'Back then, there were a handful of people who had influence and fun. A handful of people, and the people who shagged them.'
Before leaving for Los Angeles in August 1968 to work on a major photo shoot for Mademoiselle magazine, probably the most lucrative assignment she'd ever had, Linda had a phone call from Paul inviting her to stay with him in London. (The excellent biography of Paul by Barry Miles, Many Years from Now, quotes Linda as saying the call came in late September, but it was in August; we know that on 18 September the Beatles were recording 'Birthday' for the White Album at Abbey Road, and Linda was there, on back-up vocals.) It was so much what she'd wanted, if indeed it signified that he wanted something serious, that she couldn't quite believe that he wasn't perhaps toying with her. So she checked it out with her close friends, who sensed that she was going through some kind of anguish - a condition she'd not been known to suffer from ever before.
Linda and I had dinner at a nice, long-since-gone restaurant on Sunset Boulevard one night, after she'd spent a memorable afternoon photographing Aretha Franklin in a little park in Beverly Hills. She spoke of that experience in a videotaped promotion for her landmark book of photographs, Linda McCartney - Sixties:
Aretha was in tears [when Linda arrived at her hotel room]. Her husband, who was her manager, really 'done her wrong,' and he'd left. She had all the band and everybody on her back for money, and she was sort of sipping vodka the whole afternoon, she was so upset. I got a few black and white shots of her while we talked. Such a nice person. I guess because there was no one else there, she was talking to me and Andrea, the Mademoiselle editor, just talking heart-to-heart. Then she got past that, and got rid of the busy-stuff she had to do, and they put a wig on her and makeup and this white satin dress, and we went outside and you can see the contrast in my book. Aretha for Mademoiselle and Aretha just, really, for me. I thought she was such a great person, it was an emotional thing for me.
After recounting the Aretha session while we dawdled over drinks, Linda became silent, nervous and fidgety. She looked down at the table, and then right into my eyes.
'Paul asked me to come to London,' she announced.
I said, 'Great!'
'But do you think he says that to lots of girls so that he's never without one? He didn't say anything specific, just to come over and call him when I get there. What if he wasn't serious?'
'How can you take a chance that he's not serious? You love him. What can you lose? At the worst, you'll find out you're one of many -which I don't think, because no one is that callous - it'll cost you a plane ticket, and you'll get enough pictures while you're there to pay for the trip. On the other hand, if he's serious, Linda ... well, if he's serious you'd better find out. Just go.' It was one of my finer lectures.
'Hmm ..." she replied. 'Maybe I should go.' As if she really needed convincing.
The next day Linda and I drove out to Malibu, where she was shooting Judy Collins on the beach. I worked for Judy's record company, Elektra, and she was a good friend as well. Linda and she were particularly close because after they'd met for a shoot I'd set up over a year earlier, they'd bonded, as single working mothers in the music business and as artists. When I spoke to Judy for this book, I recalled that August when Linda had told me of Paul's invitation.
'She told me about it too,' Judy said. 'And she was nervous about it, because "he's always got all these groupies around him". Well, I told her that was to be expected, but I knew she could deal with it. She could deal with just about anything.'
Of course, in the light of subsequent events, I was always amused to recall Linda's need of reassurance at that very critical moment in her life. I don't think she would have been talked out of it, anyhow, nor do I think anyone tried. If she had not gone ... But there was no 'if about it then, and I'm sure Paul would have continued to court her; given his insistence on having the world know that he, Paul, pursued her, Linda, and not the other way around, they were going to come together no matter what.
I don't recall how that day ended. Linda and I went back to New York separately, and after she spent a few weeks in New York getting Heather started at her first school and making all necessary arrangements for her, Linda flew to London in mid-September. I didn't see her again for over a year, until she called me one night in early 1970 to tell me that she and her husband were in town and wanted to drop over. It was as if we'd had dinner two nights ago. One got used to that over the years.
Little did Linda know, as she packed her bags at the end of the summer of 1968 for what was going to be an extremely auspicious journey, that in Cavendish Avenue in London Paul McCartney was trying to figure out how to evict yet another international player before his true love arrived. Happily for all involved, this was in no way a romantic or even sexual companion living under his roof, but none other than Nico, the decadent, beautiful and tragic chanteuse.
Born in Germany before the start of the Second World War, Nico had been a model, a minor movie star (as in Fellini's La Dolce Vita, 1959), the lover of Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, Jackson Browne, Brian Jones and Iggy Pop, and an Andy Warhol 'superstar'. Worshipfully nicknamed 'the Moon Goddess', she was a singer and songwriter of an importance that remains mysterious and unfathomed to this day, and a terrifying seductress of men. Her friends knew her as one of the sweetest people around, while all the cute and talented boys who fell in love with her were scared, very scared. She was divine, a major pain in the ass, and very collectable. Paul certainly knew that, via his flirtation with the avant-garde of the mid-60s, his excellent taste and perhaps through Brian Epstein, who, if you recall, had taken to Acapulco early in the year he died one hustler and one album - The Velvet Underground andNico, the 'banana' album that's on every music buffs Top Ten Of All Time list. Nico had lived in London, and naturally travelled in the most elite circles. Linda knew her as well - they had many friends in common, among them Paul Morrissey, the brilliant director of many of Warhol's early movies such as Trash and Heat, and a classy indie film-maker to this day.
Paul Morrissey and Paul McCartney had known each other since 1967, when the Warhol crowd passed through London after the Cannes Film Festival and gathered at the apartment of the late Robert Fraser, a great art dealer who was very close to Paul McCartney and had invited him over to meet the famous New York artist. Paul brought with him the advance layouts of the Sergeant Pepper album cover, about which Andy could only say - to Fraser after Paul had left - that he didn't see his own picture on it, and that was his opinion of it, period.
Morrissey was, to his infinite credit, Nico's main protector (actually her manager, but that's too impersonal a definition of their relationship) when it came to dealing with the real world. In September 1968, he had just arrived in London with Warhol when Paul McCartney called him at his hotel and said, to Morrissey's astonishment, 'Hello, it's Paul. Listen, I have a favour to ask of you. Could you come over to my house?'
'I didn't know what he wanted, until he said it was about Nico. I knew she was in London, but not until that moment did I have any idea that she was staying at Paul McCartney's house,' Morrissey remembers. 'So I went over there, and he showed me the house, and then he said, "You know I have Nico here, I invited her to stay here about two weeks ago; she had no money and I just thought it was for a few days, and she had nowhere else to go. I like her and she's very nice, but I have to ask her to leave and I don't know how to do this, and I thought since you're here, and you're her manager, maybe you could do that.”’
Although not in love with her, Paul seems to have been slightly scared of Nico, like all the other young men in her life. Let's say 'shy with', rather than 'scared of. Linda and Paul and I were once looking at her photograph of Nico and me (my favourite photograph of me, by the way, taken in London in the early 1970s), and Paul commented, 'It's just beautiful, it nails you there at the period.'
'That's the magic of photography,' I said. 'Guys were so afraid of Nico, you know.'
Replied Paul, 'I wasn't afraid of her at all.'
Paul was very polite, and I said, 'Oh yeah sure,' because I knew Nico could be something of a burden, and then he told me that a journalist was coming over from New York to interview him and he didn't have any extra bedrooms. So I asked him who the journalist was, because maybe I knew who it was, and he answered, 'Oh, do you know Linda Eastman?' and I said that I knew her very well and, 'Yes, she's great.' I was supposed to understand that Linda was coming to do some in-depth story and needed to be there for a few days. And it made sense to me that he was giving this girl a place to stay, like he did for Nico, and I just thought it was a nice thing for him to do. I knew that there was nothing romantic between him and Nico, or she would have told me before this, or would have made some reference to it. She would have called me from anywhere in the world if that had been what was happening.
But later, when Linda and Paul got married, I tried to think of that time he mentioned that a 'journalist' was coming, and I said to myself, 'Oh, he did have this glint in his eye when he told me who it was.' Then, I remember very vividly, flying into London from Paris on the day after I had read about their wedding, and I was walking around Bond Street looking at stores and art galleries, and I didn't even know where the Apple headquarters was, but I was on that street and they came right out of the Apple building, and they walked over to me and called, 'Oh, hello, hi, how are you?' I said, 'Congratulations!' and I thought, 'Isn't this funny, they got married yesterday but they're not on a honeymoon, they're at the office?'
Morrissey had known Linda since the Rolling Stones boat ride. 'Andy [Warhol] was really envious of the Rolling Stones because they were on the cover of Town and Country, and Brigid's and Christina's father was the president of the company, and he'd always want to know why he wasn't in Town and Country if the Rolling Stones were. We'd met Linda at the magazine office once, and on the boat Andy said to her, "Ooh, I didn't know you were a photographer," and she said, "I think I am, now, but don't tell anyone that I'm really not."'
New York was a much smaller town in the mid-60s - everybody knew everybody else, more or less, and there were very few places on the circuit of social and artistic acceptability: the Scene, Ondine's, a few other discos and restaurants and, most of all, Max's Kansas City.
'Linda's story is almost like a George Eliot novel, all about circles of people in one village,' Pete Townshend said to me.
I know somebody reading your book will have difficulty with this unless they can put themselves in their own village. There are the principal characters, and they're around from the beginning until the end. When I first got to New York, I thought, 'Oh, there are so many people!' But really, back then, there were a handful of people who had influence and fun. A handful of people, and the people who shagged them.
When you guys adopted me in 1967,1 felt like I'd been slipped from one place to another. From the London village to the New York village. And one of a handful of people again, with Linda very much one of them. She was sure of who she was, and she knew which village she came from, and it was not the village of the general populace. I don't mean to say that she was any kind of snob or anything like that, but I knew that about myself too. And so who could Linda marry? Someone in her own village, metaphorically. Or in the equivalent of her own village in a different country. Paul. It just seems OK. She had to end up with Paul by the end of the novel.
Linda moved into Paul's house, but not into the spare bedroom, and the honeymoon really began there and then, in the final days of the summer of 1968.
The Beatles were having severe problems then, with Yoko Ono apparently having driven a wedge between Paul McCartney and the most important person in his life, John Lennon. And between John and the other Beatles as well.
'She was in the studio with them all the time, I mean in the recording studio, not in the control room, with the Beatles, the BeatlesY says Nat Weiss, remembering the year the group was headed in the direction of full disintegration. 'George ended up yelling at her, "Why don't you get the fuck off my amps?", something like that. I went to the taping session of "Hey Jude" for the David Frost show [4 September 1968], and she was ordering people around right and left. She felt her own power right there and then.'
Francie Schwartz has memories of Yoko that are kinder than most other people's (and memories of Paul that are less fond). But her account of the Big Rupture between Paul and John is probably quite accurate in its essentials. It was told many times by John himself.
It was in August, and I was living with Paul on Cavendish Avenue. John and Yoko were staying there too, in the living room. Paul never opened his fan mail, I opened the fan mail for him, but he didn't give a shit about the mail. John and Yoko definitely gave a shit about their mail, and everything addressed to John and/or Yoko came to the house.
Paul was upstairs, and there was a note on the mantle, addressed to John and Yoko, typewritten. It was not postmarked so it was suspicious immediately. The two of them opened it up and showed it to me. It said, 'You and your Jap tart think you're hot shit.'
We were appalled, I mean, what can you say? It was unsigned, just the one sentence, typed. Then Paul bopped into the living room. He was wearing suit trousers and suspenders, barefoot with no shirt, his hands in his pockets. 'Oh, I just did that for a lark,' he said. As far as I'm concerned, that was the moment when John looked at Paul as if to say, 'Do I know you?' It was over, it was completely and totally over at that moment. They may have been able to work together, but it was never the same.
It's convenient to say the 'end' of the Beatles was a certainty when in April 1970 Paul McCartney announced publicly, in a press kit included in his first solo album, McCartney, that he was no longer working with the group but would be a solo artist from then on. (This is discussed later. However, it wasn't until November that Paul filed a lawsuit against the other Beatles, asking that the band be dissolved; the case was not decided until January 1975 when it was ruled that the Beatles no longer existed.)
However, hi January 1970, did John and Yoko jump the gun on Paul when they put out their own press release referring to 1970 as 'Year One'? Legally and financially, the Beatles' battles dragged on interminably; they certainly were in full swing many years after John's death in 1980, which itself could be the year the Beatles finally, irrevocably, were finished. Yet even without John, or with John making a posthumous contribution, there have been and continue to be 'Beatles' projects. For some fans, it was over when the Beatles played their last concert in August 1966; for others, any attempt to say the Beatles could ever be over is a sort of sacrilege. It would be like, er, claiming that Jesus was over when he was nailed to the cross. Some would agree, some would not; some things just don't seem to be conclusively ended no matter what happens in the physical universe - the end of which would not necessarily mean the end of Jesus or the Beatles. Just ask a fan of either. It's easier to count the angels dancing on the head of a pin.
But Linda and Yoko will forever be known as 'the women who broke up the Beatles'. As if there were a need to blame something that might never have happened, had already happened, or would have happened anyhow on two women who did nothing worse than love their men, each in her own fashion. It's interesting that no man was ever held responsible for this ephemeral event. Actually, I'd say the responsibility lay with that judge, whatever his name is, who made the dissolution of the Beatles a legal reality in 1975 - it makes as much sense as any other theory.
Still, the two halves of one of the century's great songwriting teams, and the engineers who drove the flashiest and most gorgeous locomotive of modern culture, were an unstable entity perhaps from the start - not the start of the Beatles, but of their success, which is and has been beyond the reach of any phenomenon that's come since. Oh, maybe I take that back, maybe it's an overstatement. One supposes the movies of Steven Spielberg have made more money; Bob Dylan has most powerfully rattled the rafters of lyric-writing; Barbra Streisand has elevated the standards of diva-dom; Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns created the first paintings of the twenty-first century; Mrs Thatcher changed the sexual possibilities of political dominance for all tune; the Kennedys invented political glamour (only to see it evaporate); Diana showed us that fairy tales can come true; Jerry Seinfeld single-handedly forever lowered the standard of comedy established by Lenny Bruce, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball et al. and was the biggest phenomenon in television history; Bill Gates became the richest man who ever lived; and Oprah Winfrey is now the first black woman billionairess - wow! What competition - but have the Beatles really any competition? This writer (a Stones guy) thinks not, and so the Destroyers of the Wondergroup deserve very close and special attention, as long as there are those (and there always will be) who believe that Linda and Yoko were indeed just that.
Because Yoko Ono was, from the moment of her irruption into the 'art world', an amazing, perplexing, deep, powerful and mysterious presence, much print and analysis have been devoted to her, and she deserves every inch of column space she's received. She demanded and commanded the spotlight at every moment that was opportune, and was forever hard at work to make those moments plentiful. Before, during and after the times that John Lennon was by her side.
'John was a bully. John was a complete bully,' says Nat Weiss. 'If he could intimidate you, he would just do it for the purpose of intimidating you. But his weakness was that he liked to be dominated. And that was the basis of his relationship with Yoko.'
Whatever one might say about Paul McCartney, even knowing the Beatles as well as Weiss did, it would not be that Paul liked (or likes) to be dominated. The idea is mind-boggling. If Yoko was a dominating person, and the shoe does seem to fit, then she was quite the opposite of Linda, who shrank from the glare of tungsten and carbide, yet was no less a force in possessing and exhibiting a supreme intensity that in many ways reinformed the meanings of love, caring, parenting, partnership, activism and personal artistic potential and realization. For her, humans were judged on merit alone, not because of the attributes with which they'd been born - she was truly the most colour-blind and class-blind person I've ever known - and animals were not judged ever, at all.
From Chrissie Hynde's rhyming eulogy, at Linda McCartney's New York memorial, 21 June 1998:
Linda McCartney was a pal and an ally
She wasn't an avant-garde intellectual bully
And she sure wasn 't here for the fame or the money.
She didn't cry 'Peace!' in a room full of furs
She thought animals' skins were theirs, and not hers.
There is no intention here of doing a Yoko vs. Linda, which would be dumb and sexist, for starters. In fact, I'm going to try to bring Yoko into this story only insofar as her and Linda's paths cross, and I am aware of the naivete of that intention. I don't know Yoko, nor do I really know much about her. Some people for whom I have enormous respect think she is wonderfully delightful, charitable and admirable; from a distance, that has not been my own impression, but I bow to those who are in a better position to have a well-informed opinion. It's clear to anyone, however, that she relishes attention, much as Linda, certainly until the last fifteen years of her life, shied away from it. I've watched Linda and Paul being 'attacked' by photographers during many of the times I've been with them, and their way of dealing with the flashing strobes was always so very different - he moving into and towards the light, she backing away from it, ever so subtly, but enough to give the impression that she was a cold person and he was a warm one. Warm is an act for Paul, for which I give him a lifetime Academy Award - he is a master, he wrote the book. Really, Linda was much warmer than Paul, if you knew her. He was publicly as charming a person ever to wear the mantle of talent and fame, and Linda was contrastingly shy, a quality mistaken for aloofness and arrogance.
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But in 1968 Linda Eastman and Yoko Ono, later portrayed in the media as a reincarnation of St Francis on the one hand, and a retro-incarnation of the Evil Queen of Outer Space on the other, were indistinguishable, simply the Vile Villainesses 'who broke up the Beatles'.
'THE TWO WOMEN WHO BROKE UP THE BEATLES', by Julie Goldman, was the headline of a story (well, it's been in some form or another the headline of many stories, but that's the one I'm looking at now) in McCall's magazine, July 1971. Egregiously full of errors (Christina Berlin becomes Christina Paolizzi, a naked-nipple-thrusting 'socialite' of the 60s, for whom fifteen minutes of fame would have been far too much for her mind to handle) and insensitive locutions like 'two American college-girl divorcees, a Jewish princess and a Japanese princess', the story has a telling take on some prevalent sentiments, and sometimes even hits the bull's-eye: 'The breakup of the Beatles was very marital, like a divorce . . . The old theme, love versus friendship. As usual, love won. And what could have done this but love?' And who could argue with that?
When Linda died in 1998, it was not at all difficult for people who had known her and Paul to find countless factors in the lives and personalities of both of them that 'proved' they were made for each other. They were each other's best friends, they understood each other's needs, their musical tastes were in synch, they were wonderful parents who loved their children more than anything else, they preferred domestic simplicity to glamour, they were monogamous, thrifty, loved animals, nature and horseriding, etc., etc. And yes, at the end of thirty years they were as one, and it certainly should be hoped that that was the case, or it would not have been the spectacularly successful marriage that it was.
But in 1968 they had not had a life together, shared no parenting responsibilities and actually didn't know each.other very well. There was physical attraction, certainly, and sexual compatibility, it would seem, but Linda and Paul both knew that it would be a bad idea to elevate lust, satisfying though it was, to the basis of a long and agreeable relationship, one that would be fulfilling for them and scrutinized very closely by the rest of the world.
It was clear to Paul by this point that Yoko had become by far the most important person in John Lennon's life; even were she to somehow vaporize, John would not come running back to Paul after that unfortunate disappearance. Besides, no simple act of God was a match for her powers, or her hold on John. There were other notable tensions within the Beatles organization, and Paul, as much as he wanted to keep it going, must have realized that the show's run was ending. Most important, John was simply headed in another direction, which was not very Fab Four, to say the least (can anyone picture Paul and Linda posing naked for an album cover as John and Yoko did for Two Virgins in November 1968?), and the partnership that had been the creative centre of the Beatles was shattered, far beyond the ability of all the king's horses and all the king's men to repair, not to mention beyond Paul's.
And then there was Linda, and everything was right about her. She was beautiful but never gaudy, not spoiled and not materialistic (i.e. would not squander Paul's money), extremely talented as a photographer and acknowledged as such (very important, this; John had taken up with someone whom he considered, and who certainly considered herself, an 'artist' and Paul could do no less). Moving along, Linda came from a very good family well beyond the social class into which Paul was born (ditto Yoko and John again, although the Jane Asher affair had given Paul a heady taste of the delights of being upper-middle, rather than upper-lower, class), and Paul liked the idea that although Linda's mother had been born into wealth, Linda's father - the great authority figure in her life - was a self-made man, just as Paul was, and someone he could deal with as such. Linda had great taste in rock and roll, and an expert's knowledge of the music business. She was born into the world of contemporary art; for someone who had just discovered modern art via Magritte, a surrealist, it must have been very heady indeed for Paul to have a girlfriend who had grown up with the great abstract expressionists of the New York school as members of her extended family. Paul and Linda had both lost their mothers in tragic circumstances, and Linda was a mother herself, impeccably devoted to her young daughter. She was loving, affectionate, warm, patient and comforting. She could cook, and was never happier than when in the kitchen; the traditional northern Englishman in Paul, always a large part of who he is and how he sees himself, was delighted with that maternal 'Eat! Eat!' quality of hers. And he loved her.
Picking up the story, we find Linda moving in with Paul, and the two of them discovering that they did indeed like each other as much as they had hoped they would. After the career-driven Jane Asher and the volatile Francie Schwartz (and the example of the woman John chose, who, aside from her formidable intelligence, must have represented to Paul a living specimen of everything he did not want in a woman), and after hundreds of one-nighters, Linda just fitted right in. Paul could bring her to the recording studio without upsetting any Apple carts, so to speak, or he could have her reliably waiting for him at home, tending to the pets and the pots (and the pot), a proper and consoling shoulder to cry on after a day at work.
Linda is happy, and of course wanting it to last. There are big troubles ahead, but those waters don't come to a rolling boil until the very end of the year and the beginning of 1969; Linda's biggest problems now are the press, who are beginning to wonder who she is (neither she nor Paul nor Derek Taylor have any intention of dealing with the media until it becomes absolutely unavoidable), the Apple Scruffs (those ultra-fans who camp out on Paul's doorstep and know everything about what's going on inside; they do not like this American divorcee and consider her an interloper, as opposed mainly to Jane, who was a proper English celebrity), and, most urgent of all, her separation from Heather, who has just begun school and is old enough to be very curious about where Mummy is and what she's doing.
Linda calls Heather every night from London when she and Paul are comfy in bed, when it's early evening in New York. Linda explains to Heather that she's far away with someone she likes very much, his name is Paul and he's one of the Beatles (which means nothing to the child), and often hands the phone to Paul and tells him to say hello to her daughter, whom he's never met. From all points of view, this is brilliant; not cunning, but brilliant. Linda is being a good mother (she was always incapable of being anything but that), Heather is learning about the man who is soon going to be a vital part of her own life, Paul is getting to know Heather and at the same time he is seeing Linda in action as a loving mother.
He admitted to Barry Miles that his first conversation with Heather was nervous-making: 'I got on the phone thinking, "Oh my God, if she hates me this could be very difficult"... I said, "Will you marry me?" and she said, "I can't, you're too old!" and I said, "Well, maybe I should marry your Mummy, that'd be good."'
The cosiness of it all is a wee bit treacly, to be sure, but it surely must have contrasted splendidly, for Paul, with the daily, mounting tensions in the recording studio; Ringo 'quits' the band in a huff (to return in a week, but Ringo was not supposed to have tantrums - that was George's speciality, apparently), and Yoko-John and Paul are not a happy combination. Was Linda cunning? Did she use Heather? Well, of course, and why not? Did Paul know what she was doing? Of course. Was he flattered, amused, comforted and encouraged? Again, of course, and no one could be as comforting and encouraging as Linda. Jane could not have been, for all her intelligence, elegance and class - her career was at the top of her agenda and she has become a great celebrity in Britain, but as Philip Norman observes in the Beatles' biography Shout, Jane would not pamper Paul, and Paul liked that stuff. Linda liked doing it.
Someone who knew Linda very well from the late 1980s until her death once said to me, 'She must have been brought up with a lot of love, because she was such a loving person. She had to have learned that early in her life.' My response: 'Wrong!'
I think she was not expressively and warmly loved when she was a child, although I don't doubt that her parents loved all their children very much. Linda was not close to her mother, after all. As we have noted, at family parties, where Mrs Eastman could work a roomful of brilliant people with incredible ease and aplomb - 'the Auntie Mame of Scarsdale' is how a friend of the family described her - Linda would hang out in the kitchen with the hired help. She worshipped her father, but she was afraid of him always, and he was always (until you-know-what happened) a bit dismayed with his restless, independent daughter, her mediocre school grades and disgraceful career. And that's my theory: Linda was so eager to give what she never got, what she thought every child, family member, friend and animal deserved: a whole lot of loving. She didn't learn it by watching other people, she learned it by knowing, absolutely and instinctively, what the other person/creature needed most of all at any given time.
When Linda was gone from New York for a few weeks that September, I remember saying to Lillian Roxon, 'Wow, don't you think it's odd that we haven't heard from Linda in such a long time?'
'Not at all,' Lillian twinkled, in her wise and sly way, 'she's going to marry him, you know.'
'How can you know that?' I demanded. 'You haven't talked to her or heard from her either.'
'Mark my words,' she said.
Early in October, they went back to New York to fetch Heather and to meet Linda's father, the formidable Lee Eastman, and her brother John. A very bold and significant move, that, on Linda's part, and a juggling act starring the most important people in her life. The risks, the high stakes, are obvious, yet she wasn't worried. She was certain (and Linda's certainty was a force like the wind) that her daughter, father and brother would be impressed by the boy she was bringing home, the only boy she'd ever brought home - and she knew the boy would be impressed by the blood she came from, and her smart, sad, beautiful child. This was the test of her lifetime, and she aced it. Not to say she wasn't a little nervous, didn't have a bit of stage fright, like Paul says he had when Linda handed him the phone and told him to say hello to Heather. But she told Paul she hoped he would like her family, and he told her he was sure he would. So was she.
Linda's self-confidence served her well at this critical time. She was the luckiest girl in the world - by the end of the coming winter, she would also be the most hated.