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Before the Monkees: My Time With Davy Jones

Jones took Patch columnist Yvonne Kleine out for a night on the town in the 1960s.

When I heard that one of the Monkees had died Wednesday, it was one of those "Watch at 5 p.m." teases, but I got a chill. Then I thought, "Oh I'll bet it's Peter Tork," because he has had health problems in the past. When I learned it was Davy Jones, I just crumpled with grief. 

Back in the sixties, David, never Davy, was very special to me. Long before he became the fantasy of every teenaged girl, David was my "un-boyfriend." My brother was in the Broadway musical Oliver! playing a workhouse boy and attending the Professional Children's School in Manhattan. My grandmother used to drive him in every morning in her little 1964 white Mustang. As a show business family, this wasn't at all strange to us. Sometimes, I would go along, and that's how I met David.

He came into the coffee shop at the old Paramount Hotel, where all of us, including Heather Taylor, Jimi Hendrix's gorgeous "Foxy Lady" and Roger Daltry's wife of 40-plus years, would hang out. David was playing the Artful Dodger and of course, all of the girls were crazy about him, even then. He wasn't tall, and had been a jockey back in Britain. But what he lacked in height, he more than made up for in charm, English cool, and talent. We were all besotted.

I came to know him and I found that he was actually very nice and normal, and eventually he asked me out. I was so excited, I couldn't breathe or eat for days. David took me to Sardi's with another couple, Bernie Cornfeld, a music executive, and his fiancee. I even remember what I ordered, a crab salad with no dressing. I recall asking the waiter if I could have it without dressing and he informed me "At Sardi's all things are possible!" as if I was some teenager who knew nothing, oh wait, I was! After the evening show, we went to a place called Harold's Show Spot, where they all had after dinner drinks and I had plain bitter lemon, I was underage. 

Then, David walked me to a cab and took me to my girlfriend's apartment where he gave me a really nice smooch that I'll never forget. He was wearing fur shoes. Amazingly, they fit me and he promised to give them to me when he tired of them. We stayed friends.

When the show closed and went on the road, David went too, joining the National Company, while my brother, grandmother and I, playing "Charlotte the Undertaker's Daughter," joined the Bus and Truck. I became besties with David's dear and lifelong friend, Cris Andrews, our "Artful Dodger" who later went on to join the seminal rock band Les Fleur de Lys, back home in Britain. Cris has remained David's dearest friend to this day and is still my bestie. David, in his kindness, was instrumental in reuniting us after we lost touch for many years.

Towards the end of the tour, we took advantage of a break in performances to visit David in Chicago. We had fun like only teenagers can have. The Sunday morning we were rejoining our show, David was leaving his, to perform the part of "Sam Weller" in  the musical Pickwick in Los Angeles. 

David had told us that a man named Ward Sylvester was going to create a TV show around him. Of course, we were thrilled and as actors will be, a little jealous. Then the time arrived when Sylvester came for David, and we watched him drive off to a stardom bigger than we could have imagined. I remember how cold it was, and how bright the sun shone on that day. I remember we all cried. 

I never saw David again, but I am sitting here, looking at the fur shoes he promised me. I have had them for 46 years. I remember so perfectly how he danced and sang in them outside the stage door on 46th Street, well before the fame, the screaming girls, the Monkees and the hit records.

On a beautiful summer night when we were younger than we ever were again and laughter was all we knew. When I was kissed by a boy who was magic. Goodnight, beautiful David, how we loved you. How we will always love you.

jc March 01, 2012 at 07:39 PM
That, my dear Yvonne, was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a precious, personal memory. A fitting tribute to a man, forever a boy, who was also my first crush. I believe there is a part of my heart that will always be a little sad.
Lisa Anton March 01, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Your story gave me chills! He is LOVING this from spirit!
Melissa March 02, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Live on in hearts forever Davy Jones. What great story to have and great memory to hold in your hands forever.
Fiona March 02, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Wonderful memory of a wonderful time, thank you for sharing. your personal story of your dear friend, David. My first crush sounds like he was everything I had imagined. It's so sad to lose him.
Gilbert R Albright Jr March 02, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Amazing, he looks just like Justin Bieber in that photo.
Daniel Brophy March 02, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Saddened by Davy's passing. The Monkees came along when I was a midwestern 12 year old boy beginning to think about my own independence. Four young guys living alone, struggling as a band but smiling and riffing on the establishment. What was not to love! My older sister could nou understand my feelings about Davy's passing. Neither could my boys who had enjoyed the DVDs of the TV shows. But the box set is my time capsule to a time that was pivotal in who I would become. So I grieve alone in my house while family shakes their heads as Davy'eyes sparkle as he sees his latest girlfriend as my TV flickers. I smile , remember, and get a little short of breath. Thank You Davy Jones!!! Dan
Wendy Hanson March 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM
What a wonderful, moving story. Thanks for sharing. I had a huge crush on Davy. It's so nice to hear he was the real deal. He's lucky you'll always hold him in your heart.
hayley louise March 02, 2012 at 06:38 PM
What a lovely story, I'm so happy to have read this. I'm only 25 but was introduced to The Monkees at the age of 6/7. Davy Jones was my first love. I'm so upset that he's gone, and no one really understands. But it's their loss that they don't know, because he was truly beautiful.
Tammy March 02, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us. It brought a smile to my face in this time of deep sorrow. You sure were lucky to know him the way you did...many of us dreamed of knowing him that way! He will sure be missed till the end of time. I know my life will never be the same I always went to see him with the Monkees and many of his solo concerts and can't imagine not having that to look forward to. RIP Mr. Jones, I so loved you, as many did!
pw March 03, 2012 at 04:40 AM
wonderful sweet story, you are so lucky and blessed.
Yvonne Kleine March 03, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I am so moved by all of your lovely and endearing comments. I assure you, David was everything you all thought him to be and more. He was blessed to have so many friends he never knew who loved him dearly. I have to correct one thing I wrote that is not accurate. The name of the man we had dinner with was ARTIE Cornfeld, not Bernie. Please forgive my lapse in memory, it was a long time ago! Thank you all again and God bless you
pw March 03, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Wow! I know how you feel. I am having a hard time understanding why this is affecting me like it is. Makes me wonder if I'm crazy. I grew up in the 60's. And my very first album I ever got was the Monkees. That was the beginning of the magic years of crushes. My walls were cover with pictures of Davy, most from 16-Magazine. I never got to go to any concerts back then. Was too young. But I did go to one in the 90's, which made me feel like that 10 year old girl, who's dream came true! Then last year I went to their 45th anniversary tour concert. Also great. And finally this time I was able to get his autograph on one of my albums. I didn't find out about the concert coming here until all of the better seats were gone. But decided to keep close check on their tours, and make sure if they came again, I would get front row if at all possible! So, now that won't happen. My friends don't understand.
nbptmom March 03, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Thank you so much for sharing this, Yvonne...what a beautiful memory...it brought tears to my eyes. I'm so envious of you for this experience...I was very young girl who fell in love with David Jones through reruns on television ten years after he became a sensation...and I think I've fallen in love with him all over again today...because you have described him exactly as I had then imagined him to be...so many, many years later.
Pamela March 04, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Thank you so much for sharing this! What a great story. He seemed so cool...and FUNNY! This is really touching.
Marilyn Daly March 04, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Great story and a wonderful memory. Thanks for the time you took to share a great memory.
JEN POIRIER March 04, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Yvonne, you lived, even for a short while, the dream I had my whole life. I wish those shoes were mine, that the kiss you got was on my lips too... Adeu our friend, goodbye to my youth... You meant more than even you could have ever imagined.
Doreen M. Lopez March 04, 2012 at 02:09 AM
What a heartwarming story Yvonne and thank you so much for sharing. To be honest, I cried while reading it and can feel the emptines of knowing that you will not see him again.....how wonderful it would have been for you to reconnect with your David, our Davy. He was probably my first real crush and when I turned 16, my Dad went to the "record store" and bought the Monkees album for me, along with my over love, Gene Pitney. Those two albums were the only things that my Dad actually ever went to buy for me......my Mom always bought the gifts. I am sure that Davy Jones knew the effect he had on school girls all over the world and I hope it brought him some joy! This one hurts.......he was such a part of my growing years. Thank you again for sharing such a wonderful story.
Rita A. Smith March 04, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story hun, my tears flowed as I read about the great times you were able to share with David..God Bless xoxoxo
TommyD March 04, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Thanks Boots, for sharing your special time with David from when you were a teen. The Monkees were so a part of the American pop scene for us young teens in the 60s. It was all about FUN! Didn't we all think that our youthfulness would last forever? Your story was a "snapshot" of those days!
Dee March 04, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Dear Yvonne, your memory of Davy reminds me, he was the real deal--that beautiful young man I fell in love with back in '66. Your story was an unfilled dream of mine but, I'm glad to hear that you actually lived it! What a wonderful story & thanks so much for sharing this...Davy 4-EVER...
Robyn March 05, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Yvonne thank you so much for sharing. That was really sweet and oh how I wish I could have kissed those lips. RIP Davy Jones
Yadira Lorena Ramírez March 06, 2012 at 04:48 AM
You are not alone ;)
Yadira Lorena Ramírez March 06, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Thank you for sharing your story Yvonne, it really is greata to know that the David, or Davy, we learned to love and appreciate was such a loveable & wonderful human being not only on stage or infront of a camera but in real life.. As a fan of the show and their music and individually as artists, i will take this little story with me forever. Thank you. <3
Roxanne April 10, 2012 at 04:45 AM
That is a beautiful story, Yvonne. I first fell in love with David when I saw him in "Oliver!" with my 5th grade class, before the Monkees, and I have been a lifelong fan. I attended the memorial at BB Kings last week. I will never, ever forget him. Thank you for sharing such sweet memories. Peace and Love, Roxanne.
Jan Chilton April 10, 2012 at 05:11 AM
This was such a great story. So many girls (and even some guys) have such wonderful stories to tell about our David. He touched so many people, and so many tears have fallen for him. Like everyone, I will miss him for the rest of my life. Thanks for yet another beautiful memory shared.
GREGG WEIR[ WEISS] November 26, 2012 at 10:13 PM
I worked with Davy in Oliver on Bradway,he will be missed.

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