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ClearDot.gif (85 bytes) The Fab Four & Me
My brush with Beatlemania, 40 years ago
. . . . . .
By Susan Konig

Editor's Note: Susan Konig, a columnist for National Review Online, has just written a book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (And Other Lies I Tell My Children), which will be published in Fall of 2004 (St. Martin's Press).

In early February of 1964, I was in a hospital in Paris. The Paris part is not that unusual since my family lived there at the time. The circumstances of my being in the hospital were somewhat grossly unique since, a few weeks earlier, a gigantic wooden door in our old French apartment had slammed on my tiny 18-month-old-finger, rendering it even tinier.

• • • • • •
“So, there I was, sitting in the waiting room with my dad and four other patients named John, George, Paul, and Ringo”

That part was traumatic. Mostly for my mom who found me with my digit hanging off and had to bandage me and run through the streets of Paris, finally ending up at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of the city. I was born in that hospital, 18 months earlier, and with all my fingers intact.

The attack of the French door occurred around Christmas so by the time February rolled around, I was on a routine hospital follow-up visit as the doctors tried to coax the finger to mend, microsurgery not yet in vogue. 

So, there I was, 18 months old with nine-and-a-half fingers, sitting in the waiting room of the doctor's office in the American Hospital in France with my dad and four other patients. The four other patients were named John, George, Paul, and Ringo. 

The Beatles had just played the Olympia in Paris and were set to go to America the following week to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. They had to get their shots to go across the ocean and the American Hospital was (and still is) a pretty good hospital. 

My dad knew who they were and I suppose he wondered if they'd have any staying power. He was only in his early thirties at the time but, having fought in Korea a dozen years earlier and danced to the Big Bands as a lad, he was certainly a generation apart from these young rockers. At that time, he and my mom were into the French chanteuse Edith Piaf and the American singer/swinger Sammy Davis Jr. 

The Beatles pretended to be very afraid about getting their shots and commented that I, on the other hand, was quite brave. They made a fuss over me and the huge bandage on my little hand and they played with me until I was called in to see the doctor. 

My reaction to these men who were about to become four of the most famous people in history? I went back over to my dad and pointed at the nice young fellows. "Ladies," I said. (Kids today, with their hair and their rock and roll!) 

I didn't hear much from the Beatles after that (actually, I didn't hear anything from them after that). I guess they were busy.

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