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The Beatles -- 'It was all so worth it'

For baby boomers in Minnesota, Met Stadium was the place to be Aug. 21, 1965.

Boomer Grandpa — Loren Else column sig
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We all have moments scattered throughout our lifetime that are meaningful in a personal way. This story is one of Ginger Haroldson’s moments.

As a teenager, it is not easy to stand up to your father. If he didn't give them a ride, Ginger told her dad, she and her friends would all hitchhike to Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.

Ginger and a her friends did not have tickets to a Twins game, they had tickets to The Beatles concert on Aug. 21, 1965.

Her dad agreed to the mission, although not thrilled. The Haroldson family lived in Sandstone, Minn., about a 1 1/2 hours north of the Twin Cities. Bob and Gladyce Haroldson had three girls: Teri, Ginger, Deb, and a son, Rob.

A high percentage of the teenage boys in Sandstone had a crushes on the Haroldson girls. Mom Gladyce would often shoo the boys home who were gathering at their front steps.

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I had the pleasure to talk to Ginger recently, and I could hardly get her to take a breath. As a teenager, Ginger was energetic, compassionate and adventurous. She was chatting about that day, that concert, and that moment in her life 56 years ago, like it was yesterday. For Ginger, that day was pure joy.

The recent “Beatles: Get Back” documentary, now streaming on Disney+, has created a new uptick of Beatles stories. I remembered that a contingent from my hometown, spearheaded by Ginger, had been at that 1965 concert. It was a rock and roll historical event for Minnesota's baby boomers.

Ginger told me she was an Elvis fan, but when the Beatles rolled into America, Elvis became ancient history. She bought Beatle albums, knew their songs and lyrics by heart, and had Beatles posters up in her room. She fell in love with Paul.

On occasions, Ginger’s mom had to march into the girl’s rooms at night, turn off WDGY, the Twin Cities' primary rock and roll station at the time, and tell them to get to sleep.

The big day arrived, and Ginger’s dad, along with a car full of not-so-quiet teenagers, headed to Bloomington. On their arrival, Ginger said it was crazy and chaotic as they found their way into the stadium and to their seats.

Ginger does not recall seeing any boys in the crowd, although I did verify two Sandstone guys, Bill Sandwick, and his friend Gene, also attended.

Bill told me that the first time he saw the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” it changed his life. Bill became a musician and that evening in 1965 he sat transfixed watching The Beatles perform.

Reviews said the concert acoustics were terrible. Screaming ruled the evening. The girls struggled to hear words, but it did not matter. They were there.

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Ginger remembers she could see Ringo the best. His drums were up on a stand, higher than Paul, John or George, who were also on a slightly elevated stage in the infield. Ginger clearly saw Ringo’s hair flopping from side to side as he played the drums.

The concert started at 7:30 p.m. with a couple of opening acts. Ginger does recall it ended far too quickly. The Beatles played 11 songs for 35 minutes before an estimated 28,000 fans.

Ginger and her friends were a little worried they would not find her dad after the concert, but they did, and all headed home. A long memorable day.

Ginger has stayed connected to the Beatles music her entire life. She had “Let It Be” played at her wedding.

It was fun to talk to Ginger and Bill about that moment a long time ago. For Ginger, no hitchhiking was necessary, and she stated in a voice that almost sounded like a teenager's: “It was all so worth it!”

Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at news@postbulletin.com .

Beatles Albums.JPG
Baby boomers waited eagerly for each release of Beatles albums throughout the 1960s. Contributed / Loren and DeeDee Else

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