Freda Kelly is about 70 now, a grandmother living in a common British house, far from the glamorous stardom and wealth of the Beatles. She is an ordinary nice lady, going to work everyday and enjoying the company of her family. Nothing gives away the fact that she used to be have the most wanted job in the world: the Beatles’ secretary. She was one of the key people around the Beatles and the president of the fan club for 11 years, the golden years of the band. She even used to sign the monthly newsletter of the fan club and the hardest message she ever had to convey was the split of the Fab Four.
Now, all her memories are stocked in 4 boxes in her attic. She nostalgically confesses that she didn’t open those boxes for over 40 years. Not even her family doesn’t know enough details about the Beatles years of her life. She is still so modest and so faithful as she was 50 years ago, when she never disappointed the boys by offering private details to the press or fans.
“Paul, you could always rely on. He was the good one. George was very thoughtful – he would always say ‘What have you got in your cupboard for me to sign?’ Ritchie [Ringo] was always laughing. He was Mr Happy. John was a man of many moods. People think John Lennon was a big, hard man. He had his moments but there was a caring side to him”, Freda remembers.
It was Lennon who explained to her that Brian was homosexual: ‘I can’t make him out. There’s something about him.’ And he started laughing. He explained it to me in really simple terms. He said: ‘Put it this way, if you and he were the last people on a desert island, you’d be safe.'”
Recollections bring both proud smiles and tears to her eyes, as some of her former mates are no longer among us – starting with John, George and Brian and ending with her fellow female members of the fan club.
Freda herself was a huge fan of the boys from the very beginning. She first saw them in the Cavern club and used to watch them singing as much as she could. The Beatles were so good that she had high hopes for them – to be famous in all Liverpool. But little did she know that they will be a world phenomenon. Thus, she understood all the hysteria of the female fans and tried kindly to answer every letter, have every photo signed and satisfy every request. And the requests were far from being ordinary. Girls were not only asking autographs, but also locks of their hair and pieces of their shirts. So she even had to go with them to the hairdresser and collect all these strange memories for the mad crowd of fans.
“Somebody said I used to go to their houses and rob their shirts,” she says, laughing. “I didn’t steal them but if a shirt was ripped and they didn’t want it, I’d go round there and take it. I’d always say to Louise Harrison [George’s mother] ‘Can I have that?’ and I’d just cut the shirts up and send them out.”
Another girl sent a pillowcase that she wanted Ringo to sleep on for a night. Kelly took it to Starr’s mother, Elsie, and made her promise to get him to do it. Moreover, a fan turned up unannounced on Kelly’s doorstep.“I had her staying for two weeks in my house,” says Kelly. “I fed her. I think she’d run away from home. I used to bring her into work with me, then she got a bit heavy.”
This movie is simply overwhelming, seeing the modest Freda who could have been rich and famous by now. She was so close to the Beatles and now her precious goods are the wonderful memories.
Much more emotional stories of the Beatles here.