What do Bruce Springsteen and Jack the Bulldog have in common?
They were both born in Freehold, New Jersey! In the unlikely case that anyone at all was wondering, Freehold is the vibrant neighbor to my much less happening hometown, which you might remember from my last column “Suburban Girl Dispelling Urban Myths,” and it is where I go when I want to do something besides ride my bike, watch horses gallop around fields or … nope, that’s pretty much it. Yet, I will mention that Springsteen owns the largest equestrian farm in my town, and Dana Owens (a.k.a. Queen Latifah) has lived there for years as well.
Speaking of Queen Latifah, when I was at a loss to think of anything interesting about myself during introductions on the first day of my history discussion section last semester, I narrated my celebrity encounter with the singer/actress when I was in high school. I was working as a barista at Starbucks when she came in and ordered a double short cappuccino, only to spill it all over the floor. In her defense, it was clearly an accident and she was very apologetic about the whole ordeal. I was slightly offended when, after I recounted this experience in class, my TA was astonished by the fact that such an event took place in New Jersey. “Really?” she said. “But Queen Latifah could live anywhere!”
Back to Freehold. Incidentally, this is the same town in which I shared a gym with The Situation for the duration of one winter break (it was an expensive gym, and I could only afford to go there in the first place because I had a gift card). More respectably, Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castlefame attended high school in Freehold.
But ultimately, any conversation about Freehold will probably start and end with Bruce Springsteen, the pride and joy of the town — and of New Jersey in general. Springsteen bolstered his career at the Stone Pony, and in return the music venue of Asbury Park owes its notable reputation in part to Springsteen. Considered by Robert Santelli, former vice president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to be “one of the greatest rock clubs of all time,” the Stone Pony was the starting point for Springsteen, as well as for Bon Jovi, whose house was always a landmark when I used to go sailing in the river near my hometown. As a side note, I consider the Stone Pony to be a far more important New Jersey attraction than the “Jersey Shore” house and, thankfully, the venue survived the wrath of Sandy.
Now that I think about it, New Jersey has spawned some pretty prolific musicians. Jack the Bulldog may not seem to fall into this category, but then again, a crowd of Georgetown students chanting, “Eat that box!” is music to my ears.
All things considered, Springsteen may have lost to the Black Keys in every category for which he was nominated at the Grammys this past Sunday, but the Ohio band can only hope that it will one day be as respected and successful as The Boss. As it so happens, Springsteen received a greater honor than any Grammy winner this year, and joined the likes of Paul McCartney and Elton John when he was named MusiCares Person of the Year as a result of his musical achievements and philanthropy.
I’m not by any means denying that there are some crazies who reside in New Jersey (although let’s be real here loonies like those seen on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” hail from everywhere), but the Garden State is also home to a lot of really good-hearted, intelligent people, famous or otherwise. After all, about a quarter of the student body here at Georgetown is from New Jersey, and who are we kidding? We know that we’re smart.
Allie Doughty is a senior in the College. ROOTS FROM THE GARDEN appears every other Friday in the guide.