(Another resurrected blog)
This night and memory has hunted me for many years. Mainly; because I have no way to validate my suspicions.
I was on a 90 day medical leave of absence awaiting my discharge from the US Army. Due to a mix up in the paper work I was listed as AWOL. A letter came to my mother’s house stating I was AWOL.
I immediately made some phone calls and was instructed to go to the local recruiting office where I was to hook up with a couple MP’s and arrange transportation to Fort Devin’s where the matter would be corrected.
I was cuffed; and arrested by the MP’s, and thrown in the back of a van and brought to fort Devin’s out in western Ma.
From there communication with Fort Dix N.J. proved that indeed there was a mix up in the paper work and I was ordered to return to Fort Dix for separation processing.
I was put on a bus and sent back to the base in N.J. While at Fort Devin’s I met A guy from N.H. who had Really gone A.W.O.L. (he had bugged out and spilt during Basic because he was getting bullied and was given a couple blanket parties in the middle of the night while sleeping.
We were given bus tickets and sent back to Fort Dix in NJ. The bus was scheduled for two stops in New York City, our transfer was at the second; but we got off at the first one by accident.
We had to take the subway across town to the other gray hound bus terminal.
It was still early perhaps seven or eight PM. But By the time we arrived there we had missed our bus (It was the last one out that night and we had no choice but to hang in the terminal all night and catch the next one out first thing in the morning .
While there at the terminal we some how ended up in a conversation with this gentleman.
After some small talk he offered to buy us a beer so we jumped in a cab and shot off to some bar for a drink.
From there we proceeded to bounce around New York City hitting different bars and clubs, never staying for more than one or two drinks and then jumping in a cab and moving on. We must have hit a dozen bars that night. It was his treat; cabs; drinks, everything and all on his dime.
I recall one bar we went into the band was on break when we entered. We no sooner sat down at one of the tables and ordered a drink when the band returned and began playing one of the Beatles songs. Apparently this band was one of the Beatle-mania groups around at the time. Our host and new friend became very uneasy and demanded we leave right away and go somewhere else. Being a big fan of the Beatles music I promptly disagreed and said no, but our host was obviously uptight at something and insisted he was leaving with or with out us. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough; they had to just about drag me out I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t even have a beer yet and I loved the Beatles.
Though disappointed I reluctantly agreed and followed them out and flagged another cab and we were off to another bar. He never told us or explained why he wanted to leave. We had barely ordered and had only had a sip or two of our drink. I think the next bar was the last one we went to. At this point I was feeling the effects of the drinks. But I recall it was a quite place; very nice and the bartender knew our host.
As it turned out He invited us to stay at his house so we would not have to stay at the bus terminal. We both agreed. And we ended up in another cab and at the Dakota. (I’m almost 100% sure; In fact I know…it was the Dakota).
I recall it was a very prestigious place and had doormen in the lobby and at the front entrance. We took the elevator up stairs and entered his house. Our host’s living room was as big as my whole apartment.
Moments after we entered; a woman emerged from and other room and began questioning our host as to who we were. I only saw her briefly and she quickly retreated back to where she had emerged from.
At this point it was late and was well after midnight. Our host had been very hospitable and friendly throughout the night and more than generous to us considering we were perfect strangers. His home was obviously a prestigious (at the very least a very modest) and very secure place to bed down for the remainder of the night until day break which at this point was only a few hours away.
We weren’t there for very long when I began to become uncomfortable and concerned about missing the first bus out in the morning to Trenton where from there we would catch another bus to the base. We were already over due at this point and were expected to have reported to our units some time earlier that evening. I mean after all we had supposedly gone A.W.O.L. and were again over due from our expected ETA to the base. The last thing I wanted was to be met by MP’s on our arrival at the base and thrown in a jail cell.
I decided it best that we go back to the bus terminal and wait on the bus‘s departure. At this point it was only a few hours wait. I dared not even attempt a cat nap for fear of over sleeping and missing the bus. My comrade in arms adamantly refused and rejected the Idea. Our host pleaded with me to stay but we had orders and I had made up my mind I would be on that bus come hell or high water and at the base as soon a humanly possible to report for duty as ordered.
I apologized and thanked our host for the good time, his generosity, hospitality, and the tour of the New York City bars and went on my way, leaving my comrade behind as he wished.
A doorman on the ground level hailed me a cab and before I knew it, I was at the bus terminal once again. Some junk food and coffee helped sober me up a bit over the next couple hours. I got on that bus a few hours later by myself. My comrade never showed up. And I never saw him again. A month later, I was processed out of the United States Army on a medical discharge and was en-route home to begin my life once again as a civilian.
This all took place in late 1979. I reported that my comrade and I had become separated in the city at some point the previous night and he never showed up for the bus that morning. Though I strongly suspected he had once again decided he wanted no part of being a soldier and military life. I can’t blame him, he was looking at much harsher disciplinary action than me. My situation was a paper work foul up; his was an actual and willful A.W.O.L.
I soon forgot about that night and never gave it another thought until a couple years later when I heard the news of John Lennon’s assassination and murder. It was then it dawned on me a couple years later thinking about NYC and that night. The more I thought of it the more it bothered and haunted me.
Could it have been?
Is it possible?
At this point much of that night was just a blur and just a very foggy memory to me and I could recall very few details with the exception of a just a couple.
I didn’t know anything about John and Yoko at the time, Let alone what they looked like or where they lived; or if John Lennon was that kind of warm loving and generous person and did things like that for perfect strangers .
The little I can remember haunts me.
The bar where the band came on, and began playing a Beatles tune;
Him becoming uptight and wanting to leave after we had just arrived and sat down.
His home and what I believe was or may have been the Dakota.
The oriental looking woman; that appeared when we entered his home; and just as quickly; disappeared.
Could it have been?
I just don’t know, and to this day it bugs me to no end.
The only person (‘s) that could possible validate this; is Yoko Ono herself or my long lost comrade and I dear not attempt to contact her; nor would I begin to know how to go about doing so. And even if it were John would she even remember something that may or may not have happened thirty two / thirty three years ago?
Perhaps this is just all just wishful thinking on my part; the product of my over active imagination at work. I guess it’s just one of them things I will never know for sure one way or the other.
But To this day, I wish to god I stayed there that night.
But we had orders…
And when you’re a soldier orders must be obeyed!!!
That being said…
Who ever you are/were; if these words happen to find you all these years later; I want to thank you once again for the good time, your selflessness, generosity, and hospitality that night.