Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Slight Diversion

This post is not typical of my usual posts.  I am not showcasing any crafty or quilty goodness today, but instead wanted to post a story I wrote more than 6 months ago.  I've had a request by some to read said story, and I figure posting it to my blog is the easiest way to share it.

Here I am about to reveal my fan girl side...a side that maybe some of you have picked up on, here on my blog, through various pictures I've posted over the past couple years.  Yes, I am a big fan of the boy band, err, man band New Kids on the Block.  My story began circa 1990 and is now 22 years strong.  As I mentioned, more than 6 months ago I submitted a story about how the band has impacted me for possible publication in a book set to be published in October.  The title of the book is NKOTB and Us. I've linked to the site here in case anyone is interested.   Well, this week I signed a release as said story or portion thereof is set to be included in the book! I have never published anything, nor have I had anything included in print of any kind.  As cheesy as it may seem to some, this has been an incredible journey shared between the band, and us, the fans. I have also met some incredible women the past 4 years; women whom I now call friends.  Here we are all grown up and our story seems to have come full circle.

Without further adieu, here is my small contribution...

The day was Friday, August 3, 1990. Two days after my fourteenth birthday. I was over the moon that day because I was on my way to Toronto, Canada to see the New Kids on the Block during their Magic Summer tour.  This was my second NKOTB concert, but it may as well have been my first because that’s how excited I was. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. By this time my mom was a single parent, so it was a really big deal that she had somehow purchased 3 tickets to this concert. My mom drove me, my cousin Rebecca and my friend Danielle up to Toronto from Buffalo, New York so we could see the concert.  I was ready. Oh, so ready. I wore my Jordan Knight t-shirt, and over that my denim jacket that I had decorated in puffy paint, spelling NKOTB in fluorescent colors on the back. On the front of the jacket I had at least 30 NKOTB buttons. How I even wore that jacket for so long, I’ll never know. It weighed a ton!

What I remember most about the concert was that it was in this huge stadium.  This was my first time being in a concert venue this large. Our seats were way up high and the guys looked like little ants on stage. But it didn’t matter. We were in our glory. The concert was so loud. And we screamed as loud as we could, singing along the whole time too. I can still hear it…”Are you ready? F-f-f-f-o-r the New Kids onnnnn the Block!”  It was everything my 14-year-old self ached to see. I remember at the end of the concert leaving the venue in tears. It was overwhelming, and amazing all at once. I loved the New Kids on the Block so much it hurt.

Fast forward. The day is September 6, 2008. My 32-year-old self hopped a plane up to Boston from West Palm Beach, Florida. The New Kids on the Block had reunited and their album The Block had just been released.   They were doing a CD signing at their hometown record store Newbury Comics.  I just knew I had to be there. Had to.  I had not seen NKOTB since 1994. It had been 14 years but the fire still burned.  

I made plans to stay with some friends in the city, and that morning I took a cab over to Faneuil Hall to get in line at Newbury Comics. It was early. 5 in the morning early.  The cab driver asked me where I was headed and I told him. I remember he asked why I was headed over to Faneuil Hall so early in the morning.  I told him that my favorite band was doing a CD signing at Newbury Comics. He asked “What band?”  I shyly replied, “The New Kids on the Block”.  He said, “Oh, yeah? They’re still together?”  I got out of the cab, walked over to the building, and I saw a line. A big line.  It was 5:15 am. Oh, and it was raining.  There were girls who had sat in that line overnight.  I followed the line to the end, and proudly took my place in it.  Shortly thereafter I met 2 nice girls who got in line right behind me, Angie and Irene.  Vanessa arrived not long after that, and throughout the day the four of us talked a lot, sharing our NKOTB stories, our love, that we held for this band.  

It had stopped raining and the line started moving when I saw a black van pull up in front of the back door to the record store.  Joe, Donnie, Danny and Jon got out of the van.  Jordan arrived separately.  Girls started running and some started screaming. Everyone was hoping to get a glimpse of this band that still lived in our hearts.  I got a strange feeling that I had been here before, and it felt an awful lot like 1990 at that moment.

Finally, the moment was here. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon when Angie, Irene, Vanessa and me had made it to the front of this long line. It was almost our turn to go in and see the guys.  Somehow we had the forethought to take a photo right before we went in. I cherish this photograph because it captures everything we were feeling at that moment.  The moment everything changed forever.  The Newbury Comics employee opened the door and invited us in, and guided us up the stairs.  My heart was beating so hard that I could practically feel it in my chest.  My knees were so tingly that I could barely make it up the stairs.  That feeling I had when I was a teenage girl was back. 14 years later.  It was as if no time had passed.  Here we were in the same room with the guys. We could see them sitting at a table 20 feet in front of us.  I turned to Vanessa and said, “I can hardly believe it! There he is. There’s Jordan sitting right there.” 

As we meandered to the front of the line, I started to feel less nervous and more excited.  I could hardly believe that I was there, and that this was happening.  As usual the guys were very gracious.  Donnie was hugging every girl who came through the line.  He pulled me in close, and I whispered in his ear “Thank you”. He smiled and looked right at me, thanking me for coming.  Danny was all smiles and thanking everyone as they walked by.  I got to Jon and he gave me his hand to shake. I looked at him and said “Thank you for making my dreams come true.” I really meant that.  My 14-year-old self never would have believed that 18 years later I’d be standing in line greeting the New Kids on the Block.   He smiled a very big smile and replied, “You’re very welcome.”  I was beaming.  I said hello to Joe, who was next, and I nearly got lost in his blue eyes. Then here I was at the end of the line. Jordan. I was standing right in front of Jordan. My 14-year-old heart had ached for him. I smiled and said thank you to him.  He was quiet, and signed my CD liner.  Then I turned around to get my camera from the Newbury Comics employee who had been taking photos for me.  When I turned around again I looked right at Jordan, our eyes locked, and I knew that he knew what I was feeling at that moment.  The love I had for the New Kids on the Block was still there. It had never died.

Next, another employee ushered me out, and when I got to the bottom of the stairs I took a deep breath.  Did that really just happen?  Everyone was on their cell phones calling friends and loved ones, describing their experiences, trying to capture the feeling they were having and put it into words.  I said goodbye to Vanessa, Angie and Irene and made my way to the subway.  On my way I called my mom and told her what had happened with all the enthusiasm of my teenage years.  And I cried when I told her how Jon had given me such a warm, genuine smile. My dreams really did come true that day. 

That day at Newbury Comics is really special to me because that day was the beginning of the reunion for me.  Before I had seen a single, reunion concert.  It was my first encounter with NKOTB in 14 years, and the start of our continued journey with them. I dare say it is even sweeter the second time around.

Here are some pictures, well, because everyone likes pictures, right? This first one is (L-R) my cousin Becky, me, and my friend Danielle on August 3, 1990 at the stadium.

This picture is the four of us outside of Newbury Comics on September 6, 2008. (L-R) Irene, Angie, me, and Vanessa.

 Here's one of me and Jordan in Dallas, TX back in February.

Me and Donnie on the NKOTB cruise 2011

Me and my friend LD on the 2011 cruise

Me and my friend Crystal on Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas 2011

1 comment:

Miki's scrapbook said...

Awe, Laura, I read every single word in detail and with a smile on my face :D. I SO dreamed about traveling to Boston one day to meet them. I'd still love to have the chance to hug Donnie once and for all. Well, I'm in America now, so I still have hope :).

Thank you so much for sharing this story and congrats on having made it to the book!!! :D