a wind that never dies

by Madeline Bocaro

© Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced or re-blogged in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.

An excerpt from my book, 

In Your Mind – The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono

An all-embracing look at Yoko Ono’s life and work, in stunning detail.

Read all about the book, see the reviews and

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“John was an old soldier who fought with me.”

– Yoko

 Over the past four decades, much longer than the thirteen years they were together, Yoko Ono remains “the keeper of the wishing well”. She protects John Lennon’s legacy by constantly sharing his work and continuing all the projects they started together. As many of us do, Yoko sees John as someone truly special.

 “He had three small but distinct moles straight down the center of his broad forehead, ending where the third eye was. Buddha was supposed to have had one mole in the center of his forehead, and that was considered in the Oriental physiognomy as a sign of a very wise man. I always that John’s oval and well- chiseled classic face looked very much like a Kabuki mask or a face you’d expect to see in a  Shakespearean play.

And he carried his body with a certain lightness that gave grace to his movements. He was in his twenties when I met him. I was eight years older. But I never thought of him as somebody younger than me. When you were near him, the strong mental vibe he sent out was too heavy for a young person. Some people are born old. That was John. His slumming, clowning and acting the entertainer was just a kind of play-acting he enjoyed. But it was obvious to anybody around him that he was actually a very heavy dude; not a prince but a king.”

– Yoko, 2018


John felt the same way about his wife…

“Yoko is as important to me as Paul and Dylan rolled into one. I don’t think she will get recognition until she’s dead. There’s me, and maybe I could count the people on one hand that have any conception of what she is or what her mind is like, or what her work means to this f*ckin’ idiotic generation. She has the hope that she might be recognized.”

– John Lennon 1971


The final years of John Lennon’s life were mostly fulfilling, exciting and blissful. He was living in New York City with his beloved wife after a failed separation. However, this period in John and Yoko’s lives was not without recurring emotional problems, stemming from the pain from each of their extreme childhood traumas. Drugs crept back into their lives. There was talk of another possible separation. There was also outside interference and kidnapping threats… but their love prevailed.

At age forty-two, Yoko gave birth to John’s child (her second, after daughter Kyoko in 1963, and several miscarriages). She had a frightening and traumatic delivery, during which she came close to death. In a letter to his older son Julian, John writes that he stayed in the hospital with Yoko for two weeks, up until the birth of Sean.

John, Yoko, and Sean spent many quiet evenings at their Dakota apartment on Central Park West, with their three Persian cats; pure white Sasha, silky black Micha and the “mutt” Charo, whom John favored because she had “a funny face.” Their home décor included all-white walls and white carpeting. The rooms were graced with Yoko’s collection of sacred Egyptian and Japanese art, including the sarcophagus of an Egyptian princess, and René Magritte paintings (which heavily feature the sky and clouds).

John became a house-husband, raising baby Sean in New York City and baking bread. This was considered to be a radical situation for a man at the time. The famous white Steinway grand piano from Tittenhurst Park (seen in the Imagine film) remained silent in the all- white living room, as John enjoyed his hiatus from the music world. The piano was now a place on which to proudly display family photos. John stayed informed of the latest music only by reading the trade papers and by listening to some new records by his colleagues, including David Bowie and The Rolling Stones.

The Lennon Ono family spent many days at their beautiful waterfront home in Cold Spring Harbor, Suffolk County – on the north shore of Long Island.

John became closer with his first son Julian, who was now seventeen. He felt extreme guilt over his neglect of Julian while he was extremely busy touring and recording with The Beatles. Now free from the burden of recording contracts, John reconnected with Julian and started to make amends. He gave Sean the crucial fatherly attention that Julian (and himself) had missed out on.

John acknowledged his emotional weakness, stemming from his lifelong battle with depression. He told Rolling Stone’s Jonathan Cott in September 1980,

“I’m not the greatest dad on Earth, I’m doing my best. But I’m a very irritable guy, and I get depressed. I’m up and down, up and down, and he’s (Sean) had to deal with that too – withdrawing from him and then giving, and withdrawing and giving. I don’t know how much it will affect him in later life, but I’ve been physically there… Maybe it’s the way we were all brought up, but it’s very hard to think about somebody else, even your own child, to really think about him…”

John had won his long, grueling deportation battle. John and Yoko’s association with hippies, Yippies and radicals when they first moved to New York City in 1971 led to major legal problems, which began in 1968 when they were arrested for cannabis possession in London. (John took responsibility for the drugs – which had been planted by a corrupt cop, in order to clear Yoko’s name). John was awarded his green card and was finally granted the right to stay in America. This victory was announced on March 11, 1975 – the same day as the announcement of Yoko’s pregnancy with Sean (who would be born on October 9th – John’s birthday!). The couple renewed their vows on their sixth wedding anniversary, March 20th. John proudly displayed his green card to the press four months later, on July 27, 1976 when he joyfully announced all this wonderful news. During the press conference, he thanked Yoko for her undying support by saying, “There’s a great woman behind every idiot.”

Now free to travel, the family began spending glorious summers in Japan, visiting Yoko’s family. There were also trips to Egypt, Bermuda and South Africa. John traveled alone to Singapore, Hong Kong (with baby Sean) and the Cayman Islands. (He never returned to England.)

The Lennons described “a typical day in the life of John and Yoko” (Newsweek, September 29, 1980) to Barbara Graustark – their first major interview in five years. Yoko became the breadwinner, and John took the role of househusband.

John  “It was like one of those reversal comedies! I’d say (mincingly), ‘Well, how was it at the office today, dear? Do you want a cocktail? I didn’t get your slippers and your shirts aren’t back from the laundry.’ To all housewives, I say I now understand what you’re screaming about. My life was built around Sean’s meals. ‘Am I limiting his diet too much?’ (The Lennons maintain a macrobiotic lifestyle, eschewing dairy products, liquor and meat.) ‘Is SHE gonna talk business when she comes home from work?’ I’m a rich housewife – but it still involves caring.”

Yoko: “…We weren’t financially independent – we didn’t even know how much money we had. We still don’t! People advised us to invest in stocks and oil but we didn’t believe in it. You have to invest in things you love. Like cows, which are sacred animals in India. Buying houses was a practical decision – John was starting to feel stuck in the Dakota and we get bothered in hotels. Each house that we’ve bought was chosen because it was a landmark that needed restoring.”

This was clean-up time for the Lennons. They had also cleaned up their bodies when they reunited after John’s ‘lost weekend’ in 1975.

Yoko told The Tampa Bay Times in 1990…

“After the lost weekend, we both went on a juice fast for 40 days in 1975, just drinking fruit juice, and we cleaned ourselves. John had incredible will and once he decided to do something, he did it. Those 40 days were very hard, but we were totally clean… When we were on it, we were both on it, so it wasn’t like we alienated each other. But it was self-destructive and unhealthy.”

“John had incredible will, and once he decided to do something, he did it. Those 40 days were very hard, but we were totally clean… When we were on it, we were both on it, so it wasn’t like we alienated each other. But it was self-destructive and unhealthy.”

“There’s a song by John on the album called ‘Clean-up Time’ – and it really was that for us… we weren’t financially independent – we didn’t even know how much money we had. We still don’t! People advised us to invest in stocks and oil but we didn’t believe in it. You have to invest in things you love. Like cows, which are sacred animals in India. Buying houses was a practical decision – John was starting to feel stuck in the Dakota and we get bothered in hotels. Each house that we’ve bought was chosen because it was a landmark that needed restoring.”

John and Yoko once again implemented a macrobiotic diet, cheating only by eating chocolate now and then. They followed Dick Gregory’s recipes and began reading cook books for their future health and for the health of their child. Yoko told The Tampa Bay Times in 2005:

“That really helped to clean us up, although it was terrible being on it; you can’t sleep because you are wide awake. But I think that the worst thing you can do is to limit yourself to a certain way of eating all your life.”

John and Yoko once again implemented a macrobiotic diet, cheating only by eating chocolate now and then. They followed Dick Gregory’s recipes and began reading cook books for their future health and for the health of their child. Yoko told The Tampa Bay Times in 2005:

“That really helped to clean us up, although it was terrible being on it; you can’t sleep because you are wide awake. But I think that the worst thing you can do is to limit yourself to a certain way of eating all your life.”

Yoko prosperously managed the Lennons’ financial affairs from her extraordinary desk made of mahogany, in an Egyptian motif with ivory inlay. Her chair was a replica of King Tutankhamen’s throne. On her desk was a framed blank check written by John, made out to “Mother Yoko Ono Lennon” – a symbolic gesture (he called Yoko “Mother”) handing over the family business to his wife. Yoko knew that she could only make money by investing in things that she and John loved. She purchased many objects of Egyptian art, not just for their value but for their magic power. She also purchased houses that she and John really loved, and felt that they were also associated with good vibes. They also made business fun. Yoko once wore an Arab headdress from Egypt to a meeting with Jewish lawyers.

Yoko told Soho News, December 3, 1980,

“Everyone says it must be boring to talk to lawyers, but it’s a fascinating world and, of course, they have their own jargon… It’s like another chess game, you know? And of course, I’m using the same methods I use in my ‘events’. For instance, there was a situation where these representatives were terribly antagonistic toward me… At the meeting they were pretending not to see the headgear while they were talking in their stuffy lawyer language, but it was still there, you know? And I was eating an apple, of course, because it was an Apple meeting.”

On May 27, 1979, they published  A Love Letter from John & Yoko – To People Who Ask Us What, When, And Why in The New York Times. They stated that all their wishes had come true, that they were happy and grateful, and were quietly raising their child. The letter expressed their ongoing concern for Earth and assured us that they received our vibes through letters, flowers or taps on the gate. They encouraged us to keep wishing, praying, to believe in magic and to recognize miracles. They wanted to be sure that we understood,

“Our silence is a silence of love.”

The Lennons’ bliss was occasionally interrupted by extremely frightening death and kidnapping threats and many other troubles. However, this did not deter them.

In August 1980, John and Yoko suddenly emerged from seclusion. They began making new music again after five years, releasing a new album, Double Fantasy in November 1980. John hung a photo of his young son Sean over the mixing desk at The Hit Factory.

“I was guilty all through the making of Double Fantasy. We had his picture pinned in the studio ’cause I didn’t want to lose contact with what I’d got. We had the picture up there all the time in between the speakers so whenever you’re checking the stereo, he was looking at me all the time.”

– John, to Dave Sholin and Laurie Kaye December 8, 1980, the final interview

On October 9, 1980, Yoko hired a plane to write “Happy Birthday John and Sean, Love Yoko” across the sky nine times at 9:00 am. Sean turned five years old. John’s 40th birthday would be his last.

On November 26th John had Yoko’s artworks brought up from the Dakota basement for a photo shoot in SoHo with Allen Tannenbaum. He posed with Apple – one of Yoko’s art pieces that he saw on the day they met at Indica gallery in 1966, when he had notoriously taken a bite and sealed their fate. For the Tannenbaum shoot, they removed their kimonos, looking serene, happy and completely in love.

The first single from their new album Double Fantasy, ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’/ ‘Kiss, Kiss, Kiss’ was released in October, and the album on November 17th. They were gearing up for a tour. Yoko has mentioned that the tour was to begin on Valentine’s Day 1981 in Tokyo. They would play in out of the way places – where they had never been before. Another show would have been in  Reykjavik Iceland in spring 1981. Now it is the home of Yoko’s Imagine Peace Tower, for John.

“Well, John was saying, “Let’s do ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand,'” and saying “I’m gonna just kneel and hold your hand, and everybody’s gonna get really upset” – he didn’t mind upsetting people. Then he was saying: “The rest of it, let’s do the freak stuff. Let’s go back to Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.” I’m thinking, “This tour is not going to be very popular.” ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ – nobody’s going to like the fact that we’re doing it, and then on top of it the freak stuff [laughs]. So I thought, “Hmm, let’s think about it.”

 –Yoko, March 2011

The couple were interviewed by Rolling Stone and Playboy magazines, reflecting on the past and also excitedly anticipating the future. A photo shoot for Rolling Stone with Annie Liebovitz exemplifies their intense relationship; John naked, kissing Yoko’s cheek – entwined and in love. Hours later, John would be murdered. The beautifully intimate photo was not originally meant to be on the cover, but it was – in the January 22, 1981 issue published after John’s death. Yoko was now a widow.

“Things were going smoothly for us, though with a little deep rumbling noise inside our souls. Something was scaring us that we could not put our fingers on… For John, it was always important that he reached out his hands to help the people in need and shared the information he got with the world: the truth. There was not one human issue he was not caring about. He spoke freely of what the Blue Meanies were doing to us and the world. That had its price. He was attacked at every turn. But he still went on being amazingly and dangerously truthful. If there was such a thing as fate, this was his. He was obsessed about saying what he wanted to say. His delivery was succinct and powerful. I feel that he literally risked his life to tell the truth on behalf of the world. His heart was as big as the universe.”

– Yoko, 2004

Yoko was handed her husband’s clothing and belongings in a brown paper bag. She found it hard to face Sean alone. The next day, she told her young son that his father had been killed, showing him exactly where it had happened – at the entryway to their home.

John had been planning to visit England again for the first time since he left there in 1971. Because Sean’s grandmother Julia died when John was seventeen, John had planned to introduce him to Julia’s sister – dear Aunt Mimi, the woman who had raised him in Liverpool. John spoke excitedly to Mimi on the phone about an imminent visit on the day before he died. (According to her nurse, Mimi’s final words when she died in December 1991 were, “Hello John.”)

Yoko made an announcement – instead of a funeral, there would be a worldwide vigil for John at 2pm on December 14th. The instruction was,  ‘pray for John’s soul for ten minutes.’ During ten minutes of silence, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at their home at the Dakota and in Central Park. It started snowing lightly. You could not hear a sound. Soon, the singing started beneath her window. It would never stop.

On December 15th came another statement:

“Bless you for your tears and prayers. I saw John smiling in the sky. I saw sorrow changing into clarity. I saw all of us becoming one mind. Thank you.”

Love, Yoko.

Yoko had given up her art career in the 60s – her life-force, to be with John, who was the love of her life.

“Probably it would have been easier for me, career-wise, if I didn’t get together with John. In a way, I lost respectability or dignity as an artist. But then, what is dignity and what is respectability? It’s a kind of thing that was a good lesson for me to lose it. What am I supposed to be doing, carrying respectability and dignity like a Grand Dame of the avant-garde for twenty years? That would have been… boring. [Laughs]. That was a kind of option that was open to me, you know, and [softly] I didn’t take it. It was quite more fun to go forward into a new world.”

 –Yoko, 1992

One of the last statements that John proudly made in his lifetime was to Playboy magazine on the day before his death, in response to all the negativity hurled against Yoko over the years…

“For all you folks out there who think I’m having the wool pulled over my eyes, well, that’s an insult to me. But if you think you know me, or you have some part of me because of the music, and then you think I’m being controlled like a dog on a leash because I do things with her, then screw you, brother or sister, you don’t know what’s happening. I’m not here for you, I’m here for me and her, and now the baby.”

“…Anybody who claims to have some interest in me as an individual artist, or even as part of the Beatles, has absolutely misunderstood everything I ever said if they can’t see why I’m with Yoko. And if they can’t see that, they don’t see anything…”

John to David Sheff, Playboy December 1980

All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

When asked by MTV News in 1986 how things would have been if she had preceded John in death, Yoko replied,

One wish that he had was that he wanted him to go first, ‘cos he couldn’t stand it otherwise.”

John’s words above echoed his profound statement to Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone from exactly ten years prior – December 8, 1970.

“I can be alone without Yoko, but I don’t wish to be. There is no reason on earth why I should be without her. There is nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. We dig being together all the time, and both of us could survive apart, but what for? I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love, for any fuckin’ whore, or any friend, or any business, because in the end, you’re alone at night. Neither of us wants to be, and you can’t fill the bed with groupies. I don’t want to be a swinger. Like I said in the song, I’ve been through it all, and nothing works better than to have somebody you love hold you.”


When John died, Yoko continued to protect and  nurture John’s legacy for 40 years, giving us the gift of unreleased songs, remastered albums, and his artwork.

“ …Now that he belongs to the world I feel responsible about sharing things that were meant to be shared… things that he expected to communicate because he was an artist. Things I can’t sort out because it’s painful for me and because I’m a very busy person too. It’s a slow process and a difficult one, because I don’t want to present anything to the world that he wouldn’t’ have liked. That’s how I look at it. It’s not so much resenting sharing him-but now he belongs to the world and I have that responsibility.”

– Yoko, We Are Only One, NME 1984

When asked by MTV News in 1986 how things would have been if she had preceded John in death, Yoko replied…

“One wish that he had was that he wanted to go first, because he couldn’t stand it otherwise.”

After John’s death, Yoko continues to protect and nurture his legacy for more than forty years, giving us the gifts of unreleased songs, remastered albums, his writings, and his artwork.

“…Now that he belongs to the world, I feel responsible about sharing things that were meant to be shared… things that he expected to communicate because he was an artist. Things I can’t sort out because it’s painful for me and because I’m a very busy person too. It’s a slow process and a difficult one, because I don’t want to present anything to the world that he wouldn’t have liked. That’s how I look at it. It’s not so much resenting sharing him- but now he belongs to the world and I have that responsibility.”

– Yoko, We Are Only One, NME 1984

The death of John is something you can clearly understand is not finished yet. And I don’t know whether it’s ever going to be finished. We had a very strong and powerful relationship. That will always be there.”

– Yoko, The Arts Desk, 2013

In her fragile state, Yoko received thousands of letters from John’s distraught fans, asking for her advice in coping with the tragedy of losing him and in some cases, losing loved ones of their own. Despite her own unimaginable pain and despair, she read them all. More than a husband, John was Yoko’s comrade in the crusade for world peace.

“I never even thought of the word widow. I thought I was a soldier. We were both fighting for freedom and justice and self-expression and he just fell in the battlefield. That is how I thought of it. That I had to keep going I saw that right away … [I’m not concerned about old age], no. I feel good. Maybe it’s because I don’t think about the past so much. The past is so heavy. Part of me, of course, is still carrying it, but part of me is free from it…[He gave me] an energy that said, ‘It’s all right to be me’. And that’s what I gave him also…”

– Yoko,  The Observer, June 1, 2013

In memory of John, Yoko has launched many campaigns against gun violence. She created a knotted gun sculpture in a sky motif titled Imagine in 2011, based upon Carl Fredrik Reutersward’s Knotted Gun (1980), on display at the United Nations. In many ways, John and Yoko are still together. She felt his presence when she made the decision to curate the Meltdown Festival in 2013, and she also felt him motivating her. She said in the same interview with The Observer,

“…(I) was thinking, I have to get this, I have to get that. Then it came to me that it was John’s power. He was helping me, because, you know, he has big power now. I realized suddenly that he decided he wanted to be in a more powerful position to help us. I do think there are certain things that I got help from him with. Certain things that are so fantastic I almost don’t want to take any credit for them.”

It’s eerie that in retrospect, Yoko’s prescient lyrics to many songs, especially ‘Now or Never’ (written in 1973) unwittingly warned of John’s fate. She tweeted on Memorial Day 2011,

“Reading the lyrics after so many years made me choke up. ‘Now or Never’ It works now. The linesAre we gonna keep shooting the ones that try to change, “Are we gonna keep thinking it won’t happen to us? were hard to read. When I wrote those lines, John and I were a proud and happy couple, believing that it would make a difference to speak out. And I think it did. I didn’t know that John was the one who would be shot to death for trying to change… But they couldn’t kill him. His spirit is still alive and growing inside all of us.”

–   Yoko, 2011

The 8th of December 1980:

Yoko spoke about her final night with John. We’ll never know what he whispered to her after the late recording session with an intense look in his eyes, except that they were, “The most beautiful things.”

“‘Oh!’ I said after a while, and looked away, feeling a bit embarrassed. In my mind, hearing something like that from your man when you were way over 40… well… I was a very lucky woman. I thought. Even now, I see his piercing eyes in my mind. I don’t know why he decided, at that very moment, to say all that as if he wanted me to remember it forever. Did it matter that the whole world hated you if your guy loved you that much?”

– The 8th of December 1980, Rolling Stone, Dec. 23, 2010

Despite the protection of bodyguards and her own sharp intuition, Yoko and Sean became the target of death threats, rampant theft, and betrayal by many of her trusted employees, supposed friends and bodyguards. She thought that John’s death was the worst thing that could ever happen, but the worst was yet to come. John’s diaries, recordings, belongings, and some of his love letters to Yoko were stolen.

Yoko told The Tampa Bay Times (Yoko’s Life After Death) in 1990,

“It’s hard to see what’s happening when your eyes are filled with tears.”

Precautions were taken to deal carefully with the culprits (once trusted, now co-conspirators) hoping that the valuable items would not be destroyed, and might possibly be returned to her. There were books being written by those who were determined to slander the Lennons. Some of them would become best-sellers. The nightmares continued for years. Fear and confusion permeated Yoko’s space at the Dakota. It’s a miracle that she survived, and that she stayed.

“When John passed away so suddenly, I was feeling very bad. Not only that, but I discovered that there were people who specialized in taking advantage of widows. Nobody thinks they will be a widow, and when you are, you are so shell-shocked you don’t feel like speaking out about something like that. So these are things that are not spoken of so much in our world.

I was getting hit left and right. It was getting so heavy, I was worried that it would effect my health. So to release myself from the weight of it, I kept blessing the names that came to my mind, every night before I went to sleep… Sometimes I would get a shock, and say to myself “I’m not going to bless that one, am I?!” But I kept going. I realized something very interesting. The name that came up more often than not were the names of people who were particularly not nice to me. The names of the worst enemies, so to speak. So I ended up blessing those people. Strange things started to happen. The enemies were still attacking me. But some of them were getting more interested in something else. Some of them started to have some difficulty in their own lives that made them focus their energies on those things more than on me. One group of people started to fight amongst themselves. One of them, in fact, came to me complaining about his gang of friends how unfair they were to him about his take and confessed to me what they were up to! I may have been just lucky, and the change of the situation may not have had to do with my nightly blessings. But, at least, it released me from the resentment and fear I held within me. I started to feel lighter. It helped me to move on and be active in health.

We must believe in the magic of our beings and what our minds can do. Our world is a reflection of our magical beings and our minds. Together, we are creating what we all want – heaven on earth – which is, actually, here already.”

– Yoko, 2005 


Seven Sufferings

“When I was in elementary school in Japan, they had a textbook with a picture of a Japanese warrior who asked to be given seven sufferings and eight disasters, because he wanted to take over everybody’s suffering and disasters. It’s a courageous thing to do, and I was only a little girl and I thought that sounds good and I wanted to be like him. Do good for the world in the sense of taking everyone’s pain away. I asked for the seven sufferings and my life became terribly difficult. All sorts of misery. And when it got to around 1979 I thought, ‘what did I do wrong?’ So I said I’m going to change it. Give me seven lots of luck and eight treasures. My disaster became my treasure. I reversed it.”  Does she mean she did this in 1980, when John died? “No. My karma didn’t affect him. John’s death was the worst of everything. I had to work hard to un-curse myself.”

– Yoko, 2018

The Messenger


John has famously said that when bad news comes, they shoot the messenger, and when good news comes, they worship the messenger without even listening to the message.

In January 1981, Yoko published a full-page letter in The New York Times. It was titled In Gratitude. She reached out to thank everyone for their letters and donations to the charity that she founded with John, The Spirit Foundation. She closed her letter with…

“ …When bad news comes, they shoot the messenger. When the good news comes, they worship the messenger and they don’t listen to the message.”

– John Lennon, The Playboy Interviews, published December 1980


Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields in Central Park is a garden created by Yoko, where John’s spirit resides. The living memorial is named after the children’s home in Liverpool, after which John named his Beatles song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever.’ The 2.5-acre teardrop-shaped garden is located in Central Park, across the street from their Dakota apartment where John and Yoko frequently walked. They gazed upon the park from their window on West 72nd Street.

In an ad placed in The New York Times in summer 1981, Yoko invited heads of state from 123 countries around the world to donate plants and trees to the Garden of Peace. She also expressed interest in obtaining a Moon stone or a pebble from Mars, “…so as not to shut out the universe. The invitation is open!” She generously donated $1 million for planting and construction. The White House did not respond. Therefore, the United States is not represented in Strawberry Fields.

The dedication ceremony for John’s garden was held on his birthday, October 9, 1985. It has become a beautiful gathering place for fans and celebrations for decades. The now famous round black and white 386

mosaic with “Imagine” written at the center was designed by Bruce Kelly and created by Italian craftsmen and gifted by Naples, Italy. It is always laden with flowers, candles and offerings for John.

“According to the mayor of New York City, Ono has visited a dozen times or so during his 15-year time in office, most recently three weeks ago when the two exchanged silent peace signs. “She comes down no matter what the weather is and sometimes hangs out,” he says. “She comes over and hugs the tree that’s to the right of me. She just hugs it. I don’t ask. She has her reasons, and I respect her reasons.”

-October 2008

Yoko spoke about first hearing John’s song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ in 1967, and of John’s childhood connection to the song.

“That was the first John Lennon song that I encountered. And there was a party at the editor of the Art Magazine’s house in London… and the editor said, “Oh, listen to this, Yoko. When a pop song comes to this point, what do you think?” And he played ‘Strawberry Fields’. And I thought, “Hmmmmm…” Because there were some dissonant sounds and I thought it was pretty good. For a pop song. [Laugh] I thought it was cute. I thought it was some cute stuff. Because I was making songs with all dissonant sounds. It impressed me. I was surprised a pop song could be that way…

And there’s a lot of connections about it…  I remember all his pain as a child, sort of looking at Strawberry Fields, which was an orphanage, you know. He always told me about his Aunt Mimi saying, whenever he was out of hand, Mimi would say, “You can go there. You’re lucky you’re not there, John.” So, Strawberry Fields to him was connected with this strange kind of fear and love, love for the kind of children that were very close to his condition. John was in a better position. So there’s that love and that strange fear for it.

It’s very strong thing for him. That sort of painful memory that he had of Strawberry Fields, he transferred that into a song. And made it positive. And that song was transferred into a park. [Laughs] It’s a very strong thing that I witnessed. So it means a lot to me…”

-Yoko, 1992

Landscape architect Bruce Kelly was in charge of planting Strawberry Fields. At first, Kelly recalled some friction between himself and Yoko. However, when he mentioned that his birth date was December 8th (the day of John’s murder in 1980), Yoko perceived a spiritual connection. At the dedication ceremony on John’s 45th birthday (October 9 ,1985) Kelly told Maureen Dowd of The New York Times,

”It’s turned out absolutely wonderfully, just as Yoko Ono always said it would. You almost begin to think there is something mystical about Strawberry Fields.’’

The most beautiful sight is on a day in mid-November each year, when the mosaic is entirely covered by the yellow leaves of the ginkgo tree (from Yoko’s native Japan), which drops its leaves all at once.

Yoko never remarried and never left the place that they called home, because John is still there.

“Sometimes I feel that John is telling me what to do. I don’t necessarily do what he tells me, but it’s nice to know that he’s concerned… I have so much stuff to do for John… You see, John was the love of my life.

And we’re still working together, you know.” 

Yoko 2003

In 1984, Yoko brought Sean to see Strawberry Field in Liverpool. She donated $90,000 to keep the home open. The children’s home closed in January 2005.

In 2002 Yoko purchased Mendips, John’s childhood home at 251 Menlove Avenue in Liverpool and donated it to the National Trust.

During the restoration, Yoko insisted and ensured that a creaking step remained unaltered. John had told her that he had to jump over it so he wouldn’t wake Aunt Mimi when he came home late at night.

John was raised in the home by his aunt Mimi and Uncle George. The house was opened to the public in 2003. It was Grade II listed by English Heritage in 2012, along with Paul McCartney’s childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road. On Instagram, Yoko showed her amazement at the small bedroom that John had grown up in. “John was looking at the world from this room. A boy with a small room and a big dream.” She told The Mirror (April 14, 2003),

“I loved the fact that his bedroom was preserved exactly as it was. He spoke about it so much. When I’m there, I think about what he was dreaming. Because the dreams he had there influenced the whole world, eventually. That’s why I like young people to see it. They might think they don’t have anything – a piano, say, And they can see what little he had, and yet how many beautiful dreams started there.”

Yoko 2003


“Her husband was taken from her so I had to take care of her.”

– Sean Ono Lennon, Nero magazine, 2016

Yoko has always kept a cherished part of John’s Liverpool youth with her. Many times, throughout the years she has worn his boyhood Quarry Bank School tie (a replica of which John can be seen wearing in some of the last photos taken of him in 1980).

“Around the time that I met John, I went to a palmist – John would probably laugh at this – and he said: ‘You’re like a very very fast wind that goes speeding around the world.’ And I had a line that signified astral projection. The only thing I didn’t have was a root. But, the palmist said, you’ve met a person who’s fixed like a mountain, and if you get connected with that mountain you might get materialized.

And John is like a frail wind, too, so he understands all of these aspects.”

–  Yoko, 1971


Yoko told The Daily Mirror on John’s 70th birthday, October 9, 2010 about John and their three cats,

“When he was alive, they would go to him whenever the kitchen door opened. One night after he died, the door opened – there was no wind – and the cats immediately went to the door to wait for him. They were never the same afterwards. They’d hide in corners, or behind the chairs.”

“When John’s songs came on the radio, I’d go to switch it off because I couldn’t stand it. But all the cats would jump on the radio, remembering his voice. It was so painful.”

Now that the 40th anniversary of his death has passed, John is now gone for a longer time than he had lived. Those of us who remember that dreadful night are now older than he will ever be. We can still hear the echo of his voice singing these words…

“They’re gonna crucify me.”


1980 photos by Allan Tannenbaum:


J&Y1980 - 03-UsedBanner 

© Madeline Bocaro 2020. No part of this text may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, re-blogged or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without permission. Any other reproduction in any form without permission is prohibited. All of the text written by Madeline Bocaro on this site is protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission of the author.

This is an excerpt from my Yoko Ono biography

In Your Mind – The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono

An all-embracing look at Yoko Ono’s life, music and art – in stunning detail.

Read all about the book, see the reviews and

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2 thoughts on “a wind that never dies

  1. This was a great story about his life and Yoko’s life after. Where is this posted on a Facebook!?


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. An epic work that gives the reader a chance to experience -vicariously-the intimate, passionate gift to the world that was John Lennon through the eyes and infinite soul of the spiritual and existential love of his life – Yoko Ono Lennon. Such a beautiful and meaningful story-book presentation by Madeline Bocaro.

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