Mendoza: Carole King’s got a friend—in me

All Write

A NO-MISS thing here is the Broadway. You skip it and you haven’t been to Frank Sinatra’s city that doesn’t sleep.

Macy’s says, “You haven’t been to New York if you haven’t been to Macy’s.”

That was before.

Today, the tack is, “You haven’t been to New York if you haven’t been to the marker built near where John Lennon was shot dead on Dec. 9, 1980.”

The tragedy happened in front of the Dakota apartments by the Central Park. So devastated Yoko Ono was she hasn’t forgiven Mark David Chapman, the crazed killer of John Lennon.

Was it twice, thrice, already that Chapman had been declared eligible for parole?

But because Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, had repeatedly rejected Chapman’s freedom, the gunman remains behind bars nearly four decades now.

“If you set Chapman free, he will kill again,” said Yoko Ono, the mother of Sean by John Lennon, the first time they tried to release Chapman from prison, some 20 years back.

That line Yoko Ono had consistently mouthed each time an attempt to free Chapman was revived. The pain and hurt of losing John Lennon, at 40, has never left Yoko Ono’s heart.

The last time I went to the John Lennon tombstone was in 2004, which was nearly a quarter of a century after I had written about the Chief Beatle’s death that became the cover story of Panorama, the Sunday magazine of Manila Bulletin. Red roses lay on the marker, symmetrically scattered beside a candle whose lighted wick flickered stubbornly in the wind.

Will I see them again tomorrow, when I get to visit the hallowed ground again?

It is a schedule that comes on the heels of my date with “Beautiful,” the beautiful Carole King musical on Sondheim Theater on 42nd and 7th in Manhattan. I immensely enjoyed it, especially as I watched it with writer-journalist Sol F. Juvida from choice orchestra seats—thanks to Chuchi Villaverde.

Did you know that James Taylor’s monumental hit, “You’ve Got a Friend,” was composed by Carole King?

And I thought I knew it all.

Upon learning about it, I felt the earth move under my feet.

Indeed, one new thing a day keeps pride away.


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