A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a Spanish publishing company called Hércules de Ediciones. They’ve just released an e-Book called At John Lennon’s House, by a woman named Rosaura López Lorenzo.
Rosaura was born in Spain but became the Lennon’s housekeeper at the Dakota Building in New York – a job she did for just on four years.
It should be said up-front that in writing this book financial profit was the last thing on Rosaura’s mind. She says on more than one occasion that she’s not doing it for any ulterior motives. After all, Rosaura kept her unique story quiet for nearly 25 years. It was only following a chance meeting with the journalist who helped her write down her story that she finally agreed to share her experiences with the rest of the world.
When Rosaura first began work in Apartment 72 in the Dakota building she was completely unaware of the real significance and impact of Beatlemania. As a result she writes in a totally unaffected manner, and genuinely from the heart. She also says that she had Yoko Ono’s blessing to tell her story, and you have to believe her – such is her honesty in recounting what she experienced working in the Lennon’s Dakota apartments. Yes, that’s plural. One of the things we learn is that they owned and occupied at least four separate dwellings in the building. Here’s a photograph of Rosaura standing outside the Dakota:
Many people would know about John’s time in the US in the late 70s. He’d retreated from public life. He’d all but retired from the music business. He was living happily and quietly in New York, bringing up his new baby son Sean, baking bread, and living the simple life. And we learn that it was Rosaura who taught him how to bake. Born and raised in the Spanish town of Pontevedra in Galicia, she grew up in a bakery and really knew what she was doing. She recalls John saying that making bread to the ancient European tradition made him feel calm and peaceful. It’s simple observations like these which make this book so intriguing and endearing.
At the back of the book are many pages filled with photographs of Rosaura Lopez and her family. There are postcards and Christmas cards sent to her over the years by the Lennon’s. And there are many photographs of her interacting with John, Yoko, Sean, and Julian Lennon, too.
Rosaura left the employ of John and Yoko abruptly, shortly before John’s murder in 1980. She says she was sacked by Yoko after a vicious spate of rumours spread about her by another nanny keen to get her own relatives employed in the house. Rosaura didn’t get the chance to explain or defend herself for eight years. It was a chance meeting on the streets of New York which brought her face-to-face once again with Yoko. That meeting opened the opportunity for a rapprochement. Later that day the two got to talk for hours and to finally make good a wrongful dismissal. This part of the story is told in full in the book.
Rosaura’s memoir has been available since 2005, but only in Spanish (as En Casa de John Lennon):This new English e-Book translation will bring her story to many new readers. In the hundreds of thousands of words written about John Lennon here is a genuinely new and different examination from someone on the very inside of the Lennon household.
I have been browsing through the book and enjoying it a lot. It’s a very interesting and sweet little book and not at all voyeuristic. Rosaura has achieved an honest and open account of a unique period in her life – working for one of the most famous families in the world. She does it with integrity. It is well worth a read.
You can download At the House of John Lennon in English at iTunes here.