I am not one to play the lottery, go to casinos or attempt games of chance. I don’t consider myself to be a lucky person. But luck came to me in a big way one time.

Vicki Sullivan was one of 40 fans who was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to see a performance by the Beatles – from left, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon – at Forest Hills Stadium on Aug. 28, 1964. Below is her ticket stub. Associated Press, File

In the summer of 1964, the Beatles were coming to America. I was a big fan and asked my aunt in Boston to get me tickets for their Boston concert. She wasn’t able to. But WJAB radio station announced a contest. Bessey’s Fruit Juice (a division of B&M Baked Beans) was going to give away 40 all-expenses-paid, round-trip tickets to New York to see the Beatles in concert. All you had to do to enter the drawing was to send in as many juice labels as you wanted with your name and address on them.

This was my last chance to see the Beatles.

 I begged my mother to buy extra juice so I could send in more labels. She didn’t give in, so I sent in only eight labels.

Never expecting to win, I later received a letter from Bessey’s. Assuming it was a polite rejection letter, I opened it to see the first line say, “Congratulations! You are one of 40 winners.” I have that letter in a scrapbook. I was so excited that I laughed and cried.

Courtesy Vicki Sullivan

Because of my age, I had to have a chaperone. Who better than my mother? 


Friday, Aug. 28, we took a Greyhound to Boston’s South Station, where we, along with the other Maine winners, took a train to New York. 

When we got to New York, we went to the Commodore Hotel, which was paid for as part of the trip, along with meals and, of course, the tickets to the Beatles concert at Forest Hills Stadium.

That night was the concert. No hearing them with all the screaming girls and the poor amplification, but it was just having the experience I have always remembered.

The concert was short; the setlist only made up of 12 songs. After their last song, the Beatles left the stadium by helicopter.

The next day was the trip home. But my celebrity status continued after the trip. We four winners from Maine had our pictures in the local papers, and the DJ from WJAB, Bob Fuller, interviewed me on air at the radio station. When I returned to school in the fall at South Portland Junior High, I was temporarily famous.

I still wonder why, when the chances were so slight to be chosen for the contest, I would be one of the lucky ones.

I guess that time it was my turn to be a winner.

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