A Mom’s view: Yoko Ono at the PBS Press Tour

I was initially invited by the amazing folks at PBS to their annual fall press tour to get a preview of their new kids’ programming. I LOVED the new shows and will tell you all about them before they air. I have to say, though, that being invited to sit about fifteen feet from Yoko Ono and to hear her field questions from the press was really something. Although I am not quite old enough to have lived during the initial rage that was the Beatles, I was very aware of the disdain folks have for Ms Ono-Lennon, and probably have reiterated that she was the cause of their breakup. For that, Yoko, I apologize – I was so ignorant!

Yoko was at the Beverly Hilton to promote LENNONYC, a new PBS American Masters documentary chronicling the life of the Lennon family in New York after the breakup of the Beatles. I remember the press having a field day with their entry into the country and Nixon trying to deport them, I remember how much people hated Yoko, and most of all, I remember this photo by Annie Leibovitz. Upon receiving my copy of Rolling Stone in the mail, I remember thinking to myself (as a high school sophomore in Mississippi) that I hoped to be loved one day like John loved Yoko. It took me about twenty five years to attain that goal, and now I have things that Yoko had – an adoring husband, a precious child, and a home. These are things worth protecting, and how this tiny hip septuagenarian managed to keep the wolves at bay, survive the loss of John, and raise a son in safety is nothing short of phenomenal .

I was not prepared for how endearing Yoko would be. I was REALLY not prepared for how well I understood her plight, which, after seeing her this close, I do – she is the keeper of the flame, of the treasure that was her home. I was surprised that pro journalists still wanted to dwell on criticisms of her, veiled by polite demeanor / rude questions, like “Why didn’t you move out of the Dakota?”, the Manhattan apartment building occupied by many famous people. Yoko said “because John lives there”. Then she flatly told the reporter that his question was sexist and racist and that no one would have questioned a white man about why he stayed in a home he shared with his deceased wife.

We viewed footage of the film and we all wanted more. I think if the world had seen this footage while John was still alive, the public opinion would have swayed more toward seeing the two of them as a love story, not kooks, as they were often portrayed. This is the crux of the dilemma of being the keeper of the flame – can Yoko ever give enough of her home to the people who loved Lennon? She mentioned that she was stunned by the amount of footage that was available to make the film – that she had so carefully guarded their private life and that even thirty years later there are still so many reels and negatives from the days before the internet that she viewed for the first time during production of LENNONYC.

One clip in the movie was a recollection of Lennon’s producer seeing him push his son Sean in a stroller Central Park and noticing that John seemed so happy with this part of his life, that the producer chose not to broach the subject of making a new album (which would later evolve to “Double Fantasy“) – why would he take on that aggravation now that he had such riches of home and fatherhood. Yoko’s comment about this particular incident was that before John came to New York, only nannies strolled babies in the Park! No daddies did that – daddies were at the office and didn’t do domestic things like that! John Lennon was a trailblazer not only in music but in the realm of fatherhood.

I also noted that she twitters “on the weekends”. I am now a devoted follower! LENNONYC will air Monday, November 22 at 9pm on PBS

3 Responses to “A Mom’s view: Yoko Ono at the PBS Press Tour”

  1. donnajolly Says:

    Visit donnajolly

    I remember when this photo came out on the cover of Rolling Stone. I bought the issue and my mama thought I had brought home porn!

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  3. jen_bradbury Says:

    Visit jen_bradbury

    "I hoped to be loved one day like John loved Yoko"

    This makes me want to weep. I want to think we all have the potential to find love that amazes and inspires us. I'm so glad you found yours!

    I really enjoyed meeting you at Bloggy Boot Camp this weekend. Like Jessica was saying, I can hear your voice when I read your posts, and look forward to more!

    Take care, JennyB http://www.jennybradbury.blogspot.com