*Excerpt from Do You Want To Know A Secret?: The Story of The Official George Harrison Fan Club" by
Sunday, July 09, 2006 Mission Accomplished! It's the summer of 1968 when Pat Kinzer, President of The Official George Harrison Fan Club in the U.S., travels to England along with friends to make her biggest dream come true where she meets The Quiet Beatle for the first time. Pat had begun exchanging letters with George's Mum, Louise, as early as 1964, and in time had become well known to the family.
August 5, 1968: Esher, Surrey
Around noontime, we walked over to George’s. Pattie’s car, and one of George’s cars was in the parking area. We were very nervous. We rang the doorbell, and the housekeeper answered. Her name was Margaret, a pleasant woman with red-hair. We talked to her for 15 minutes or so, and she told us George wasn’t in and Pattie and her friends were still sleeping. I told her about the fan club and she told us that George’s parents might be down over the weekend. She also introduced us to George’s two cats. Margaret told us to come back around 2:15 because she expected George back by then, and if not, we could talk to Pattie.
After lunch in town, we headed back to George’s. When we turned down Claremont Drive at 2:05 pm, we saw a green mini cooper driven by a long-haired person coming towards us. As it got closer, we realized that it was George! We stood there, frozen in the road, pointing at the car with our mouths hanging open. But then, something strange happened.....George’s car slowed down, and backed up to where we were standing. George smiled as he opened the car door and looked at us. He looked beautiful to me -he was wearing a dark green shirt, orange pants, gold socks, and gold shoes with big brass buckles.
After staring at each other for a minute or so, he pointed and said “Hey, aren’t one of you...uh....” and then he pointed directly at me and said “YOU!” Somehow I found my voice and said “Yes, I have a fan club for you.” Then George said, “Yeah, that’s right, you’re Pat aren’t you?” I managed to mumble out “yes”. How did he know who I was from the other two people? He extended his hand to me, we shook hands, and he said “Well, it’s nice to meet you.” He was staring right at me and his eyes just went right through me. I didn’t want to let go of his hand, but I did finally. “Well”, George said, “I’m in kind of a rush at the moment, but how long will you be in Esher? When can you come over and have a chat with me?” He was so polite to us - asking when it would be convenient for us! (Like we had an agenda other than visiting him!). “Whenever it’s convenient with you”, I mumbled. “Well, how about 1:00 tomorrow afternoon?”, he suggested. “Sure, fine, we’ll be here!” we responded enthusiastically. I asked him if I could take his picture, and he said “I’m in a bit of a rush right now, but tomorrow when you come over we’ll have a nice chat and you can take all the photos you want.” He said he had to go, so I closed his car door and he waved and drove away.
As soon as he drove away, I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe that it finally happened - I had met George Harrison, thus making liars out of all my high school friends who said “You’ll never meet him!”. We happily skipped, jumped and ran back to the hotel where I sent telegrams of “Mission Accomplished” to Mom & Dad, Terri, and Betty Ann. I was so happy, I thought I could now die happy!
August 6, 1968: Esher, Surrey
Dressed in our best traveling clothes, we headed over to George’s house about 1 pm. This time when we rang the doorbell, Margaret answered the door, and said “Pat? George will be out in a few minutes, he’s getting dressed.” I loved these people – they made me feel almost like family.
About 10 minutes later, George came out dressed in an orange shirt, orange and green striped slacks, and gold shoes with big brass buckles. We all just stood there looking at each other and not saying anything. Finally George, obviously used to dealing with nervous fans, broke the ice by saying “Well, uh, hello!” We said hello back, but continued to just stand there. Finally George said “Do you want me to pose for photos or something?” We all thought this was a wonderful idea since we didn’t have to talk to take pictures, and we all started snapping away.
All of a sudden we were all talking and joking like we knew each other for years. Pat took my picture with George, but when she snapped it I was laughing, and I said “Hey, that’s not fair, I had my mouth open”, and George whispered down to me “Well, she can take another one can’t she?” (This final photo was to take on many forms in the future - Christmas cards, oil paintings, sepia photographs, magazines, newspapers, etc.).
I asked George if he was immune to flash bulbs yet, and he “blinkingly” looked at me and said “no, not really.” “Do you have anything you’d like me to sign then?” he asked. It was good he kept reminding us of these little things, because we all seemed to be in a state of shock. We then bombarded him with things to sign. About this time, Margaret appeared in the doorway and told George he had a phone call. He excused himself and left for a couple minutes, and then came back to continue signing our stuff.
Sandy said “I’ll bet you’re sorry you mentioned this”, and he said “No, I’m not! It’s the least I can do since you came all this distance to see me. I’ll sign everything you’ve got!” Resisting the urge to have him sign the clothes on our backs, we continued to hand him all sorts of bits of paper, pictures, postcards, just about anything but toilet paper. Everyone was standing in an orderly line for him to sign things - everyone except me. I was running around snapping photos of everything in sight. I later sold these photos in my fan club newsletter, labeling them with things like “George with pen in hand”, “George scratching head”, etc.
When he finished signing for everyone else, I gave him my things. First I gave him a postcard of Esher to sign for Betty Ann. “You want me to sign this???” he laughed. I then gave him 5 copies of my revised fan club charter. He read it first, and then asked me if the club had anything to do with the official Beatles fan club (Beatles USA Ltd.) in New York. When I said no, that it was an independent club and I did it all by myself, he said if I joined up with Beatles USA Ltd., I wouldn’t have to do it all myself. “But George, I WANT to do it myself because I enjoy it so much”! He smiled and said “OK, it’s up to you. I’ll sign these then; just wanted to be sure you don’t take me to court!” “What would I want to take you to court?” I asked. Then he asked me why he was supposed to sign 5 copies of it, so I explained who each one was for. When he was finished, I gave one of the charters to him.
I also gave him a stack of letters, a tape recording, and a couple of gifts from fan club members. He put them in the house, along with his copy of the fan club charter, and then I handed him two autograph books to sign. He asked who they were for, and when I told him they were contest prizes he said he’d just sign his name in them. Next I gave him about a dozen of photos to sign (also for contest prizes), and he kept laughing at the photos as he signed them.
After we wore out his hand, we just talked and talked. He asked us where we were all from, and when I started to say “Colleg...”, he finished it for me “Collegeville”, right? He knew the name of the hotel where we were staying, and asked us how we liked it. He remembered everything I told him in that registered letter I sent, and even things I didn’t mention in the letter. (I had a strong suspicion his mother told him a lot about me).
He brought his cat, Josstick, out so we could play with it - Sandy brought a toy mouse for the cat. I couldn’t believe that I was suddenly so relaxed, and sat on the steps at the feet of The Great George Harrison, and played with his cat. He was very friendly with us - telling us what John and Ringo were doing today, telling us that Pattie was inside curling her hair, and he even let us go around back and take some water out of his swimming pool. (I kept my bottle of pool water in my refrigerator until sometime in the 1990’s when the last drop evaporated).
Finally, he said he had to go inside and eat breakfast because he had to go out in half an hour, and wished us a good trip and good weather. He could not have been nicer. Our visit with George was the highlight of the trip and for a very long time, the highlight of my life.