Davy Jones is dead. For some of you, this means nothing. But for those of you who get me, who grew up in the 70’s, who liked bubblegum music before it was bubblegum music… it means everything.
Davy Jones is dead.
And I’ll never be the same.
My memories of the Monkees are far more than being a young girl sitting on the floor on summer afternoons watching the TV. More than rushing home from school in time to catch a snack while singing along. They are milestone moments: connected to events, feelings, growing, being.
And now all these memories and moments are rushing back in a flood. I haven’t been called “Mouse” for decades, until Chuck posted on my facebook wall with his sympathies. I haven’t sung “Daydream Believer” for months. And now I can’t stop.
For as long as I can remember, I was in love with Davy Jones. The two girls next door, another friend, and I each had our own favorite so there was never any fighting. I was the one who always got to pretend to be married to Davy. He was short. Cute. Adorable. And the lead singer. This boy was IT.
In sixth grade, they called me Mrs. Jones. In junior high, I didn’t care to outgrow my infatuation.
In high school we moved to California and I was filled with daydreams. I met my two best guy friends in my senior year (and they still kinda are), who in turn introduced me to their family and friends. I’ll never forget how often Debby, Shawna, Trinity and I used to walk the length of the Mall doing our “Monkees” walk. You know: arms around the shoulders, holding each other up, stepping right leg over the neighbor’s left… People had to get out of our way. Cuz we weren’t separating for anything.
In 1988, the Monkees had their 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour, sans Michael Nesbitt. My friend Traci had an extra ticket and guess who got to go! (Okay, I’m pretty sure I remember blackmailing her to get it, but hey… it worked.)
There we were, two young women who arrived hours before the concert at the Universal Amphitheatre in Hollywood. We arrived so early, in fact, that we beat security.
Yeah. You know where this is going…
We were too afraid to try to actually break into anywhere, but we learned to conveniently hover. In particular, right outside the secure parking entrance. Lo and behold, soon enough a tour bus pulled up. Unfortunately, we were on the driver’s side so we didn’t get to sneak around to the door until the occupants disembarked. By that time it was too late… or so we thought.
Traci and I argued about who’s cuter. I stood up for Davy, of course. She preferred Mike. But Mike wasn’t even at the concert, I told her, so he just loses points as a matter of principal. She still stood up for him. I admired that (but would never tell her!).
There were a few band members on the bus that we ended up chatting with. They weren’t allowed off the bus and there was no way we were going on, so it wasn’t a real conversation. But it was during a moment of “What? I can’t hear you?” and “Don’t you understand?” that we took a few steps back
Mickey Dolenz. MICKEY. DOLENZ. !!!
He was walking from another car into the building, and ever so politely apologized to us for us getting in his way. Seriously! I turned, and he’s inmyface. And all I could do was stammer something along the lines of “huhnnahuhnnana” to which he responded, “Sorry, excuse me.” And he walked around us. Which was followed by our girlish squeal. Many. Girlish. Squeals.
And then… (I know, like it couldn’t get any better, right?!) Peter Tork comes on scene from the other side of the bus. So we’re starting to realize this bus isn’t The Bus. It’s just a bus. The roadies had their laugh at us: two teenaged girls holding hands, squealing with delight, shrieking noise that only dogs can hear… I often wonder what we must have looked like.
We began to calm down and talk in normal pitch when, yup, you guessed it… a family comes walking by. A family! Really?! Here?! Ah, but it was obviously no ordinary family. As we glanced their way
Pretty sure I swooned as Davy Jones waved and said something. I can’t tell you what he said. I don’t remember. I’m not even sure I ever heard it over the blood rushing in my ears. I think it was something mundane like, “Hey”, or even “How are you?” before he turned and walked away. Who. Cares. Who cares what he said?! He spoke. To. Me. ME!!! Davy Jones finally acknowledged that I exist and we had a connection.
Life just doesn’t get any better.
Finally the big parking garage door opened to let the bus in so it rolled slowly away. Traci and I stood there, waiting for something more to happen. But there couldn’t be anything more. We’d seen all the Monkees there were to be seen. Mike wasn’t on tour. So no joy for Traci.
Oh, yeah?! Just as we decide to turn back toward the Amphitheatre a limo pulls up. A limo. A long, shiny, dark blue blackish limo. With personalized plates. Traci had been saying all along, Mike lives in L.A. How could he not join the Monkees this weekend? She held out hope, and it proved her right. I don’t remember what the license plate read. I know we never actually saw Mike in person. But we did scream at the limo and were greeted with a friendly wave wearing a ring that we recognized as one that Mike has worn in photographs.(It was later on the news that the Monkees reunion had a nice surprise when Michael Nesbitt joined them onstage!)
The concert was fantastic. We had nosebleed seats but we didn’t care. It was the time of our lives. Traci kept trying to tell me something about the people behind us. There were two guys and a girl. I couldn’t hear her over the music. Finally, one of the guys tapped me on the shoulder and said, “She’s talking about me.”
You know those moments that seem too good to be true? Here’s another one. Sitting behind us (which I always thought was weird, cuz you’d think they could afford better seating)… were Darrel Maury and Robert Pierce: “Mario” and “Bingo” from the TV show, “Joanie Loves Chachi”. And sitting next to them was Maureen McCormick and her husband. Marcia from “The Brady Bunch” was sitting behind us, talking to us! Robert invited us to the after-party and Darrel was all for it, but Maureen apologized, saying it was invitation only. Way to crush our dreams, Maureen… otherwise, they were all very nice.
We all talked about music, acting, dreams, California dreaming… I remember Robert asking how young we were; surely nobody born as late as us could really know the Monkees. Reruns, Robert. Reruns! When I told him I was born in 1968, he said that was a “Watershed Year” and asked if I knew what that meant. I admitted I did not. He explained that it meant a turning point, a critical moment when things begin to change. I always remembered this, because it made me feel important by association. I was born in a watershed year. I was going to be important. And someone else knew it. Thanks, Robert.
And then we went our separate ways.
On the ride home (Traci’s mom had picked us up), we played our cassette full blast with the windows rolled down and, I’m sure of it, made utter girlish fools of ourselves. But we didn’t care.
Shortly after leaving the concert, a limo drove tandem with us for a few miles. When we had to diverge, the rear window lowered, and Davy Jones waved and blew kisses at us.
Our night was complete.
But not our weekend.
Two days later, Traci heard that the Monkees were doing an autograph and photo session outside Licorice Pizza in Hollywood. Licorice Pizza was one of the greatest record selling stores. It was huge. Three stories tall. And they carried everything. Naturally we had to get new Monkees albums, so why not drive ninety miles and an hour and a half away to do so?
So we did. My first time driving on a freeway. Ever. And we drove all the way to Hollywood. It struck me when we got to the intersection of Hollywood & Vine. And Melrose Place… just like the TV Show. I was in awe.
We missed the Monkees, but not the car. We bought our records, and posed. This is me, in 1988:
We decided to see if we could make it to the concert again. They were sold out, but we figured if we went around back again, we could get in this time. Unfortunately, the security guards were already in place. We were sobbing. Sobbing! And this woman, dressed in a skirt and jacket, came over and asked to talk with us. Unbeknownst to us in our moment of drama, we were going to be on the Eleven O’Clock News. She asked why we were crying and we explained that we just “love them so much” that we had to see them again or our lives would be over, but they refused us. We were ultimately devastated, and there we were, pouring our hearts out to the local newscaster about it.
Sure wish I’d seen that interview. But when it aired… well…
You remember my history of California freeways? Yeah. They don’t like me much. Traci’s mom had told us, “When you’re heading down, just go west and south. When you’re coming home, go north and east.” But nobody told us which numbers to pay attention to. Oh, and did I mention, during this entire venture my mom thinks I’m only five minutes from home?!
The 101 North could be a lovely freeway… could be. But to two lost girls who find themselves in Ventura instead of Victorville… notsomuch.
We pulled into a Shell Gas Station, shaking as all get-out. The patrons and the clerk took mercy on us. We explained our foolish endeavors and were greeted with “aww’s” and “ohh’s”. Two mean each paid $5 to put gas in the car (for those who don’t realize, Ventura is three hours north of home for me. And I hadn’t planned on doing any driving that weekend to begin with, so the gas tank was a little thirsty by then). Another gentleman wrote out very easy directions that would get us home the “back way” which meant long empty desert roads, but quicker. (I kept those directions in my glovebox for 20 years. I think I might still have them somewhere…) And a married couple offered to stock us up on hot dogs and drinks. The sodas we took but we were took nervous to eat.
I called my mom from the gas station:
Me: “Uhm. Hi. It’s me.”
Me: “Yeah. You wanted me home by ten. I’m not going to be home on time.” (It was a little after 9).
Mom: “Okay. Why?”
Me: “Well… we got a little lost.”
Mom: “What do you mean?”
Me [deep breath, one word]: “Traci-and-I-drove-down-to-Hollywood-to-see-the-Monkees-and-we-got-our-picture-taken-with-their-car-then-tried-to-go-to-their-concert-again-but-they-wouldn’t-let-us-in-so-we-started-home-and-got-lost-but-it’s-not-my-fault-because-her-mom-didn’t-give-us-the-right-directions.”
Mom: … … (not expletives, just breathing.)
Mom: “Where are you?”
Me: (gulp.) “What?”
Mom: “Where. Are. You.”
Me: “… Oh. We’re in Ventura. … … Mom. Mom?”
Mom: “Get in the car and come home. Now.”
Mom: “I’m waiting.”
It didn’t take as long to get home as I thought it had. It seemed like it took all night. It was just over 90 minutes til I walked in my mom’s house.
I was grounded.
It was worth it.
Rest In Peace, Davy Jones. You were an integral part of my growing up.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!