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John and Yoko Slept Here

April 20th, 2013 · No Comments · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, The Real Estate Concierge, The Real Estate Scene

Just another celebrity California real estate rental story…..

by Mark Lomas and Rosa Burke Perez

The Windmill House

It was the summer of 1972. A couple of years earlier Rosa Burke Perez had completed construction of the hillside home that she and her then-husband, Neil E. Davis, had built a few blocks from downtown Mill Valley (Marin County). Winding circularly, this unique all-redwood house has no right angles, a dozen levels, and 18 stained glass windows.

On the afternoon of June 23rd, her youngest daughter’s 5th birthday, Rosa was saying goodbye to small party guests when the phone rang. It was Diane Nilson, an acquaintance who knew that in a week Rosa and her four children were traveling to Mexico.

“I know someone who might want to rent your house while you’re gone,” Diane said. “It has a lot of privacy, doesn’t it? Because they’re very famous. You can’t tell anyone…it’s John and Yoko.”

It turned out that Diane was a friend of Peter Bendrey, who had just driven John and Yoko on a two-week trip from New York to San Francisco. Now staying in a Japantown hotel, they had decided to rent a house for a month. Diane asked if she and Peter could come over that evening after a customarily late dinner with John and Yoko in Sausalito.

When Rosa answered the expected knock on her front door, there, to her astonishment, stood John Lennon.

“Hi, I’m John,” he said, as a group of five filed in. “This is Yoko. This is Peter…Diane…Elliot.” (Elliot Mintz, radio personality and press representative.) John was wearing a black jacket with a button that said, “I’m crazy.”

As Rosa gave them a tour of the house, her young daughters tumbled out of a bedroom. She introduced the girls, then remembered that she couldn’t reveal the names of her celebrated guests. She looked beseechingly at John, who introduced himself and Yoko as “Fred and Ada Schwartz.”

When they all stepped out onto the master bedroom deck, John gazed out and said, “It’s like living in a windmill. I always wanted to live in a windmill.” Elliot would later refer to it as The Windmill House.

After the tour they retired to the living room for almost an hour. A distinctly sweet smell soon filled the air. Peter did the rolling, and John was visibly appreciative.

The deal had been struck. Rosa would begin her Mexican vacation a couple of days early, and John and Yoko and Peter moved in on June 28th, 1972. On August 1st they autographed an album for their hosts and departed. When Rosa returned, she quickly checked to see if John had taken her hint: Having recently begun writing graffiti on her bathroom wall, she left pens handy. Something had indeed been added. In what looked like John’s handwriting were the words “The maya the merrier!” (‘Maya,’ Sanskrit for ‘create,’ means ‘illusion’ in Hinduism and Buddhism.)

 

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