30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City

It was a warm day in the fall of 1964, and in the parking lot that was our playground at St. Maria Goretti School, Lisanne Beretta’s transistor radio was playing “I Saw Her Standing There.” I already knew everything there was to know about the Beatles. I knew their birthdays, their life stories, how they met in Liverpool and got their hairstyle from Stu Sutcliffe’s girlfriend, Astrid. I was a dark-haired, eleven-year-old girl in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, but listening to the Beatles, I became the most beautiful bird on Carnaby Street, blonde, mind you, with a hint of Yardley’s Oh! de London perfume behind my ears. That day at recess, hearing Paul sing about how his heart went boom as he crossed that room, I elbowed my way into a circle of identically dressed Catholic girls doing the pony, and made my big announcement. “I call Paul,” I said. My cousin Claudia called Ringo because she looked like him, but Lenore wanted Paul too, and I talked her into George, while Lisanne prayed to God that John would divorce Cynthia and save her from breaking the Seventh Commandment. As for me, the ultimate choirboy was mine. Forever. I never wavered, never switched to John, even when it was clear he was the dangerously attractive one who made art, pissed people off, and wrote poetry.

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