The other day, Johnny and I had lunch together, and as we ate, we scrolled around on my iPad looking for Beatles videos. We settled on the first seven minutes of Yellow Submarine, but I decided it was a bit too scary for me (he was fine with the Blue Meanies, but I wasn’t), and so I played him the beginning of the White Album instead. He wanted to hear “Back in the USSR” over and over, but I had a hunch he would dig “Dear Prudence” even more. The eerie John Lennon vocal came through the speaker in the back of my iPad, and immediately Johnny perked up.
Johnny: What are dey saying, Mama?
Me: Well, they’re asking a girl named Prudence if she’ll come out to play.
Johnny: Oh. Why?
Me: because they like her and want her to come out, but she’s not coming. They don’t know why.
He listened, fascinated. Recently, as I have written here, he has been confused and frustrated by the emotional unavailability of a four-year-old who goes to his school. For the rest of the day and evening, he persisted: “Why won’t Prudence play? Is she shy too?”
I love that the Beatles are still speaking (kind of how the God of the UCC is still speaking, at least according to the bulletin outside Edwards Church in Northampton) and that I am still learning from their infinite wisdom. I love that Mia Farrow’s sister’s ordeal with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi lo these 44 years ago is seeping into life on the playground of a three year old. And most of all, I love that my son loves the Beatles. What a relief. Maybe this weekend I’ll be brave enough to watch Yellow Submarine.