Arrived in Anchorage
by Mary Jane Dougherty
A fun book with a surprise ending
Beatles in the Anchorage Westward Hotel
Beatles waiting in their Anchorage Westward suite
Mod was the name for the clothing style from the late fifties named so by Modern Jazz Musicians.
The first time, we heard about Mod was from something Beatles drummer Ringo said. He was asked, “Are you a Mod or are you a Rocker?” Ringo Starr replied, “I'm a Mocker.”
The Beatles number one hit in the U.K. was, “From Me To You” on May 2nd, 1963.
My family and friends had heard my story of when the legendary band, the Beatles, had an unexpected lay-over in Anchorage and a short stay at the Westward Hotel on June 27th, 1966.
Now, for that reason, I decided it was time to write my story. Now you can come along with me, my older sister Betty and my older brother Norman and you can read about our unbelievable adventure.
Beatlemania arrived in Anchorage!
Now, here is a snippet from my book, “Face To Face With John Lennon.”
Outside the Anchorage Westward Hotel…
Later that day, Norman and Betty returned to the hotel. They were curious to see what was going on. And the family wanted to make sure I was alright. But I was having such a great time that, time itself had stopped for me. And until Norman and Betty suggested going out for some dinner, I hadn't even realized that I was starving.
Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to leave the hotel for a short time with my brother and sister to get something to eat. After all, it takes a lot of energy waiting and watching for the Beatles to maybe make an appearance at that window. After a quick dinner, we returned to the hotel to see what was going on. Had the Beatles gone to the window and waved at the crowd? If they had done that while I was gone, boy would I be upset.
Just then the hotel manager came out and told the crowd to walk over to the front entrance to the hotel. The parking lot was going to be closed. We were startled at first, but while we were walking to the front of the hotel I recognized a black limousine parked in front of the hotel doors.
Anchorage’s top officials drove that car around town and in parades. Then the hotel manager came out and made another announcement. The Beatles would be coming out the front doors and down the walk way to the limousine. The Beatles would then be driven to the airport where they would board a plane on their way to Japan. So, everyone was to remain calm and stay behind the velvet ropes.
Strangely enough, the crowd of mostly teenage girls remained calm and started talking among themselves.
Now, allow me to explain that during this part of the summer in Anchorage, Alaska, we were enjoying the Summer Solstice, and it wasn't getting very dark. Nighttime was as bright as day. And I suppose that's the reason, all of us felt so safe at that late hour.
How exciting! The Beatles would be coming right out those front doors. Those very doors that Norman and Betty and I were standing next to. We were mesmerized and didn't care about the time. Oh, my butterflies were back.
Then reality mirrored the movies.
It was now shortly after midnight, but it was nearly as bright as day in front of the Anchorage Westward Hotel. A large group of people of all ages stood behind both sides of the soft luxurious red velvet ropes. And everyone was still calm and quiet as they anticipated seeing the Beatles coming out of the hotel. I could sense the crowd thinking. “How proud we are of ourselves. The Beatles will be walking right by the most behaved crowd in the universe.” Then the Security Guard made an announcement. “The Beatles will come out of the hotel through those doors. Then they will pass by all of you and ride this limousine to Anchorage International Airport. So, please stay behind the velvet ropes.”
That is what he said, and we believed him because he was wearing the gray uniform and the gray hat of a trusted, Security Guard. I was still standing with Norman and Betty, very close to the front doors. The excitement and the anticipation of the Beatles was now growing stronger.
I thought, “How lucky I was to be standing here so close to the doors. Norman and Betty and I will be the first people in the crowd to see, John, George, Paul, and Ringo!” I stretched out my hand to feel the soft luxurious velvet ropes that they so generously placed before us. My stomach was filled with the feeling of more butterflies than I had ever felt in my life. I looked around and noticed the happy faces of the crowd. It wasn't dark at all. We would be able so see the Beatles clearly. But wait a minute.
Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head.
Take a look at Face to Face with John Lennon