Betty Ann Allen still swoons a little as she explains that while the cutest of the Beatles, Paul McCartney, signed the cast on her right arm cast, she slipped her left arm around him and gently rubbed his back.
“He was sweaty,” she said with a smile. Although it’s been several days since she touched her idol who was performing at Cincinnati’s US Bank Arena on July 10, Allen reverently holds up her hand as if some Beatle magic still lingers.
Her granddaughter Emily Elks, 16, laughs at her Nana’s obsession, yet she was the one who made the moment happen.
Allen broke her arm in early June when she fell off a ladder while decorating for Elk’s Sweet 16 birthday party. The McCartney show would be the first time Elks, a Bourbon County High School sophomore, would see a big budget concert extravaganza, so Allen wasn’t going to let the broken arm keep them from going.
Plus, as Allen will tell you, Aug. 27, 1964 was the first time she saw McCartney. Back then she was a teen in love with the most adorable member of the original boy band, she said.
“Oh, those droopy eyes,” she murmurs, clearly still in love with the most adorable member of the original boy band. The July 10 Cincinnati concert makes the sixth time she has seen him.
Because of Allen’s love for the famous band member, she and Elks brainstormed the best way to get McCartney’s attention from their seats fairly near the stage. Elks suggested the idea about the car. She held a sign that read: “If you sign my Nana’s cast she will buy me a car.” While her grandmother had a sign reading: “It’s true I’m the Nana. She is Sweet 16.”
The duo knew it was a long shot. Allen, special project director for the Child Care Council of Kentucky, wasn’t much help with the poster making, but her daughter Ashley Elks, Emily’s mom, pitched in.
“She rolled her eyes the whole time,” said Allen. But even Ashley Elks seemed to harbor some hope. Because the cast was rough and UK blue, she devised for her mother a cuff of poster board and pastel color duct tape to use as an autograph space on the off chance things did work out.
And, somehow, it all fell into place.
There were hundreds of people holding posters at the concert. But, throughout the evening there were signs that Emily Elk’s idea might actually get the artist’s attention. The security guards, who they were sitting close enough to chat with, said the poster was something McCartney would like. A member of the crew came out and took notes on all the posters in the section, including theirs. There was a moment of eye contact and a brief smile between Emily Elks and McCartney. The fellow fans in Section E were cheering for them. “People all around us were like, ‘he read it,’ ‘he smiled,’ ‘he might sign it.’”
Also, it didn’t hurt that Emily Elks is 5’10 and, with arms outstretched and holding a poster board, she was probably easy to see when she jumped out into the aisle every time the lights came up.
At some point during the concert McCartney actually read the poster aloud and into his microphone, adding, “I might just have to do that later.”
Emily Elks, a novice concert goer, was deflated when McCartney left the stage after what seemed like the closing number.
Allen, an experienced concert goer, still had faith. “I knew there would be a finale.”
When McCartney walked back onto the stage for the encore, a member of the concert crew appeared and ask the grandmother/granddaughter duo to take the stage.
Now, the moment is practically a blur although Allen remembers the one-armed hug and a kiss on the check from her idol. She might have kissed him back. She can’t remember. Emily Elks has been getting all kinds of photos and video sent to her on Twitter so Allen is hoping her granddaughter might be able to find the moment when she kissed the cutest Beatle.
As for the car, Emily has been shopping for a black Chevy Cruze.