV with The Beatles on the screen. I also remember screaming along with the audience! Recently, I found in a box of mementoes, a kitchen type towel with The Beatles pictures on it. It was in with high school things but I am not sure how I acquired it. But, I did have it framed and shared with the young man who did the framing, my story of my encounter with George Harrison in Benton, Illinois. He thought it was quite a story!
I am a retired elementary teacher and live in Dayton, Ohio. I graduated with the class of 1964.
Page 2 of 2 - George Harrison's visit will be commemorated with a plaque. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in Capitol Park located on the southeast corner of the Benton Public Square.
Guest speakers and music are included in the event.