It was the summer of 1997, and I was only eleven years old. My two siblings and I were spending
our lazy summer days lounging around the theme parks in Orlando, Florida and having a fabulous time with our bestfriend, Abby.
One weekend, the gang decided on spending a little time in the great outdoors. Our destination: Camp Kalaqua. Jennifer,
Abby, Sarah, and myself were staying at a beautiful chataeu in the deep wooded forrests. It was here, I was introduced
to the wonderful world of...the Beatles.
If only I had known all that would come, from this fateful weekend at Kalaqua...but I was just a
girl. And the introduction to this new and foreign band did not phase me as anything vitally important. Initially, it was
Abby and Sarah you could blame...between the both of them, they were already Beatle fanatics. During our trip, all they could
talk about was this old band called the Beatles. And naturally being the inquisitive child I was, this arose many questions.
Who were they? What were their names? What made them so captivating to these two young girls I admired? Sarah pulled out a
big, Beatle throw-blanket and spread it across the bed. "This one is John," she pointed out. "Here is Paul. This is George.
And the one on the bottom here is Ringo." I nodded, contemplatively. By the end of our mini-vacation, many of my Beatle queries
had been answered.
We returned back to Orlando, and stayed at my grandmother's house for the remainder of summer. In
this time, Abby had gradually begun the Beatlification-process on Jennifer and I. She played us her "Abbey Road" CD
- the first Beatle album I *ever* heard. We then graduated to Beatle movies, watching "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" in
one sitting. The more exposure I got...the more intrigued I became. Who were these four lads from Liverpool? I found
myself being sucked into an undying facination towards this new and mysterious band. Right from the get-go, Abby, Jennifer,
and I split the boys into favorites (after all, we had to distinguish which one was our official "boyfriend" - *sigh*. You
know children). Abby had first dibs on Paul. So I decided I'd take John (we were selecting our picks, from the Abbey Road
cover. He was wearing all white and something about that got my attention). Jennifer was quick to point out George. There.
Our boyfriends were established.
Summer had ended, and thus, our annual two month Florida-bound vacation did too. We kissed Abby
and the grandmas good-bye, and hopped aboard our flight to Houston. I had never been to Texas before. Without our consent
or opinions, the family had packed up over summer break and moved to this new place, to start our lives anew. My father had
a new job...and therefore, I was given a new life, in a new place. When we arrived at the airport, my parents were
excited to see their three children again. "Dad, who was your favorite Beatle?" "Mom, did you like the Beatles when you were
a kid?" "What was your favorite Beatles album?" As we headed on down to pick up our luggage, I was filled with questions.
This genuinely surprised both my parents; for them, this interest came so suddenly, and without warning. "I think our daughter's
become a bit of a Beatles fan this summer, huh?" He didn't know the half of it!
While my parents were house-hunting, we spent our first several months living in a hotel. It was
August now, and having had a birthday earlier that month, I was blessed with two important things: a CD player...and my very
own Beatle CDs! I'd gotten "A Hard Day's Night" and the "Best of the Beatles" 63-66 and 67-70. Recognizing a lot of the songs
in AHDN from the movie, that was my favorite CD. I listened to it constantly - whether I was doing my homework in the afternoons,
or as I lie in bed, ready to drift into sleep. In the months that followed, I was reading biography after biography of pure
Beatle goodness, and my CD colllection was growing and growing. We finally moved into our own home that year, and this is
where I began my Beatles sanctuary - you may know it as The Beatles Taj Mahal. My room became any Beatle lovers' dream - posters EVERYWHERE, framed albums, autographs, and memorabilia
out the whazoo.
Summers with Abby became all the more special! We shared a common bond that grew to be so strong,
it saved and completed our friendship. The Beatles went from a curiosity interest to a full-out OBSESSION! This didn't go
without it's disadvantages of corse - growing up as a big fan of a band that many peers considered "old" and "dead" would
stir different confrontations with other students. In an age where my fellow classmates were hooked on the rising Justin Timberlake
and the Spice Girls, my different taste in music wasn't that socially accepted. But it didn't matter what other people thought;
as the years went by, and the Beatles music was re-released on different measures, other people became turned on to it, as
I had. Within three years, it was uncool to NOT like the Beatles!
What my younger brother once had described as a "fad", has now become a major and exquisite part
of my life. It has been *SIX* years. Their music still gives me chills. The four boys still affectionately catch my eye. And
these days, my adoration seems so second-nature that I almost feel NUMB to how much I care about them. Yes, there *is*
a part of it that dies. That beginning, captivating spark that ignites your intrigue to something inconcievabley big...and
sometimes, I miss the spark. But in a way, it never leaves you. I will always love the Beatles. Forever and always.