Elle Severe Presents

New Kids on the Block – The Jacket

In Life on July 27, 2012 by Elle Severe

Don’t skip this post because you think it’s about the New Kids on the Block; it’s not.  It’s about a Jacket.

Last summer, June 11 to be precise, my best friend and I had tickets to see the New Kids on the Block with the Backstreet Boys at Fenway.  Early in the morning my mother called and asked me if I wanted her to bring over my official New Kids on the Block tour jacket from the 1989-1990 Hangin’ Tough World Tour.  Because I wanted to see the look on Claire’s face when I showed it to her, I said “hell yes”.  After hanging up with my mom, I ran upstairs to my attic and pulled down two pairs of very important sneakers: peach colored Gazelles from 1988 and Kelly green Nike Cortez also from 1988.  Feast your eyes on these bad boys:

Got my money’s worth for sure.

I remember buying each of these pairs of sneakers.  The first pair, the peach colored Gazelles, were bought in Montreal during my junior year class trip. You need to understand that I had to buy these Gazelles in Montreal because they were supposedly “illegal” here in the United States because they used “real” gazelle skin to make these sneakers.  In fact, the only place you could buy them locally was at a little corner store in Savin Hill called Deb & Georges.  In retrospect I realize that all of this was utter nonsense and could even constitute being labeled an urban legend; the truth was simply that they were distributed in Europe and Canada, not the US.  But, at the time, having “real” Adidas Gazelles was a big deal, and if I had to buy them secretly in a basement in Savin Hill or in another country, by God, I would.

Now not only did I pay for these sneakers myself, but I actually paid for the whole trip to Montreal by myself.  I was a very enterprising high schooler.  I had a job at MGH as an assistant to an administrative assistant (back then they were called secretaries).  I would save every dime from my weekly paycheck and then spend it on sneakers, trips and what the rest of you would call “living”.  My parents didn’t pay for shit for me back then.  They still don’t, but now that I’m somewhere in my 30’s, married, have kids and am reasonably self-sufficient, I’m fine with that.  Back then it pissed me off.  I always thought that clothing and school costs were basic needs to be fulfilled by parents by some contractual obligation created in utero.  Not in my house. Once you turned 13, your ass got a job and your ass paid for your own damn shit.  This has its benefits, for example, when you save up for a few weeks and you buy the newest, hottest most awesome boom box the late 1980’s has to offer, complete with double tape deck and equalizer – no one can say anything to you.  It’s your money.  That part I liked.  Until I was asked to pay rent.  At 15.  In fairness, they probably asked because  I also bought a sweet “walkman” that week as well and to my parents it probably looked like I was suddenly rich while they were clearly still struggling.  Hey, not my fault they decided to have two more kids after me.  They should have quit while they were ahead, am I right?

Anyway, I figured the sneakers in combination with the jacket would be a great start to the night…but then it started to rain and with one look outside my window, I was pretty much all set.  On the one hand, I was excited to see a concert at Fenway, on the other hand, I kind of wished it was Aerosmith and that it wasn’t in the rain.  I began furiously texting my girlfriends asking if any of them knew if the concert would be rescheduled due to the rain.  Knowing that Fenway in the summer is on a tight schedule, I figured that wouldn’t happen, and I got real grumpy over the idea of standing in the pouring rain listening to a bunch of goofballs from Dorchester.  Made all the worse by the fact that 4 out of the 5 of them grew up pretty much in my neighborhood.  I always get super resentful of people from around here who are more successful than I am.  But, as with all things, some sleep improved my mood.  Two hours, a hearty nap and a nice shower later, I was ready to rock and roll, so to speak.  Unfortunately any hope of my NKOTB jacket and Nike Cortez outfit was out the window due to aforementioned rain.  The Jacket is sacred and the already fragile 20+ year old sneakers would have crumbled in all that wet.   Between that and my new found adulthood wherein which I don’t give a shit and prefer comfort to style, I thought, eff it, khakis, sneakers, a t-shirt and a raincoat will set me up real nice.


This is hers, mine says ‘Friends”, awwww.

My best friend 4eva (we have matching beaded bracelets that say so),Claire came to pick me up and we quickly reflected that the last time we had been to a New Kids concert we were 17.   That was more than one decade ago.  I refuse to say specifically how many decades ago for fear of you actually figuring out my age, but I will let you know that we took the commuter rail to Foxboro for this concert.  That should give you some indication of how long ago it was.  Oh and the fact that the opening act was one Mr. Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch.  We went with two boys.  Neither of them we loved.  One was gay and the other was dating our other best friend.  It was a weird little group.  This time, 20-something years later, it was just us, some rain and the promise to reclaim our youth at Fenway.

My mother arrived with ….The Jacket.  The second I laid eyes on it, I immediately got giggly and proceeded to have a vivid flashback of the exact moment I first laid eyes on it and so here it is, The Legend of The Jacket:

Late, late 80’s.  Lady D is on KISS 108.  It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon in December.  Lady D is doing a contest where she will play 3 seconds of a song, you guess the song, you get tickets to see the New Kids at the Worcester Centrum, New Years Eve.  Lady D plays the song, my mother, at the kitchen counter with her back to me, chopping up peppers on the cutting board, says “Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin”, I look over at her, shrug my shoulders, pick up our phone, dial KISS 108, and hear Lady D’s distinctive Marlboro voice say, “Alright caller, what do ya got?”, “Uh Me and Bobby McGee?”, Lady D “You just won tickets to the New Kids on the Block! What’s your name?” – okay, now here’s where shit got weird.  I didn’t care about the tickets.  I only called cause I was bored, but now I’ve won something.  For the first time in my whole pathetic life I have WON SOMETHING.  So what do I do? I go APESHIT.  I start screaming, I start going “Oh my God, Oh my God, no way, no way!”, I mean I am beyond RIDICULOUS at this point.  I didn’t even care what I won.  In fact, my first thought was that if I won my mom was going to have to take my age appropriate 12 year old sister cause there was no way I was going to see the New Kids cause I like U2 and The Cure and New Order and Metallica, okay? Cause I’m cooooool.  But no, I go bananas, on the radio, in Boston, on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  I know this is going to be trouble, but I can’t contain myself – I just WON SOMETHING! When you’re a born loser, winning tickets to a concert is tantamount to hitting the fucking lottery.  I was pumped; I’m not going to lie.  I manage to calm down enough for Lady D to ask me how I knew that song.  I explained that I didn’t but my mom did.  She said “Put your mom on the phone” so my mom and Lady D chatted for a minute and I think my mom even told her that she would be giving the tickets to my little sister.  After that she told my mom to sit tight and listen for the win since they were on a delay.  We hang on the line, give info to the main office, hang up and wait for the replay of the win.  A couple of commercials later Lady D comes back and then you hear the win: “Alright caller what do ya got?” and then you hear me all quiet and weird, “Uh, me and Bobby McGee?”, “You got it caller, you just won tickets to New Kids on the Block! What’s your name?” and then I hear what is the rest of my social life crumbling into an abyss, a little squeaky voice pipes up and says “It’s Elle Severe, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, no way  no way! I won? I won something? Oh my god!”.  I was that caller that they salivate over.  I was that freaky caller that LOSES HER SHIT and they’re in the front office like “OH. YEAH. GOLD.” So for the next 60 seconds you hear me losing my mind and freaking out over winning and then you hear my mother telling Lady D how she just knew it was Me and Bobby McGee and of course she’s a Joplin fan and blah blah blah.  In another life I think my mom and Lady D could have been close gal pals.  Anyway, as I listen, I realize that I’m in trouble.  First off, I sound like a 13 year old, secondly, I sound like a loser, and thirdly, there is NO way people from school didn’t hear this.  No way. Back then, everyone listened to KISS, it’s what you did. Yeah, we had WHTT 103 or something, but KISS was the staple.  You weren’t cool unless you were listening to KISS 108.  Anyway, I know I’m dead, but I just resign myself to the fact that I will deny, deny, deny.  Plus, it’s too complicated to try and explain to people that I wasn’t excited over the New Kids tickets, I was excited over the WIN itself.  I don’t win shit, I’m not lucky, I’m not blessed, I.don’t. win. shit.  I Won Something.  For once.  Alright, so whatever.  Moving on, the deal is that not only did we win tickets, but also a chance to meet the guys backstage before the concert.  I want no part of this.  I tell my mother that I’m perfectly fine with her bringing my sister and some of her little friends.  For some reason my mother insists that I’ll be going.  I’m all set.  We go back and forth and finally my mother drops the hammer and says that I’m going, I’m bringing my sister and she’ll spring for a third ticket so I can at least bring a friend.  I nominate my friend Holly.  She’s always up for anything and she’ll enjoy herself.  She’s also a U2 fanatic, but she loves coming up to my house for the weekend and I think that she secretly likes telling her Cape pals (she lives on the Cape) that she’s “going to Boston for New Years” and will be going to a “New Kids concert and going back stage”.  So she’s roped in now.

Monday morning I’m at locker minding my business, the New Kids ticket radio fiasco is a million miles from my head.  Head in locker, Carly North comes up behind me and says “Elle, did you win tickets to the New Kids on KISS 108 this weekend?”, I freeze.  My plan to deny has left my head, I quietly say “Yeah, I guess so”.  Carly says “I thought that was you. It sounded like you” and then something weird happened, she DIDN’T make fun of me.  To my face.  I’m sure she probably did to her pals at lunch, but in that moment, she was actually really cool and not weird about it.  She even said “That will be fun” and then just walked away.  Hmmmm.  What do I make of that? Well, I’ve still got 6 hours of school and the rest of the class to deal with so I need to be on my toes, but suddenly I feel empowered; I decide, FUCK THAT SHIT.  I won tickets, I’m going to that concert, I’m going to look cute, make Donnie Wahlberg fall in love with me, move to California and you all can suck a bag of dicks.  The next person that says comes up to me and asks me if I won tickets I loudly say “Yeah, I did AND? No I don’t have an extra so step off” (“step off” was hugely insulting back in the late 80’s, as was “oh snap” and “ya burnt”, you know what’s hugely insulting now? A well executed “Go fuck yourself”, never underestimate the power of nicely played “Go fuck yourself”).  As it turns out no one else mentions it and I survived the day with minimal damage to my already diminished social status, no loss, no gain.

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One Response to “New Kids on the Block – The Jacket”

  1. Jen says:

    Haha classic. My son kept asking me why I was laughing so hard.

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