Update (4/23/99) Some very sad news: Joe Pope passed away Tuesday (April 20) after a long battle with cancer. Joe was a true pioneer in Beatle fandom. He organized an early Beatle fan convention in 1974 in Boston and for many years edited the magazine Strawberry Fields Forever and provided news updates on the Beatle Phone, even while he was ill. Our most sincere condolensces to his family. As Frank C. Branchini told us in an email, "I only met him once, briefly, at Beatlefest, but we kept in touch over the years through the Beatlephone and letters. He had a gentle spirit and a genuine interest in the many Beatle fans all over the US whom he kept in touch with. I will miss him terribly. If there is any consolation, it is imagining Joe up in heaven with John Lennon and Linda McCartney." (Thanks to Bill King, Frank C. Branchini, Mitch Axelord and Joe Anderson.)
Update (1/10/99) The latest email from Joe arrived today. Here's what he sent:
Much thanks for asking about my health.....I just went through a couple of bad months, but I guess that's part of the deal. I got some good news last week when all my test numbers went up and I'm finally starting to feel a little better. I've been learning how to walk and I've set myself a long-term goal....to get back to Boston this summer. (That's where I'm from,of course). Please tell everyone they should feel free to write, especially friends from the good old days! I'm still digging out from the avalanche of mail I got in the middle of last year but I'm slowly but surely getting to everyone. They can write to me at Joe Pope, PO Box 880981, San Diego, CA 92168 or by email at Joes Here@AOL.com. Thanks, Steve! The updates on my health on your Abbey Road Page have been a huge help. Lots of people have gotten in touch with me because of them and that does as much to heal me as any doctor can do!!!
Still Shining On..........................Joe
Update (9/2/98) More news from Joe Pope: He now has his own website just getting off the ground at http://www.joepope.com. You can also write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Beatlephone has added an extra line. You can now hear his daily Beatle news at 619-689-6320 and 619-689-6321. He referred to our site Tuesday, for which we thank him.
Hi, Steve!, Here's some news which you can feel free to report any or all of if you like. Last week I went to LA to visit a specialist named Dr. Durie. He is truly the #1 guy in the whole WORLD when it comes tÝ the type of cancer I have. I figure if you want a good song written, you go to Lennon/McCartney....if you want your Multiple Myeloma taken care of, go see Dr. Durie.
Anyway, to cut it a bit short, he looked at all my medical records both past and present, examined me, and then said..."Marvelous...absolutely amazing!" He said that I'd made a remarkable comeback...and that MM seems to have a different personality with each person. Mine had the chance to kill me back in March and, to be pretty black and white about it, since it didn't, my prognosis looks pretty good. Of course, that's based on educated guesses, but still it sounded pretty good to me.
I thought he was going to suggest all kinds of rough treatment. But he didn't. He simply said to continue what I've been doing except for an increase in arydia (bone strengthener). He also said that walking again was a distinct possiblity. Football, however, is out.
So it was sure a pretty successful visit. I was pretty nervous on the way in but pretty ecstatic on the way out! And keep in mind, as I said, that this wasn't just a doctor...this was the MAN in this whole big world!
Also, here's something your readers might be interested in....as you know, Apple Computers is running a campaign based on famous people who "Think different." I'd seen several print ads such as Albert Einstein, Lucy and Desi, etc. And I knew there was a John and Yoko, but had never seen one. Well, shortly after pulling off the freeway, we came across a John and Yoko billboard. I thought that was pretty cool, to see a J & Y billboard in 1998. John seems to have been forgotten by many people these days, so I took it as a good sign. THEN......less than half a mile from the billboard I looked south (from Santa Monica Blvd. for your readers who might want to see this) and saw the same picture...but this time on the side of an eight story building! It was enormous...and it was NOT a mural either. It was actually on an eight- story canvas....absolutely huge and absolutely stunning!!! So, I took that as an even better sign.
Finally I got to the hospital and, as Dave Barry says, I'm not making this up....I met Dr, Durie and he turned out to be a John Lennon lookalike and soundalike. I may be exaggerating a bit on both counts; facially there was certainly a resemblance and his accent was Scottish, not English. But it was all close enough to make me think I was in the middle of some instant karma...and it turned out I was right.
Thanks again for all you've done, Steve!
Update (7/22/98) We received another note from Joe today. He says he's received get-well cards from George Harrison, Sean Lennon, the Hollies and Geoff Baker, and from several old friends. He said the card from George really boosted his spirits, since it came during George's own cancer situation. He says he appreciates all the cards and letters he's gotten and says they're "really keeping my head above water these days." He signed it, "Still Shining On......................................Joe Pope." We'll repeat the address where you can write to him: Joe Pope, P.O. Box 880981, San Diego CA 92168.
Just wanted to send you a short note with a bit of personal news. The first part is some pretty great news, really. I had a test at the doctor's office a while back and when the results came back he told me that I was in partial remission!!!! I'm still not out of the woods yet.....far from it, in fact. But for now, at least, the news couldn't be any better! This great renowned cancer specialist actually said to me, "Maybe you should change the lyrics of that song from 'I believe in Yesterday' to 'I believe in Tomorrow!' So, I'm calling Paul to see what he can do and ask if he wouldn't mind recalling all the albums and CDs that are already out there! But, seriously, I did think it was pretty cool of the doctor to put it that way!
Also, the Beatlephone has a new number. It's now 619-689-6320. I've given you credit on there a couple of times already and will be doing so again this week. Thanks for a great site...AND thanks for mentioning me. Lots of old friends have gotten in touch as a result of the mentions on there.
Also, you might want to mention that I've just started writing 'thank-you' notes this week to everyone who sent cards, letters, contributions, gifts, stc. It's a long process....but at least I'm finally getting to it! (Yesterday, for example, I did seven letters.....not too many compared to how many I have to do.....but it's a start!)
(2/27/98) This news from Bill King of Beatlefan:
Hi, Steve!This is from Joe Pope. Thanks for mentioning my recent illness.....being sick, well....frankly, it sucks....but my attitude is positive and I'm fighting with 110% of my being to beat it. Your site looks terrific....I've only recently gotten on to the Net (that's because I've only recently been able to sit up) but I intend to be a regular visitor from now on.
Some news concerning Joe Pope, founder of the Strawberry Fields Forever fanzine and in recent years operator of the Beatlephone. He's undergoing treatment for a malignant tumor on his spine. Good wishes (and contributions to help with his medical expenses) can be sent to Joe at P.O. Box 880981, San Diego CA 92168.