The River's Badge

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hey Hey ~ I Guess This Is Goodbye



We're long past the time, thankfully, when people critics looked down on the Monkees as a silly pre-fab pop group.

When the news broke on Wednesday that Davy Jones had died, everybody I know, including my husband, felt sad, and wistful.

Someone at work told me.  Her mom had texted her the news, because her mom knew what a crush my co-worker had had on Davy when she was a child.  And everybody I talked to said the same thing!  "I was going to marry him!"

I, for one, was not going to marry Davy Jones.  I was going to marry Micky Dolenz.

But all the girls had "their Monkee".  I'm sure some girls were even going to marry Peter, or Mike.

Once I'd heard, of course, I immediately went online, even though it wasn't my lunch break, and that's actually frowned upon, but I'm sure exceptions can be made in the event of world-shattering news.

What intrigued, and gratified me, was that the comments on the stories I read about Davy were 100% positive.  You know how you always get the trolls, who feel all important by posting some nasty, misspelled comment?  I didn't find any trolls.  I checked a few different sites, and no trolls.

People, even the no-life losers, could find nothing but love to express for Davy, and for the Monkees.

Why is that?

You know, a few famous people have died recently (more than a few, sadly).  And when you read the story comments, there's always a bunch of hate-filled remarks, right there, alongside the glowing.

But none about Davy.

People of a certain generation, who are wont to comment, because their hearts are broken, hold the Monkees close to their hearts, and there is good reason for that.

Remember the most awkward, embarrassing time of your life.  How old were you?  Twelve or thirteen?

I was actually eleven when the show debuted in 1966.  Here's my story:

We moved to a new town, a new state, when I was eleven years old.  It was in the middle of my sixth-grade year.  The middle of the school year!  As if it wasn't bad enough that we had to move, and I had to leave all my friends behind, and I had to maneuver through the halls of a completely unfamiliar environment, I had to show up in the middle of the year!  And make that torturous walk into a strange classroom, and the teacher made me stand there, right upfront, like a complete freak, while she introduced me to a group of strangers.  And they all just sat there and stared at me.  All I wanted to do was go home, albeit a home that was also unfamiliar, but at least my family was there, so there was someone who knew me.

I dreaded, dreaded recess.  My MO was to go out onto the playground, and find a nice, safe corner to stand in, for the eight hours fifteen minutes that recess lasted, until, mercifully, the bell rang, and I could go back inside.

Most of the kids just kindly ignored me.  One or two brave ones would approach me and try to make conversation.  Ever notice who those kids are, the ones who do that?  They're usually the ones who are considered the "outcasts".  How cruel.  Pre-teens and teenagers mock people like that; mercilessly taunt them; when these are actually the good people; the ones who don't mind showing a bit of kindness to the new geek.

In the days before there was such a thing as "middle school", the school that I moved to was somewhat unique, I guess.  The elementary and junior high school were both housed in one big building.  So, as I moved from the sixth grade, and my one home-base classroom, I stayed in the same place for seventh grade; I just had to move around a lot between classes, and try to get to my next period before the bell rang.

So, as a new seventh-grader, I got my schedule (and a locker!), and I had the usual stuff:  English, Life Science, Math, Phy Ed (another excruciating experience), Reading (Was there actually a class called, "reading"?  I think so.)  And another "class" on my schedule was Study Hall.  How can that be a class?  There's nobody teaching it.

I think Study Hall (for me) was right after lunch.  There was this cavernous room; I think maybe in the 1920's, it was a lecture hall for college agricultural college students, or something.  Bear in mind, this building had been around since approximately the time that the town was founded.

So, this "room", if you can even call it a room; more like an alien planet, held hundreds of desks.  And there was a platform way at the front; a raised platform, with a desk, for the Study Hall "teacher" to sit at.  If I'd had binoculars, I could have possibly almost seen him or her.  And the platform itself, and the steps leading up to it, were built from sleek marble.  Now that I think about it, it was just weird; a weird other-worldly experience.

And I don't know how school is now; I'm guessing there's a lot more homework, but back then, we really didn't need study hall.  It was just a filler.  A schedule filler.

The boys would throw spitballs at each other (the teacher couldn't see them, obviously, unless she had binoculars).

Nobody around me, that I could tell, was actually doing any actual schoolwork

I had a notebook, and I had four pens:  a blue one, a red one, a green one, and a black one.  And I would take my notebook and write letters to each of the Monkees; Micky, Davy, Peter, and Mike; each letter in a different colored ink.

I would write letters to them as if we were friends.  As if we were just shooting the breeze.

This is how I spent my time in study hall.  Every day.  Five days a week.  Because I had no friends.  So, the Monkees were my friends.

So, what does the passing of Davy Jones mean to me?

Davy was one of the few (four) friends I had when I was twelve and thirteen.

Because everybody else was a stranger. No, I wasn't a total loser.  I met the best friend I ever had in my life in the sixth grade, although we hadn't yet become best friends at that point.  I was still feeling pretty much alone, in a new town, a new school, a new swarm of faces.

I needed the familiar, and Davy, Micky, Peter, and Mike were familiar.  And they liked me, and didn't judge me.

So, hats off to you, Davy.  Thanks for being my friend.  Even though you didn't even know it.













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