Gene's Happy Christmas

Gene remembers one Christmas....

This goes back quite some time so I am not really sure of the dates, but believe that it might have been in December 1975. I had completed the first year and one half of a three and one half year assignment as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the tiny South Pacific Island nation of Western Samoa, and had come home to New York City to visit my family. Being the Christmas season, I decided to head downtown to see the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center...a far cry from the palm trees of Western Samoa. As I walked under the base of the tree, gazing up at the basketball-sized ornaments and lights, I found myself standing alongside a man who wore a bulky, brown fur coat and hat. Standing near him was a woman who held a small child in her arms, wrapped in blankets to protect it from the cold, December wind. We must have stood there, both looking up at the tree for a few moments, when I happened to glance more closely at him. It was at that moment that I realized that it was John Lennon. Not being one who feels that it is appropriate to bother folks just because they happen to be public figures, I didn't say anything at that time. However, when John lowered his eyes from the tree, he looked over at the woman with the baby and smiled. Realizing that there was someone standing next to him, he turned to me, caught my eye, and we both stared at each other for a second. Realizing that I was not going to make a scene, or call attention to him in any way, he smiled and gently wished me a "Happy Christmas". A few days later I boarded a plane that carried me back to Western Samoa, but the memories of that Christmas have been with me ever since.

Gene Carl Feldman
Last modified: November 25, 1996