Louise Harrison was bewildered. Everything had changed, and so suddenly. Giggling girls queued at the Liverpool bus stops, not for the transit, but in hopes of speaking to her husband about George. Harry hadn’t the patience for it —- the nonsense— and more often than not, he told the wide eyed “bairds” to go their own way. He told them he wasn’t about to divulge family secrets or take home autograph books for his son to endorse. Harry just wanted to be left alone.
Louise too. She stood in the narrow bathroom doorway and watched her son primp and preen in the silvering mirror, readying himself for some competition or another down at the Philharmonic Hall. It was a to-do sponsored by London’s Decca Records, something The Beatles, per se, weren’t participating in, but something that George had been required to attend, nonetheless.
"I’m a judge y’know, Mum, ….. a talent judge…. for the Lancashire and Cheshire Beat Group Contest!" George tried to elucidate as he slipped into the crisp dress shirt Brian had sent over with the stage suit. "I’ve been asked to select the winner, y’see"
But Louise didn’t see. Just weeks ago George had been an electrician’s mate, a sweet, skinny lad with an uncertain future. Now he was part of some big splash down at the Phil. It was all too much, too fast.
Too much on an empty stomach Louise mused I can barely catch me breath.
"Will the other boys be there?" she reached up to tuck in an errant wisp of hair into her son’s Prince Albert cut.
"No, not tonight I’ve told y’that Ma" George held his tongue between his lips and concentrated on straightening his part. He used Louise’s narrow back brush comb, dipping it into a glass of cold water to eliminate static electricity. "We don’t have to do everythin’ together, do we? John goes to shows without me, Paul too. It’s just this time, it’s my turn, y’know?"
"So… yer makin’ this talent decision on yer own then?" The thought troubled Louise. How much did George know about talent, really? How could the boy be a qualified judge?
"No there’re others, Ma. Dick Rowe from London, for one. The man who said we’d never make it big…. The Beatles. "
"Well tell him about the girls on yer father’s bus! Tell him about yer number one record and yer…."
"He knows! He knows!" George offered his shaggy smile. "In fact, it might be a bit awkward tonight —— in light of all that’s transpired over the past few months y’know"
"Right, well" Louise was ever a mother, "just remember who you are. Remember it’s much harder to be gracious than rueful, right? And much more valuable."
"Right, yeah, I know" George shook his mother’s comb and slipped it back into the narrow medicine cabinet. He took one last appraising look at himself and flipped off the bathroom light. "I promise to make you proud. Da too. All right?"
"You always do, Georgie" Louise smiled softly. "At least that much hadn’t changed" And she was glad of it. It was the one thing as it had always been.