By Ron Hayes
On Feb. 7, 1964 — only ten weeks after the assassination of JFK — a shaggy pop group called The Beatles landed at the recently renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and that new generation of Americans he had inspired found its song.
Kathy Fay shared a bit of that history, too.
Through her father’s position as undersecretary of the Navy, her mother had become friendly with the wife of David Ormsby-Gore, the British ambassador to the U.S.
“As soon as my friends heard the Beatles were going to give a concert at the Washington Coliseum, they all started asking me to ask my parents to get us tickets,” she remembers.
“I’m begging my mother. I hounded her and hounded her. Say you’ll pay for the tickets!”
Finally, Anita Fay relented.
Yes, Sylvia Ormsby-Gore, replied, she could provide tickets for Kathy and a few friends. And she would also be hosting a small reception for the band prior to a masked charity ball at the British Embassy.
At the 28-minute Beatles performance, their seats were bad, the acoustics worse, and the deafening screams almost frightening.
But then, on that night of Feb. 11, as she stood in the embassy scarcely believing her good luck, Paul McCartney came over and whispered in her ear: “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you.”
“I was just doing that to embarrass you,” he said. Then he asked her to be his date at the masked ball later that evening.
Kathy sought out Mrs. Ormsby-Gore, who immediately squelched the idea.
“No, no, it wouldn’t be appropriate,” she said “It’s going to be late and for adults.”
A crushed Kathy reported back to Paul.
“Oh, sure, you can,” he told her.
Again she asked. Again the ambassador’s wife refused.
And so, instead of a date with Paul McCartney, she got pictures — with him, and another with all four Beatles.