Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Great Springsteen Springfling


This post is in response to requests from my friends to tell "the Springsteen story." It's a tale that is too crazy not to be 100% true. The names are changed to protect the totally guilty and after I thought about it, I realized I couldn't use my real pictures. More about that later. 

In the late 80s, I hung around with a friend I'll call Sally, mainly because that isn't her name at all. Her husband was a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen. Actually, he wasn't any larger than any other Springsteen fans, so huge may not be the right term. The man was obsessed with "The Boss". His dog was named Clarence Clemons, after Springsteen's sax man. Sally and I worked together and visited on weekends, so I was well aware of his fan-dom and the fact that he was generally hilarious. 

MTV was running some sort of Springsteen marathon that included daily interviews and videos of his recent song releases. The Tunnel of Love album had just came out and I'm sure this series helped album sales along. Sally's hubby and I watched all the Springsteen interviews. I'm pretty observant; somewhere along the way, I remarked, "Hmmm...if you watch all these interviews, you could drive to his house. How weird; you'd think they would be more careful."

"Naw, you'd never get close to it," Sally's husband responded.

Never? Au contraire mon ami. Never is an awfully long time. Challenge accepted. Now to find a good time to pull it off (I was in Ohio).

Because I've always been about 50% geek, I lusted after the traveling exhibition of the Dutch Masters that was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Dutch Masters, people. Together, Sally and I had planned a trip to Philly and Atlantic City; the unspoken challenge of finding Bruce Springsteen's house was too great. The starting clue was that he lived in Rumson, New Jersey;  just a hop, skip and a jump from Philly. 

Let me just say that as much as I love Bruce Springsteen, I'm not normally this kind of "fan" nut. I am, however, the person who would do anything for a laugh or a dare. Sally started the journey thinking I was basically full of beans; there's no way I had enough information from the broadcasts to locate the Springsteen house. 

This is where the Flipside gets cautious. I'm not a twenty something now; and I've seen real nuts in my lifetime. I, on the other hand, am harmless. My story clues are going to be intentionally vague; I don't want someone to repeat this little escapade for reasons other than my personal goal of smarty pants redemption and acquisition of  the combination laugh/great story. 

Arriving in Rumson, I told Sally that the Boss had said he did a fundraiser for a local business. In a later episode in the series, he mentioned that his house was across the street from it. The phone book didn't list the business. The thought occurred to me that it might be "game over" already. Sitting at the traffic light, Sally lamented the fact that I was basically dead in the water. Just then, a bicyclist pulled up and stopped next to the car. I rolled down the window and asked him the location of the business. We were two blocks from it. Bingo.

Driving past the property, we were totally excited by the presence of a car that The Boss had mentioned in interviews - it was parked in the back of the house. Suddenly, it hit me that we were really looking at the Boss' house. Another thing Springsteen had mentioned was the fact that he had a recording studio above a garage at the Jersey residence. Separate from the house was a large garage; it was actually very close to the road. Anyone could easily see that it had an upstairs - potentially, a recording studio.

"I'm going to look in the window of the garage, " I informed Sally. 

She started to freak-out a bit. The thing about Sally's freak-outs was that they were so funny. She'd get nervous, and fidget; her voice would go up in volume and her eyes doubled in size. Occasionally, she might let out a mini-scream. I was going for the full blown freak-out and anything I could do to bring it on...let's just say I was willing. At this point, I wanted a great story, too. I got out of the car and started to walk toward the garage, camera in hand.

In my mind, I thought that there was a good chance someone would say, "hey, private property!" There was an equally good chance that it would be a police man - but hey, then I'd have the ticket as proof! 

This story just gets better and better. Looking in the window, I saw the car from the front cover of the Tunnel of Love album. I was practically giddy at the thought. Sally was at 75% freak-out capacity; but she had the presence of mind to ask me to take her camera with me, too (that still cracks me up)! I think I actually told her she could have copies of my pictures, assuming it wasn't in the evidence lock up at the local police station.

The house lay ahead, far from the road. I had to walk down the long, lonely driveway to the house now: I'd kick myself forever if I didn't try. I'll knock on the door politely, I thought. 

A little voice in my brain wondered what it might be like to be tasered; somehow, I knew it would be bad but I was a gal on a mission.  

I kept looking back at my friend to gauge her excitement. Sally was at 93% freak-out capacity and unable to sit still. She alternately encouraged me and whisper-shouted, "NO...Come back!!" 

Just then, a silver pickup pulled up behind me and stopped. He got out of the truck. Politely, the gentleman asked if he could help me.

"Is this Bruce Springsteen's house?" I asked. You know, the kind of thing any run of the mill stranger would ask another stranger.

The man explained that Bruce really wasn't home; he had seen him leave a few days earlier. He looked like a security guard, but he was actually a gardener/landscaper. I have nothing to lose at this point and so I shared my plan to knock on the door and we laughed together at the audacity of the plan. He told me that the maid didn't ever answer the door - she just called the police

Sally is in 98% freak-out mode; she had no idea who the guy was or what he was saying to me. The realization of that fact got my creative juices flowing and I was really appreciating the kindest of this gardener. There would be no Springsteen contact today, but all was not lost as I enlisted him on the next phase of the new plan - the Sally-prank. He was totally game.

"Pretend you're arresting me and putting handcuffs on me," I whispered (Sally had no idea who this guy was and couldn't have heard any of our conversation from her safe spot at the main road). We both began to laugh and struggled to keep it in, which just makes it worse, as anyone knows. Our faces were turned away from the now fully flipped-out Sally; it would have been obvious that we were in hysterics.

Sally couldn't see the details of what was going on, but I leaned over the hood of the truck and he pretended he was 'cuffing me. After a slow count of three, we turned and looked at Sally and enthusiastically gave her a thumbs up. Seriously, I think a part of her brain melted as she tried to figure out what just happened. 

It was a date that will live in infamy and we had pictures.

After scanning ten or so pictures to add to the blog tonight, I became worried that he might still live there. I exclude them due to my flipside tendency for caution.

A few month's later, we were in town again and we drove by his house. A security system had been installed and signs dotted the yard. Wonder why?

However...

A pizza guy chatted me up and told me where John Landau, John Bon Jovi and Julian Lennon lived. I resisted.

[I met Hubzam at Sally's house...the rest is history. Now he's the Boss.]


31 comments:

  1. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    I was once wrestled to the ground by security when they caught me peeping in Phyllis Diller's window. (I was simply trying to return the feather boa she left in my apartment the night before.)

    After reading this story of yours, I am convinced that you and Sally were the inspiration behind Thelma & Louise. I am quite surprised to learn that there is a part of you that loves to take a walk on the wild side and dabble in risky business. You would have fit right in with the rat pack at the Shady Dell.

    You're lucky that gardener didn't produce a real set of handcuffs (that he just happens to carry with him at all times along with a fake police badge, duck tape and rope) and drive you away to God knows where. Oh, to be young and foolish again! I often shudder to think about the crazy things I got into in my younger years and wonder how I managed to survive the 60s... and 70s... and 80s.

    Thank you for a very entertaining tale, dear friend Cherdo, and happy Thursday to you!

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    1. Oh, I'd surprise you - but trespassing is as close as I'd get to illegal, unless you count my one speeding ticket. The lure of a big laugh has always been my downfall.

      After this episode, I always thought God had a sense of humor. The whole thing just fell together so perfectly.

      I am lucky - and even though I can wrestle up some chutzpah when the time calls for it, I'm not all that willing to shoot myself in the foot under normal circumstances. I play the odds...lol.

      Have a great day, Shadster!

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    2. Shady, I'm Cherdo's partner, not Sally. I suppose that could be taken the wrong way. I notice you didn't mention me. I guess it's all the comments I left on your blog for real this time.

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    3. << Shady, I'm Cherdo's partner, not Sally. >>

      Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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  2. I really enjoyed your story. I've never been that adventurous, but I can see that you have little that will deter you from a good time! Have a wonderful Valentine weekend!

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    1. I'm susceptible to the kind of peer pressure that generates guffaws, for certain. Thanks, Linda!

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  3. What an awesome story and I appreciate your resisting the photos because I'd totally photobomb his house.

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    1. Maurice, the trade off was a picture that was as childlike as I can muster, ha ha. You of all people should appreciate that. I'm gonna take a wild guess that I won't be featured on your blog for my illustration...

      Maturity takes the fun out of some things (inner voice: You can't put those online, the man has children!).

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  4. haha you sure weren't afraid to walk on the wild side of the law, at least a little bit

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    1. You say law, I say "visiting." Ha ha.

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  5. This was so funny but I've got to tell you. I'm definitely "Sally" and had a "Cherdo" as a best friend. OMG, the things she got us into but nothing like that. If I thought I saw my Cherdo slapped into handcuffs, I'd have fainted dead away!

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  6. A marvelous story, Cherdo! You pranked the Boss!

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    1. I'm still claiming it was an impromptu visit...

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  7. I LOVED this story. What fun!

    I live in Nashville and my husband worked for a high-end home automation company in sales for a while. He was in the homes of several famous people. They were one of several companies bidding on Alan Jackson's new home--but the interesting thing was, Alan Jackson decided to move to a gated community in a house that had a gate around it, PLUS have security because some fans got onto his property when he lived on a huge property South of town (Franklin, where he and most country stars still live). Most stars here are in exclusive gated communities behind gates now for that very reason.

    What I find interesting is that Stephen King lives where he does...right in the middle of town. His house is on the news all the time and I believe he dealt with an intruder recently. You'd think he'd choose to move to a gated community...but I'm guessing he's lived in that house for a while.

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    1. Aw, Stephanie, now I want tho visit him. And it's cold up there, lady. :-)

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  8. You rascal...I love it! I would be pumped to do that and what a fun story. Your friend probably still talks about it:)

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    1. I haven't seen "Sally" since she remarried and moved, but I'm pretty sure she has told this story as much, if not more, than me.

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  10. Haha! That's something you won't ever forget!

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    1. I thought it was funny that it was requested...I need to tap into that friend request list for blog ideas. :-)

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  11. Bravo to your bravado Cherdo- and the carpe diem derring-do! Good story, and I like the clarity of the illustration :-)

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  12. I lived in Jersey for a couple years. It's no joke. Springsteen truly is their god. Funny considering how many of his songs are about wanting to get as far from home as possible.

    Great story, Cherdo!

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    1. Oh, I know! I love it when a state out town embraces their celebrity. My town would win the prize for most Peyton Manning or Kenny Chesney fans.

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  13. You need to read about The Bling Ring.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I will do it...show me the way...

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    3. Why are there so many duplicate comments and replies lately?

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    4. Why are there so many duplicate comments and replies lately?

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    5. I have no idea why that happens....well, I have no idea why the others happened...I'm pretty sure I know why your comments appeared twice, ha ha.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo