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Me and the Monkees

I'd kinda forgotten, until yesterday, just how important they really were to me, despite being a silly TV show about a made-up pop-rock group from the 60's. I was only a year old when they went on the air; I was three when they went off. I never watched much beyond the credits when I was a kid and they were first syndicated, mostly because it wasn't a cartoon (seriously).

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.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2012 03:53 am (UTC)
you were one of the people I was thinking about yesterday when I heard. Very nice post
Mar. 2nd, 2012 04:04 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing your stories. I'm still just so sad. A piece of my childhood is well and truly gone.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
I keep thinking of things I could have said and didn't -- it was a strange, fun time...
Mar. 2nd, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
Those are nice scanned pictures.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)

I really have to find the rest -- and in that "you need it the minute you throw it out" mantra, I went to find my Monkees t-shirts and realized they must have gone in the last big purge. *sigh* I only have the sweatshirt left, since it's still in good condition.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
I think I only have the t-shirt that I posted the other day, of me wearing the Davy shirt from the '86 tours.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the only one I seem to have left is the Michael Nesmith Elephant Parts shirt. I know I HAD several of the tour shirts packed away, but they're not there anymore. (Or the six-button shirt... sigh.)
Mar. 4th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
This is so lovely to read (although I'm sorry for the angst that caused it). What cool memories.

(And I always thought Peter Tork had a gorgeous smile.)

[hugs hugs]
Mar. 3rd, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
It was kind of devastating in person! :)

Mar. 18th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
When I first met you, and for some time after that, one of the things that I most admired about you was your joie de vivre, your uninhibited connection to life in the present. It seemed to be effortless, and such a natural part of you that I didn't imagine that you were ever any other way. As I got to know you better, I admired that quality even more, because I learned that you've fought for your sunshine. You are one of the people whose example helps me to see past dark times. Thank you for sharing your memories and your self.
Mar. 18th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
It took me a long time to get safe inside my head, and sometimes even now I feel myself feeling odd things -- but now I'm where I can say "That has no purpose and I will not dwell on it," and usually it goes away. So, to steal a phrase... it gets better. :)

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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