• Everybody’s talkin’ ’bout John Lennon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Brian Wilson . . .

In the summer of 1978 or ’79, I was making a road trip west with my family when a station wagon went roaring past us on the interstate. At the wheel was a white man with glasses, a beard, and hair past his collar; in the driver’s seat sat a moon-faced Asian woman with long black hair; and in the backseat frolicked a little boy about three years old. “That’s John Lennon!” I exclaimed. My father—who never posed nude on an album cover or underwent primal scream therapy or drove above the speed limit—told me I was imagining things. The car disappeared ahead of us, and eventually I forgot about the incident. But years later it came flooding back to me when I read, in one of the approximately 900 Beatles books I own, that during this period Lennon, Yoko Ono, and their son Sean liked to take car trips west to visit national parks.