But then came 1985. By then I didn't really know anything about them, other than Michael Nesmith from Television Parts/Elephant Parts, Davy on The Brady Bunch, and a few songs (Daydream Believer and I'm a Believer); but suddenly they were on in the afternoons. I was still in college and suddenly living at home again, where my father was making an attempt to recover from a serious car accident and severe brain damage. That afternoon half-hour became my refuge from everything my just-above-teenaged angst-ridden mind could come up with, both real and imagined.
I ran away, of course; I moved to Phoenix to live with friends and found out that living with friends is a bad, bad idea. We quickly got under each others' skin and came dangerously close to losing said friendship --
But not before my father died. I'm fairly certain, in hindsight, that I was in shock. I know I lost several months and I know I acted like a jackass a lot of the time; it's not a time I think well of myself. But between the fighting at home and the loss of my father, I still had that little half-hour refuge where I could lose myself in music and laughter and pure, unadulterated silliness.
And slowly, as we had decided we all hated each other and were just going to get to the end of the lease and then never see each other again, I noticed I wasn't watching alone. Somehow, the music and the laughter was working its magic not only on me, but on my friends, as well. Suddenly we were all friends again, and instead of just dressing up as elves, we were also dressing up in Monkees gear. We each had a favorite, and we had t-shirts and sweatshirts made, we decorated the house to look like the Monkees' pad and we just went nuts. We went to the concerts in town as a group and Barb and I started actually following them, going to San Diego and Lake Tahoe shows, as well as all the way across the country to the Chicago Monkees Convention, where, through photographer Henry Diltz, I got Davy Jones to sign a picture for the sick little girl of a friend of a friend of mine -- and he was so nice about it. It made a little girl very, very happy (somewhere I think I still have the picture of her when she was presented that autograph).
I got to meet Davy when he and Peter were interviewed at the offices of KOOL Radio; I gave Davy a t-shirt we made for him and I will always remember turning around and standing face-to-top-of-head with Davy, who was just behind me on the curb next to the car, and thinking, "My GOD, he's SHORT!"
Very outdated, and only a few scanned pics; I have to see if I can find my old albums... but there's a picture I got of Davy at KOOL, and Peter just before he SMILED at me and almost made me drop the camera (the power of Peter Tork's smile should not be underrated). Davy was a bit, well, short with me, but there was a crowd and he was signing autographs and such, and I was less than erudite, so... I forgive.
I did get mad at Davy a lot, especially when he'd put down Michael for choosing not to be a Monkee any longer and be rude and disparaging; he once gave an interview where his comments were downright vicious, making me wonder just how jealous he really was that Michael didn't HAVE to do this crap anymore. But in the end, he was part of something that gave me a great deal, and for that, I will always be grateful.