Photo courtesy Indiana State Archives and Records Administration, Indiana State Fair Collection
“I think Dad brought home a Beatle.”
Ringo Starr, drummer for the world’s most famous band, was walking toward their barn with her dad, Jack, a state trooper, and two of his colleagues.
The Fab Four, riding high on the first wave of Beatlemania, had played to 30,000 fans the night before over two shows at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Jack Marks was one of the state troopers assigned to guard the Beatles at a Speedway motel that night. (No posh Canterbury Hotel for the Liverpool lads—they didn’t want anyone to guess where they were staying.)
After returning from the concerts, they spied Starr sitting alone by the motel pool. “Let’s throw him in,” one of them joked before joining him. They asked if he’d like a tour of the city. “Well, I can’t sleep,” he answered. “I might as well.”
The officers drove Starr, still clad in his Beatle suit, around Monument Circle, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—but not on the actual racetrack. During a 1989 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, Starr said he got behind the wheel at one point, and they were pursued by another police car. “We had to drive up an alley and turn the lights out to hide,” he recalled.
Eventually, Marks suggested they have breakfast at his house. He told Starr to go to the barn and ask his wife, Doyne, if she could make something for them. She was unfazed by a Beatle, telling him, “You’ll have to hold your horses until I’m finished working on mine.”
The adults talked at the kitchen table as Karen stood by the counter still in shock, too shy to say a word. As he got up to leave, Starr gave her a peck on the right cheek before offering his autograph. “I have told everyone that Ringo Starr was the first boy who ever kissed me,” she says now.
Karen (Marks) Balach didn’t get to tell her friends about the visit at the time; her mom forbade it, worried fans would dig up the ground he walked on. Years later, in college, no one believed her story about the day a Beatle visited her farm.