Article 2016-10-10 Harvard COOP (The), Cambridge, MA

Fans flock to Harvard Square to meet the Boss

Kimberly Wadsworth looked dazed as she emerged from the Harvard Coop Monday morning. Clutching a bag containing a signed copy of Bruce Springsteen’s new memoir, “Born to Run,” Wadsworth was at a loss for words.

“I got a hug from him,” she said with a smile. “That’s something I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”

Wadsworth, a veterinarian from Woburn, was among 1,000 fans who managed to score a ticket to the singer’s book signing Monday, one of just a handful of appearances Springsteen is making to promote the book. Why Cambridge? Perhaps because the Coop is close — the length of a long guitar cord — to the former Harvard Square Theatre, where in 1974 Springsteen played a show attended by then-journalist Jon Landau. Afterward, Landau famously wrote “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

Dressed in jeans, T-shirt, and a leather jacket, Springsteen seemed relaxed and in a good mood as he greeted wide-eyed fans to whom he’s like a superhero. Cambridge resident Tom Brewitt was an early arrival. A bassist who’s played in the Boston bands the Jigsaws and Big Dipper, Brewitt asked Springsteen if it was true he wrote “Hungry Heart” for the Ramones.

“He didn’t really answer,” Brewitt said afterward. “There wasn’t a lot of time to talk.”

Indeed there wasn’t. Fans were moved along quickly, given just enough time to snap a picture with Bruce and say thank you. And that’s what most said they wanted to express more than anything — gratitude for the songs Springsteen has written over the past four decades.

“There are so many songs that say so much,” said Derek Chechak, a social worker who flew in from Ontario for the book signing. “I just wanted to say thank you.”

Carrie Gregory told us she and her mother, Irene Sims, drove up from New Jersey because “this is bucket list stuff.”

“I’ve been seeing him since I was 10 and I’ve been to over 100 shows,” said Gregory. “I’ve been trying to get as close to the man as possible my entire life.”

The autobiography, a bestseller that sold more than 117,000 print copies in its first week on sale, shows a different side of the working-class rocker. The 67-year-old singer writes about his complicated relationship with his father, his failed first marriage, and his ongoing struggle with anxiety and depression, which he’s managed with medication for the past 15 years.

“I literally blurted out, ‘I love you,’” said Kathy McLaughlin, a realtor from Milton. “And he smelled really good.”

Michelle Johnson said she flew up Monday morning from Larchmont, N.Y., bringing with her a couple of old photos of her and Bruce taken by her dad before a show in Houston in 1980. She was 7 years old. Laughing, Johnson said she asked Bruce if he remembered. He didn’t.

Briana Bianchini, a New Jersey native who lives in Somerville these days, walked out of the Coop trembling. Her mom, Lisa, who’d driven down from Maine, also was barely keeping it together.

“This is the highlight of 2016, for sure,” Bianchini said.

“And probably 2017, too,” said her mom. “We’re going to have a drink now.”

By Mark Shanahan via The Boston Globe.
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