New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen, who put out his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., in 1973, has been a household name for decades. Not only that, but whole families have shown their dedication to the popular musician and singer, who grew up in Freehold. He’s proven that he has fans of all ages, including kids who are eager to see him play his epic four-hour shows as well as meet him while he’s on a book tour for his new memoir Born to Run, even if that means being out past their usual bedtime on a school night. The solution? Get a note direct from the The Boss himself, as one student who attended his book signing on Thursday at the Free Library of Philadelphia did.
Michel Fenerty, a fifth grader who attends The Masterman School in Philadelphia, went to Bruce’s book signing along with his dad, Mike, a major fan and collector of The Boss memorabilia. The pair had attended one of the closing nights of The River tour, on September 7, which made getting up the next day a little tricky. “It was the first day of school for the fifth grade at Masterman, and of course Bruce played his longest show. As a fan I loved it; as a parent I hated it. I wanted to kill him!,” Mike told Philly.com. Officials at the school had told Mike that getting a note from Bruce himself would mean all was forgiven.
So how did they go about getting this prized note? Mike, ever the doting dad, typed up the letter beforehand and asked for permission to bring it in to the signing. Once they got up to Bruce, here’s what happened, in Mike’s words: “My son said, ‘Bruce, would you sign my absence note?’ [Springsteen] lit up. He was affectionate toward Michael as soon as he saw him. He said, ‘I have to read it first, that’s how I got in trouble with my first contract. He said, ‘I hope you don’t get in trouble.’ My son was very starstruck — it was a very cool experience.”
This isn’t the first time Bruce has gone out of his way to help out a student. Back in March, another student got a tardy note from the rocker as well as a photo. Xabi Globsky, 9, attended a show by Bruce and The E Street Band in Los Angeles with his dad, Scott, that lasted until 11:40 p.m., and came prepared with a sign saying “Bruce, I will be late to school tomorrow. Please sign my note!” Not only did Bruce heed Xabi’s plea, he invited the youngster and his dad backstage where he posed for a photo with him and scrawled a note reading, “Dear Ms. Jackson. Xabi has been out very late rocking and rolling. Please excuse him if he is tardy!” What teacher could resist? (Hopefully none!)
Scott told fan website Backstreets that Bruce was attentive, taking time to make sure he spelled the child’s name correctly. “As Xabi sat next to him on the couch, Bruce thoughtfully and artistically created this beautiful note. It was very interesting to watch the artist at work. They talked for a few minutes, and Bruce was incredibly nice, caring and gracious.” For Scott, the moment was the culmination of a lifetime of rocking out to the beloved music of the famous singer. “[I’ve been] a devoted fan for more than three decades, and having attended more than a hundred shows, it was a very special night for me,” Scott continued. “Last night Bruce made a little boy’s wishes come true.”
While not everyone is lucky enough to get Springsteen’s personal autograph as a way of getting out of trouble at school, some parents have taken initiative on their own to make sure their kids learn about culture as well as math and English. They’re ones who, we imagine, like Bruce, father to kids Evan, Jessica and Sam Springsteen with wife Patti Scialfa, get that there are times when school has to take second place to those once-in-a-lifetime special moments.
In February, dad Patrick Pipino of Saratoga Springs, New York, wrote an excuse note for his daughter, Isabelle, 12, to explain she’d be late to school after catching a Bruce show in Albany. His note read in part, “This may not seem like a good excuse, but have you ever wondered how many kids would be late — or miss school outright — if God were to suddenly appear?” Now that’s true parenting devotion, even if it caused a little family discord, because Patrick’s wife is a schoolteacher in the same district. “She was mortified by not knowing what her betrothed did,” he told ABC News.
Parents, what do you think? Would you let your kid stay out late to hear The Boss? Let us know @omjfeed on Twitter.