I was ten-years-old when The Monkees television show debuted on NBC, and I never missed an episode. I bought band paraphernalia with my allowance – a Monkees bracelet, a plastic hologram ring, trinkets I’ve kept to this day. I joined the fan club, too, and still have my official membership materials, along with every one of the group’s vinyl recordings. All four boys were adorable, but it was Davy Jones who captured my heart.
In 1967, my parents took me to see The Monkees perform at the Baltimore Memorial Auditorium in Maryland. That night I fell asleep clutching a copy of Tiger Beat magazine, as I did many other nights, listening to Davy recite On the Day We Fall In Love on my record player, absolutely certain he was speaking those words directly, and only, to me.
When I turned twelve, I decided that looking like Davy would draw us even closer. So I brought a picture of him to my mother’s hairdresser and asked her to give me a bowl cut exactly like Davy’s. How I, Beverly, a small-town girl of modest means, would ever meet the greatest teen idol of all time from Manchester, England, I didn’t know. It seemed an impossible dream. Still, though I wished and more than two decades later, my daughter would make my deepest childhood wish come true.
I never forgot about Davy. But once I became a teenager, I discovered neighborhood boys my age, became driven about my school work, and was first in my family to go off to college and attend law school. Many girls from my rural hometown followed a traditional path that went straight from high school to marriage to babies, and my mother used to joke that she found me in a wicker basket on her doorstep one morning because I was so different. After law school graduation, I moved to New York City to become an entertainment attorney. In many ways, though, I was always the girl I once was.
Several weeks after leaving my Southern hometown for good, I promptly fell in love with this guy with black rimmed glasses who I met at my first law job. I’d gone to New York intent on putting my career first, but had secretly hoped that one day I’d also meet Mr. Right. Nine months later he and I got married. We were so close in spirit I could tell him everything, even my big embarrassing secret that The Monkees were my favorite “rock” group (and that I still liked their music), something I could never have admitted to friends in the intellectual circles in which we traveled, or that the first boy I’d ever fallen in love with had been Davy Jones.
Eight years after we got married I gave birth to Nicki, followed by her sister Ella five years later. Before I got pregnant, I’d undergone exploratory surgery in my mid-30s to find out the cause of the abdominal pain I’d suffered from for years. When I woke up, my gynecologist told me that I had endometriosis.
“You might have a hard time getting pregnant,” he said. “You better start trying now in case you need fertility treatments.” Like so many other women of my generation, I had ignored my biological clock, thinking I had all the time in the world. But I was one of the lucky ones. I got pregnant right away and gave birth the following year to a healthy baby girl.
When Nicki was seven-years-old, my husband came home one day with two tickets in hand to The Monkees’ 30th reunion concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. I was touched and thrilled. My daughter knew about my childhood dreams, too, and my husband insisted she and I attend the concert together.
Each song Davy sang at the Ballroom took me back. I felt like a girl again, only this time – and I know this sounds silly — I felt whole, content with my true self who no longer cared what the legal illuminati might think. I swooned as Davy crooned “Daydream Believer.”
“Are you going to the after-party?” a woman in the row ahead of us asked, handing me a flyer as the concert ended. I shook my head.
“Why aren’t we going?” my daughter Nicki asked.
“It’s late, honey,” I said. “And that part of town isn’t exactly safe for moms and little girls at this time of night.”
“But meeting Davy Jones was your biggest wish,” my daughter urged. She kept insisting and I kept saying no, all the while inside wanting to say yes.
“Okay,” I finally agreed, capitulating.
“But only if there’s a spot to park right out front when we get there,” I added, figuring there couldn’t be and guarding my heart against the inevitable disappointment. But when we pulled up, after going around the block with no luck (Nicki insisted we go around once more) there was a spot waiting for us on the corner, not more than ten steps to the front door of the club. I walked up and down the block looking for a no parking sign that would turn us away; there wasn’t any.
Inside, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork were milling around talking to fans and signing autographs. Davy was nowhere to be found.
“Are you sure your mom brought you here to see The Monkees?” Peter said to Nicki, winking.
“Where’s Davy?” Nicki asked. Peter didn’t know. She repeated the question to a fan who came over to us. Minutes later we saw her talking to a bouncer who suddenly appeared at our side and ushered us to a cordoned off area of the club. I followed my daughter as if in a dream to the table where Davy Jones sat. You would think my heart would be fluttering, but it wasn’t. Instead, an almost inexplicable sense of preordination washed over me. Davy greeted us with a smile and said hello. I blushed when he looked up at me, a lifetime older by now but still with the same smile and big brown eyes I’d once pored over in teen magazines. He asked my daughter all about herself, and she told him how much she loved the play Oliver he’d starred in as the Artful Dodger. And then the two of them sang a duet of Where Is Love? right there in the back corner of that little bar. It’s a moment I will never forget and never wanted to end.
“What does that mean?” Nicki asked when they finished, pointing to the silver symbol in the middle of Davy’s necklace.
“It means peace,” he said, as he took his necklace off and fastened it around her neck.
After we left and got back to the car, I hung my head over the steering wheel and sobbed. I told my daughter how much what she’d brought about had meant to me, though at seven how could she really know.
Five years later, my husband left and filed for divorce. I prayed, I meditated, I lit candles. I wished upon star after star for our family not to split up, crazy with grief.
One day Nicki came up to my bedroom, asked me to sit on the bed, and placed Davy’s peace symbol around my neck. “Davy’s necklace means more to you than it does to me,” she said. “I want you to have it.” At seven, the teenager who now stood before me may not have known the import of the wish she had granted by bringing me and Davy together; years later, however, I was certain she did.
A few years after that, Nicki’s father and I divorced. And then two years ago, in February, Davy Jones died. Mike, Micky and Peter came to New York City for a tribute tour, but I couldn’t bear to go see them, not without Davy.
“Is that your husband?” new friends who had never met my ex occasionally asked me over the years when they saw the photo of me, Nicki and Davy displayed in my home where it had been ever since that night back in 1997.
“No,” I’d say. “That’s Davy Jones.”
“Wow,” they`d say. And then I’d tell them the story about the little girl who made her very own mother’s childhood wish come true, and every time I did I’d marvel that it happened at all. What I marveled at most, though, was Nicki, the later-in-life baby I might have missed out on. Because she and her sister are the living, breathing embodiment of my deepest and most important wish.