The day I met my idol since I was 14, Bruce Springsteen
For 30 years, I’ve had a “Hungry Heart” for him. He’s my “Light of Day,” my “Local Hero.” “Growin’ Up,” I wished I was a “Red-Headed Woman" — or that my name was “Sherry, Darlin,” “Bobbie Jean” or even “Rosalita.”
I would’ve done anything — from — “Dancing in the Dark” to “Meeting Across the River” to even wearing a “Brilliant Disguise.” I would have taken a “Downbound Train” to “Atlantic City,” “Darlington County,” “Thunder Road” — even “Nebraska” — JUST TO MEET HIM.
I’m talking about the man who I’ve admired and loved since I’m 14 years old. The one, the only, Mr. Bruce Springsteen!
Anyone who knows me, knows how huge a Springsteen fan I am — never missing a tour — seeing him perform a gazillion times in concert. But I’ve never met the man in person. But now, three decades after hearing the “Born in the U.S.A.” album for the first time, I finally met the love of my life.
Tuesday, The Boss’ new autobiography, “Born to Run” was released. I was one of 2,000 lucky fans to score a ticket to his book signing at Barnes and Noble in Freehold. I was beyond excited, as you can imagine.
I’ve met countless celebrities over the course of my radio career — always remained calm, never really star-struck (or at least I didn’t show that I was in front of them). But this was Bruce Springsteen, the ultimate star – well, in my life at least. What would I even say to him? I think I practiced a zillion times over the course of my life what I would say if and when I ever met Bruce.
Of course in each of those scenarios, we were on a beach, chatting over a tropical cocktail, shooting the breeze (no pun intended) and we had all the time in the world. But I digress.
I knew the chit-chat at the book signing would be minimal since there would not be a lot of time. So whatever I said to him had to be earth-shattering, original and mind-blowing.
Fast-forward to Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. I arrive at Barnes & Noble in Freehold at 6:15 a.m. with my friends Laura and Crazy Janie. Right away, our ticket is scanned. The barriers are up — only a few people on line at this point, maybe 20 ahead of us. I stand outside in the misty rain and yes, it is dark. Barnes & Noble has a big sign out front that reads, “Welcome Bruce Springsteen.”
The doors open at 7 a.m. I get my wristband, go inside, buy my autographed book — at a discount by the way (Woo hoo!). Bruce takes care of his fans. Only about 200 people are allowed to stay in the store, lined up along the aisles. Right away, I check the inside of my book to make sure it's autographed. And there it is — and this is no autopen signature.
Bruce signed each and every book!
By now it’s about 7:20 a.m. What do you do until noon when the meet-and-greet is supposed to begin? Simple. You chat with your fellow Bruce-nuts, listen to all the Springsteen music pumping throughout the store, “put your makeup on and fix your hair up pretty” and oh, read the book! Everyone's very calm, having a good time.
Soon after, bomb-sniffing dogs come in to make sure everything is clear. It’s sad this has to happen, but unfortunately, this is reality, folks. All clear! Back to listening to Bruce music ...
I then meet Kevin — Bruce’s “guitar tech.” He’s the guy who tosses Bruce his different guitars on stage. He’s a big deal so we all wanted a picture with Kevin.
It’s a little after 10 a.m. Time to call Dennis and Judi (well, it's actually Michelle Polenza filling in for Judi). I just chat away about the people, the ambiance, the mood, the excitement.
It’s 10:30 a.m. Bruce arrives at Barnes & Noble — an hour and a half early. I hear he drove himself there. He walks in and says “let’s get this thing started.” Everyone is pumped …excited … nervous.
Here it is … the moment. The line moves fast — like an assembly line. You give your bag to one person, your cell phone to another. Step up on the stage, and there is Bruce. He is dressed in his typical “Bruce black garb” and I did a good job of matching him. LOL. I walk up to him, introduce myself, shake his hand. Then he puts his arm around me — I almost die.
Bruce Springsteen is touching me!
Ha! I put my arm around him. I tell him, “I’ve been waiting 30 years for this moment to meet you.” He says, “Well, I’m glad I could make this moment happen for you. I’m blessed.” I tell him, “I love you and your music.” He responds, “I love you, too.” My witty comeback: “You’ll probably say that to about 500 other women today but I don’t care because you said it to me.” Bruce laughs. Then we take our picture. I'm fortunate to get two photos … one with his arm around my waist, another with his hand on my shoulder.
After the picture, I'm given back my cell phone and bag — someone is waiting to cut off my wristband, then I leave the store. Of course, I'm smiling from ear to ear and screaming like a 12-year-old girl. I met Bruce Springsteen. Cross it off my bucket list. I’m debating whether to wash my shirt ever again … LOL. But I can tell you this: My picture with Bruce will be my profile picture forever — definitely a Christmas card — and maybe I’ll even blow it up, have it mounted and laminated. The choices are endless.
A little after 11 a.m: Call Dennis and Michelle again to describe my experience meeting Bruce. It was fast … but it was perfect. Everything I hoped for and more. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to do a one-on-one interview with Bruce — but for now, I’ll just relish in the fact that I met him, spoke to him and got a picture with him.
Sept. 27, 2016 at 10:45am — the date and time I met my idol. Now, it’s time to read the book.
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