Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happiness is...a fond childhood memory.

I have lost two cherished icons in the space of a week.

Last Friday the world lost the last half of the husband-wife team that created the much-loved Berenstain Bears books. Jan passed away after having suffered a stroke at the age of 88. (Her husband Stan passed away in 2005.) I don't know of anyone who hasn't grown up reading their books, whether as a parent to their child or as a child themselves. Probably best known for their tales with a moral, they've dealt with everything from sibling rivalry to too much junk food, stranger danger and even religion. Their books have taken a bit of turn towards the schmalz as of late, but their early stuff is priceless, with their beginning readers the best of the best.

Many a night I would beg for another reading of The Spooky Old Tree (still one of my favorite reads!), inducing the juiciest of chills followed up by a nice, warm happy ending, perfect for even the youngest of readers. *Warning* It's a gateway book for harder stuff. I blame it entirely for my late elementary school fascination with the likes of Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe!

And I probably could still recite to you the entire text of Inside, Outside, Upside-Down and The B Book...they're very Seuss-esque, which is appropriate as he helped get them started in the publishing world.

The world is a much sadder and duller place for their loss.
Go here, to see a complete listing of their books, to play some fun games, and more.
And here to read a great memorial from the Huffington Post.

And then today I was hit with the news that Davy Jones had died after suffering a heart attack. For those of you not familiar with the great silliness that is The Monkees, go here and fix that, right now.  Or take a gander at these clips.

(Davy's signature song)

(The opening and closing credits of their TV show)

The Monkees was a musical group created to ride on the wave of the Beatles popularity. They were commissioned to star in the offbeat and sometimes ridiculous tv series where they often bumblingly solved mysteries ala Scooby Doo while meeting pretty girls and occasionally breaking into song. Their songs were released on records and they even went on tour. They were goofy and quirky and really not all that talented, but they were charming and so completely likeable that they were a huge success for several years.

As all the best things do, they came back into fashion many years later. In the 80s MTV and a few other stations began showing the reruns and a whole new generation fell in love. My mom happened to have nearly all of their records and so I inherited them along with a mad passionate crush on the token Brit (they had to have a cute guy with an accent if they were going to feed off the Beatles frenzy), Mr. Davy Jones.

Oh, he was so cute! He was my first celeb crush and I was devestated when my mom finally pointed out that he was older in real life than she was (reality can be tough on a 4th grader) but I've never lost my soft spot for him, nor my love for the Monkees in general. (I can still do a few of the interpretive dances my cousin and I worked up to some of their songs when the occasion calls for it ...the 'occasion' being any time one of the songs come on my ipod during shuffle mode!)

RIP my friends, you carry a bit of my childhood with you to your graves. Guard it well.

I'm beginning to feel as if I ought to change the 'happiness' tag on my blog. Sorry about all the downer posts lately. I'll try to do better, I promise!


  1. I just heard on the radio that in 1967, the Monkees outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones COMBINED! Chalk one up for pure unadulterated Fun music.

    1. I know, right? Kids these days have no idea what they're missing! (I love it when I can say something that sounds all wise and grown-up, it's so counter to my reality!)

  2. I remember being in my basement making up those dances with you. Happy, happy times.