I heard from him the other day.
Not unsolicited, of course. No, I’ve hardly ever heard from him out of the blue like that. Even when I was working for him, emails from Rick Springfield only appeared in my box with the inevitable re: in front of whatever subject title I had been writing about. The emails were never long. I learned, after we started hosting online chats with him, that he was a hunt and peck typist, which I suppose accounts for some of the brevity.
Still, it was a thrill to see his email address in my inbox just the same. Even though it’s been years since I’ve worked for him. Years since I’ve even been in the same room with him. Why is that? Most of the people I knew who were avid fans at the time of my work for Rick are still in the mix, posting like crazy on message boards or Facebook or the relic Yahoo email groups that were our lifeblood way back when. They still are going to his shows because he still tours all of the time, nearly every weekend. They fly, or they drive insane distances.
I get it. I used to as well. As I was looking back on some of my old photos after my trip to Michigan a few weeks back I marveled at how much I’d traveled. At the time it felt like I was constrained, never as able to go to shows as often as my girlfriends who were fans. They didn’t have young children, or their husbands were more able to care for the kids in their absences. Still, as I ticked through the places I’d been, I chuckled. Dubuque, IA. Las Vegas, NV. Rockford, IL. Columbus, OH. Chicago, IL. Tucson, AZ.
But I don’t anymore. Things are different now. I don’t work for him anymore, and while I’ve come to peace with how that all shook out, it’s something I carry with me, still. It definitely put out some of the fire I had towards seeing him, being a part of the madness and mayhem that is the fan experience.
Still, when I looked through those old photos, one leapt out at me. The moment it captured, one of the first moments I’d ever shared with Rick. It was after a charity event, where he’d sung about his dead father. I’d used my mother’s inheritance to attend. It all came together, his loss and my loss and I thought: my mother made this happen for me. She led me to this man who had been my unknowing savior during my teen years. And I told him so.
At some point during that conversation, this photo was snapped.
(of course I blurred my face….couldn’t actually put a real photo of myself here)
Looking at it again, after all of these years, I couldn’t help but be amazed. At the intensity, the beauty, the essence of what passed between us captured in it. And so, even though I haven’t emailed Rick in probably a year or more, I uploaded the photo into an email and sent it along to him. I told him that I had found this photo and was moved to share it. How wonderful that moment was. And that despite everything, I would never forget how wonderful he was to me, that day and many of the days that followed.
I won’t say what words he used in his response, but I will say that they brought a very big smile to my face. For whatever it’s worth, even after everything, there is still something special about him. And I am grateful, every day, that i was fortunate enough to live out that one, crazy, teenage dream.