Eighth Birthday - April 27th, 1964
The Beatles had exploded onto the scene in America after their famous February 1964 debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, and by the time of my birthday in April, national Beatlemania was well underway. Therefore, these photos and footage of my eighth birthday party are known in family lore as the "Beatles" party.
Here's Mom's traditional birthday lineup of the kids, the usual suspects. (You can also see some of them in my fifth birthday and seventh birthday albums.) That teenager is Kathy, the sister of my next door neighbor and pal Jimmy - the kid with his fingers in his mouth. Given that she was (or would become) the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Beatles Fan Club and got to meet them after this occasion, she approved of all the Beatles music we played. The boy in the jacket at right is Tony; the boy with the striped shirt in the front row is Rocky Arnone. Both lived nearby. The three little girls in the front row are siblings; I think the ones in the same blue top were twins. I forget their names. The three girls - two redheads and a blonde - are the Williams girls. I'm the one in the white shirt squinting and making some kind of face.
Same as above, only now Kathy's pal has joined the party. I recall that this girl drove a white Ford Falcon, the hood of which received an image of the Beatles in fluorescent pink paint that she and Kathy painted from a stencil. She may have been the vice-president of the local Beatles fan club.
The kids are wearing their party hats and some of us have guitars and plastic ukeleles. (Guitars, ukuleles... who cares? It was 1964. Few people knew the difference back then.) The Holland girls (Kitty at right, Mikie at left and Jane in the blue skirt) have arrived late. We're all scrunched for some reason: Tony sits on my lap and Rocky looks like he's objecting to the encroachment of his personal space from that little girl.
Same shot, more or less. Jane and Williams Blonde serenade us. What are they playing to? "Love Me Do?" "I Want to Hold Your Hand?" It's lost to time...
A decidedly better "Smile for the camera!" shot. What's more, you can almost see everyone.
Here's some serious music making on my part; I'm caught up in the emotion of the song, interpreting the lyrics, yeah, yeah, yeah. Jane's going hyper. That platform is all that was left of the once grand tiki hut by April 1964. I don't recall if we boys destroyed it or if the elements did. A little of both, perhaps. How safe is it now? Who cares? It's 1964!
...and here's the birthday ritual I hated, where Mom would encourage the invited Amazons to grab me by arms and legs and fling me about. Since I'm eight this job has been left to the teenage girls; the Williams sisters and Jane Holland look on, amused. My (supposed) friend Jimmy commemorates the event by blowing a party horn. Possibly figuring that they're next, Rocky and Tony are nowhere to be seen.
Happy Birthday, Wesley, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!