There are certain moments in our lives that stand out keenly in our memories. For me, one of those was learning that John Lennon had been murdered. I was a high school senior, performing in “Fiddler on the Roof.” I had a quick-change to do in the wings, because I was not only a villager but also Grandma Tzeitel. I was in the middle of it when my best friend came in from the wings; she had ushered for the show and had gone home because it was snowing … but turned around when she heard the news on the radio. She had to tell me; we were both life-long fans of the Beatles. I was putting on the gold lace overskirt, shawl, and cap that turned me into the grandmother in Tevye’s dream sequence, and I remember the tightness in my chest and throat as I tried not to cry.
I’m still not sure how I got through the performance, to be honest … but I did. When the final song, “Anatevka,” came along, I was free to let the tears rip … it happened to at least once cast member during every performance. That night, it was my turn.
Today is the 36th anniversary of what I still think of as an assassination. As I look at what is going on in the world around us, I can only think of this song.