To The Monkees: Thank you for Bringing the Summer of My Childhood

I’m busy, but then I always am.  Right now I have a book I really need to make progress in writing, but instead there’s this…

Last weekend I made a trip to visit my mom for her birthday, which always in some way causes us to reminisce about things.  But this time I was more heavily entrenched in it.  This time I was caught up in memories of my sisters and me as young children.

We were called “the girls” by most of the family.  Poor daddy, stuck with a house fully of giggles all those years.

I can’t remember how old we were, but there was a family get-together at grandma’s house when mom and her sisters were all talking about The Monkees.

“The monkeys?”  I asked.

“No,” one aunt said, “not monkeys. The Monkees.”

And that is where it all began.

the girls 1How had we missed this?  We didn’t even know anything so awesome existed.  But the girls and I discovered The Monkees’ episodes were actually right there on Nickelodeon nearly every single day.  We were totally glued to the screen.  I can remember us guffawing over their antics in episode after episode.  My sister Cori had the wildest laugh and when she really got going it would trigger her asthma.  So many of those episodes were enjoyed above the roar of her nebulizer machine, but that really didn’t matter.  Those were some of the best times for us.

And it didn’t stop there.

One of my aunts took all of her Monkees’ records (you know, records.  The actual vinyl kind) and she recorded them to cassette tapes for us.  We listened to them ALL THE TIME.   We were children of the fabulous eighties, but all we cared about hearing was The Monkees.

In those days my parents had an old single car garage that was chock full of stuff.  The girls and I were allowed to play house in there.  Oh, those were the days!  We moved wooden boards around to create “rooms” in our playhouse.  We somehow found an old magazine with an image of The Monkees on the cover and we taped it into our toy oven thereby transforming it into a television set. I discovered a set of tiny glass bottles and an eye dropper and created a “laboratory” in one corner.  And while my husband, Davy Jones, was off on tour, I was a chemist.

the girls 2Yep, it’s true.  I was once married to Davy Jones.  And the coolest thing is that my sisters hooked Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz respectively.  We were married to the Monkees!  And when we had a friend come over, we graciously allowed her to have Mike Nesmith, because we wanted all of our precious Monkees to “get the girl.”

But as always happens, the years went by and we grew up.  And then an aneurysm took Cori from us.  Still, when I need that feel of home and of childhood, I’ve often pulled up some of my favorite Monkees’ songs.  Mary, Mary, Listen to the Band, Steppin’ Stone…  there are just too many to recount and each one brings with it the sweet taste of remembrance.

And then just a week or so ago I heard The Monkees’ new release, You Bring the Summer and I’ve been partially overcome with memories since then.  And I’ve so enjoyed that bittersweet trip through scenes and games and girlhood giggles.

Because even when it’s freezing outside… even if there’s no sun and sand…The Monkees’ songs bring the summer of my childhood back to me and for that I’ll always appreciate them and their music.

So Davy, Peter, Mike and Micky, thanks from a little girl who will still always consider you family. 

Olivia_Hardin

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