Janet Barch in "My Life as a Tween Queen"

Riverside California 1967

Janet "Wildflower" Thatcher was the Tween Queen of Amelia Earhart Middle School. Her bellbottom blue-jeans and flower t-shirt were going to make her the envy of every seventh grade girl at the school. There was only one thing she was missing - a Davy Jones lunchbox. She had been searching for one all summer long to no avail. Not even Woolworth's - which carried everything under the sun - had one. Janet was to the point of pre-teen craziness, the lunchbox of the guy of her dreams was a must.

Davy Jones with his perfect smile and his British accent made him the darling of every tween girl's eye and Janet was no exception. She bought the Monkees albums and was a member of the Davy Jones Fan Club Riverside chapter. Her face would beam with pride whenever she told her girlfriends that she never missed an episode of the show - that would have been the ultimate betrayal. With only two weeks left before school began, Janet was beginning to lose hope. Then it happened - her mother came home one day from work holding up two slips of paper in her hands. Not just any kind of paper - tickets. Two tickets for her and Janet to go see the Monkees in concert. Staring at the ticket speechless, Janet began to jump up and down in excitement. She was going to get to see him in person. Davy Jones - the object of her pre-teen fantasies.

She spent the rest of that week picking out the perfect outfit to wear to the show. Putting on her favorite yellow shirt and navy blue skirt and white vinyl boots with the silver buckles, Janet spun around in front of the mirror and realized she was missing her headband. After placing it on her head and giving one more check - she and her mother left their house for the concert. They arrived early to avoid some of the crowd. After handing in their ticket, Janet and her mother walked around looking at some of the merchandise that was for sale. That's when Janet spotted it - a sky blue Monkees lunchbox with all four faces on one side and just Davy's on the other. It came with a thermos and a sandwich holder. The stand only had three left. Seeing the look of desperation on the child's face, Janet's mother fought her way through the building crowd and bought the last one.

Janet's hands shook as her mother lowered the lunchbox into her hands. As they made their way to their seats, Janet clutched the box with an iron grip. Janet's mother grinned at the wide smile that was on her young daughter's face. Janet looked like her head was about to explode - not only did she get the lunchbox of her dreams but she was going to be able to say she actually saw Davy Jones in person. As they waited for the show to begin, a family sat down beside them. A boy around her age, turned and looked at her with a shy grin on his face. After staring at her for several minutes, the boy finally got the nerve to speak.

"I like your lunchbox," the boy mumbled.

"Thank you," Janet blushed.

"Your boots are nice too. What's your name?"

"Janet Thatcher. What's yours?"

"Timothy - Timothy Barch."