I’m writing this letter to Monkee Spectacular because I feel I have to, even though some people may not believe it. But if one girl who has problems like I had reads this and can believe it really truly happened, then it is worth telling my story—the story of how one Monkee changed my whole life!
I guess you could say my problem began when I was three years old—the day my proud parents brought my beautiful baby sister home from the hospital. I can still remember how I felt those first days, with everyone making a big fuss over her, and saying how lovely she was, and nobody paying the slightest attention to me. Before Beth was born, I had been the center of attention in my house, and gradually I realized that the place was no longer mine.
Love and hate
I loved my sister, but I hated her too, and these mixed feelings grew as time went on. She was small and dainty, with light blonde hair and the biggest blue eyes you’ve ever seen. I couldn’t really dislike her, because she was as sweet as she was pretty, and always willing to share everything she had with me. But beside her I felt awkward and ugly. I was very plain looking, with ordinary brown eyes and hair, and by the time I reached 17 I was almost 6 feet tall! Plus this I had to wear glasses all the time.
Sometimes I would hear my mother’s friends saying how pretty Beth was, and how different the two of us were in looks and personality. I knew it was true, because Beth was so friendly and outgoing, and everybody loved her. The more attention she got, the more I withdrew into my shell. Sometimes I would go into my room and cry and cry, but very quietly because I didn’t want anybody to know how badly I really felt. I would wish very hard that some morning I’d wake up and look into the mirror and suddenly I’d be just as beautiful as Beth. But as I got older I realized that this could never be, and I just sort of gave up.
The only thing that really kept me going was my interest in art and modern sculpture. When I’d feel really depressed, I’d go to my room and take out my feelings with my paints, or I’d make a crazy sculpture that wouldn’t mean anything to anybody else but me. I never showed the things I made to anyone, even my parents. I would finish something I made and then put it into a big closet in the garage that had a lock on it. I knew if my parents saw one of my sculptures they’d try to be nice and say it showed talent, but I couldn’t bear to show what I had created with my own hands. It showed too much of how I really felt inside.
The worst time
The years slipped by and I guess I got used to the way things were in my life. Beth and I were not very close—she had many friends and was always on her way to do something. She was bubbling over about something new constantly, and our house always seemed to be full of sunshine when she was there.
But then the worst time came when Beth turned 14 and my parents finally let her begin dating. They had never had to give me permission, I thought bitterly as I watched her get ready for her first dance. I was a junior in high school, and a boy had never asked me out.
“I wish you were going with me!” cried Beth, whirling around in front of a mirror in her new blue dress which matched her eyes. “It’s going to be so much fun!”
For once I couldn’t keep silent. “Who would take me out? I’m taller than most of the boys in school!” I was sorry I blurted it out, because Beth’s smile faded and she came over and sat beside me on the bed.
“Oh Cathy, that’s not true! There’s Dick Saunders who is 6'4" and a whole bunch of other guys. It’s just that you never even look at them. You are always off by yourself! And then you spend hours in your room instead of going places. I wish you could be happier, I really do!”
She had tears in her eyes, and I hugged her quickly. “I know, Beth. But you can’t understand how I feel because I’m not like you. How would you like to borrow my cashmere sweater?”
“Fabulous!” Beth jumped up, her sunny nature restored. “And when I get back I’ll tell you all about it. It will be just as if you were there!”
When Beth left. I went to my room and cried for the first time in ages. My mother came to the door and knocked, but I asked her to leave me alone, trying to keep my voice steady. I heard her sigh and move away. She doesn’t understand me either, I thought wistfully. I wondered if I’d ever meet somebody who did.
That’s when I decided to make a new mobile. I got out all my pieces of wire and glue and a big box of heavy paper in all different colors. As I worked, I thought of Beth, and I cut out many delicate shapes and strung them painstakingly on wires. Hours later I was finished and I hung it up and stepped back to look at it. It was really good! I thought with surprise. The pieces I had designed moved in the air and flashed with light, and somehow they reminded me of happy, carefree Beth, going to her first dance. For a minute I wanted to run out and call my parents. But I didn’t want to share this with anyone. Maybe they would laugh at it. So I took it down and put it carefully in a box in my dresser drawer.
It was shortly after this that the Monkees show began on television, and by the time the second program came on, Beth was one of the biggest Monkee fans in town! She wouldn’t budge from the TV every Monday night, and she bought every magazine there was with stories about them, especially Monkee Spectacular. The walls of her room were covered with colored pictures of them, mostly of Davy, who was her favorite.
At first I watched the show with little interest. But Beth’s enthusiasm finally lit a spark in me, and I found myself looking forward to seeing the show. More and more I began to notice Micky, with his dancing eyes and happy smile. His antics on the show made me laugh, and I started liking him a lot.
A gift for Micky
Then one day I came home from school and noticed a new magazine about the Monkees on the hall table. I flopped into a chair and began to thumb through it before starting my homework, and I stopped at an article about Micky. He was talking about wire sculpture! There were pictures of him working on some of his designs. I had never read much about him before, and when I found that his interest in sculpture was as intense as mine, my heart almost stopped!
That’s when I decided to do something I had never done before. Without giving myself a chance to change my mind, I went upstairs and took out the mobile I had put so carefully in my drawer. For just a minute I held it up and looked at it. I had never shown it to anyone, but I was going to give it to Micky Dolenz, someone I had never even met. I wrote him a little note to send with it, just telling him I liked him and thought he might enjoy my gift. I told him a little about myself, but I couldn’t put into words how much the mobile meant to me and how I prayed he would love it as much as I did.
After I mailed it to Micky c/o Monkee Spectacular I began telling myself it was foolish to think he would even see it. I knew he and the other Monkees got thousands of letters every day. Why should my small package be singled out from the rest? A long time went by, and I stopped thinking about it.
The magic letter
About four months later, I came home one day to find Beth waiting for me by the door, jumping up and down with excitement. She waved a large envelope in my face and cried, “Open it! Open it! It’s from Micky Dolenz!!”.
“Okay!” I said, as calmly as I could, although my heart was thudding so hard I thought it would stop. My mother came in from the kitchen, laughing at Beth’s enthusiasm. With them standing behind me, I opened the thick envelope with shaking hands and pulled out a short letter.
Please forgive me for not writing you sooner to thank you for the mobile you sent to me, but I just got the package a few days ago. I don’t think I could ever thank you enough. It is the best present I ever received, and I have it hanging in my bedroom so that it’s the first thing I see when I get up in the morning. I wish you lots of luck with your future designs, and I only hope that someday I can be half as good as you are!
Love and peace,
But that wasn’t the only thing in the envelope! The next thing I pulled out was a big photograph of Micky standing beneath the mobile looking up at it and smiling. The picture was signed, “To Cathy, My Fave Artist, Love, Micky.”
It was too much to believe! From somewhere far away I heard my mother’s voice. “Why Cathy, why didn’t you ever show this to us! It’s just beautiful!” And suddenly I knew she was telling me the truth. Beth was looking at the photo carefully. “It reminds me of flowers, and sunshine and… and love!” she said softly.
“I was thinking of you when I made it, Beth,” I smiled. Suddenly I felt happier than I had ever felt in my life. There was a new feeling inside me now, pushing all the hurt and self-pity out of my heart. It was the first seeds of self-confidence, and Micky had planted them there!
I won’t tell you that overnight I became beautiful and popular. But I can tell you truthfully that Micky’s belief in my talent gave me a new faith in myself. I have enrolled in a very good art school and will start in September. Plus that, I’ve been dating a really neat guy who’s interested in the same things I am. I don’t feel like a plain and unimportant person any more. Perhaps sooner or later something would have happened to change me, but somehow I think I owe it all to wonderful Micky Dolenz. He changed my life, and I’ll always love him for it!
This is the last issue of Monkee Spectacular but you can keep reading about Micky and the other Monkees each month in TIGER BEAT and FaVE!