“December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died” by Keith Elliot Greenberg
c.2010, Backbeat Books
By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER
What did you do with your yesterday?
If you can remember, you’d probably hit the high parts: places you went, chores you finished, TV you watched. But who did you talk with yesterday? What songs did you hear, what flavors did you savor, what was in the mail?
Every day, you go about your life without considering the minutiae of it. In the poignant new book “December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died” by Keith Elliot Greenberg, you’ll read about small minutes that led up to a big event that most Baby Boomers remember all too well.
On December 8, 1980, Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Stevie Wonder topped the Billboard LP charts. Queen, Olivia Newton John, and Diana Ross had all released singles that were reminiscent of ‘70s music. And John Lennon enjoyed the huge success of his latest album.
Four American nuns were discovered murdered in El Salvador a few days prior to December 8, 1980. Ronald Reagan was preparing for the Presidency, having just been elected a month before. Led Zeppelin had officially disbanded, but John and Yoko Ono were posing for their friend and neighbor, photographer Annie Leibovitz, for a Rolling Stone cover. There was a radio interview scheduled for later that day, and since Lennon and Ono knew the interviewer, they were looking forward to the session.
On the streets below, fans gathered, waiting for a glimpse of Lennon. John Lennon had embraced New York as his home, and he enjoyed freely walking the neighborhood with five-year-old son, Sean. Understanding that most fans only wanted an autograph or acknowledgment, Lennon had even befriended a few.
One of those fans, Mark David Chapman, had come with a copy of Lennon’s new album, but an autograph wasn’t all he wanted. A Beatles fanatic in his childhood, Chapman had become angry at Lennon, and had decided that killing him would guarantee a sort of immortality. He imagined people uttering his name alongside those of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
December 8, 1980 wasn’t the first time Chapman had gone to New York to try to kill Lennon. But that was the day he did.
As you’re reading “December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died”, you can’t help but notice the malevolence that oozes between the history that author Keith Elliot Greenberg presents and the almost minute-by-minute, life-and-imminent-death dance that seemed fated to happen. It’s a nail-biter.
Although you know what happened thirty years ago, many little-known incidentals are disclosed here and some may come as surprises. I particularly liked the way Greenberg weaves small stories and tiny actions in with the biography of a performer who finally found joy with his life and his work, and a man determined to listen to the voices he heard.
For Beatles fans, this is a wistful look back thirty years, plus. For anyone who wasn’t around during the Fab Four’s heyday, this book explains a lot. For everyone who loves music, “December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died” is a book to start today.
Amir Fathizadeh has ideas. He recently purchased the Keizer building at 3800 River Road that houses his business, Mole’s Appliances. The purchase included the commercial building, and four residences behind it. [MAP: 9]
“I bought it because I wanted to cut my overhead,” said Fathizadeh. “To deal with the economy the way it is.” The rents from the tenants will cover his mortgage payment.
The biggest challenge he has a new landlord will be to keep the spaces occupied; presently the commercial building,which has four space has two vacancies while the residences are all rented.
This is not Fathizadeh’s first foray in owning a building, he has owned apartment buildings before.
As the new owner Fathizadeh says he has lots of ideas for the building and is willing to work with new tentants.
“I’m open to working with people; if they have an idea, a business in mind that will improve the quality of life in Keizer. I’m open to ideas,” he said.
One spot is already set up for a fitness center and he has talked to a potential tenant who wants to open a deli and a meat market somewhere. If he can connect with the right investor he’d like to partner to open a Middle Eastern restaurant in the bulding.
Noting that the economy is still soft Fathizadeh said marketing the retail spaces will be another challenge to face. “People are not taking chances in this economy, they’re holding back,” he said.
The commercial spaces can be used for a office such as for a doctor or an accountant. Both spaces are large. The rents he will charge will be comparable to other like-sized spaces in Keizer.
Fathizadeh is committed to helping the community. He will offer free space or a reduced rent for non-profit organizations that need some space during the holidays or into the new year.
Parking in front of the building is limited but there’s parking on both sides of the commercial building as well as a large parking lot at the back of the property. Some changes have started including a repainted parking lot and a rule that shop windows can’t be filled with signs and posters. He is considering giving the complex a name to better brand it in the Keizer commercial rental market.
Fathizadeth, 56, recently moved to Keizer from Portland. He has three children and two grandchildren.
Sharon Woods of Coldwell Banker Commercial handled the transaction.
More than 60 percent of Keizerites support a fee on cell phones at an average $1.80 a month, according to the city’s citizen survey results.
According to the results, 331 people, or 63.7 percent, opined they would support such a fee, while 36.3 percent, or 189, said no.
“I was not surprised with that,” said Mayor Lore Christopher. “The reason was we’re a very conservative community, but consistently – I’ve been mayor for 10 years – folks of all ages, young, old and those in the middle, have consistently said, ‘I will pay for public safety.’”
An even larger percentage of respondents said they would support a fee for police services, with 70.2 percent stating they’d pay some kind of fee. About 21.1 percent, or 112 people, backed a $3/month fee, with 27.1 percent (144 people) supporting $2 per month and 22 percent, or 117 residents, willing to pay $1 per month. And 29.8 percent, or 158 people, don’t want a police fee at all.
A slimmer majority, about 55 percent, would back some sort of fee for parks services assessed on their water bill. About 21 percent, or 114 people, would back a $2 fee, and 33.6 percent would support a $1 per month fee, the results state. Exactly 45 percent, or 240 people, opted for no parks fee.
The city of Keizer made survey results available this week. They were mailed to all Keizer households and made available online.
Several open-ended questions drew interesting responses, Christopher said.
“In the comments section, I was surprised there were so many people advocating for economic development and letting retail drive itself,” Christopher said. “I think that’s in direct response to the referendum, of course. … But there were still folks too (who said) no big stores.”
Residents more or less agreed with how the city allocates its general fund resources, coming close to the $76 per $100 on police, $5 on community development, $15 on administration, $3 on parks and $1 on contingency funds.
In the area of community development, “preserving appropriate open space and park lands” along with “managing new development to maintain a sense of community” ranked more important, with enforcing zoning and code requirements, along with revitalizing River Road, ranking about in the middle. “Administering zoning that allows for availability of commercial and industrial development” along with “promoting an adequate supply and price range of housing” ranked as less important among respondents.
Response overwhelmingly came from the city’s older residents, with those aged 60 and up representing more than half of responses. People in their 50s represented 19.7 percent, or 105 responses, with those in their 40s making up 16.5 percent of responses. Only about 11 percent of answers came from those 39 or younger. No one under 20 responded, and only 18 people between 20-30 filled out a survey.
Christopher is happy with the response from older folks, but said social networking and other techniques should be employed to improve response from the younger set. The survey was also made available on the city’s website.
Nearly half of those responding were married, with no children at home. Approximately 22 percent came from married households with children living in the home. About 5.4 percent were single with kids, and 23.7 (123 people) were single with no kids at home.
Geographically northwest Keizer – defined in the survey as west of River Road and north of Chemawa Road – responded the most enthusiastically, with 40 percent coming from that area. About 23.2 percent were from southwest Keizer (west of River, south of Chemawa). Approximately 19 percent came from northeast and 16.9 percent from southeast Keizer.