George Harrison, holding his niece Leslie, with his siblings Lou and Peter, Benton, Illinois, September/October 1963 (Photo courtesy Acclaim Press, via Riverfront Times)
“[S]o it was that George Harrison, along with brother Peter, stepped off a plane at Lambert Field in St. Louis and became the first Beatle to set foot on American soil.
And no one cared.
There were no throngs of screaming, frenzied young girls, no gang of reporters, no legions of police, no limo. Instead, there was a twenty-year-old British traveler with a strange haircut holding his bags, standing at his designated meeting spot beneath a replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, waiting for his ride.
Five short months later he would step off of another airplane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and enter the national zeitgeist, where he has remained.
Louise, then-husband Gordon and their son and daughter brought their foreign uncles back to the house in Benton where ‘our German shepherd Sheba greeted him,’ which George loved, says Harrison. ‘We could never afford a pet when we were growing up. In Benton we had a five-bedroom house, and one bedroom was made into a playroom and they had train sets. When George grew up we never had any toys like that, so he and Pete spent hours playing with the kids.’