Lovely Rita

Lovely Rita meter maid,
Nothing can come between us,
When it gets dark I tow your heart away.
Standing by a parking meter,
When I caught a glimpse of Rita,
Filling in a ticket in her little white book.
In a cap she looked much older,
And the bag across her shoulder
Made her look a little like a military man.

How can you live in America, be named Rita, and have never heard “Lovely Rita”?

It was 1979, and I worked at the office of the International Tax Program. (WAKE UP!!!! I’m not gonna talk about tax, I promise.) The ITP was a pleasant place to work part time, as I was in my freshman year of college. The people who worked there were an incredibly kind bunch of folks.

My desk sat right out front in the area immediately inside the doors to the ITP’s offices. My desk was right next to Rita’s, the receptionist.

Naturally from the moment I met her, and from the instant I walked into the doors of the office every day for a year, I could hear the song.

Lovely Rita, Meta Maid …

I often called her “Lovely Rita” which is unlike me, and was even more unlike me when I was 21. I hummed the song and sang it softly all the time. The ear worm lasted the whole year I worked in the office.

My lovely Rita was an older woman – about 40 at the time, which seemed as ancient to me then as it seems young to me now. She’d emigrated from Germany, some years before, and was not at all familiar with English-language pop music.

It was some months after starting to work there that I learned Rita had never heard her own song. How could that be?

Naturally I went home planning to take the record into the office. But I couldn’t find my copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Anywhere.  It had vanished.

Nobody in the office had it, either. Nor did any of my friends.

I searched a couple of used record stores in Boston, and enlisted the help of my roommate, Elizabeth who was a record-store junky. Somehow, there were no copies of the album anywhere.

Unwilling to be completely defeated, I enlisted some talented friends – folks I’d been performing with in amateur musicals. Together, me, Erik and Terry serenaded Lovely Rita with her song.

We sounded something like this:

Well.  Kind of like that.

My friend, my lovely Rita loved it.  For the rest of the time I worked there, she would hum along with me when I sang it.

*     *     *

This is my entry in Knocked Over By A Feather’s Beatles Contest.  The rules are pretty simple — tell a story using the lyrics to any one of several Beatles songs:  Across the Universe, Baby You’re a Rich Many, Good Day Sunshine, Hey Bulldog or Lovely Rita.  Guess which one I chose.

Go and enter.  It’s fun.

59 Comments

Filed under Beatles, Boston, Geneva Stories, Humor, Music

59 responses to “Lovely Rita

  1. Sigh. My song is much less flattering than Lovely Rita. https://youtu.be/D9FC34rbeio

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  2. Great story. But she never heard of the song?! Sounds like my husband. I am probably the biggest Beatles fan in the universe and he doesn’t even know any of their songs. Except Julia because he plays that one for our daughter a lot…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoyed your Lovely Rita story. You might say it offers a glimpse of your tenacious spirit, even at the tender young age of 21 years old (when we all think we’re invincible). How cool is it that you (and the group) serenaded her with the Beatles song, so she could have the earworm forever and ever, amen. 🙂

    I know it’s hard to believe that anyone of a certain age was never a big Beatles fan, but I had a very limited exposure to their brand of music. I was more into Jethro Tull, Led Zepellin, Iron Butterfly, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, although I will admit that “Hey Jude” did end up on my playlist. Let’s just say I would drop a quarter in the jukebox for Hey Jude, but not much else from their song list. For the most part, I missed the entire Beatles explosion, and never even owned a single album of theirs. While everyone else was gaga over the Beatles, I was completely indifferent. Of course, I kept that to myself. People already thought I was crazy – there was no point in proving it for them. 🙂

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    • I loved them.. I still plan to marry Paul one day.

      I like all of your groups except Zepellin — except stairway to heaven which I learned recently was plagarized partly.

      And I just read that Cynthia Lennon died today.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How fun! I’m with you – how could anyone who speaks English NOT know that song? I have a feeling you just passed that brain worm on to me.

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    • Sorry for the brain worm. It had gone away, but came back with your comment. So thanks Peg, for bringing it back to me. Lovely Rita, Meta Maid …

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  5. What a fun story! How could anyone not know there song?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story about Lovely Rita Meta Maid–now I have the ear worm (not that I’m complaining)! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Beatles actually started getting their chops in Germany.

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  8. I have a cousin Rita and a neighbor Rita …will have to ask them if they know the song. Good luck with the contest.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great story…I have never known a real Rita before. This is one of my favorite songs by The Beatles. 🙂 Thanks for playing, means a lot to me Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My sister’s name is Michele. How do you think that went over?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pleasant, thoughtful, perseverance pays, love expressed, lovely Rita elated

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  12. Paul

    Great story Elyse. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

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  13. Great story, Elyse. Lucky co-worker would never have heard her song if not for your perseverance. Yay young you!

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  14. What’s a record? 😉

    The video wouldn’t work for me. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I once dated a girl named Rita. She was happy when I called her “lovely,” but not so happy when I added “meter maid” to the terms.

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  16. I assume you might have had the same problem with coworkers named Julia, Martha, Anna, Prudence, and Yoko.

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    • And my sister was Jude. She’d heard her song once or twice…

      Did anybody ever name a child Yoko after 1970? Somehow I don’t think it was added to the list of favorite baby names… but I could be mistaken!

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      • There were some people unhappy enough with the Beatles to burn their records at some point. I imagine “Yoko” would be a natural choice for a baby’s name for them.

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        • Julie

          and yet John was able to put it into a happy little tune. “Ooooooohhh Yoko, I’m nevereverever gonna letchew go”

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  17. Glad Rita finally got to hear her song. There’s a song by Europe called ‘Carrie,’ but no one sang it to me. Now I feel cheated. Then again, they were a big-hair band, so maybe it’s just as well.

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  18. One of my book characters :-). But she’s a teenager, not a meter maid.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. NotAPunkRocker

    I heard it Friday on the way home. Normally I change from it but since it’s popular on here right now, I listened. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The same thing happened to me when I had a young co-worker name Valerie. She had never heard of Steve Windwood’s “Valerie”!

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