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Growing up Beatles: The first concert to the end

Tuesday - 2/11/2014, 4:25pm  ET

TheBeatlesTicket.jpg
It's more than a ticket to the Beatles concert in D.C. It's a piece of history and the beginning of a lifelong love affair. (WTOP/Katie Howard)

WASHINGTON - Everyone and her mother is talking about the 1964 Beatles concert that took place 50 years ago in D.C. I know all of the details of this historic day - my mother was there.

Fifty years ago Tuesday night, my grandfather drove my mother and a handful of her Walter Johnson High School classmates from Bethesda, Md., down to the Washington Coliseum, in Northeast, to see the Beatles in concert.

My mother was 15 at the time, and since she and her friends didn't have driver's licenses yet, my grandfather passed the time outside the venue, which was filled with screaming teenage girls, reading and smoking his last pack of cigarettes in the car.

Coincidentally, in 1964, Ash Wednesday followed the Tuesday-night concert. Along with an account of the sights and sounds of the night's set list, my mom later told me how her father vowed to his teenage passengers that he would quit smoking for Lent - and possibly for good.

For years, my mother kept the ticket stub from the concert - a tiny piece of history - in her jewelry box.

She owned every Beatles album and knew every trivia fact about the Fab Four. My childhood memories could be played against a Beatles soundtrack.

On Dec. 9, 1980, my mom looked like she had been crying when she picked me up from school.

"John Lennon has died," she said with a sigh.

Lennon was her favorite Beatle. My dad even resembles Lennon a little bit.

When my mom turned 60, my father and I made a video collage of her life set to "In My Life," "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Your Mother Should Know."

When my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at the age of 64, my mom suggested a "When I'm 64" theme party. The plan was to enter the room to the song.

As much as she treasured her priceless collection of vinyl, my mother eventually made practical upgrades and transfers of all her records to cassette tapes in the 80s and then to CDs in the 90s. The Beatles could be with us at all times.

The band was the backdrop to our hours of conversation and sing-alongs on countless trips to the beach in her convertible.

John, Paul, George and Ringo calmed her as she drove to and from work in stressful 495 Beltway traffic.

My mother's favorite album was "Rubber Soul." She wasn't a fan of compilation-type releases of Beatles No. 1 hits; she said that to truly love and appreciate the Beatles, you have to listen to every song, not just the chart-toppers.

When I became a mother almost seven years ago, my mom gave her first granddaughter a pink onesie with "Strawberry Fields Forever" on it and a CD of "Bedtime with the Beatles: A Lullaby Album."

Fast-forward, and one of my older daughter's favorite books is now a cartoon caricature paperback for kids, titled "Who Were the Beatles."

My 3-year-old daughter even knows the answer to the question, "Who are the Beatles?"

"John, Paul, Worge and Wingo!" she'll say.

She has trouble with pronouncing R's, but even she appreciates the Fab Four.

So it goes without saying that the Beatles are multi-generational in our household.

Sadly, my mother's health took a turn last winter and she lost her battle to brain cancer this past summer. Her suffering was heartbreaking, but the Beatles were there to bring her comfort in her last days.

I learned that the sense of hearing is often the last to leave the body.

I took my mother's Beatles collection to her at The Washington Home and Community Hospices. I attempted to play every record in her last hours while her eyes were closed and she was no longer able to speak.

I held her hand to "I Want Hold Your Hand" as it played next to her bedside. A tear rolled down her cheek when I softly sang the words to "All My Loving" to her.

Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow, I'll miss you
Remember I'll always be true

And then while I'm away
I'll write home every day
And I'll send all my loving to you.

On July 2, 2013, my mother passed away at 2:35 a.m. as "Let it Be" played.

Editor's Note: WTOP's Katie Howard is a mom on the go. With two young children, she's always looking for ways to provide her family fast and healthy snacks, meals and activities. Katie shares her go-to food and family fitness tips on her blog "Good to Go."

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