Inasmuch as anyone can claim to know the thoughts and intentions of one's sibling, fifty-seven years is a long time to be an older sister, and this woman in particular was definitive that she did indeed know.
Tonight a radiant, lovely little old woman named Louise came out to Liberty Sq, on a stark, cold night, to share a few things about her family and her impassioned support of the OWS movement on the 10th anniversary of her little brother's death. There was only a sparse crowd, and we were two of maybe a dozen or so lucky ones to receive her.
I had been talking with a fellow Astoria resident about ideas for the next phase of the movement to go locally when a young guy came by saying "George Harrision's sister is here if you want to meet her, and she's giving hugs."
We looked over and spotted a short, vibrant older woman in a blue and white Occupy Wall St sweatshirt. Another man approached her first and we overheard the woman say "that's the Harrison hug. Give it to another person until the whole world receives one." Beatles freak that I am, I actually just a few months ago watched on Netflix something called "George Harrison: A Beatle in Benton, IL," which is an 1hr and 40 minute film about George's first visit to the U.S., pre-Beatles, to visit his sister and colorful anecdotes of his time there as well as visits with him during Beatlemania. Even so, I still wasn't sure. Then getting up close and seeing the shape of her eyes, nose and mouth it became clearer, her lovely still-inflected accent and genuineness made me feel a little ashamed to myself to doubt it.
Louise Harrison began to describe the "Harrison hug" as a philosophy her parents instilled, "the more love you give the more you get back." She had come to honor the movement, give a warm embrace to each (in 2004 a woman told her of passing on the “hug” in 17 different countries) and say very clearly that if George were still around he would be here as well. "I mean let's face it George was the first one to do a concert (For Bangladesh) to help people." She continued feverishly signing posters for people saying, "if it helps people, it's worth doing."
As she was leaving a car pulled and a woman poked her head out and called out "Hey Lou, Dhani's here for you."
One can never claim to "know" how a person would have reacted to events after they've gone. For some reason Louise Harrison was purposeful in stating over and over to everyone present that George would have loved this. Insofar as a sister can speak for her deceased brother I'm giddy, deeply moved and inspired by her showing and the conviction with which she spoke. And to hear straight from the mouth of George Harrison's sister the same thing I believed last month after watching the documentary well, that's a serendipity I'll never forget.
It's clear that Zuccotti Park has been transformed into Liberty Sq Park these last two months. I think it will continue to speak to people for a long time to come.