That’s what I asked two middle-aged women working in Magnolia Antiques in Bay St. Louis, Miss., on Saturday night as the sound system in the middle of the thrift store played “No Reply.”

Both women just shrugged. They didn’t know and they didn’t care and perhaps they didn’t understand my question, which was my failed attempt at humor.I was helpless.

I expected the women to provide an answer with a lot of good old Southern charm. Instead, they were dull tools.

The sound came from a CD player with two elevated speakers near a display of old albums. The voice from the speakers certainly sounded like that of John Lennon, the lead singer for the Beatles on “No Reply.” Or perhaps the music was from the Beatles tribute band named No Reply.

I’ll never know!

The song is on the album “Beatles ’65,” a Christmas present from my parents in 1964 when I was 13 years old and one of the reasons I’m a Fab Fourever fan.

“No Reply” is one of my “Beatles ’65” favorites and it was a pleasant surprise to hear it in the store because it’s one of those songs I rarely hear anymore, though I heard it a lot while wearing out the album when I was a teen.

“Beatles ’65” includes “I’m A Loser,” also sung by Lennon. The tune reminds me of the time when my Dad, an Air Force sergeant and World War II veteran, overheard it while I was listening to it on the record player in my bedroom.

“Who is that?” he said.

“The Beatles,” I said.

“That’s about right,” he said.

His tone was sarcastic and the message to me from him was that the Beatles were a buncha losers.

I felt like a loser Saturday night. Without an answer to my question, I was confused as to whether the “No Reply” I heard was the original Beatles version or a cover version like one of the many on YouTube.

This is what is happening in my 66th year.

Help! I need somebody and not just anybody, certainly not the two middle-aged women in the store.

Just like the experience with my Dad and “I’m A Loser,” I’ll never forget the brushoff I got from those women.

It’s almost as if they gave me no reply.

SOURCEPhoto: Ably House on YouTube
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John E. Bialas
John, 67, is retired from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Miss., after a 45-year career there in which he was a sportswriter, weekend sports editor, book reviewer, rock music critic, copy editor, blogger, Facebook administrator and award-winning headline writer and page designer. He lives in Gulfport with his wife, Patricia, and writes the blog Pictures of Tilly which you can find at