Only those who have faced the same problems can truly understand Mike’s story.
Mike Nesmith was probably the saddest and loneliest person that ever grew up as an only child. He didn’t even have around him the people most kids take for granted: parents, brothers, and sisters, relatives and friends. He was all alone, as alone as it’s possible to be. The only person he ever had around at all was his mother and even she wasn’t able to be with him very much. You see, Mike and his mother were quite poor when he was growing up and so Mrs. Nesmith had to spend every single moment she possibly could working to support him. It was very sad.
It wasn’t really too bad to begin with. Mike was an only child, sure, but he did have his mother and father and they loved him in the best way they knew how. But life always changes and soon there were some changes in Mike’s home and then things began to get very bad for him.
Mike’s parents got a divorce and after that his father moved away from San Antonio. Mike understood why his father moved away. There were many very good reasons. But that didn’t change the fact that now Mike and his mother were alone together, and soon Mike was alone all by himself.
In order to support herself and Mike, Mrs. Nesmith had to go to work almost immediately. She worked as hard as it’s possible for anyone to work because she wanted very much to earn enough to give Mike the things he needed and wanted. These weren’t luxuries, they were necessities, for if she didn’t work there just wasn’t any money for things like clothes and food and rent. Period. So, she worked. Many times she thought about Mike, alone in the house, and she wanted to go be with him and do all the things that parents do with their children. But she couldn’t if they were to have enough money for them to eat and have a place to live.
This wouldn’t have been so bad if Mike had had relatives, like cousins or aunts and uncles, or grandparents. But there weren’t any of these around San Antonio so Mike never had the opportunity to really get to know them.
Mike was very sad, as you can understand. Things would have been a lot easier to take if he had had friends, though. But Mike didn’t even have many friends. According to the other kids, Mike was “different” and they didn’t really want him to be with them too much. Every so often Mike would try to get into one or another of the groups of friends that his school had but it always ended up the same. They didn’t really want him.
Besides, since his mother worked all the time she couldn’t do the things that other mothers did, like baking goodies and helping out with special projects. Mrs. Nesmith usually was very rushed even getting lunch for Mike. She’d rush into the kitchen, fix a quick sandwich for him, then rush out again to the garage in the back yard where she had a small manufacturing company that made typewriter correction fluid. Sometimes she wouldn’t even take time to eat herself because every single bottle she could make and send out was just a few pennies more in their slender household budget.
Mike spent a long time like this, without friends or relatives and most of the time without even his mother. He’d wander around the house without anything at all to do. He’d be the only person in the whole house and as he walked he could hear his shoes slapping the floor as his footsteps echoed back to him. He’d walk into every room trying to find something to do but there wouldn’t be anything and then he’d walk to the next room. He’d sit and stare out the window and the kids playing happily in the street and he’d want very much to be with them but, he knew, they didn’t want him. He’d go out to the back yard and see his mother, so busy, and so terribly unable to keep him company. He was very unhappy.
Then he discovered something that changed his life, something so important and so powerful that it gave him not only friends, but people that looked up to him. It gave him the respect of others and self-respect. Eventually, it was the key that made him a Monkee.
Mike discovered that there is a tremendous difference between being lonely and being alone. When you’re lonely it means that you want other people around and they aren’t there, so you become sad and discouraged and all sorts of other bad things. But when you’re alone it means that there simply aren’t any other people around and this can be a very groovy thing. Everyone wants times when they can go off by themselves and just think or dream. Mike discovered that instead of being something bad, his aloneness was something that gave him the key to the grooviest life imaginable.
Mike changed his attitude. Before he’d wanted other people around him; now he didn’t. He had a lot of very important things to do and other people would only have been a bother.
Mike used this time to dream and to think. He dreamed of everything: all the things he wanted to be, all the things he wanted to have, all the things he wanted to do. He dreamed about everything and it was a lot of fun.
Then he really started thinking about his dreams. He knew that if many of his dreams really came true he wouldn’t be happy because they weren’t really “him”. He had lots of abilities and talents and he wanted to use all of them. In most of his dreams he just couldn’t have been the Mike he knew he could be.
Mike decided that he really wanted two things: to entertain people and make them happy, and, to have enough money so that his family, when he got one, would never have to worry about not having enough food or a place to live.
These were good things, not selfish things, and Mike found that the answer to his dreams was his church. Mike is a Christian Scientist and his church teaches that if you want someting [sic] badly enough and it’s something good, so long as you keep it always on your mind and so long as you work hard for it, it will come true. It makes no difference what you apply it to for the law always works.
Mike began following his church’s teachings very closely. Soon things were working out even better than his dreams had been. Because he had something definite that he wanted it was easy to find definite ways of getting it. He discovered that there is always a bridge from where a person is at any particular moment to where they want to be. All a person has to do is find the bridge—even if they have to build it and then put one foot in front of the other until they get where they want to go. If a person doesn’t stop for anything at all, he will get there, without fail.
Mike the leader
Mike started putting his whole heart into everything he did. From schoolwork to his jobs around the house, no matter how much he didn’t like it, or how much he wanted to do something else, he did it as well as he possibly could. Soon there were a lot of people looking up to him, respecting him for the work he’d done. They wanted to be around him, they wanted to be his friends. He wasn’t lonely any more.
Then he found a few friends who wanted to entertain as much as he did. They all banded together and headed West so they could make their dreams reality. When they arrived in Los Angeles they started making their dreams come true, just like they’d planned.
Today Mike is a Monkee and millions of people consider themselves his friend. He’s achieved his dreams: he’s a great entertainer and he’s got enough money so his family will never need the necessities. Mike has achieved his dreams.
Right now Mike thinks that being an only child was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. It gave him the solitude to dream and plan and the sadness to want to make those dreams come true. Mike today is the happiest, most wonderful person you could ever find and he is these things because once upon a time he was one of the saddest and loneliest only children ever!