Racing In The Street

1980 would probably be the year that I fell in love for the first time. Mind you, I was only seven years old. And it wasn't falling in love with a girl. (That happened for the first time ten years later.)

My folks divorced before I hit the age of five. It was a fairly amicable split (mostly because my mother was and is so classic). Following their divorce, I was raised by my mother. She supported my brother and I by working as a crossing guard in our suburban town in Northern New Jersey. She put every penny earned towards feeding us, clothing us and paying rent in our two-family house. My father's career was taking off at the time, and he only lived one town over. Nevertheless, we still lived a pretty meager life, but I look back on those days as a strong source for what I believe shaped my character.

Ok, back to falling in love. Every other weekend (or so), my brother and I would head to my father's house for the weekend. Given his penchant for the bottle (err, the beer can), and other things that probably shouldn't be mentioned, those weekends were far from memorable. However, there was one thing that those weekends brought to me, and that was music. Whenever my father would have one of his weekend benders with his friends, I'd lie in my bed late into the night, grasping for sleep while listening to the rock n' roll that vibrated throughout the house. The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan and others were often in the mix. But it was a New Jersey up-and-coming phenomenon named Bruce Springsteen that captured my pre-teen soul. Of all the great Springsteen records already released through 1980, it was "Darkness on the Edge of Town" that FLOORED me. I can't say I understood the political and social lyrics that made up this record, but the fury, passion and longing bled into me.

Now over 25 years later, this record has not lost an ounce of luster. It's all still there. It's all still just as relevant. Fawn Hill Court, Ramsey, NJ was where I first fell in love, and that love was for the ten songs that make up Springsteen's fourth record.