Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Road Trip! The Empire State, Part 4: The Stranger

Before we continue on with our tour of NYC I want to tell you a fan story.  I met my first truly best friend in the lunch line the first week of junior high.  We were commiserating about the sudden appearance of zits and she was so goofy that I felt like we'd been separated at birth.  Our friendship was instantaneous and deep and she's still incredibly dear to me.  Her most distinguishing feature, the thing everybody in school knew about her, was that she was a HUGE Billy Joel fan and that made her just about as weird as I was.  I mean, Billy Joel at no point in his career could ever have been considered a pin up, right?  But he got her.  His music meant the world to her and spoke to her in a way that I've never seen before or since.  She was a member of his fan club and wrote letters to him there, pouring her heart out the way only a lonely twelve-year-old could.

One day after school I got a hysterical phone call from her.  "She -- I -- come down -- I -- ohmygoshohmygosh -- hurry!"  I rode my bike as fast as I could to her house, fearful of what I might find, and she threw open the door as soon as she saw me coming up the walk.  "Looklooklook!"  She thrust a piece of paper into my hand then snatched it back and turned it over, pointing to the signature at the bottom.  "Look!"

It was signed from Elizabeth Joel, Billy's wife and manager, and was handwritten on her personal stationery.  Wow.  WOW.  BestFriend was shaking and crying happy tears and grinning as wide as she could.  We hugged and jumped around in a circle and then went to her room and listened to all of her favorite songs.  When it was time for me to go home for dinner we found her mother in the living room wiping her eyes, drafting a thank you note to Mrs. Joel for taking the time to notice and answer her daughter.  BestFriend was on Cloud 9 for weeks.  Thank you, Elizabeth, wherever you are for making a twelve-year-old's day. 

The Billy Joel fan club newsletter was called The Rootbeer Rag after one of his songs and that's what we're listening to today.  Have a good one, whatever you're doing.

   

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It was an awesome moment and one that sold me on fandom in general.

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  2. Oh God bless your dear, sweet, heart, Julia. You have me in tears at the memory of that... it's still so crystal clear in my mind and heart. I remember calling you like it was yesterday and YOU were the first person I wanted to share it with. Thank you for sharing in it with me and honoring that memory here. You have so blessed my heart... you always do! Love you, Nerd! >hug!< =^_^=
    Shawndi....

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    1. Love you, too, Turkey!

      P.S. Naw, they purple...

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  3. Wonderful story. I've always loved Billy Joel. I didn't know this one though. Thanks for posting it!
    And Hey! He was pretty hot looking in the '70s! Bedroom eyes!

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    1. He has his own appeal, though I definitely gave the cover of "Cold Spring Harbor" a second look.

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  4. Beautiful story. And while I loved Billy Joel as a child and teenager, I appreciate his music even more now.

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    Replies
    1. It's hard to not love him, really.

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