ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 36 (day 12):

Written by Michael Nesmith
Performed by the Monkees
Recorded at Western Recorders, Hollywood, California 1966
Drummer: Micky Dolenz (concert); Hal Blaine and Jim Gordon (studio)

“I won’t hurt you,” came the voice. It was a woman sitting at a table under the cottonwoods. A burro was standing next to the table, switching its tail and looking at them placidly. Flam growled at the burro but stayed behind Norman.
“You’re almost out of the desert now,” said the woman.
“Where are we?” Norman asked. Molly could feel his pulse racing.
“You’re in Daggett,” said the woman. She wore a wide-brimmed hat and a long dress. She held a notebook in her hands and a camera hung from a strap around her neck. “You are one hundred miles from your destination.”
“How –?”
“I saw you coming,” said the woman. “I can lead you back to your wagon road when you are ready.”
Molly gripped Norman harder, to steady herself. It gave Norman strength as well.
“Who are you?”

My love for the Monkees was deep and loyal. I could have cared less that they were a television band. They were wacky and fun and full of life and silliness, and that was just what I needed in my life when I was 13 years old, living in Franny’s COUNTDOWN country, Washington, D.C., while my dad was stationed at Andrews AFB in the Sixties.

Every Monday night was Monkees night, from 1966 to 1968, and I was glued to the television for that theme song, and for every second of their program. You can watch full episodes on YouTube, and of course I fell down that rabbit hole while researching ANTHEM.

Just like I had done with the Beatles, I knew every word to every Monkees song, who sang it, what album it was on, and I knew all the trivia, thanks to Tiger Beat Magazine.

Molly is past the Monkees by 1969, and I suppose I was, too, fickle me, but “Mary Mary” is a great song to remember them by, and a perfect tune for Chapter 36, as Norman and Molly survive a dust storm in the Mohave Desert and meet the mysterious and possibly magical Mary Beal. Lots of links here, to Mary, each of them a different story, all worth your time.

Mary Beal, “Botanist of the Mohave Desert,” came up in my research about the Mojave, and as soon as I stumbled upon her, I knew she was part of my story. I loved this chapter with Mary Beal, and loved pairing it with “Mary, Mary, where you going to?” as that was exactly what Molly and Norman were trying to figure out with her. Where did she come from? Where did she go?

Mary Mary leads them on their way, out of the dust, safely back to their “conveyance,” to the right “wagon road” and onward to California.

Chapter 36.