Forty years since "Born to Run," and I still haven't run and fulfilled my destiny. Like Bruce Springsteen, I remain pretty close to where I grew up, in a nicer house, maybe, and in a more tree-lined neighborhood, but within an hour's ride of the place that I still name when people ask, "Hey, where are you from?"
In 1975, I was 17 and a student at Montclair State when it was a college and had not yet put on its long pants and become a university. "Tramps like us" were supposed to have walked with a skinny, bearded Bruce "out on the wire." Having gone to 12 years of Catholic school, I thought "tramps" were girls who rolled their plaid wool skirts up just a bit too high and wore two-tone platform shoes. I did not have any clear idea of what "out on the wire" meant, but I wanted to be there with Bruce because he was "a scared and lonely rider." Being one of millions of teenage girls suffering from low self-esteem, I thought maybe I'd have a chance with such an earnest, scared, and lonely guy who just had to know "how it feels." What "it" was still remained mysteriously alluring and very much the subject of discussion.
As for those "suicide machines," well, I never had one, at least in the sense that I think Bruce meant. My suicide machine was not "hemi-powered," all tricked out, or in any way sexy. It was a suicide machine because it was dangerous to drive, a three-block-long blue Mercury Monterey that died an ignominious death on Tonnele Avenue in Jersey City. Once a friend soldered a penny to the radiator to patch a hole; once I pulled the massive front bumper nearly off on one of the logs in the quarry parking lot at Montclair . Occasionally, though, it "screamed down" Kennedy Boulevard (mostly because of leaky brake fluid,) and it did free me from a cage or two on Highway 3. Nobody "combed their hair" in my rearview mirror (there wasn't one.) No heads turned when I made my "last-chance power drive" home from a part-time job at the Palisades Park Burger King, clad in a red and yellow double-knit uniform and the matching hat also worn by Rerun on "What's Happening!"
Sign Up for E-News
About "wrap your legs" around this and "strap your hands" across that, I have to modestly confess that I never sang those parts of the song out loud. Too many years of going to school next door to the convent, I guess. I never played a guitar or rode a motorcycle, but this was a great opportunity to pantomime doing so in front of the record-player, the needle of which bobbed on a cushion of dust and dog hair. I did want to know "if love was wild," though, and I certainly wanted to know if it was "real." Despite my parochial education, I already new that what was wild and what was real generally overlapped in the Venn diagram of human experience.
Who could resist dying in "an everlasting kiss" and "the madness in my soul?" "Wild . . . sprung . . . madness . . . stepping out over the line . . . in a runaway American dream" I just had to know what it was like, even though death in the streets and suicide lurked in the background and the bones were being ripped (yuck!) from somebody's back, it still seemed worth it to run. Bruce's Wendy ran with him down Highway 9, like Peter Pan's Wendy flew with him out that London window. How did it feel to run with the Lost Boys? Where is that place that "we really want to go?" I still don't know.
It's hard to acknowledge the passage of 40 years since Bruce Springsteen told us all to "get out while we're young." In some ways, I wish I had gotten out. Instead, like Bruce himself, I became one of the "broken heroes" jamming the highways of New Jersey. We are broken because we spent too long huddling on the beach in the mist; we are heroes because we survived long enough to see what exactly is beyond the Palace.
Recent Articles Nearby
By TAPINTO CRANFORD STAFFAugust 13, 2018
CRANFORD - Downtown Cranford is thrilled to announce Restaurant Week 2018! A number of restaurants will be offering prix fixe menus from August 13-17. This is a great chance to dine at your favorite spot or try someplace new. Check out the list of participating restaurants below.
Emma's Brick Oven Pizza
Garlic Rose Bistro
Romola's Seafood ...
CRANFORD - Downtown Cranford is thrilled to announce Restaurant Week 2018! A number of restaurants ...
By ROBERT RAMIREZAugust 12, 2018
CRANFORD - Missed this week's top stories? Catch up here.
One-Seat Rides on Raritan Valley Line to be Temporarily Discontinued, NJ TRANSIT Announces
TAPinto.net Election Policies for the November 2018 Elections
Cranford Police Department Implements Special Needs Registry
Cranford Police Blotter: Two Drug Arrests
Dunk A Cop at National Night Out Raises $500
Johnny Bush Wins 97th ...
CRANFORD - Missed this week's top stories? Catch up here.
One-Seat Rides on Raritan Valley Line ...
By TAPINTO CRANFORD STAFFAugust 11, 2018
CRANFORD - The Cranford PAL Flag Football Program is happy to announce a new partnership with the former NFL players at National Flex Football (NFX). With the partnership, PAL is integrating the Flex Football program into its flag football program and creating one of the safest new sports programs in this region for your child(ren).
Flex promotes safety, progression, and player development.
CRANFORD - The Cranford PAL Flag Football Program is happy to announce a new partnership with the ...
By ROBERT RAMIREZAugust 10, 2018
CRANFORD - Hartz Mountain's application to rezone 750 Walnut Avenue from commercial to residential and build 905 apartment units will continue on September 5th and 12th.
At the August 1 Planning Board meeting, a civil and a traffic engineer were expected to testify. Due to time constraints, only the civil engineer provided testimony for the application and the traffic engineer was rescheduled ...
CRANFORD - Hartz Mountain's application to rezone 750 Walnut Avenue from commercial to residential ...
By WARDLAW+HARTRIDGEAugust 10, 2018
EDISON, NJ -- The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison has hired Greg Fahey as its new head boys’ basketball coach.
Fahey, 27, is excited to bring his energy, experience and work ethic to a program that has struggled in recent years. The Rams are coming off a 4-17 season under Eugene Maxwell, who spent the past five years as the team’s head coach.
“I’m excited because this school has had good ...
EDISON, NJ -- The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison has hired Greg Fahey as its new head boys’ ...
By LOU MONACOAugust 9, 2018
CRANFORD - All of the tournaments and hard work that Cranford High School senior Johnny Bush has put into this summer are paying off.
The 17-year-old and fifth-seeded Bush, who plays out of Plainfield Country Club, defeated 15-year-old freshman and second-seeded Dean Greyserman out of Crestmont Country Club, 3 and 2, Wednesday to capture the New Jersey State Golf Association’s (NJSGA) ...
CRANFORD - All of the tournaments and hard work that Cranford High School senior Johnny Bush has ...
By ROBERT RAMIREZAugust 8, 2018
CRANFORD - Some quick thunder, lightning, and heavy rain put the 2018 Cranford National Night Out in danger of being washed out, but the skies cleared and made for what was a great night for all.
Packed on the front lawn of the Cranford Police Department headquarters and in the Patrolman Robert F. Hand Plaza were police cars and firetrucks on display, a rock-climbing wall, food trucks such as ...
CRANFORD - Some quick thunder, lightning, and heavy rain put the 2018 Cranford National Night Out ...
By CRANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENTAugust 8, 2018
The information provided does not represent the total scope of police activity. Individuals charged as a
result of police investigations are merely an accusation. All defendants should be presumed innocent
until proven guilty.
1. 08/04/2018 @ 1:40 a.m.
South Avenue West and Lincoln Avenue West
Arrested: Quentin Padilla, 25, Clark
Arrested by: Sgt. Thomas Stiansen
The information provided does not represent the total scope of police activity. Individuals charged ...
By TAPINTO ROSELLE/ROSELLE PARK STAFFAugust 7, 2018
ELIZABETH, NJ – The achievements of ten people with disabilities were celebrated last week at Community Access Unlimited (CAU) in Elizabeth during the agency's annual Performance Recognition Night. Each of the individuals, all CAU members, were recognized by their fellow members, staff and family for their accomplishments in a variety of areas, from independent living to employment and ...
ELIZABETH, NJ – The achievements of ten people with disabilities were celebrated last week at ...