It was Feb. 1, 1964 -- the day tickets went on sale at the Washington Coliseum for the Beatles' first concert in the United States.

Barbara, Mary Pat, Martha and I -- all of us eighth-graders -- stood outside the box office. It was 6 a.m., four hours before it opened. In front of us were some boys wearing Hammond High School letter jackets. In back of us was Patsy Easthope, who was from England and told us everything she knew about the Beatles. The nine of us were the only ones there. "I want to Hold Your Hand" had been released, but the Beatles had not yet appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. That would be Feb. 9.

Feb. 11, 1964, the day of the concert. School was canceled because of snow.Ten inches. My friends and I were back and forth on the phones all day worrying that none of our parents would drive us to the concert if it kept snowing, talking about WWDC radio's coverage of the Beatles' arrival at the train station, reviewing the Beatles' appearance two days before on the Sullivan show again and again, driving everybody else crazy.

After all our worrying, we got to our seats in plenty of time. Row A. The place was filled -- 8,092 attended. We saw Patsy on the end of our row waving a small British flag and went over to talk to her. The lights went out and Jay and the Americans went on. And then the Coliseum grew dark and down the steps next to us -- next to us -- came the Beatles. They seemed to be enjoying it. I knew they were. I'm sure that John Lennon looked at me and winked.