Alton elementary school teacher Sara Schmidt hopes Beatles fans across the universe (or at least the Riverbend area) come together to celebrate the Fab Four with her new book, “Happiness is Seeing the Beatles: Beatlemania in St. Louis.”
The book covers a plethora of Beatles trivia and local history, from the time Beatles guitarist George Harrison visited Benton, Mo., for a vacation during pre-Beatlemania 1963, to when the group visited the old Busch Stadium in 1966 for a once-in-a-lifetime concert.
“The 50th anniversary of the Busch concert is Aug. 21,” Schmidt said. “With all of the other Beatles fans in Alton and St. Louis areas out to do a story on it, I decided to dedicate a significant portion of my book to discussing the history behind it, as a way to pass on that history for the new generation of Beatlemaniacs.”
To prepare for writing the first draft, Schmidt visited the St. Louis Public Library as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum’s private library in Cleveland. She also created a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy rare pictures that went into chapters of the book.
After spending two years collecting data and editing her project, Schmidt set up meetings with St. Louis-based company Bluebird Publishing in hope to see her story on bookshelves one day.
On May 2, her dream became a reality.
“I took a copy of the book into my reading class one day and shared it with my students,” Schmidt said. “It didn’t really register with them that I was the one who wrote the words in it, nor did most of them know who the Beatles were, but I remember this one little girl told me she was proud of me. It nearly brought me to tears.”
Aside from teaching at East Elementary School, for the past seven years Sara has managed a personal blog, “Meet The Beatles For Real,” where she writes reviews and shares memorabilia donated by her followers.
Schmidt attends Beatles conventions every year in New York and Chicago to acquire more knowledge for her blog and encourages fellow Beatlemaniacs who have unique stories about meeting a Beatle to share their tales with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I think it’s amazing that someone from the Madison County area has dedicated the time to write about the Beatles being in the area,” longtime Beatles fan Caitlyn Bridgeman of Wood River said. “I feel like a lot of great local history like this tends to fade over time because it’s never passed on, or overlooked by new generations who forget the legacy bands like the Beatles leave behind. So, I’m thrilled to know that someone has put the effort into keeping Beatlemania alive and fresh on the bookracks for young minds to indulge.”
Schmidt will have a book-signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at Second Reading bookstore, 16 E. Broadway in Alton, and her book is available on Amazon at ht.ly/X3u2301tZL1 or at email@example.com.
To visit her blog, go to meetthebeatlesforreal.com/p/blog-page.html and take the yellow submarine through rock ’n’ roll history, and enjoy Beatlemania as it once was, and always shall be.