The Hongs and John Lennon
Since this week marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's passing, I thought I'd toss this out there as an prologue to the previous post about my cousin's brief encounter with the legendary musician and activist. I had talked to my cousin Chris about the photo he took of them during a political rally where he and Yoko were just sitting quietly on a park bench. Amazingly enough, they weren't recognized for awhile and for a moment, they could just enjoy being there without the trappings of fame bearing down upon them. What sparked that conversation with Chris was a family who had more than a brief encounter with Lennon. Lennon and Oko actually visited and lived with the Hong family in San Mateo, CA for a short while.
I first read it in the a New York Times article that picked up a story from the Bay Citizen and it got me talking to Chris about his memories running into Lennon:
The article talks about an unusual bond Lennon and Ono had with the Hong family that lasted for years. They became acquainted in the early 1970's, according to the Hong sisters, Barbara and Emily, who were 8 and 9 years old at the time. Their father was an herbalist and acupuncture practictioner for spiritual cleansing and physical healing. At the time, holistic medicine was not as mainstream as it is today, but worth of mouth spread around among the musician circles about Mr. Hong.
Since Mr. and Mrs. Hong were new immigrants, they did not know who Lennon and Ono were. And perhaps Lennon and Ono liked being treated as normal folks and not celebrities and that maybe it provided an escape from fame and having to be guarded about people's intentions.
When Mr. Hong died in 1975, Lennon and Ono provided substantial financial support to the family up until the little girls grew to adulthood.