Where Are They Now?

Remember Jack and Diane? Well, they’re not doing so hot these days. Tracking down the stars of yesterday’s songs to get the update.

Davy, “Piano Man”

Actually, it’s David Jenkins. “Still in the Navy and probably will be for life,” right? So, I got out a year after he did that song, jobbed around for a while, got a job with my nephew—smart kid—selling real estate. For which I have an inclination. It’s about people, helping them, I like it. I own my own business, my nephew is still doing fine for himself, plenty of room for both of us. I live near the sound, no complaints. Going to be a grandfather even. I’m known in the community as a reliable businessman, which is something I worked for and earned. I learned a lot of the values I apply in my life in the Navy. I’m glad I was in.

Paul, “Piano Man”

That “real estate novelist” line burned the hell out of me. I got out of real estate right after. Ended up in L.A. about three years later. Worked as a writer on a bunch of sitcoms. Do you remember Father Donnelly’s Kids? I was head writer on that abortion… I work a lot less now, a few days a month. Semi-retired. I’m involved in the kids’ literacy programs. I’ve given out 30,000 dollars over the years. So I’m finally writing the novel. It’s about a midget piano player in Long Island who marries a supermodel. I’m kidding, it’s about kids growing up on Long Island in the 60s. Back to my roots.

Sue, “Boy Named Sue”

I realize now that I was hiding almost everything about myself. It took a lot of time to accept. Post-op, I felt this sense of relief—that I could get out of that world and just relax and be who I was. Not that the world accepts me, but I do. Go figure—a lot of my friends who are transitioning are jealous because I didn’t have to change my name.

Roxanne, “Roxanne”

Reported missing by anonymous tip in 1989. No further records.

Bobby McGee, “Me and Bobby McGee”

I came out here [Reynolds, a small town in Oregon] and built my house, got married, had four kids. All of them now through college. I’m an investment counselor. I know it’s probably hard to see how one led to the other. I took a lot of night courses. It was cheap back then. Economics was real interesting to me. I got into the market. I had a knack. Not a great knack, or I’d be living somewhere different. But it added up on top of other work. So after 20 years of that, doing fine, I got a certification and hung up my shingle. No, I never saw her again, no, not after we split up near Salinas.

Diane, “Jack and Diane”

I work at Best Buy. It’s not the best job. I’ve got the kids, of course. Jimmy’s nearly 13. Suzanne I’m more worried about. She brought this boy home. She’s 16, he’s 22. But you can’t tell her anything, she’s going to do what she wants. I’m trying to get her a job by me, I figure we work together maybe I can straighten her out. But then I don’t want her to live the life I have, either. I want her to get an education. But then the high school is calling and they don’t know where she is. I just keep seeing her going down the same paths. Her father is practically nonexistent, he comes around and I try to hold it in for everyone’s sake but I can’t keep from screaming at him.

Jack, “Jack and Diane”

I served my country in the Persian Gulf War. I’m glad to see us going over there to finish the job even though I’m not that confident in the leadership at this time. I don’t see the kids or Diane as often as I should. I don’t know why.


TMN Contributing Writer Paul Ford is the author of Gary Benchley, Rock Star, a novel that was originally serialized here on TMN. He was formerly an editor at Harper’s Magazine, was an occasional commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered, and is now sole proprietor of (which has a Facebook group). More by Paul Ford