|Marco and the other Lennon fans along with Steve the doorman at the Dakota|
|The John Lennon autograph Marco got that day.|
|Check out those red socks!|
|Waiting for the King|
From “With a Little Help from my Friends” Issue #32 October 1980
Ann Lawter writes a wonderful article about seeing John in NYC with Terry Klemmer, Pam Pritchard, Marco Mallagoli, and John Colman, a fan that bore such a striking resemblance to Mr. Lennon that even Sean said, “You look just like my Dad!” Then on October 10th…
About 3pm Marco and I were standing on the sidewalk directly in front of the archway of the Dakota. We weren’t paying much attention to what was happening because we knew we’d have advance warning before John came out with the limo pulling up under there. I glanced over and suddenly saw John. He was strolling toward us! I nearly passed out. He was wearing tight straight-leg jeans with about a 2” cuff on them. He had on (wait for it) RED socks, which were quite visible, as his jeans were rolled up a bit. He had on the usual white sneakers, but they had a red stripe on them, making him so color-coordinated. He had on a big, bulky soft-looking, whitish-blue jacket, orange glasses with the dark lenses, and was carrying a shoulder bag.
I said the first thing that popped into my head, brilliant though it was, “Well, Hi John!” He smiled and said, “Hi, how are ya?” The smile was encouraging, not to mention breathtaking. I managed to blue out, “John, could I please take your picture?” He said, word for word, “sure ya can, darlin’.” I felt faint again, but while Marco detained him, I started taking pictures. John didn’t seem to be in any hurry. Marco asked him about coming to Brazil when he toured, and John allowed as how he had been considering it, and had gotten the letter Marco had sent regarding it. John referred Marco to his business manager, saying he could set up an appointment with him to talk about it. Marco asked John for his autograph, and they shook hands. They had finished their conversation, and as soon as I got all of John in the view-finder, he started walking toward the limo. Just as he started to duck into the limo, I called out, “Thanks John!” He stuck his head up above the door of the limo, looked at me, and said, “What?” I repeated it, and he said, very nicely, “Oh yeah….yeah…” Then he sat down on the back seat. Just as the doorman was closing the door I peeked inside and saw Yoko sitting there. How she’d gotten by me I’ll never know, but I’m sure King Kong could’ve walked through there and I wouldn’t have noticed, as absorbed as I was in John. Before the door closed, I called out, “Hi Yoko!” The door closed, and she smiled, nodded and waved. Then the limo took off.
John Colman had told me he would be around the Dakota this particular day, so the whole time this was happening, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Where is Colman?” I, among others, were anxious to see John’s face when he met his mirror image. As luck would have it, Colman was, on this afternoon, standing out front of the Hit Factory. And just guess where John’s limo was headed when I saw him? Colman and Annemarie, his wife, were out front along with two other girls. The limo pulled up. John got out, strode over to Colman, taking large stride, and stuck out his hand to shake. With no prompting from Colman, John said, “Hi, how are ya?” Colman was shocked but managed to say “hi” and ask for John’s autograph. As they stood there, Colman said, “Did Sean tell you about me?” John looked up form what he was signing and said, “Oh, so YOU are the one…” and he didn’t say anything else! When John finished signing he walked over to Annemarie, who was busy taking pictures. He pointed to her camera and said, “Is that a Brownie?” referring to her ancient camera. She was quite shook but managed to say yes, it was. About that time, a guy came walking up to John and said “Who are you?” rather stupidly. Colman said John got almost defensive and said, “My name is Yovie!” He folded his arms over his chest while saying this. We still haven’t figured out what or who “Yovie” is. With having been totally confused, the guy left. These other two girls had been standing there observing the whole time. They said Yoko stood there the whole time just staring at Colman and smiling really big. So we know she saw it, but John didn’t even seem to react to the similarity.
I had one other encounter with the Lennon family. This one was extremely surrealistic. It was three days later, on Monday October 13. I had gotten in the habit by this time of going to the Dakota about 1pm every day. That seemed to be prime time. As I neared 72nd Street on Columbus Ave, I noticed a big crowd gathered at the corner of those two streets. I thought probably there had been an accident or something. As I got there I noticed there was a cop directing traffic at the corner and they were blocking the street off. I walked up to someone and asked what was happening. They told me that President Carter’s limo was due to come through there on 72nd Street in just a minute. Although I’m not exactly a big fan of the Carter’s, I’ve never seen a real live President, so I thought this was pretty neat! I could tell the motorcade would have to come down 72nd street, which would mean it would go by the Dakota. I decided to walk on up there. As I arrived, I noticed there were three limos parked out front: one up under the archway, one in front of that one across the sidewalk out front, and a 3rd out in the street, double parked. The one that was across the sidewalk was John’s! I saw that there were bunches of people out front but they all seemed to be waiting for the President. About 5 minutes after I arrived a police car came out of Central Park slowly, with its lights flashing, and started down 72nd St. as though maybe it were leading the motorcade. I got my camera all set and stood right on the edge of the driveway in front of the Dakota. I heard Steve, the doorman, say “Here they come!” and I anxiously craned my neck to see the President. Stupid me. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that someone had just come running up from behind me and stopped beside me. I glanced over and it was Yoko! She was standing just to my left and standing just to her left was John! To his left was al little Oriental girl who must have been about 20 years old. Standing in front of her was Sean. She had her hands on Sean’s shoulders as though to keep him from running out into the traffic. The Lennons were just lined up here along 72nd St., just waiting to see the President. John Lennon, who could get an appointment with the President, The Pope or Mick Jagger any damn time he wanted, had brought his kid to stand out front and wave at President Carter. I started taking pictures quickly before they moved anywhere else. I needn’t have worried. Yoko was quiet, Sean was animated. The nanny was just trying to keep Sean under control. John spoke, “Sean, now the King is gonna come by here in a minute, and we’re all gonna wave at him!” We all just stood there, me stiff as a board with John continuing a steady barrage of small talk. Nobody was saying anything to the Lennons. Nobody asked for photos or autographs. That was the best part about it. Usually when you see John he’s being bugged by fans hanging around (like me) and he’s in a bit of a hurry to be done with it and out of there. Now he was just hanging around being a semi-normal human being. It was so incredible. He was cold, and kept saying how cold it was. He’d bounce up and down a d bit and blow on his hands. He kept telling Sean that the “King” was about the drive by. If he said “The King” once, he said it 50 times. I think John could use a lesson on American government. Lord only knows, Sean will need one; he won’t know if it’s the King, the President, or the Emperor! At one point, after he’d been waiting about 5 minutes, John commented that it “sure is taking him a long time to get here…he must have stopped in Central Park to pick up a couple of future voters!” A lady standing on the other side John from where I was, was Mrs. Warner LeRoy. Her husband is probably the second-richest man in the building. Mrs. LeRoy is a really nice young girl. She stepped off the curb about 6 inches into the street. As she did, John looked at her. He pointed at her feet and said gruffly, “LeRoy, get back up here on the curb! You know they don’t allow that when the President’s in town!” John kind of laughed in a funny way, but without smiling. Mrs. LeRoy laughed too and stepped back up on the curb. We must have been waiting there about 8 minutes. I finally decided that a lot valuable picture-taking time was going to waste here but the problem was that because we were lined up, I couldn’t really get any good photos without stepping out into the street and I’d already seen the results of that move. I leaned over to Yoko and said, ‘Yoko, as long as we’re all just standing here, would you mind if I took a couple of picture of you?” She hesitated and then said, “OK, fine.” I stepped out into the street in front of her, John, Sean, God and everybody, and turned toward them. JUST as I did that, here comes damn President Carter! So I stepped back into line. I heard John say, “C’mere Sean!” and Sean came over to him. John picked him up in his arms and once again reminded him to wave at the King. Jimmy drove by, smiled and waved. John, Sean, Yoko and the entire assembled multitude waved back. After he was gone, John put Sean down and turned around toward his limo. Lauren Bacall was standing behind him. She said, “Oh John, I meant to tell you happy birthday!” John said, “Thank you.” And politely put his arm around her and kissed her on the cheek. Then john said, “Ok, let’s go,” and the four them, nanny included, ran back and got into the limo, then they took off.