A retrospective on the past 58 years

With love to George, and my Global Family of Beatle People /12.08.01

By Louise Harrison

(We're honored to print this letter from Louise Harrison. Please credit Abbeyrd's Beatles Page if posted elsewhere.)

George Harrison's sister, Louise Harrison (Photo by Alan Levenson.)
Dec. 8, 2001

Some fifty eight years ago when I was eleven, my Mom let me hold my new eight hour old, baby brother in my arms. I love all three brothers very much, but I suppose because I had now reached the mature age of eleven, I felt a greater sense of protectiveness toward George.

The four of us grew up in a strong and secure, good natured family atmosphere. Mum and Dad nurtured us in a way that helped us grow into self-confident individuals with a great compassion for our fellow Earthlings. Although we were not financially rich, we never felt deprived in any way. Due to WW2 even the really rich didn't have much of anything anyway!

George and I shared many experiences, including the excitement and fun of the early Beatle years, the search for a better understanding of our Creator, why are we here on Earth? and do we have any real purpose? George's search led him, amongst other things, to a book called "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda. In about 1969, George sent me a copy of the book and soon thereafter I joined the Self-Realization Fellowship which Yogananda founded in 1925 in California.

George was delighted when I showed him my membership card and with a mischievous grin said to me (knowing some of the goof-ups I had made in my life), "Maybe now you will become my divine sister!" With an equally mischievous grin I replied, "I'd like to try, but it won't come easy." His reply: "Nothing worthwhile ever does!"

During the Bangla Desh era, we spent much time together and both learned you cannot perform a spontaneous good deed, you have to have a (501) C-3 first!

Another significant experience we shared was the deaths about seven years apart, of both of our loving, strong and good-humored parents.

During the early Beatle days, Mum and Dad had eagerly embraced their growing global family of Beatle people, replying to thousands of letters, making personal appearances at many charitable events, often to raise money for orphans. They encouraged me to reach out also, noting it was logistically impossible for the Boys themselves to greet their fans individually, but that we, as 'the non famous" Harrison's could much more easily greet people acknowledge their support and return their love. Once Mum and Dad passed, having inherited their love for people, I became the unofficial Mum to the family of Beatle People. I have always seen this role as 1) a great responsibility, and 2) a great privilege. Not many people get the opportunity to foster love where ever they go!

Many of the Beatle People I met and hugged, throughout the years, are now my real and loving friends. (Thanks for your love and support at this time.)

I learned from SRF, if you truly believe the Creator is within you: a) You are connected with love to all who also contain that spirit. b) You can never think any thought, or perform any act 'behind God's back' and c) Your spirit cannot be adversely affected by the happenings in this finite and imperfect world. Living with those credos one can only think and act with total purity of purpose. In late 1992, I formed a non-profit environmental organization, called Drop-In! It was a continuation of the spirit of many of the "messages" embodied in the Beatle phenomenon. We also included some of the things I had learned from the SRF.

Initially I explained the general ideas of Drop-In to George and invited him to be on the Board, but he said to me, "No Lou, this is your mission or dharma. This is the task you have to do. Besides, it seems you have tapped into a "Power" greater than any help I can give. "

Although he did not join the Board, he DID offer to let me use his song "Save the World" as a musical backdrop to the 170 public service announcements called Good EarthKeeping Tips, which I researched, wrote and broadcast on 9,200 radio stations during 1993 and 1994.

An event occurred in the mid 90's which at first, though it was being touted as 'historical' I found, with Monty Python humor, to be rather "hysterical." The house, which George visited in 1963 -- the first visit of a Beatle to the United States -- was to be torn down to make a parking lot. Many people wanted to save the house. In answer to much prodding I agreed to help. To cut a long story short, the house was saved, a group of neighbors bought the house, then, owning a house they didn't need, wondered what to do with it! The solution was to make it into a Bed & Breakfast.

A historical marker will be issued in 2013, 50 years after George's visit. Many historical markers seem to commemorate a situation where "one bunch of humans slaughtered another bunch of humans." I, with a touch of whimsy, thought, "Maybe we are evolving to a higher state of consciousness if, instead of death and destruction, we now think it worth while to commemorate a kind and decent young man who gave only love, wonderful music and kindness to the world."

I expected George might be a bit embarrassed by all this, but knowing him to be the man who made such efforts for the people of Bangla Desh, I didn't think he would be too upset if the little, four bedroom B & B with the "slight Beatle connection" helped, in a tiny way, the nice friendly people he had known in 1963 . They are so proud of him and the area is not as thriving as it was in 1963, because most of coal mines are now closed. I tried to help the owners a bit, (they have done such a wonderful job) by getting involved in some publicity to promote the B & B.

A few weeks ago I was in Toronto on business when I learned that my brother was in Staten Island. I decided to take the long way home to Illinois via New York and stop to see him. We had a lovely visit, sharing a few old family jokes and were able to look into each other's eyes with love, just as we had 58 years ago when first we met. He will, of course, live happily ever after, with his Sweet Lord.

I still have to accomplish my mission here on Earth.

Foot-Note, or should I say Leg-End? (That's just an album plug) Four days after my brother's passing, I was informed that a minor segment of the press was involved in some Lou-bashing. This was NOT the best time to hear such news, but I know for sure, this now 70-year-old, single lady has not been involved in any scandal, so I am not concerned. The many thousands of people who know me will ignore any negativity, and as George once sang "Gossip, gossip, the Devil's radio!'

Having now seen the reports, all I can say is this: The house which supposedly caused a 40- or 11-year rift, depending on which report you read, only became a B & B in 1996! I personally do not, and never have, owned such a venture. Case closed.

So: Let it be, and as George said, All things must pass, even Gossip!

(Boy, those Beatles knew how to come up with great song titles, didn't they!)

Till next time, Cheerio! P.S., I love you. Please plant a tree!

Louise Harrison
Southern Illinois, USA
December 9th 2001.

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