In the early 1960s a new and unknown band from England invaded America. 

In fact, it was the beginning of what we called “the British Invasion.” They had long hair that barely came over the top of their ears, were dressed in plain black suits, white shirts and ties and put the musical world on a whole new path. I remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan Show and thinking I was so in love at the ripe old age of 12 with John Lennon, one of the lead singers in the group. Their album was called “Meet the Beatles” and the world did just that. Many other groups came over to the U.S. from England, but the Beatles were the originals, and to this day people enjoy many versions of their songs sung by a plethora of artists over the last five decades. 

One song that I used to laugh about was “When I’m 64.” It seemed like such a long way into the future, but one morning I woke up and looked in the mirror to see that this song had been written about me and then some! How did that happen?

Here it is, 2018, and I have a lot to be thankful for. We are starting a whole new year, and I for one am jumping in with hope and a positive attitude for a bright and peaceful year. 2017 was rough for a multitude of reasons, but that was then and this is now. A chance to restart the engines and drive forward. The world in general is on a slippery slope with a huge emphasis on negativity and fear. Our fascination with technology has opened the door to many conveniences, but that is coupled with privacy invasion and this word called ‘hacked.’ Our family’s first telephone was on a party line. I thought that was an intrusion of privacy! Guess it was not as bad as someone being able to get into my computer pretending to be me.

In my garage, I have a large box of recipe books and tons of handwritten index cards with special treats that my grandmother and mom used to make. I hate to part with that little bit of my family history, but it’s easier for me to either make up my own concoctions or go online and pull up any one of a thousand options for potato salad or instructions on hard-boiling eggs. It’s a little sad, but again it’s progress.

This year also marked a wonderful milestone for Grandpa and me. We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on the Dec. 18. In lieu of the traditional wedding, we eloped to Las Vegas with all the pomp and circumstance that Rev. Johnny B. Love could muster up for us at the Chapel of the Fountains in Circus Circus. Along with 16 friends and my mom and dad, I walked down the small aisle where Rev. Love – yes, I am certain that was really his name – lifted the top of the pulpit and placed the needle on the vinyl record that played an off key and wobbly version of “Here Comes the Bride.” 

My dad held his head high, trying not to giggle and when asked who gives this bride away, he responded stoically, “Her mother and I do.” 

Then he was asked, “Are you her father?” 

To which my dad responded, “Well, I hope so!” 

Oh yeah, it was that kind of wedding. To top off the madness, there was a sign in the lady’s room where I was told to wait with my two friends while the couple before us took their vows. It read, “Ladies, please do not flush the toilet during the ceremony as that will alter the water pressure of the fountain.” Classy!  

Grandpa and I went back to the Chapel of the Fountains a few years ago, and it looked exactly the same. I am not quite sure if the same gentleman is still doing the services, but I bet his name is the same. 

I wish you and your family a new year filled with peace, love, joy and, most of all, laughter. It started my journey with Grandpa that way. Happy New Year!

Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with senior care and advocacy groups. Email her at