Can you picture Davy in church with a baby in his hands—and a mob of teeners outside screaming his name?!
On Saturday night, June 8th, 1967, at 7:30 my mom, dad and I found ourselves standing at TWA Arrival Gate No. 1 at JFK Airport in New York City. We were waiting for a plane from Hollywood, California. This plane was carrying the proud and excited godfather-to-be, Davy Jones.
David had never been a godfather before in all of his 21 years, so this was to be a high point in his life! It had all begun about three years ago, when David was appearing in the road company of the Broadway musical Pickwick. The set director, Lou Gallo, was from Brooklyn, and he became good friends with Davy during the tour. Lou had just gotten married and Davy (who is a true family man at heart) told Lou, “When you and Jill have your first child, I want to be godfather.”
Well, like I said, about three years went by and the Gallos had welcomed their first offspring—an adorable baby girl whom they named Renée. Lou and Jill called me one day and asked me to get in touch with Davy, in case he wanted to honor his original request. When I spoke to Davy, he enthusiastically exclaimed, “You bet, man!”
But what with being a Monkee and all, the days and weeks dragged by until they finally turned into months before Davy could make it to New York for the christening. No one minded a bit, of course, for we all understood. Finally, the day arrived when Davy could come to New York and properly do his duty as a godfather. So that explains how Mom, Dad and I ended up pacing the floor at the airport, waiting for Davy’s incoming flight.
Finally, at about 8 P.M., his flight was announced over the loud speaker. We hovered about Gate No. 7 and when the door was opened it seemed that literally hundreds of people came streaming through the passage. Davy is usually the first one off a plane, but there was no sign of him! We began to panic. People of all shapes and sizes came rolling through the doorway, but no Davy! Like a nut, I began stopping people and describing Davy and asking if Davy had been on the plane. Then, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around—and it was David Jones!
“Where have you been?” I asked, torn between relief and anger.
“In the air,” David replied calmly.
Just as I was about to splutter on, a couple of adorable teenage girls walked off the plane. David grinned, looked at me and winked—and that explained that.
On the way to our house from the airport, we stopped at the Turnpike Deli to get some bagels for Davy. Yes, David has a real weakness for bagels and lox with cream cheese. We took our snack home and sat around the living room eating and talking. “Aren’t you nervous about being a godfather?” I asked David.
“No, not really,” he said nonchalantly. Then he gulped and looked quite serious. “Hey, it isn’t hard to do or anything—is it?”
I laughed and teased him, “You’ll find out for yourself tomorrow!”
The next morning, after a big breakfast of orange juice, fried eggs, tuna fish and what was left of the bagels, we called the Gallos and made arrangements to meet them at their home. From there, we would all go to the church together. David wore a dark brown suit with boots to match, a pinkish shirt and a paisley tie for the ceremony. However, he had enough foresight to stash some casual clothes at the Gallos’ house for the celebration later. By the time we picked up the Gallos and Renée Margaret and got to the church, Davy admitted to me that his stomach was full of butterflies. Naturally, my reaction was to become just as nervous as he was.
The lovely little church where Renée was christened was in a quiet section of Brooklyn, and once we got inside everyone seemed to calm down. Jill whispered to me, “Wouldn’t it be funny if Renée knew who Davy really is?”
In the Catholic religion, when a child is christened the godfather holds the child for most of the ceremony. Actually, the parents are seated and the full responsibility for the child rests in the hands of the godfather. The ceremony lasted for almost an hour, and Davids countenance during it is most difficult to describe. He was deeply touched and very serious about his duties. All I can say is that if you are ever lucky enough to become Mrs. David Jones one day, don’t be surprised if your husband turns out to be not only devoted, loving and generous—but also one of the greatest fathers ever.
When we walked out into the bright sunlight after the ceremony, we were amazed to see about 200 young girls gathered around the church. Lucky for David, the police were on hand and they were polite but firm with the screaming crowd who had come to pay homage to David—their idol. We had a hard time getting David into the car, but we made it and soon arrived back at the Gallos’ house. Ha-ha—another surprise—300 fans were waiting there! Once again the NYPD saved the day. The cops very nice to the kids and it was more like a block party in Davy’s honor than anything else.
Back in the house, Davy turned into his usual carefree “Monkee” self. He switched to his casual outfit, ate a huge lunch of sliced roast beef and vegetables, and posed for some more pictures with the Gallo tribe—and then went outside and signed hundreds of autographs for the kids gathered there! The hours passed quickly and before any of us realized it, it was time for Davy to go. We said hurried goodbyes and dashed off toward the airport. On the way, Davy “The Eater” asked us to stop and get him a corned beef sandwich and some French fries.
“What on earth are you going to do with that?” my mom asked.
Davy grinned sheepishly and said with a smile, “Eat it on the plane!”
We hardly had time to shake Davys hand before he rushed aboard the enormous jet that would take him away from us again for a while. He turned and said, “I’ll be seeing you soon. We are coming in for concerts this summer, and that’s when we will get together again.”
And he was right! We did—which means that in a future issue of 16, I will have a super-crazy story for you about the Monkees’ biggest trip to New York, and all the fabulous things that happened to them. See you next month!