The summer of Bon Jovi

My childhood friend and I used to drag blankets and sheets out into the yard by my swingset, eager to play house by draping them across the slide or tying them around the monkey bars in order to create “rooms”.  Heidi lived on one side of the playset and I lived on the other.  Our “house” overlooked the sandbox and a few climb-worthy trees. She and I shared dishes and doll dresses, childcare duties and even clothes, especially when we needed to get glammed up to go out in pretend limousines while on pretend dates with our pretend husbands…

…who were only the two most famous members of the rock band Bon Jovi.

Yes, I was Jon Bon Jovi’s wife for a few months back in 1986. Heidi chose Richie Sambora to be her other half.  The four of us lived very happily in the woods of my expansive backyard.  The rock star hubbies never argued with us and pretty much did whatever we told them to.  Sometimes we’d even leave the babies with them when we got called in for dinner.  You could say Heidi and I had the perfect husbands.  And you’d be right – because they were total figments of our imagination, but to my 10-year old heart…they were real, oh so real.

I loved me some Jon Bon Jovi.

My chores consisted of washing the dishes every other week and keeping my room clean, which I sucked at (and still do, honestly). For weeks, I saved up enough money to buy Bon Jovi’s best-known album to date: SLIPPERY WHEN WET….oh, yeah!!!

Nice pants!


I wrote my beloved Jon quite a few letters and sent them to the Bon Jovi fan club, to the address on the back of the record sleeve that also promised a reply to every single fan letter.  Sometimes I even passed on a few original songs I’d written on my Casio keyboard.  I was young, in love, and unstoppable.  For a very short time, some girlfriends and I formed a band.  I played keyboards badly, Roni played the saxophone badly, Heidi would sing badly, and Shelly…I don’t quite know what Shelly did.  The four of us even made the decision, as a band, to call some kid in our class named Mark and ask him to be our drummer.  He said yes.  It was all very exciting! To this day, it has never been determined if Mark had a drumset or if he actually could, in fact, play the drums.  But he had long hair and that was a requirement, an instant qualifier on the rock band legitimacy checklist.

As Heidi and I spent the warmer months of June and July playing house with the members of Bon Jovi (because, even though we were married to Jon and Richie, the rest of the band was still welcome to our home and visited often), summertime started to wane and daylight was fading fast.  The cold weather and earlier sunsets chased us both back indoors and we had to leave it all outside: the husbands and all the bling and the celebrity that accompanies the life of a rock star wife.

My parents asked me that summer, “What do you want to be when you grow up?

 I told them, with much confidence, “I wanna be a groupie!”  

What?  I thought groupies just followed their favorite bands around and watched them perform on stage.  It was also during this time that I thought the “ex” in ex-husband was short for extra, you know…like a spare.

Oh, the innocence of being ten years old.

P.S. I’m still waiting for my reply letter, Jon.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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2 Responses to The summer of Bon Jovi

  1. Chris says:

    That Jon is so rude! 😉

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