...let the wind blow back your hair."
Bruce Springsteen (Thunder Road - 1975)
"Maybe we ain't that young anymore"
What brings me peace? If only trying to decide what flavor yogurt to have for breakfast was sooooo easy...Springsteen and the Shore, duh. They go hand in hand in my psyche and soul. I'm not young anymore, at least not in the teen-aged sense...but The Boss can transport me back to those days instantaneously. I spent Memorial weekend at the Jersey Shore, and lucked into finding a room at a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast in North Wildwood. A far cry from those long day trips, or bunking with "friends, of friends, of friends....I think?????" of my youth. But at times, I swear there was magic in the Jersey salted ocean air because I was 17 again...but luckily I wasn't still driving a puke green Maverick or smoking menthol Salem Lights. Selective time travel is a good thing.
Bruuuuuuuce, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Growing up in Philly, I always felt a sense of commonality with the man from across the river. "Thunder Road" was released in 1975, right before my junior year of high school and quickly became my favorite Bruce piece of poetry., The Jersey Shore was our teen-aged escape from life and reality. Bruce took me there emotionally, when my parents wouldn't let me physically. There are just some artists and songs that stick with you and take you to another time and place, true time-travellers. Bruce has that magical ability with me. "Thunder Road" is my magic carpet ride. It never fails to move me...literally and figuratively.
Two kids trying to outrun their adulthood, caught between what is expected of them and their dreams. I'm not sure I've fully outgrown that dilemma myself even after all these years. But I've come to realize I'd be quite lonely without some angst in my life. I seem to thrive on it to a certain extent. Not sure I could handle smooth sailing and auto drive. There is something quite appealing about hopping in a car and escaping while traversing a long meandering highway, stretched into the horizon. My own "Thunder Road". That is what the Jersey Shore always has been to me. An escape via a long meandering highway. Altho, it has certainly become a more congested meandering road thru the years. But once I crossed that Ben Franklin Bridge I always felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders.
I took a hiatus from all things Jersey Shore related for quite a few years, as the Outer Banks of North Carolina called my name and I dragged my family right along with me. I tried to distance myself from towns like Ocean City and Wildwood. That was my youth, I needed separation...altho never from Bruce. But since moving back to Philly, I've come full circle and am surprised at how the boardwalks, Taylor Pork Roll sandwiches, dive bombing seagulls, and aroma of Coppertone on the Jersey beaches actually brings me happiness and peace. And of course, Springsteen never left my side, he was always my tie that binds.
"Ain't a beauty, buy hey you're alright"
Even with the troubles the young couple faces in "Thunder Road", when you come right down to it Bruce's song is one of hope. Life can be better. Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett. Just like The Boss says, all you have to do is cut loose from what is holding you back and trapping you. Take action. It might be late, but you can still make it. What I've come to realize is that regardless of age there is always something, some life circumstance, some internal conflict, some obligation, some indecision...that makes us feel trapped in one sense or another. It's timeless. It's life....whether you are a teenager in 1975 or an adult in 2012. So I guess I will ALWAYS be bound to The Boss and the Jersey Shore. And that's a good thing, because they both bring me a sense of peace. And whenever I hear Bruce tell me on the car radio to "Roll down the window and let the wind blow back my hair"...you just KNOW what I'm gonna do. Some things will never change, and yes Virginia...there is a sense of peace in THAT too.
So take a cue from Bruuuuuuuce...