My Phone Conversation With Davy Jones

When I was writing about my childhood friend Nancy and our 1968 campaign for Eugene McCarthy when I was 10, I started to remember all kinds of crazy things Nancy and I would get into. I decided I have to blog about the story of our phone call to Davy Jones of the Monkees.

Nancy was my out-of-town friend. Her parents were friends with my parents. When her parents and my parents were newlyweds, they all lived in these little cottages on a main road between Hubbard and the south side of Youngstown. My mom used to tell stories about how she and my dad and Margie and Rudy, Nancy’s parents, didn’t have any money, but they were happy as clams. In a way that only my mom could do it, she convinced me that it was actually better to be poor. It was better to not have a freezer, because then when you scraped together enough change on payday to go buy a carton of ice cream, you had to share it with the couple next-door because you didn’t have anywhere to keep the leftovers.

Nancy and Rudy moved out of Hubbard at some point, but they came back to visit a lot, so I spent a great deal of my childhood playing with Nancy. She was a year older than me. She was always concocting schemes. We were always making costumes for a show that she had choreographed or singing Nancy’s made-up songs into toilet paper tube microphones. She told me where to stand, what to wear and I did my job, which was to ask, “How high do you want me to jump?”

I’ll have to write separate blogs about some of our more memorable antics, including the trip I took to Washington DC with Nancy and her family, where we stayed with a woman named Naomi and had to drink warm goat’s milk every night at dinner; our trips to A&P stores all over Ohio and Pennsylvania, where Nancy and I would pretend we lived in a grocery store (we turned those big meat cases into beds and couches); and our favorite game, which we called “Two Thousand, Six Hundred, Seventy Nine Kids,” in which we pretended we were the mothers of that many children. Luckily, we had wide hips, and we lived in a house with an intercom. We used it to scream out orders to our kids to “Wake up!” and “Brush your teeth!”

But for this blog, I have to tell you about Boink Boink Davy Jones.

When Nancy would come to Hubbard, she would stay at her grandparents’ house. Mum and Pup lived next door to Nancy’s aunt, uncle and cousins, and one of the cousins was Debbie, who was four years older than me. If Nancy was the boss, then Debbie was the older cousin of the boss, which meant her word was gospel. If the Gospels were bossy in a snippy way.

One day Nancy and I were playing in Mum and Pup’s back sun room, cutting out pictures of beautiful women with frosted flips from magazines and making pretend photo albums of our imaginary adult lives. Debbie came in and said excitedly, “Hey, you two, do you want to talk to Davy Jones on the phone?”

We looked up at her with squinched faces, like, “Huh? What the heck are you talking about?”

Debbie explained with a straight face that one of her friends knew Davy Jones’ phone number and if we wanted to talk to him, we could just call this number and talk to the real Davy Jones in person.

Davy Jones was the bomb at this point in our lives. He was short, like us; he was cute; he had tuff hair, wore tuff clothes and was in the Monkees, the best band ever. I had already spent a good deal of the past year listening to “I Wanna Be Free” while staring at the album cover picture of him and writing fan letters to the Davy Jones Fan Club.

So, heck yes we wanted to talk to him on the phone. We had to go to Debbie’s house to make the call. That should have been our 12th clue that this was a hoax, but we seemed to be blinded by our desire to talk to Davy Jones on the telephone. The number we had to dial had way too many numerals, even for an international call, but we dialed and sure enough, a guy with a British accent answered.

Now let me back up and explain the technicality that Debbie told us was crucial to getting through to Davy Jones. “There’s a code that you have to say. If you don’t say it, he’ll hang up. So when he answers, you have to say, ‘Boink Boink Davy Jones.’”

At the time, Debbie seemed so old and wise, but now that I think back, she couldn’t have been older than about 15. This makes sense, since what other age group would make up something so ridiculous as Boink Boink Davy Jones? What was the point of that? I think she and her co-conspiratory friends just wanted to see how far they could take this. If they had told us we had to be standing there in our underpants to get the call to go through, we probably would have stripped.

So there’s Nancy and I, standing in her aunt’s kitchen, holding the phone between our heads, and we were so surprised to hear this British accented voice that was so obviously Davy Jones – I mean, really, he had a British accent!! We almost forgot to say Boink Boink Davy Jones, but breathlessly we both said it.

“Boink Boink Davy Jones.”

Most of the conversation is a blur in my memory. Davy sounded tired, kind of relaxed, like he was laying on his couch listening to music, or maybe just waking up. Nancy and I kept passing the phone back and forth and talking to him. At one point, he got a little bit irritated at us for passing the phone back and forth so much. We would get nervous and run out of topics to talk about and would say, “OK, here’s Nancy” and “OK, here’s Diane.” He went all movie star on us and said he was tired of talking to us on the phone and he had to go.

Even after we hung up and Debbie was rolling on the floor laughing, we still were 100 percent sure we had just talked to Davy Jones on the phone. I even felt a little bit sick about the fact that we had angered him. I told Nancy I wasn’t sure he’d ever date either of us now.

Nancy and I remained on Cloud 9 for weeks. I told very few people about the phone call, though, because it had a clandestine aura and I thought it best to just keep it on the QT.

A couple of months later, Nancy and I were playing in her Mum and Pup’s back room again and Debbie came in and asked if we wanted to talk to Nancy Sinatra on the phone.

Nah, we said. We were in the middle of a Barbie Queen of the Prom game and I had in my grasp a date with somebody other than Poindexter for the first time in ages.

I do wonder, though, what code words were required for the Nancy Sinatra call. Dooby Dooby Do Nancy Sinatra?

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