by Dayna Harpster, News-Press.com, Fort Myers, Florida.
More than a few 74-year-olds have earned the right to a conversational upper hand. And when it’s Yoko Ono, perhaps the most famous widow in the world, she has you at “hello.”
On the phone from New York, Ono was being interviewed because an exhibit of drawings by her late husband opens at 1290 Third Street South, Naples, Florida this weekend.
“Remember Love: The Artwork of John Lennon” demonstrates many kinds of love. There is altruism, as in the title drawing, “Remember Love,” with people in a park greeting one another with flowers. We see peace, in drawings like “Peace, Brother,” in which Lennon greets a fan in Central Park with a peace sign.
Questions about those types of love are unreturned serves.
There is paternal love; Lennon created many of the drawings for the couple’s son, Sean, when he was a toddler and the family was living in The Dakota, the apartment building outside of which Lennon was shot in December 1980.
Again, no reply.
Other drawings in the exhibit of about 100 pieces chronicle John and Yoko’s honeymoon and early married years.
Does she still feel a connection to John?
At last, a volley.
“Just because you said that, I had this vision from the old days,” Ono said. “We rented a place in West Palm Beach. A beautiful house. I woke up in the morning and I saw this gardenia (blossom) on the floor of the bedroom, and I wondered what happened.
“And I went into another room and there was another one. I went down the stairs and there were more and more and more, and I got to the bottom of the staircase and there were more and more, and John was saying ‘Happy birthday, Yoko.’ And he told me this long story about how he had to call so many shops and even as far as Texas to get so many flowers.
“Not too much humidity and the beautiful warm smell of gardenias, that’s love to me. That’s one of my memories of love as it was with John.”
“He really knew how to do it. Yes.”
Ono will celebrate another birthday Wednesday, which she said was the release day for an international version of “Give Peace a Chance.”
Fittingly, the Valentine’s Day-themed exhibit in Naples benefits the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
In addition to the “Dakota Days” series and Lennon’s drawings of the family’s time in Japan are many from “Real Love,” a whimsical set for son Sean. They convey happy, even silly sentiment, with plays on words like “Collie Flower” and “A Hippotato.”
They are emotionally different from his songs, Ono said.
“The songs, it’s like he almost finished them in anger about what was going on in the world. It was all comments on what was going on in society with music, and with his artworks he was very warm, and there’s something very beautiful about them,” she said.