Peter Tork By His Mother
Magazine: Tiger Beat
Author: Virginia Thorkelson*
Publisher: New Asbury Ltd. Publishing Co.
How would you describe Peter as a little boy?
Frenetic, charming, inquisitive, destructive, friendly. He took apart a Capehart phonograph at age 2 1/2. He always said “Hi” to everyone on the street or bus.
Can you recall any of the nice little things he used to do for you as a child?
He used to make us all sorts of things for Christmas: painting wooden objects, pot holders, etc. He took good care of me though he was only three.
When Peter was punished, what was the reason for this and what was the punishment imposed?
He ran around restaurants and the waiters got tired of chasing him. I put this down to a certain anxiety generated by the war. The punishment was verbal.
Do you remember any of Peter’s childhood friends? If so , what were they like?
He had a “Wild Goose Club” in Madison, Wisconsin and all his good friend were in that. It was continued in Connecticut. His friends were wild geese, I guess. Nice kids, all of them.
Can you think of any incident (like the time Peter conducted the orchestra in Germany) that happened while in Germany?
He spoke excellent German and used to translate for me when he was five. He was often taken for a German child. This occasionally led to difficulties.
When did Peter first show signs of his dramatic/musical talent?
Between 2 1/2 and and 3 years old. He played the piano and danced, etc.
When Peter was ill, was he patient about staying home in bed?
No, but then he was seldom ill.
How were his grades in school?
A’s in grade school. Various in high school. He received a Math Award on graduation from high school.
Did he dislike any particular subject? Was he conscientious about his homework?
No and no.
What type of games did he play with the neighborhood children after school?
He was not very athletic. He used to make 3 D comics, write and produce puppet shows. We didn’t live in a neighborhood, but in the country, and there were no other children around. He was a cub scout and a boy scout for a while and a great swimmer.
How did Peter get along with his brothers and sisters?
He was O.K. with the little one, but competitive with Nick who is three years younger. Subsequently on very good terms.
What foods did he especially like and dislike?
All foods were fine with him.
Who was his first real crush? What was she like?
She was a girl at high school named Hilary Dirlam. She was a fine girl, now married. His second crush—much more serious was at college. Both girls were musical and small and dark.
What was a typical Sunday in the life of your family?
No two Sunday’s were alike, so it’s hard to say. We took walks, read, had friends in, projects, etc. There was lots of music.
Did Peter’s long hair bother you at first?
Does it now?
How has Peter’s success changed your family life?
We spend more time on the phone.
What are some of the things Peter likes to do, now, when he comes how to visit you?
Sleep! And if Nick is around they like to play piano and guitar or harmonica and guitar and banjo together. We talk a lot.
How did you feel when Peter told you about his job in the Monkees?
Fine. He didn’t make much of it, so we thought it was just one of those things.
Do you like their music?
Do you feel his success has hurt him in any way?
Yes and no, it’s hard to say.
What was your reaction the first time you saw the Monkees TV show?
Are there any other incidents about Peter’s childhood that you think would be of interest?
He was a great child. Everyone sort of ate him up. He had so much curiosity and life, but he had a bad time when he moved to Connecticut. He had been moved 13 times before first grade and this unnerved him finally. He nearly lost an eye in a fight in high school.