Join me in my suspense-filled days and nights as I wonder and worry—Can he come? Will he come? And then come with Davy and me to the big event—the most unforgettable night of my life!
In September, 1966—Mom, Dad and I started making out invitations for my Bar Mitzvah (a Bar Mitzvah is a special celebration of the 13th birthday for a guy—something like a Sweet 16 birthday party for a girl). The very first invitation I wrote out was for my buddy David Jones.
David and I had become fast friends three years before, when we were both in the Broadway musical, Oliver! Times changed, and in the fall of 1966 Davy was living in Hollywood, recording and filming the first segments of what was then a brand-new television series called The Monkees. Even as I wrote out the invitation, I was not sure that Davy would be able to come. I knew he had a tight shooting schedule and didn’t have much free time—but I secretly hoped that he would come and be the honored guest at the biggest party that I would ever have.
Two days after we mailed out all of the 200 (see, I told you it was a big party!) invitations, David called. At first I was very happy, but my grin turned upside down when Davy spoke. “Look, Jeff,” he told me, “there is less than a 50-50 chance that I can make it. Besides shooting the TV series and recording, we are making lots of public appearances—” his voice faded off.
“Sure, Davy,” I said, trying not to sound as sad as I really felt. “I understand.” After we both shared a pause, I added, “I hope you don’t mind, but every night I pray that you can make it.”
For the next two weeks, there were constant phone conversations between Davy and me. One day the prospects were fine; the next day they were very dim. I became quite depressed. After all, my big party would be nothing if I didn’t have my “brother” there to share the joy with me. I also knew that Davy would be a smashing “surprise” guest—that he could put the perfect touch on what would be my perfect day!
The night before my Bar Mitzvah there was still no definite word from David. Then, at about 8 in the evening (it was still only 5 P.M. in California), the phone rang. I jumped and ran for it. It was David! I could hear him saying, “I will probably be there. I’ll try, Jeff—but I am still not sure I can make it. I will call you from the Los Angeles airport.”
Can you imagine the apprehension I felt? I thought I was going out of my mind. I never realized how long a few hours could be. They dragged on for what seemed like years. That night I couldn’t sleep (would you?)! I just lay there staring at my little alarm clock. Five “years” later it was 2 A.M. and the phone on my night table remained silent. I heard my parents going to bed. Still no word from Davy.
David Jones calls!
Suddenly, at about 2:45 A.M., the phone rang. I literally shot up into the air—and all at once I was scared to answer the phone, for this could mean good news—that Davy was coming in—or bad news—that something had come up and he couldn’t make it. I felt frozen. The phone stopped ringing and I panicked. I jumped up and ran into my parents’ bedroom and (thank heavens!) I saw my mom talking to David on the phone. I watched her face for some clue to what was happening. Mom hung up, looked at me and smiled, and said, “He is coming”.
I grabbed her and hugged her. Her response was: “O.K., young man, go to bed now and get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day, you know.”
But somehow, I had trouble sleeping. I still had my doubts, as anyone knowing David’s hectic schedule would have had. Finally, I drifted off.
At exactly 6:36 A.M., I was awakened by two loud gongs from the doorbell. I ran to the door with Mom close behind me. When we opened it, there stood David Jones with a big grin on his face. The first words out of his mouth were, “Put on the teapot—Davy-baby is here!”
I don’t think I was ever as happy! Mom, Dad and I love Davy very much and it just would not have been a “family affair” without him.
Later that day, Davy took me downtown and bought me the grooviest dark blue, double-breasted, three-quarter-length coat I ever saw! In fact, we both liked it so much that he decided to get himself one just like it. We put on our coats and stood side by side looking at ourselves in the store mirror—and we decided that we looked outasite!
When we got back home, it was time to get ready for the big party in my honor. My family and I left early so that I could be on the receiving line to greet what turned out to be my 203 guests! David said that he would be along shortly, but it was 9:30 before he showed up at the Temple ballroom—that’s Davy for you! The majority of my guests were teenage boys and girls, so when Davy walked into the ballroom it was suddenly filled with electricity—the kind that only David Jones can generate. There were plenty of cameras and plenty of Davy fans around, so he spent a lot of his time being photographed and giving out autographs—something he thoroughly enjoyed doing.
David’s serious side
At a Bar Mitzvah, there is a special candle-lighting ceremony. Each close relative comes forward as he or she is called, lights one of the 13 candles on the cake and makes a brief speech to the birthday boy—namely me. When 12 candles were lit, the announcer said, “The last candle will be lit by a young man who has come to be a brother to Jeffrey—Mr. David Jones.”
Davy stepped forward, lit a candle in my honor, turned to me and said softly, “I don’t know what to say, bubbala. I-” For a moment he hesitated, then he gave me a big bear hug. As he turned to go back to his seat, I saw tears in his eyes. I have never been more deeply touched or moved. Without words, Davy had said everything to me.
Before the evening was over, Davy and the rock ’n’ roll band playing for the party went outside and rehearsed Last Train To Clarksville. Then they came back and did that special number just for me. It was the highlight of the evening.
It was long after midnight when Mom, Dad, Davy and I said good-bye to the last of my guests and headed for home. It has been almost a year since that happy, unforgettable night, but it seems like yesterday for me—and I still cherish the fond memories Davy left. They will last a lifetime.
Thank you for all the many groovy letters you’ve sent me! I love reading every single one of them and—sooner or later—each of you who have been good enough to write to me will get a personal answer from me. Feel free to write to me at the address below—and be patient, for I guarantee to send an answer to everyone who writes:
745 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022