Preparing for an early morning appointment Thursday, I overheard the radio news reporting on the funeral of ex-Monkee Davy Jones. As a baby boomer who grew up with Davy Jones, the Monkees pop group, and the TV show that made them famous, I immediately drifted back to the summer of my youth.
In a moment, I was an 8-year-old girl watching Davy singing and dancing to Daydream Believer. Davy’s mod striped backdrop where he debuted the piece on national television became etched in our collective memories. Tweeners of the era probably believed the diminutive, adorable and innocent British pop star was singing and performing to each of us individually.
But we did more than watch Davy over on TV. We eagerly listened to Davy singing to us over the airwaves. In my case, those airwaves were coming directly out of New York City where Cousin Brucie introduced us to all our favorite tunes and their bands.
Girlfriends and I sang to Daydream Believer lyrics in our garage, listening through the radio or playing our 33rpm vinyl Monkees albums spun on one of our portable record players. A girlfriend named Barbara mastered the famed Davy Jones Daydream Believer dance shuffle and we were wowed by her performance, trying desperately to duplicate the move ourselves. In those youthful moments, Davy Jones and the Monkees literally came one step closer to us in the connection.
Back in the ’60s, the Monkees were epic. For many of us, Daydream Believer captured our age of innocence and our bright expectancy of a nearly grown-up world.
So listening to the news reporter share details of Davy’s funeral brought me back to my childhood and also carried me forth to today. The Associated Press recorded presiding minister Fr. Frank O’Laughlin’s account of Davy Jones and the words struck me profoundly.
Rev. O’Laughlin eulogized of Davy’s life, “He wrote about a quiet, gentle, contented people . . . (a) people for whom life was bright, neighbors friends, daydream believers with an absolute absence of burden who took themselves lightly – lighter than air. Wasn’t that what David conveyed to the world, a blissful lightness of being?”
Many regard funerals as a time of sadness, regret and remorse. Yet in Davy’s case, the legacy was joyful. Who among us, after decades carrying a message of a quiet, gentle and contented people, would ever hope to be mourned? Apparently not this former teenage heartthrob who was still singing and smiling into his late sixties.
I was, and remain, a Daydream Believer to this day. Despite my advancing age and the experiences of daily existence that tell me otherwise, I join with Davy Jones’ words and spirit. I, too, trust in a gentle, quiet and contented people for whom life is bright, where there are neighbors and friends, an absolute absence of burden, and who take themselves lightly – lighter than air.
Call me a dreamer. Tell me I’m too old to believe. But I’d rather join Davy Jones in retaining the childlike wonder of a world so peaceful, light and kind and the people who consider it their own.
Thanks, Davy, for your gift of keeping childlike wonder afresh and alive.
May you truly rest blissfully, and in genuine peace.
Your old fan,