Tattoo me: I sent a note to Springsteen’s NJ address with an extremely personal ask
Yes. I wrote a handwritten letter to Bruce Springsteen asking him to do something extremely personal for me.
Yes. I mailed it directly to his home in Colts Neck. (It’s not like back in the 1980s when you would flip open your issue of Tiger Beat and send a letter to the artist’s fan club).
No. I haven’t received a response yet but I’m hoping that will change very soon.
Bruce Springsteen’s latest studio album “Letter to You” was released in October 2020, his first new studio album with the E Street Band to be released since 2014.
He gave us “Letter to You” so it was only fitting I send a letter to HIM. But my letter is not a typical fan letter stating “I’m your #1 fan,” but rather it’s a letter with a purpose — a purpose to help me continue my bond with my late father, who I love and miss every single second of every single day.
But to help you understand what that request is, I need to go back a bit.
My father, the late New York Mets lefty relief pitcher Jim Ursillo, was my whole world.
My dad and I always had a very tight bond. He’s probably the one man in my life who never let me down, never disappointed me, and always made good on his promises to me. My dad always supported my radio career, loved my mom, loved his daughters, and was over the moon for his grandchildren.
But a disgusting, horrible monster called cancer took my dad away from us on Jan. 13, 2010, when he was just 66 years old. He had just recently retired and was looking forward to a future that was to be filled with traveling with my mom, playing golf with his buddies, watching Mets games, and enjoying his kids and grandkids.
The bottom line is I miss my pop very much. My life has not been the same since that dark day. He missed so much with his family, and so many times I catch myself in the middle of something fun and exciting saying, “daddy would have loved this.”
Every night before I go to sleep I look up and say, “Goodnight, daddy. I love you. See you in my dreams.” It’s been a thing I do each night since his death, not knowing that those final five words would become even more powerful and meaningful one day.
By now you’re probably wondering, “what the heck does this have to do with Bruce Springsteen and a letter?” I’m getting there.
Why does Springsteen’s music speak to me so profoundly?
Since I was 13 years old, Bruce Springsteen’s music has played a significant role in my life. I remember sitting in the bedroom of my Staten Island home in the summer of 1984, listening to the radio one day, singing songs, and having a good ol’ time when all of a sudden, this raspy, gravelly yet soulful and sexy voice came booming across the speakers. “Born down in a dead man’s town….”
I remember just staring at the speakers in awe, wondering who the heck this dude was coming in loud and clear in my room. Of course, I come to find out it was Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.
Immediately, I knew I had to have the record and the cassette tape. I must have played “The Born in The U.S.A”. album until it warped and the ribbon in the cassette twisted. I memorized every single lyric of every song.
I was hooked! From that day on, The Boss and his music have been interwoven in all aspects of my life. No matter what has happened since I was 13, good or bad, there’s been a Springsteen song that has summed up every experience.
People ask me why I’m a HUGE fan. Springsteen’s music speaks to me. He is a brilliant storyteller both in his songs and on stage during his concerts.
Why people love Springsteen so much
The Boss’ songwriting is usually based on his own personal experiences, which in turn, are typically about our own experiences, too. His songs are about the working man, normal life, issues with parents, troubled relationships and marriages, war, financial woes, the Jersey Shore, life in the Garden State, the glory days, determination, survival, and yes, even death.
In times of struggle, Springsteen’s music has always been a beacon of hope. Take “The Rising” album, for example. It was released in July 2002, 10 months after 9/11. This is probably my favorite album behind “Born in the U.S.A.”
Following the events of that haunting day, Sept. 11, 2001, America was vulnerable. We were in a state of utter despair, and total sadness, bonded by tragedy. How were we ever going to recover? How were people ever going to get past what happened? How would they go on without their loved ones, whose lives were innocently taken?
I believe “The Rising” album and its songs brought hope and healing to America, reminding us that we are strong, and somehow, we will get through this horror.
Springsteen’s music has been the soundtrack of my life and I love how he personalizes his songs with characters we can all relate to on some level.
Springsteen is not afraid to tell us what he’s going through. He’s not afraid to show us he’s human, too, and how, when he was growing up, he craved the same things every teen craves: the acceptance and affection of our parents, and friends, a good job that pays the bills and finding that perfect soulmate. He reminds us that even when things look bleak, down the shore everything’s all right.
He has taken me on a journey of his own life through his music and that music has guided me on my own personal journey.
Unfortunately, I missed “The Born in the USA” tour when I was a kid. Years later, however, I was thrilled to be at a show at Giants Stadium where Springsteen promised to cover full album sets. No one knew what album he would do on those nights, but I was lucky enough to be there when he performed the “Born in the U.S.A” album from cover to cover. Needless to say, my inner 13-year-old self was very happy.
The first time I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert was on the “Tunnel of Love” tour in 1988. Since then, I’ve never missed a tour. I’ve lost count of how many shows I’ve been to between arena shows, stadium shows, private venues in Asbury Park, Christmas shows, Broadway, and more over the course of 30+years.
What is in my letter to The Boss?
I’ve met Springsteen on several occasions, including at his New Jersey Barnes & Noble book signing of “Born to Run,” and outside of the Walter Kerr Theater in New York City when he was on Broadway. Whenever I chat with Bruce, he is always warm and affectionate and I can tell he truly loves his fans.
So, I felt comfortable writing him a letter, asking for a favor dear to my heart.
In the letter, I explain to him how he infiltrated my life at 13 years old, what his music has meant to me, and some of the most memorable moments from his tours.
I even threw in the radio card, explaining who I was, hoping he would recognize my name. (Hey, it’s possible. This is New Jersey, after all.)
I told him about my father and how I wanted to pay homage to the one man whose love has never let me down (interestingly enough, Bruce wrote a song called, “My Love Will Not Let You Down,” but I digress). I told him how I say, “see you in my dreams” to my dad when I go to sleep every night.
Well, the final song on Springsteen’s last album, “Letter to You,” is called, “I’ll See You In My Dreams.” He wrote it for a dear friend but he also sang it as a tribute to the victims of the September 11th attacks during the 20th anniversary memorial service in 2021.
My very personal request to Springsteen
I told him how I was a puddle of tears hearing him sing this extremely emotional song during a remembrance service for the thousands of people who lost their lives in this tragedy. The words and his voice were filled with such passion, you could not help but hold your heart, feel the gut-wrenching emotions, and just let the waterworks fall where they may.
This is the hook:
I'll see you in my dreams
When all the summers have come to an end
I'll see you in my dreams
We'll meet and live and love again
I'll see you in my dreams
Yeah, up around the river bend
For death is not the end
And I'll see you in my dreams
There is one line that when I hear it, I simply melt. It is exactly how I feel when I think of my dad. "I'll see you in my dreams. We'll meet and live and love again."
I told him I can’t believe he wrote a song that has a title similar to what I say to my pop every night.
“So, please, Bruce, as a lifelong dedicated fan for over 30 years, I’m pleading with you to make this dream come true for me. It would be the perfect way for me to honor my first love, my dad, with lyrics from the second love of my life: YOU! Will you please write the following lyrics from “I’ll See You In My Dreams” and autograph it so I can have them tattooed on my body?”
“I’ll see you in my dreams. We’ll meet and live and love again.” Bruce Springsteen
I do believe there is life after death and that we will see our loved ones again. Knowing that soothes my soul and helps me get through the toughest of days.
I know I could just have the lyrics tattooed. But how cool and deeply meaningful would it be if I could have them in your handwriting, is what I wrote. To have these powerful lines personally written by you, my idol and my hero, in honor of a man, my other idol and hero, would be the single, most amazing gift you could bestow upon this New York-turned-Jersey girl.
I even enclosed a blank piece of copy paper for him to write the lyrics, tucked it behind the letter, and enclosed it in a card, congratulating him and his wife, Patti Scialfa, on the birth of their first grandchild, Lily Harper.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell. I want Bruce to handwrite one line of lyrics — a single line from one of his most hauntingly beautiful, deeply raw songs he’s ever written, and mail them back to me so I can have them tattooed, in honor of my pop.
Thank you, Bruce! I hope you come through for me.
Maybe I’ll see you around Jersey. I’ll be the one riding around in my purple jeep and I can promise Springsteen songs will be blasting through my speakers.
So fellow peeps, if you know Bruce or if you see him, give him a little nudge for me, will you?
In the meantime, goodnight, my sweet daddy. I’ll see you in my dreams.
10 years later — Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey