We had to write about something in our lives with a certain "voice" such as happy, sad, angry, etc. I chose excitement and wrote about my time on stage with Rick Springfield.
What an exciting day! My friend Angi got a hold of me and said that Rick Springfield was playing in Indianapolis at some street festival. I can’t remember the name of the event, but who cares? Rick was playing! He was our idol when we were teenagers. I saw him once in 1984 in Peoria. Angi’s parents said she was too young to go. Angi called me in 1998 after years of lost touch when he started his comeback tour in Decatur, Illinois which was the year before this Indianapolis festival. We got autographs after the show and VH1 was even there to tape his Behind The Music documentary! I also got my vinyl record jackets signed by him! What was gonna top that?
Angi had a few friends with her when they came to pick me up to go to Indianapolis that morning. The show started with a few bands we didn’t care about and then Rick! I was out in the crowd with a lot of people older than me, except for the friends I was with who were all younger. I was around twelve when he started out with Jessie’s Girl, a song that most people think was his only song. Well, no way! He had a lot of other songs such as Don’t Talk to Strangers, Affair of the Heart, Human Touch, and I’ve Done Everything For You which was written by Sammy Hagar. Many people don’t know that, but I do since I’m such a fan!
As we saw him come out on stage, shoulder to shoulder with other fans, we all screamed and jumped up and down! I was in the front, up against the fence that separated us from the stage so I saw everything. We were so excited! One fan gave him a bunch of red roses and he strummed his guitar with them as the petals flew everywhere. Angi got a good photo of that! Rick was now fifty years old and jumped around on stage like he was in his twenties and he still looked great!
I snapped photo after photo and then my film ran out by the time he was into the middle of the show. He started with the song, I Get Excited. Another good hit on the radio back in the eighties. He sang the first verse which I knew by heart. The music stopped and he yelled out, “Do you know it?” I nodded to say yes. He looked at me and asked the question again! He was talking to me! Then he said “Well, come on up here!” OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD! I couldn’t believe he was asking for me! ME! The girls behind me were jumping up and down screaming like he was talking to them. I looked behind me and then at Angi and shrugged. Rick pointed at me and said “No, you baby right there!” One of the security guards asked “Do you want to go?” I said “YES!!” I mean, duh! Why wouldn’t I? The guy pulled me over the fence and I walked up a ramp to the stage.
I felt as if I was in a dream state. All I remember is Rick taking his guitar and putting the shoulder strap around me so I was between him and the guitar. He then told me, “Keep your hands on the wood only!” He was talking about the guitar so I didn’t get in the way of the strings. He was sweating really bad because all I felt was cold dampness behind me. I thought I was gonna hyperventilate! I looked out and all I saw were heads. I couldn’t see any bodies attached to these heads since everyone was smashed together. Angi was laughing the whole time as I mouthed the words “I’m going to pass out.” I told Rick and some of the other girls who got up there somehow that I couldn’t remember the rest of the song. I said this between breaths. They helped by telling me the next line. I didn’t know how they got up there anyway, since he asked for me, but I was just happy to be the one behind his guitar!
As we went into the song, I was able to move to the music and have a good time. He was moving so fast that a few times it felt as if I was being jerked around as he played the guitar! When we finished, I grabbed hold of him, but he started jumping around the stage so I didn’t get a hug or anything. I was cold from his sweat and I didn’t wanna get off the stage! Finally one other security guy walked me off. Angi got a couple of photos. None were taking of me on the stage with the guitar as we sang. This was a downer, but I found those later online at different fan websites. I had no idea this was going to happen or I would have saved my film!
On my way back to find Angi, everyone was shaking my hand, moving out of the way to let me through. It was as if I were someone famous! They were saying things like “You did great!” and “You are so lucky!” That remark came from the women who dragged their husbands there. I found my way back to her and was amazed at the fact that it wasn’t hard getting by people. The place was so packed like a herd of sheep or something so I was a little worried coming off the stage, but still on cloud nine! I was excited the whole night and not a bit tired! Some of us went bar hopping later than night. I was the oldest one in my group and felt like the youngest with the most energy!
The great thing about this day was I had always dreamed of being near Rick Springfield when I was a teenager. Here I was seventeen years later and was on stage with him! I never thought in a million years I’d ever meet him and get an autograph, let alone being on stage between him and his guitar! It was definitely one of the greatest times of my life!
One trait I have in my genes is the love for animals. I often wonder how I became to be such a caring person to these furry critters since they can’t talk or get to know us as a human can. It started centuries ago on my father’s side of the family. My grandmother who was born in 1896, grew up in Canton, Illinois. The family had farm animals and she often rode a horse to the schoolhouse, letting him graze in the field as she studied. After school was out, she rode him home. There was no television or radio. They didn’t have much to do besides the usual chores around the home, so animals kept them occupied and brought joy to the family.
My dad who was born in 1938, grew up with many brothers and sisters. My grandfather walked four miles to work in a coal mine and brought home fifty cents a day. It’s reported that my grandmother had 18 kids total, including many twins and triplets with some dying at birth. My father grew up with a fox terrier named Bingo. He was really young when they got him. After the dog passed away, my father bought a bicycle for nine dollars. It was an older bike with a metal basket attached at the handlebars. He rode it everyday, trying to find odd jobs around Peoria Illinois. He would ride for ten miles sometimes and once he found a black lab puppy in the parking lot of a restaurant.
“He’s wanting scraps,” some guy called from his car where a tray of food was leveled onto his window. “He hangs around here a lot.”
Dad being the animal lover he is, picked up the dog and put him in his basket. He rode the bike home which was about six miles up Farmington Road ,the road that led home to Norwood Park. He held the puppy in the basket as he walked the bicycle up one gigantic steep hill with woods on each side. Back then, cars didn’t go as fast but nowadays I cannot imagine walking up that hill without getting hit. He took the dog home and named him Teddy. Teddy remained with the family of many kids until he died years later.
When I was growing up, Dad always brought home either stray pets or ones that someone was trying to get rid of. My mother would often object, but Dad’s love for animals prevailed.
He brought home our family basset hound in the 1976 and my brother named him Bosley, after an actor on the show Happy Days. Bosley was the most popular dog in Norwood Park. He roamed the neighborhood and would often walk up to the baseball diamond and lounge in the grass when a game was being played.
“Time out!” The umpire yelled. “Get that dog off the field!”
“Bosley, go on home!” a player would yell.
Bosley hardly came home. Instead, he would go visit the people in the bleachers hoping for a drop of a hot dog or some popcorn. By then, many people knew his name, but didn’t know our family or even where we lived. He loved the neighborhood so much that after we moved in the early 1980’s, he wandered off many times on his quest to go home to Norwood. He finally adjusted to the country life we had with no neighbors and lived a lot longer than most basset hounds, ending his life after I graduated high school in 1988.
I grew up with Bosley through grade school and adolescence. When I talk to my old friends from Norwood, we recount stories about him. He was a big part of our family and remain in many peoples’ memories.
I had my first dog as an adult when I owned my own home at twenty-seven years of age. Her name was Bailey, already named by the people who had her first. She was my baby and I treated her like a kid. Since I didn’t have kids, she was the one I loved the most. I have always cared more for animals than people, even when it comes down to charities. I feel that animals don’t make us feel bad for something we did. They don’t care what we look like on our bad days or how upset we get. They still love us unconditionally. Some people think my view on this is strange, but I have always held a special place for animals in my heart and always will.
Instructor Wells: Hello Kelli. You’ve written a great essay about your life, or story, or anecdote, whatever you call it. I love the way you set up the beginning sentence and then carry it throughout the entire story, each time showing us another side of that opening statement. You start with farm animals, and I believe you are correct that they filled a need for affection and companionship that we don’t seem to need today with TV and computers, or that dogs and cats fill for us today.
And I liked that you went back to your dad and his family for your love of animals. Your father seems very nice and kindhearted, and a hard worker. Can you imagine your grandmother having eighteen kids and losing many of them at birth. What a hard life she must have had. Your father’s love for animals must have offset your mother’s objection. Glad he prevailed. And the anecdote about Bosley is priceless. How great that a dog could become the neighborhood dog everyone loved. It sounds like Bosley had a great life. You are so right about animals loving us unconditionally. As long as we are halfway kind to them, they are loyal friends. Maybe we don’t value them enough.
Editing: I was fascinated by your story and didn’t see many places for editing. I’ll read it again, just to be certain. I only found a few. 18 (for kids) should probably be spelled out. Eighteen kids, etc. And I see places for a few commas, but commas are not hard and fast rules. If you have two complete sentences that could stand alone and you join them with a conjunction such as “and” then you probably could use a comma: The family had farm animals, and she often rode a horse, etc. And you need a comma after Peoria. Otherwise, it reads well. Your work is very conversational, and the reader feels as if they’re in a room with you enjoying your company and the stories you tell. You have a talent for this kind of writing. And you have a lot of stories to tell, I’m certain. If your dad is still alive, try and interview him for some more details about his early life. If not, then ask your siblings for memories to see if they match yours.
Excellent work. I’m very happy with the way you are progressing in the class. Do you want any other feedback. Anything you had doubts about that you’d like to discuss? Let me know here. Regards, Joyce
The best time of my life that went unfinished took place in a small neighborhood called Norwood Park. Everyone knew everyone and we communicated freely.
It was a wonderful place to grow up in in the 1970’s, especially in the summer. We would roam the neighborhood with only the fear of looking before crossing the road. I was always outside with one of my friends who lived nearby. We could hear the cracking of the bats and calls of the umpire from the baseball diamond that was located almost next to our house. The jingle of the ice cream man’s truck would make all the kids on our street go crazy, running inside to get money from our parents before we missed him. We didn‘t have a swimming pool, so we would jump back and forth through the sprinkler. I would ride my bike with my friends up to the small neighborhood market to get candy. This was often paired with soda from the soda machine outside. Hippies always hung out in that area, sitting on a brick wall that stood erect between the store and Norwood Tap. One stuck out to me since he had long orange hair. They would often wave as they drank from cans of something I couldn‘t see. These same hippies hung out at the baseball diamond during some of the games, relaxing in the bed of a truck, drinking and talking. Me and my friends walked up to the concession stand for candy so, like the orange headed kid and his buddies, we weren‘t there for the game.
The turning of the leaves and cool chill in the air brought on events at our Village Hall. We would stop for hot cocoa and donuts after a night of trick or treating to warm up. Everyone we knew was there, either volunteering to serve or in costume enjoying the festivities. Christmas brought Santa Claus to the Norwood Village Hall. My parents would take me to sit on his lap and I would get a candy cane. I remember clamming up around him and since half the neighborhood was there and there was so much talking going on around me, It was very overwhelming. It felt as I was being watched so I didn‘t want to tell Santa what I wanted.
It is a place that I hold close to my heart. This was the best time of my childhood and sometimes I drive through the neighborhood today. It pains me now to see the absence of the grocery store and baseball diamond. Nothing goes on today like it did in the 1970’s. The town seems dead, but the feeling is still there.
My parents moved us in the early 1980’s and I had to say goodbye to Norwood and my childhood friends. However, I did not say goodbye in my heart. How I would love to go back and relive that time when life gets rough.