Continued Ring Lake by Ben Umayam
That almost did not happen. My sisters, they were very naughty, very American my mom would say. During the summer of ’64 Beatlemania landed at Kennedy Airport in New York City. The sisters were all gaga, running and screaming, room to room when The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan on a Sunday.
The Beatles were coming to town! New York’s top 40 hit station, WNEW was having a promotion and contest. You showed up at The Plaza Hotel, saw the Beatles wave out their window and if you brought an old sweatshirt, you could trade it in for a WNEW one. The new sweatshirt was yellow and had a logo that was to become the famous smiley. Finally, they would also raffle a pair of tickets to the Fab Four at Shea Stadium. We lived in Flushing, a subway stop away from Shea!
Trina, the eldest, had the measles yet they both snuck out to see Paul and George and John at The Plaza. They didn’t care about Ringo.
They had no sweatshirts of their own. They stole my old cub scout sweatshirt. I had cried when they did it, that was my favorite shirt but they told me to stop being a crybaby and took it anyway. They went down to Fifth Ave on the subway, one of them with measles, and got a WNEW smiley sweatshirt. But they did not win the two tickets to Shea.
They were crushed. I was a crybaby.? You should have seen them, crying! “John, Paul,” they bawled, “We have to see you! We are gonna die if we don't see you, George!” They were crying and crying at the dining room table next to the cabinet when the sun shone at just the right angle and something gleamed. Trina stopped sobbing. “Let’s take the ring.!”
“What?” The younger sister Bessie dried her eyes.
“Let’s take the ring to that pawnbroker, the one near the pizzeria. They’ll give us money for the ring and we can buy tickets to see THEM!” They both squealed.
They bought tickets to Shea Stadium. To this day, Bessie the younger one swears George looked her in the eye from the stage and waved at her! They were in heaven until my dad discovered the missing item. Then they were in hell! Seemed they were there that whole summer into the next. My father got the ring back from the pawnshop. He eased up a bit. He bought them tickets to the second concert at Shea, in the nosebleed section, way up.
There is famous footage of that second concert. During their performance of “Help”, Bessie still swears George is looking straight at her, all the way up in the nosebleed section, waving at just her.
There was a warning, at the end of Auntie Tarzan’s story. If you did not throw the fish with the jewels back, you could be cursed for a long time. The elder sister, Trina, she got knocked up and had to marry at the age of 18. Her marriage was unhappy, abusive and she became an alcoholic. This was after her firstborn died the day before her graduation from college, a car accident. The second sister, Bessie, she was not the mastermind, she was the follower. Her marriage was very happy, but her husband died very at an early age, a heart attack. Her eldest, a son, is estranged from her. He does not visit her, does not even call, during holidays, Christmas, Easter, birthdays.