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The Day John Lennon Died

Outdoors | People

Who was here that fateful day, Dec. 8, 1980? It was actually the day after that I remember. I was awakened, as always back then, to KLBJ-FM. Note, that was when KLBJ was good; before it changed into their current "Hey man, let's party!" blazing guitars and hair mode. Anyway, the DJ was very somber and announced that Lennon had been killed the night before. They played only Beatles and Lennon that day non-stop, no commercial breaks. I had to go to work but I was completely shocked into an altered sense of being. The Beatles meant so much to us all. Around 5:00pm or so, I was at my girlfriend's apartment and she told me of a gathering at Zilker under the Zilker Christmas tree... we had to go.

What we found there was a very large but quiet crowd of Austin under the tree. Some had brought candles to pass around and soon there was a large circle of folks, all holding candles, around the base of the tree, all facing in. We cried, we sang, we thought of the damage that Mark David Chapman had done. We all knew that things had fundamentally changed that night. Austin certainly never felt the same again. It seemed like from that day forward, the pace of change in Austin has done nothing but get faster, accelerating away from us.

I was there with several friends

I can remember riding in Michael Mitchell's VW when we heard the call from KLBJ and went there to the tree, meeting up with Shari Lane, Angie Garanzuay, Matti Nemotalahi, Joe Mitchell, Bob and Bill Towne, Margueite Thome, Kay Condran, and many other folks.