Personal Christmas Trivia

Another off-topic post. Personal Christmas trivia: in 1971 John Lennon recorded “Happy X-mas (War is Over)” in NYC with the Harlem Community Children’s Choir that was meant as a celebratory song. It was meaningful to me in relation to the ending of the draft. Phil Specter released it in the US in time for Christmas season and I remember hearing it on the car radio on WFIL then and discussing it with my mom in her last Christmas season (she died the following June). At age 11 my thinking was just beginning to develop as an independent person but I used mom as a sounding board on all of the social issues of the day. But by the time the song was released on Shaved Fish album almost five years later that I bought in 1975 at age 15 it had gathered negative press for the “X” and the incorrectly transcribed lyric we heard as “for rich and the poor ones, the road is so long” was printed as “the world is so wrong”. I did not think of it that way. Many years later on a frigid Christmas Eve with Josh and Arielle we walked past the site of Lennon’s murder. They were too young for my explanation of it to have any lasting meaning. We typically spent December 23-25 in New York City in those years, returning to family for Christmas dinner. That’s how I coped with my Jewish/Christian identity in those years; immersing in the melting pot of NYC. I had a habit of taking them to historically significant spots, even if they were not pleasant (like protest sites). Later I recall being criticized by some for bad parenting and distilling the wrong values but they seem to have survived it well. Merry Christmas!


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