pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Mathew Street

04 January 2013

Mathew Street


Mathew Street
Liverpool, United Kingdom
20 July 2012

The wizened little man grabbed my elbow with tremendous enthusiasm.

"You must know the Beatles," he said in a raspy voice barely above a whisper, old eyes twinkling.

"Um, they were a bit before my time," I told him, trying to be polite and not entirely sure what he was getting at.

"But you know who they are. You know their music?" he would not be deterred.

I laughed.

"Everyone knows their music," I told him. "My daughter sings Beatles songs in a band at her school."

The daughter smiled and nodded.

"Well, you must go to Mathew Street," he told me. "It's the home of the Beatles."

"The Cavern Club," I said.

"Yes!" he crowed. "The Cavern Club!"

And he proceeded, very sweetly, to give me directions.

I wouldn't classify myself as a Beatles fan. I've never owned a Beatles album, though I certainly know a substantial number of their songs. Even though they were largely defunct as a group by the time I hit primary school, they were still omnipresent. And I'm certainly aware of their contribution not just to a genre, but to an era.

And there we were in Liverpool. And the daughter had promised her friend, who is a huge Beatles fan, a souvenir from Liverpool.

(And the daughter does sing in a Beatles tribute band at her school. She was dragged into the club by the friend who is a fan and by her Algebra III teacher, who is the advisor. I think, despite the dragging, she enjoys it.)

So the kids and I tromped around Liverpool. It was a gorgeous day, one of the first sunny ones we'd seen on the trip, and Liverpool was actually rather charming. Eventually, we found our way to Mathew Street. It wasn't too busy, but there were people ducking into the doorway of the Cavern Club, somewhat surreptitiously, to have their photos taken. When the coast was clear, I directed the daughter to take her turn.

"Mommy!" she said, mortified.

"But you have to send the photo to CH," I explained, so she complied and I took several shots with my iPhone so she could have the almost instant gratification of texting it to CH far away in California.

Then we stopped in one of the shops on the corner so the daughter could buy some trinkets for the girls back home. The son grumped a bit, but the daughter rather gleefully purchased a t-shirt for herself that she could wear to club meetings. She and I had fun picking out gifts as well.

And I mentally blessed the elderly man who'd directed us there with such enthusiasm and pleasure because it had turned out to be a good excursion. It was only later that I realized he was probably of an age with the surviving band members, and might well have seen them himself in their heyday.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

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