You ask the questions: (Such as: Cynthia Lennon, if you could ask Yoko Ono one question about John Lennon, what would it be?

Tuesday 06 July 1999 23:02 BST

Cynthia Lennon, 59, from Hoylake in the Wirral, is an artist and the first wife of John Lennon. She met John in 1957, when they were students at the Liverpool College of Art. They married in 1962 and had one son, Julian, now a singer. They divorced in 1968, when John left her for Yoko Ono. In 1995, Cynthia enjoyed a fleeting taste of pop stardom, releasing a cover version of "Those Were the Days". She has been a regular on the Beatles convention circuit, but recently announced her intention to retire. Cynthia currently has an exhibition of drawings and paintings at Portobello Road's KDK Gallery. She lives in Normandy.

How did you discover that you had talent for art? And what do you think of John's sketches?

Gavin Jones, Cardiff

I always loved art. My first prize in the Liverpool Echo for a drawing gave me so much encouragement. It was all I wanted to do from then on (I was 11). John's sketches were rude, crude and hilarious - that's why I fell in love with him.

Despite remarrying, why do you still use John's name?

Susan O'Neill, London E4

Do you imagine I would have been awarded a three-year contract to design bedding and textiles [with Vantona Vyella in 1983] with the name Powell? Neither did they. When it is necessary to earn a living, it is necessary to bite the bullet and take the flack.

Do you have any plans to revive your pop career?

Sarah Hale, by e-mail

What pop career? I've been there, done that and got a CD to prove it. It was a wonderful experience, but I think I embarrassed Julian.

What was your relationship with the other Beatles wives?

Dr Edwin Brown, Oxford

We were like a family for six years, cocooned in a very strange world. I loved them all, and still do.

If you could ask Yoko Ono one question about John Lennon, what would it be?

Rob McLean, by e-mail

"How was the bread?" John spent five years of his life making bread and bringing up Sean - I just wondered what it tasted like.

To your knowledge, did John ever write a song for you or about you? If so, which one?

Mike Read, Hoylake, Wirral

It was too sloppy when you were young to dedicate anything to anybody. Macho Northern men didn't do that in those days. I can only muse about our time together and feel from the music.

John Lennon: saint or sinner?

Lindsay Robbins, Essex

John is neither a saint, nor is he a sinner. He was just human, like the rest of us.

How would you describe your relationship with Yoko Ono?

Hannah Wilson, London

A freezing day in Moscow, before the cold war ended.

Your fondest memory of John?

Mark Williams, Isle of Wight

John sitting in class at the Liverpool College of Art, playing a battered guitar, singing "Ain't She Sweet".

Quite a mythology has been built up over Stuart Sutcliffe. Does his talent merit it?

Andrew Holdcroft, by e-mail

We used to stand in awe, as students, watching Stuart paint. He was the finest student in the college. He was dedicated totally to his work, until he met John. Both are dead, but their work will live on.

Did John play his newly composed songs to you before anyone else?

Iain Baird, Stockton-on-Tees

It was par for the course for John to write, draw, whatever, when the muse took him. So, yes, in the middle of the night, in the bath, plane, car, he was a vociferous writer and yes, I was there as a captive audience, because it was a joy to behold.

What was your life like after John left for Yoko?

Dennis Adkins, by e-mail

I was emotionally bereft, financially comfortable but, as in all traumas, you find comfort and solace from family and friends and, to be honest, you just have to muddle through, get on with it; and for the sake of the innocent party, your child, keep your feet on the ground.

What was your life like with your second husband, Roberto Bassanini, and how was he different from John?

Dennis Adkins, by e-mail

Roberto was like a breath of fresh air after a very public divorce. His family welcomed us with open arms. The contrast was like a sunny day in Italy compared to a hoary frost in February, possibly in Moscow.

How did you find out about John's affair with Yoko? Is it true you came home one night to find her there?

Alan Richard, Cambridge

Yes, but that is only part of the story. I was on holiday with Julian, my mother, aunt and uncle, when John and Yoko decided to proclaim their love to the world's press (very courageous).

What is your dream for women in the next century?

Martin Boston, Wirral

My dream for women in the next century is the same as my dream for men - god love them! - peace of mind and peace on earth.

Over the last few years you've been selling off personal items from the Sixties through the Rock Memorabilia Auctions (furniture, ornaments etc). Is this indicative of a decision to make a break with that period of your life?

Janine Edwards, Caernarfon, Wales

I think in life we collect so much baggage, when you have a clearout, you send it to a car-boot sale, etc. My baggage was in demand and sold at Christie's. When you have to pay the bills, you're not proud and you can't take it with you.

I wondered how your son Julian reacted to John being stuck in the USA (while he was waiting for a green card). How did you cope with the situation and the separation? My son and I are in a similar situation.

Catharine Fage, Wilts

Everyone's circumstances are so different, but my answer can only be: the child is the essence of life, so move heaven and earth to make him/her happy, and that is what I tried to do and, thankfully, accomplished.

Is it really your intention to drop out of the Beatle scene?

Jean Catharell, Liverpool

The Beatles fans have always been wonderful to me and I think I have reciprocated, but I do believe there is life after The Beatles and all I can say is it is my life and it's time I put it in order, for myself and my family.

Do you think Julian's pop career has been helped or handicapped by having John as his father?

Helen Hatwell, London EC1

Julian has gone on record as saying that the only doors open to him were to clubs and restaurants - he had to find his own key to open other doors, with his talent, compassion and belief in himself.

Next Week

Dame Vera Lynn, Followed by Carrie Fisher

SEND YOUR questions to: You Ask the Questions, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL (fax: 0171-293 2182, e-mail: yourquestions@, by noon Friday. The question we like best will win the sender a bottle of champagne.

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