RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Today is the National Day of Listening. Each year on the day after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps encourages you to sit down and interview someone in your life. These interviews are a chance to learn something about the people we care about the most. So, let's listen in now on a mother and her son. Both of them often find themselves behind the microphone, but rarely get to turn the mic on each other.
Ms. YOKO ONO: Hi, my name is Yoko, Yoko Ono, Yoko Ono Lennon. My age is 77. Location is in New York City. And relationship to partner, I am his mom.
Mr. SEAN LENNON: Hi, my name is Sean Lennon or Sean Ono Lennon or Sean Taro Ono Lennon - Taro being my Japanese name - and I'm her son.
So, I get to ask you the questions today. And I'm so often and you're so often asked about the Beatles and John Lennon, which is interesting, but I think it'd be really nice if we could talk about your life.
So, how is it that you were born?
Ms. ONO: I was born from my mother, who is a Yasuda, and my father, who is an Ono.
Mr. LENNON: And you were essentially disowned from the Ono family, right, because of...
Ms. ONO: Having a very kind of outlandish life.
Mr. LENNON: Right, because they're such a posh conservative family.
Ms. ONO: Well, you know, my father was a banker, but he was an independent spirit. He was a very good pianist and very much into music.
Mr. LENNON: And he taught you piano or did you have a piano teacher?
Ms. ONO: I had a piano teacher, because I was born when my father was already in San Francisco.
Mr. LENNON: Your dad was banking here?
Ms. ONO: Yeah.
Mr. LENNON: OK. Wait. So, you're saying you hadn't met him before?
Ms. ONO: Oh yes.
Mr. LENNON: And you remember meeting him? How old were you?
Ms. ONO: I was big. I was two-and-a-half years old. And the time that I met him, my mother and my father was kissing, and I looking like this, you know, like, well, maybe he's going to kiss me too.
Mr. LENNON: And he hadn't seen grandma in two and a half years?
Ms. ONO: Yeah.
Mr. LENNON: She must have been so lonely.
Ms. ONO: Well, probably. But, you know, the thing is, you see my mother was a beautiful, beautiful woman, from a very rich family. And my father, that just upset him, you know?
Mr. LENNON: So, he felt sort of insecure a little bit?
Ms. ONO: But you know what happened? So, my mother didn't mean it badly, but a chauffeur would take him to the bank every morning. And he said, I don't want to do that, because they're going to see me in a Rolls Royce.
Mr. LENNON: That's so funny, 'cause, remember, I would really be upset when you made me go to school in a limo?
Ms. ONO: Yeah, yeah, I know. So, the thing is, he insisted that the car would stop two blocks from the bank.
Mr. LENNON: That's exactly what I did, remember?
Ms. ONO: And he walked, he walked.
Mr. LENNON: Wait, but do you remember? I would make the - well, maybe you don't know - but I used to make the limo driver stop two blocks from my school so I could walk to school. 'Cause everyone else took the bus, and you wouldn't let me take the bus - because that was a dangerous time. There was a lot of...
Ms. ONO: Dangerous time.
Mr. LENNON: ...People trying to, like, kidnap me and stuff.
Ms. ONO: I know. But anyway, so...
Mr. LENNON: But it's just funny that I had the exact same experience.
Ms. ONO: Isn't it amazing?
Mr. LENNON: Yeah.
Ms. ONO: So, it's probably a kind of like a DNA memory or something. Isn't that interesting?
Mr. LENNON: Yeah. Well, that was a really fun talk, mom. Thank you so much. I wish more interviews were like that.
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MONTAGNE: Sean Lennon, with his mom, Yoko Ono, at StoryCorps in New York City.
Their conversation will be archived along with all StoryCorps interviews at the Library of Congress. And if you go to the website NationalDayofListening.org, you'll find a guide to recording your own interview.
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