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Ramona’s Ramblings

Reunited and it feels so…hunky dory

Ramona Jan
Posted 10/5/21

Her name is Debbie and she’s my best friend from high school. We met in the hallways by exchanging tart, but friendly, quips. She was smart, bitterly funny and stunningly beautiful, a tall, …

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Ramona’s Ramblings

Reunited and it feels so…hunky dory


Her name is Debbie and she’s my best friend from high school. We met in the hallways by exchanging tart, but friendly, quips. She was smart, bitterly funny and stunningly beautiful, a tall, slim Kim Kardashian.

I didn’t think she would let me into her clique but she did because she was also kind. We spent the summer after graduation, just the two of us, renting a room in a boarding house on the Jersey shore, one might say, as a social and cultural experiment?

Sundown on the boardwalk, we were halter-topped, glitter-belted, and rhinestone-pinned, eavesdropping on boys who greeted each other, “Hey mon”. The mispronunciation of the word ‘man’, perplexing and constant, secretly filled us with hysterics and ultimately prompted our lifelong nicknames, Senior Mon and Junior Mon.

Naturally, I was Junior Mon and glad about it because it soon appeared Senior Mon had…responsibilities. Debbie was in charge of keeping said boys at bay. Her cutting sarcasm handled the job perfectly. I stood by in awe of her winning ways. She also kept a journal, something I looked upon as ridiculous self-imposed summertime homework, and yet it eventually inspired me to write.

Back home, Debbie played records while we poured over Crème Magazine; the affordable, crib-note version of Rolling Stone. She’d perform each song note for note in perfect rhythm with her unbridled punkish voice. Again, I’d watch in awe. There were no thoughts of where either one of us was headed but if I had to guess I would have said rock star for Deb and for me, I didn’t know. Together, we frequented deadbeat bars that featured out-of-the-mainstream bands including T-Rex, New York Dolls, Aerosmith, Genesis, Kiss and more.

In ’74, we had front row seats to Bowie’s Diamond Dogs concert at Madison Square Garden. Mid-song Bowie handed his straw fedora to Debbie. (She still has it though, she says, the streaks of orange hair dye on the inside have faded). At another show, David Johansen (NY Dolls) threw a nickel into the audience and instead of Debbie catching it, I caught it. This kind of thing never happened to me and oddly turned out to be an omen of sorts.

I moved to Manhattan and became a rock singer, musician and composer. I even signed to two major labels. I worked with many artists including Talking Heads, Ramones and Brian Eno. On a professional basis, I met and socialized with Bowie and for several years, I was a back-up vocalist with David Johansen a/k/a Buster Poindexter.

Deb, on the other hand, took an administrative job at a big hospital right out of high school and only just retired from that job. She was able to manifest all her dreams (she calls them obsessions) like traveling, attending Broadway shows and most of all staying unmarried. Forty-seven years just flew by before we spoke again.

Over the phone she tells me that she’s tripped and fallen and is lying on her back. She has Multiple Sclerosis now and says falling is part of it. She thinks she’s broken a collar bone. Her brother is on his way to take her to the hospital. She’s in great pain and wants to promote me from ‘Junior Mon’ to ‘Senior Mon’, but I say no.

She has always been much greater than me. She’s held down a real job, traveled the world, taken care of both her parents as they transitioned from this existence to the next, gained and then lost a hundred pounds, and survived several operations including brain surgery. I’ve done none of that. Working in music was hard but it was also like a constant party.

I remind Deb that she is the ‘Senior Mon’ and will always be the ‘Senior Mon’. She will survive this fall in a mind-over-matter way because, like all ‘mons’, her spirit is fully intact beyond anything physical.


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