The Relationship Behind John Lennon and His Sisters
via Biographer / YouTube
John Lennon’s background story is one for the books. While it’s true that his terrible and not-so-great life story molded him into who he was, it’s not always the case.
John Lennon was a regular guy, long before the rockstar life introduced itself to him, according to his half-sister, Julia Baird. The one, big question that was often thrown at her was “What was it like growing up with John?” to which, Baird would often answer that he was just like anybody else.
“Well, John wasn’t a (member of the) Beatles when we were both very small. He was just my brother. It was just growing up with someone who is six years older than you and who had some authority over you,” Baird explained.
John’s mother, Julia Lennon, had a common-law relationship with Bobby Dykins following her divorce from John’s father, Alfred Lennon, and they had 2 daughters, Julia and Jacqueline. John spent his formative years apart from his sisters, living instead with his maternal aunt Mimi Smith when his mother’s involvement with Dykins led to the removal of John from their care. Despite this, John was a frequent visitor to the Lennon-Dykins home.
John learned to play several instruments from his mother, Julia Lennon, including the piano, ukulele, accordion, and a mother-of-pearl banjo. Baird said that his mother not only purchased him his first guitar but also joined in on some of the kitchen jam sessions with his pals by strumming a banjo or a washboard.
As the Beatles progressed, Julia Baird was kept in the loop; she recalls hearing early versions of “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me.” While in London, the sisters babysat John Lennon’s son, Julian, and read his fan letters, to which they occasionally responded.
As John Lennon’s fame developed, the Dykins sisters moved in with relatives and saw less of him. Baird estimates that their last in-person encounter took place in 1967. He and Yoko Ono had relocated to New York in 1971, and for a while, after that, they didn’t speak to one other until 1975 when he contacted her out of the blue. According to her, they shared several fascinating conversations over several hours. He requested, and she complied, by sending him pictures of the family. She had anticipated seeing him in 1981 when he was scheduled to visit England, but he was murdered that year.
“I was a wreck of a human being. For some time, I couldn’t listen to his music,” Baird said.