You know when some event happens and it brings back a flood of memories? Today (well, technically yesterday as it is after midnight now), such an event happened for me. I was on Facebook and saw that Peter Tork of the Monkees had passed away.
For a moment, I did not believe my eyes, so off my fingers went to google and sure enough what I had read was correct. Peter Tork had passed away. A part of my middle school life was gone. Sweet memories flooded my mind and also a weird pang in my heart jabbed me.
The teeny-bopper television show was one I loved and I was a faithful fan of the Monkees. Posters crowded my closet door. I would save my baby sitting money to buy teen magazines so I could keep up with the latest on the Monkees. I had their 45’s. I had their albums. To this day when I hear a Monkees song on the radio I can sing right along and also know where the needle on our record player would jump or stay put. Of course, we all know that if you put a penny on the arm the needle would track the record better.
Beyond the usual teeny-bopper craze were the memories of a group of friends I had. Marlene, Lorraine, Vicki and I spent each lunch hour together. We were good friends and had spent each lunch hour together as long as I can remember. We did not go home for lunch as many students at St. Joseph Catholic school did. No, we ate in the lunch room and then went to the playground for the rest of the lunch hour. The playground was actually the asphalt parking lot for the church, but, it was what we had. No swings, no slides, no teeter-totter, just asphalt. There were the occasional jump ropes and if we truly scored there was a ball to play with, but for the most part, it was conversations as we huddled in the corners between the spires of the church. It was there that Marlene told us that her mom was going to have a baby and she hoped it was a girl as she only had one sister and five brothers. It was there that Lorraine told us she was going to be an aunt, and we marveled how she was able to be an aunt in sixth grade even though we knew her brothers were much older than she was. I know it was also where I could talk about my Mom and how much I missed her.
My Mom died in 1966, the year the Monkees television show started. Their music and their show distracted me away from the grief I felt most of the time. When I was with my friends and we were talking about the Monkees, I was no longer that girl whose Mom had died, I was just a normal girl. Somehow, the Monkees enabled me to be a regular person and one that could carry on conversations.
I actually did not realize until today how much that group meant to me. I knew I liked them. I knew I was a fan. But, it wasn’t until today, some fifty years later, that I realized they helped me move past my grief and back into normalcy.
So, thank you gentlemen for helping me through that season of my life. Rest in peace, to my favorite Monkee. Cathi (DAF)