Today, as so often happens, I was planning to post on a particular idea for “The Middle,” when I heard that The Monkees’ Davy Jones had died. I’ll be honest here: I haven’t thought about Davy in a very long time. I’ll bet lots of you haven’t. However, his death hit me right between the eyes anyway. When I was a kid, The Monkees were IT. What kid didn’t try to walk arm in arm with their friends, singing Hey, Hey We’re the Monkees? “Here we come, walking down the street; we get the funniest looks from, everyone we meet!” Seriously. We practiced that criss cross walk, countless times. We watched their Saturday morning cartoons; we sang their songs; and, most of my friends and I had a huge crush on Davy. He was the sweet, good looking Monkee, with the adorable British accent, who played the tambourine and made us “swooon.” He was IT for those of us of crush age in the late 1960s and early 70s. (Classic Monkees’ shenanigans! ^)
<– No doubt, I owned this copy.
What really struck me when I heard this news, was a strange sadness that has as much to do with Davy himself, as it doesn’t. Davy Jones represents my youth, like: endless beach days, bikes with banana seats, bell bottomed pants, Teen Beat and Tiger Beat (interesting obit from creator of Tiger Beat) magazines, which highlighted Davy Jones regularly. He was part of a time when The Bradys and Shirley Partridge were playing surrogate parents to me. Have Davy make an appearance on The Brady Bunch (taking Marcia to the jr high dance no less!), and I was sunk! Every girl’s fantasy. Davy and his goofball buddies sang silly songs and were like a much cuter, hipper version of the Three Stooges… a version that girls liked too. We too wanted to burry our friends, up to their necks, in the sand. We wanted to walk arm in arm and wear bandito hats. The Monkees were grown up kids, singing cheerful songs, that were not about politics or social issues, and that made us want to sing along.
The Monkees formed as a fictional band, to capitalize on the enormous success of the Beatles in the 1960s, and then took the world by storm. At one point they were so big that they actually outsold the Beatles, for a brief time. Their irreverence about celebrity and rock stardom was endearing, and their silly antics spoke to my generation: who were too young to feel part of the cultural changes of the 60s, but were part of the hangover. Revolution wannabees, but really just part of zany time, that had the Monkees, the Partridges, the Jackson 5, HR Pufnstuff, and other groovy things as our icons. Davy Jones was that safe crush: clean cut, funny and playful, and a British accent. Hard not to love that! (I would have bought this box of Corn Flakes, just to stare at Davy, over breakfast–>)
My friends and I knew all the words to Daydream Believer, I’m a Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, and others. We girls watched The Monkees for Davy, while my brother watched it for their zany antics. Ironically, my first boyfriend looked an awful lot like Micky Dolenz. I had long out grown Davy by then, but the irony was funny to my brother and his buddies… who remembered I’d had that huge Davy crush. Either way, The Monkees were central to our youth, for a time. I moved on to Leif Garrett, my boyfriend, The Police, Billy Idol and The Cure, and the Monkees and Davy faded to a place where all those other things of youth live.
<– Davy, still charming and cute, at 66.
So today when I heard that Davy, apparently a very healthy 66 yr old (vegetarian and daily runner), died of a heart attack, I felt a sobering wave of mortality. It’s no longer so unusual to hear about people our age, who we know (or don’t know) dying: heart attacks primarily, and other illnesses that seem to come with age and time. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know that Death and I go way back; we’re not strangers. Honestly, I grew up thinking that dying young was normal (my dad was 32 when he was killed in an accident), aging a rare thing. Now that I’ve outlived many of my fears, it strikes me in the sobering way that it must strike most of us, when we realize that we’ve probably lived half of our lives already. Given that I’ll be 50 next year, that’s actually an optimistic belief.
Right now I’m in a pretty good place: healing from the loss of my Mom in December, excited about writing, waiting to hear about the novel, feeling centered, and watching my own children break out into the world. Our daughter is the same age now, as I was when I started dating her dad “for real.” Davy Jones is a piece of my far-away-youth, and for that I felt a sincere lump in my throat today, when I read the news of his death. Time moves on and this kind of news will surely continue to slap me, a continuing reminder that The Middle has shifted.
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Holy cow! What a shocker to see this post this morning. I’m right in there with you with regards to growing up with Davy Jones (swoon!). He was so young. Right now, however, I am thankful that he was a celebrity and not a personal friend; having just returned home from burying my father a few days ago, and an aunt just a week before that.
Davy will be missed by millions.
Mariner2mother… I’m so very sorry for your loss. Two family losses in such a short period, I can relate to completely and my thoughts go out to you. Sorry that my post wasn’t a funny one, on such a gray morning. Hang in there, and give yourself lots of space for grieving. Thanks for stopping in to see what I’m writing. Big hug.
I loved Davy Jones! The first album my dad gave to me was The Monkees. You are so right – they were like the Three Stooges, but girls enjoyed them! I used to watch their madcap episodes, too. Excellent post – brought back so many memories.