Last night, Bruce Springsteen was at one of his favorite haunts, the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park celebrating his mom‘s 93rd birthday. It was probably fun until the place lost power. If you’re a Springsteen fan, by now you’ve probably seen the documentary Springsteen and I. If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.

In the film, fans take to the screen to discuss Bruce and describe the effect that his music has had on their lives. I remember relating to a lot of the feelings described by fans in the movie because living here in New Jersey (and especially in his county and not too far away from his town of residence), I’ve had the opportunity to see him around town and meet him several times since I became a fan in the mid '70s. He was always nice and usually I left him alone but here is a list of the places that I have bumped into him in my long career of loving Bruce.

  1. Stone Pony, Asbury Park — Early '80s, Patti was singing. I was mc’ing the show as music director of my college radio station. I remember I was wearing a red leather miniskirt. He was hanging by the bar in the back but I mean- he clapped after I got off the stage. So that’s something. I raised my glass to him and he raised his back. Made my night back then.
  2. WindMill Long Branch ‘85 or ‘86 — He was a newlywed, there with his bride, Julianne Philips. Of course we asked him, “How’s married life?” (Cause we were goofy that way.) He said “great!” I guess at that moment, eating the best hot dogs and french fries in the world with an extremely hot wife, it was.
  3. Tradewinds, Sea Bright '80s — He’d always visit when Joe Grushecky played. And then play himself.
  4. The inkwell, Long Branch late '70s — He sat at the table next to us. We paid his check and he came over to thank us and we chatted.
  5. Amy’s omelette house/Perkins , (I think it was still Perkins) Long Branch '90s — I had my kids, he had his. He sat at the last table facing the wall.
  6. Jack's Music Shoppe, RedBank — Ok, guess you can’t call this “bumping into Bruce." But another case of a friend calling me and saying “hurry get to Jack’s! Bruce is here!”
  7. J. Crew,The Grove Shrewsbury 2010s — my sister called me and said he was there to come right over and I did.
  8. Steev 19, deal early 90’s — I was trying on pants. I came out of the dressing room and he said “nice pants!"
  9. RedBank Street Fair, Early 2000s — He’s with his kids. I’m with mine. Someone stopped me for an autograph saying “Judi Franco! I listen to you all the time!” And I’m like “Schmuck! Bruce Springsteen is right over there!!”
  10. Nirvana Shrewsbury 20-teens — Left him and Patti alone while they bought outrageously expensive jeans.

I’m not counting the time when, while his new home was under construction, he knocked on the door of my friend’s beautiful newly-built oceanfront mansion and asked if he could come look around to get some ideas. I wasn’t there for that but I just thought it was cool enough to mention.

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