The Last Day in the Life

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artifacts of ancient Egypt, including a sarcophagus in the living room; blue clouds painted on the ceiling of a downstairs office), expanding their financial holdings (Lennon left an estate estimated at $235 million), buying property and Holstein cows.

The Holsteins were selected because they were meant to yield nourishment, not be slaughtered for it. Ono took care of all the details, and Lennon did not know about the sale of one of the cows until he read an item in the paper. He was even more pleased than surprised. "Only Yoko," he said admiringly, "could sell a cow for $250,000."

Ono could do a lot more than that. The banker's daughter set herself to mastering the mysteries of commercial law and deal making just as, earlier, she had wrestled with the exotic exigencies of John Cage. She met the attorneys and the accountants; she supervised the buying up of property in Palm Beach, Fla., Cold Spring Harbor, an exclusive enclave on Long Island, and in upstate New York. When the Lennons decided to make another album earlier this year, it was Ono who called Record Executive David Geffen and worked out the deal.

The Lennons may have been taking a step or two aside from art, living quietly, but they were not hermits. They were collecting themselves, looking for a center, a core. It seemed hard to understand, but shouldn't have been. Ono sat behind the desk and John stayed home with the little boy. Julian, Lennon's other, older son, was now a teen-ager who lived in Britain with his mother, but wore leather jackets and jeans, like his Dad back in the days of the Quarrymen, and talked of becoming a rocker. John did not see Julian often, and said recently, "I don't remember seeing him as a child." But Lennon suggested that he had lately wanted to know Julian better, and one of the most haunted faces in last week's gallery of grief was Julian's, enduring the same pain that had afflicted his father at almost the same age some 25 years before. He, like John, had lost a parent twice.

John gloried in playing parent to Sean, and liked to call himself a househusband. What upset traditionalists was the fact that he obviously reveled in his domestic role. This role reversal was seen by the man raised by an aunt and three of her sisters as no threat at all. He insisted—indeed, proved —that he was putting nothing at risk, not his manhood and not his artistry.

Double Fantasy, the new record, demonstrated that. Ono's contributions are especially accessible and congenial after years of punk and New Wave conditioning. John's songs, simple, direct and melodic, were celebrations of love and domesticity that asked for, and required, no apology. It was not a great record, like Plastic Ono Band, but it might have been the start of another time of greatness.

The subjects of Double Fantasy, released last month, were supposedly not the stuff of rock, but John Lennon never bound himself to tradition. "My life revolves around Sean," he told some radio interviewers from San Francisco on the afternoon of the day he was killed. "Now I have more reason to stay healthy and bright . . . And I want to be with my best friend. My best friend's me wife. If I couldn't have worked with her, I wouldn't have bothered. . . I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and

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