My favorite concert memory (so far) took place during the Working on a Dream tour on October 9, 2009. It was the last show ever at Giants Stadium. The best and incredibly apropos moment was when Bruce played “Jersey Girl” as his final song.
Less than fifteen seconds into the song, the tears started rolling down my face. I was filled with so many mixed emotions. I had tears of joy since the song is an anthem to me. I’m Jersey Proud and Jersey Strong! I have absolutely no tolerance for people who have the balls or ovaries to trash the Garden State. I am so proud of the fact that I was raised in New Jersey. There’s nothing wrong with growing up as a MAWL rat (actually, I must confess, I still am one) or referring to a handbag as a POK-A-BOOK. I mean, really? Jersey rocks and Jersey Girls rule.
And may I add…the state of New Jersey has made significant contributions to the world. In the entertainment industry alone, it’s thanks to Jersey that we’ve been blessed with the talents of Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Whitney Houston, Sandra Dee, Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick…the list goes on. To be fair, the distinguished gentlemen with roots tied to Jersey include Frank Sinatra, Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, and some guy from Freehold to name a few. And that’s just some of the honorable mentions.
Ok, I feel better now that I’ve defended my state. Back to the concert. Needless to say, I was so happy to hear Bruce end the show with “Jersey Girl.” I must express a million thanks to songwriter Tom Waits for the fantastic lyrics that Bruce sings to perfection.
The tears were rolling down during the entire song. I was also filled with tears of relief and exhaustion. Exactly one year ago to the day, October 9, 2008, my physician told me that I had thyroid cancer. My emotions were no doubt in a spin. Tornado is more like it. I never would have thought that precisely one year later, I would be at a Bruce concert and cancer free. There was certainly reason to cry and my anthem was rocking the stadium.
Listening to “Jersey Girl”makes me feel special and the farthest thing from ordinary. After all, Jersey Girls come from a unique mold. It’s a whole different attitude. We’re wired differently, think differently, and act differently. Yes, I had big hair in the 80s plus the nails. I still have the fake nails! Keep your comments to yourself! Knock it off and shut your mouth! Yes, our vocabulary is different too.
Only Jersey Girls understand the following…you tawk to your girlfriends, you drink cawfee, you fix your hair looking into a mirra, you dry yourself off using a tal, you have a bawl going out, you walk the dawg, you love to eat chawklit, your favorite fruit is an arringe, and you always apply lip glawss that you bought at the mawl. (Thank you to authors, Marie Moss and Barri Leiner Grant for the official Jersey Girl word glossary from their fierce and fabulous book, “Jersey Girls.”) What can I tell you? You can take me out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of me!
LOVE moved me out of Jersey. I’ve lived in Rhode Island for the last thirteen years. I do however, visit the Garden State at least once a month and still own a home there. So technically, I’m still a Jersey Girl and will remain one forever. I even flaunt it too. Vanity plates are big in Rhode Island and you guessed it, my license plate is JSYGRL. Shut up, that’s all that could fit!
Since it was love that moved me out of Jersey, I thought it would be interesting to ask my husband what he thought of my favorite anthem and the lyrics that I identify with so much. I gave Tom a writing assignment and asked this question. Tell me what comes to mind when you hear Bruce sing…
Tonight I’m gonna take that ride, cross the river to the Jersey side.
Cause nothing matters in this whole wide world, when you’re in love with a Jersey Girl.
I remember the first trip I took to Jersey when I first met Lisa…she faxed (remember what that was) me the directions from work…I had only driven through the area, but never stopped. The directions she sent took me on the Cross-Bronx Expressway, which leads to the George Washington Bridge…on a Friday evening…at the end of July. Now, for those of you that don’t know the Cross-Bronx…it is a 5 mile stretch of Interstate 95 that you want to avoid if at all possible…not only is it in a continuous back-up 24/7…but there are not too many places that allow for someone to make a much needed pit-stop…hence, my problem after sitting in the perpetual log-jam for 1 ½ hours…yes, that’s right…a five mile stretch that took 1 ½ hours. I had driven the first 175 miles from Warwick, RI in just about 2 ½ hours and assuming I had only a short distance to go, there was no need to make a pit stop before I entered the dreaded Cross-Bronx gates of hell. So here I was, in a company car that I had had for less than a month…not really wanting to get off anywhere, but desperately needing to…I had no choice…I got off in the Bronx…that was the easy part. Now I needed to find somewhere that I could relieve myself…in the Bronx…not many choices appeared before me…I don’t recall exactly which exit I had gotten off, but eventually I came across a community center or a YMCA…I figured they would have facilities…so I parked on the street and went to the door…which was locked. However, there was a security detail that wanted to know what I needed…after explaining the situation…and knowing that I did not belong…which meant he was safe…he buzzed me in. Meanwhile, while relieving myself, I was wondering if my new company car was still going to be there when I came back out…fortunately, it was. Now, I needed to get back on the Cross-Bronx and continue my “ride cross the river to the jersey side”…which I did without incident and was able to complete my inaugural journey to meet my future wife and her parents for the first time…
I guess it really is true that “nothing matters in this whole wide world when you’re in love with a Jersey girl”…
I have since learned of a multitude of ways to get from RI to NJ and vice versa that do not include the Cross-Bronx Expressway.
Bravo Tom! He did his writing assignment so well and passed with honors.
The song “Jersey Girl” is woven into so many aspects of my life story. It makes me think of so many defining moments in my love affair with Bruce’s music. The highlights include when I walked to a record store in Cliffside Park, New Jersey to buy the single. I bought it as a 45/vinyl. Yikes, that was some time ago. The song also makes me think of my long distance relationship with my husband and educating him on all things Jersey. We even danced to the song at our engagement party. The main highlight of course, is that amazing concert at Giants Stadium and how I felt when I heard the song.
“Jersey Girl” is truly part of who I am. It’s also a title that I’m flattered to share with so many other fabulous ladies from the Garden State. And, it’s a title I will never give up!