As promissed, this week's Thursday Thirteen takes me back to my youth, my love affair with the New Kids on the Block. This is of course brought about by the rumors which hit the interwebs (and radio and television news) that a NKOTB reunion might be in the works. As rumors go, there are suspicions, there are theories, and there are, of course, denials. As a die hard NKOTB fan, (once a fan, always a fan, admit it), I'll choose to keep hope alive, and hold onto the fact that their once defunct website has been revived, and the little video playing on that website teases us to stay tuned by asking "Are You Ready?" AND the song playing over that little video is no New Kids song I ever heard...and trust me, any true NKOTB fan would know all the songs, so, a new song perhaps? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I give you 13 NKOTB memories and tales, and reasons why they played such an important part in my life during my adolescence.
Hangin' Tough, The Right Stuff, Please Don't Go Girl...yes, now that I'm older I realize they weren't exactly musica masterpieces, but oh, how those sounds bring back a sense of nostalgia only music tied to memories can evoke.
2. The New Kids craze was something I shared with my cousins M&M and PM, and we would spend hours pouring over teeny bopper magazines, clipping articles, hanging posters up on our walls, memorizing facts about the five members of the group. We all have not only great memories of that time, but we also still have boxes full of binders with those clippings, the buttons, the t-shirts, the books...yes, we kept them.
3. My first concert. New Kids on the Block at Foxboro Stadium (now Gillette Stadium) in the Boston area. Our seats were terrible,in the nosebleed section, but man, we could have sworn Donnie and Jordan and Joey were singing directly to us. They could hear us screaming how much we loved them. What an event that night was.
4. Pen Pals. The NKOTB craze came long before the internet boom, long before myspace and facebook, so as fans, we had to find a way to connect. Those not involved can not even begin to imagine the network of fans, how connected and amazing it was, via regular snail mail. We wrote letters, we exchanged photographs, created "friendship books", shared stories. At one point I had over 50 pen pals, all New Kids fans. My cousins and I even had a small fan club, we created a newsletter, sent it out to members/fans. Looking back on it, with the knowledge of how easy technology makes it today, I have to admit, we were ingenius in how we made it work.
5. Pen Pals. I met girls from all over the place through this pen pal network. The most memorable was a girl from Germany, who spent a summer a few towns away, with a host family, and spent a weekend at my house. We became fast friends, through our love for the New Kids. Amazing experiences all. I wonder where they are now, my pen pals.
6. Friendships. I met my best friend in high school because of my "NKOTB buttons" on my denim purse (ah, the early 90s). She was a fan too, we got to chatting, we became fast friends. Made many other friends that way...some enemies too.
7. Life lessons. The New Kids craze was one of those "love them or hate them" situations. Being a fan meant you had to have a strong character, you had to be able to take a lot of criticism to defend them from the critics, mostly made up of the teenage boys who hated them so.
8. Crushes. I learned early in life that I'm prone to like the bad boys. My first clue? Donnie Wahlberg was my favorite New Kid. He of the "allegedly" setting fire to hotel rooms, starting fights, and being the general "bad boy" of the group. Oh, how I loved him so.
9. Crushed dreams. All good things must eventually come to an end. We got older, they got tired...the group broke up, and with it, went a bit of our youth, our innocence.
10. And yet...a lifelong love affair. I'll admit it, I have followed their careers, in particular, Donnie's career, and I get a secret thrill whenever I hear of a new movie or television show he's in. I've seen them all. Well, all except for those "Saw" movies he's in...I just can't handle the blood and gore of those. I'll continue to follow them too, and be proud of their successes.
11. It's a silly thing, but it's those "idols" from our youth that hold a special place in our hearts, is it because of a crazy "fan" fantasy, or is it because it's in reliving those moments that we feel a certain sense of that carefree time in our lives. That time when it really was all about dreams of a cute boy on a poster smiling at us from a stage miles away? Whatever it was, watching these old videos, looking at these old photographs, gives me a sense of peace, and joy...it's hard to explain it really.
12. Just another video for you:
13. And one more:
Ah well...thanks for traipsing through my youth with me for a bit...it's been fun.