I was seven.
I was playing at my neighbor's house, probably playing house like we always did. House rules, that was our thing. If she wanted to be the mom, and I had to be the dog, that was fine, it was her house.
Her mom opened the door to her room and said, "Go home and tell your mother right now that John Lennon was shot and killed." Her voice was cracking, and I knew this was a message I needed to get to her right away. It was morning so that meant cleaning and waxing the floors, Mom would not be listening to the radio or TV.
I was anxious to see my mother's reaction, I didn't know who he was but I knew I recognized his name. I burst into the kitchen and said, "Mom, Mrs. Keen told me to tell you John Lennon is dead. He was shot."
She stopped what she was doing, and just looked out the window. She started to cry, not weepy crying, just tears down her face.
"He was in a rock band right?"
"Yes, the Beatles."
Well then I knew. The Beatles were a regular on our radios and record players growing up. We knew all the words to their songs, and would sit for hours staring at Sgt. Pepper's record cover trying to find something new.
Years later I did a report on the Beatles for my high school speech class and learned more about John Lennon than I ever knew. He was an absolutely amazing individual.
Read here for other people's memories of the man who was shot 25 years ago today.