Last Thursday's Maui News, with its front page story on the death of Davy Jones, left me distracted and melancholy for a few days. The passing of the dreamboat Monkee meant the end of a cherished childhood dream.
I will never marry Davy Jones.
Laugh if you like, but right up until last Wednesday, it wasn't entirely impossible. Highly improbable, sure, but not absolutely-entirely-impossible. After all, Davy was my very first, very real crush. Before my first date, my first kiss, my first flesh-and-blood boyfriend, all my romantic daydreams ended with me riding off into the sunset with the Manchester Cowboy. And I am indeed a "Daydream Believer."
I was completely confident that, if the Monkees came to Maui, and if Mom bought me white patent leather boots to wear to the concert with my flowered minidress and hip-hugger belt, Davy would spot me in the front row and his eyes would twinkle, just like on TV. Never mind that I was an awkward 5th-grader living on an island that also, at the time, had not yet come of age. Davy was smart enough to see the potential. I knew he'd wait for me to graduate from high school, like Elvis waited for Priscilla. In the meantime, I would tour with the band, playing tambourine or go-go dancing. I even envisioned a recurring guest role on the TV show - as Davy's love interest, of course.
I knew all his vital statistics from reading Tiger Beat and 16 magazines. I wrote "I luv Davy" on my school notebooks. I listened to the first four Monkee albums so often, I learned all the words to the songs he sang, even taught myself to play "I Wanna Be Free" on the piano.
I wanna hold your hand, walk along the sand,
Laughing in the sun, always having fun,
Doing all those things without any strings to tie me down.
I wanna be free . . .
Too young to comprehend fear of commitment, I just focused on the hand-holding part, which is as risque as my daydreams got.
The Monkees' TV show debuted on NBC the day before my 9th birthday. In Hawaii, we saw it a week later, as we did all network programs back then, when we had to wait for the tapes to arrive from the Mainland. But that didn't matter. For the next two years, I had a date with Davy every Monday night at 6:30. Mom even let me eat my dinner in the living room, in front of the old Zenith. And though Davy fell in love with a new girl each week, I just knew that I could make his big brown eyes sparkle permanently, if only we met face to face.
The series ended in 1968 and re-ran on network TV until 1973. By then I had put aside my sweet dreams of Davy for rock 'n' roll fantasies starring Mick Jagger. No longer cool in the eyes and ears of my peers, the Monkees still held a special place in my heart, but it was a deep, dark secret place.
In 1997, when all four Monkees reunited for a TV special, the peer pressure was even closer to home. My husband, who had spent most of the '60s smack dab in the middle of the recording and radio scene, disdainfully called them "the pre-fab four" and basically shamed me out of watching the program.
Now I wish I'd stood up for my childhood crush, or at least taped the darn show. Years later, after we put Mana'o Radio on the air, we had a passionate philosophical discussion about the musical merits of the Monkees. I won, and I got to buy the 25-song "Best of . . ." CD. Barry grimaced every time I played it on the air, which wasn't very often, as I sensed more of our listeners shared his tastes than mine.
I'm listening to that CD right now. On my desk are my treasured Monkee records, the first LPs I ever bought; I dug them out of a storage box before starting on this column. They haven't been played in 40 years, but I've kept them all this time and the album covers are in remarkably good condition, with my name neatly written on each, followed by (DAVY) and little hearts.
Today while singing along to "Shades of Gray," I realized that I was not mourning the loss of a love, but rather another remnant of more carefree days, of innocence and impossible dreams.
When the world and I were young, just yesterday,
Life was such a simple game, a child could play . . .
But today there is no day or night,
. . . no dark or light,
. . . no black or white,
Only shades of gray.
Shades of gray now tinged with blue. I luv you, Davy.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.