As we turn the corner into the last half of the last year of the Sixties, the mood is ominous. At this point the Great Wave had peaked long ago — two or three years, depending on who you ask — and all that was left now was the slow circling of the drain until the Me Decade set in.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that John Lennon crashed his Austin Maxi in Scotland today. John was never a good driver — he was one of those people who are just too dreamy and distractible to safely pilot a motor vehicle. Most of the time he was chauffeured and this arrangement worked out well for everyone. But on this family vacation with Yoko, Julian, and Kyoko he decided to get behind the wheel, resulting in a total of 35 stitches (17 for John, 14 for Yoko, and 4 for Kyoko).

Julian Lennon escaped injury, though he was obviously shaken up by the accident, in which John panicked at the sight of an oncoming car and swerved into a ditch. (I wonder if this was yet one more reason for Julian to feel left out.) His mother, who had not even known that Julian was on this trip, soon came to collect him.

After this accident, says Bob Spitz’s The Beatles,

When the last of the bloody wreckage was recovered, John and Yoko had it shipped to their new home, a spectacular seventy-four-acre estate outside Ascot called Tittenhurst Park, where it was mounted as a sculpture outside their living-room window. Ostensibly, as Yoko explained, it served as “a tribute to [their] survival.” Everyone knew it also functioned as a warning: John Lennon, under no circumstances, should ever again be permitted to touch the steering wheel of a car.

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