It was 1981 (or possibly the tail end of 1980) and I was a senior in high school. Bruce Springsteen's The River Tour was blasting across the US. There was an announcement that Ames, Iowa was to be on the list of towns that was to be graced with a visit."Gotta have a ticket!"
What do you do when you're a gal with very little money and from a small town. I'd heard of credit cards but at that point I don't think I had ever seen one. To get a ticket for this magical show, I was going to have to go to the nearest box office and buy it with cash. Guess where the nearest box office was. The nearest venue for getting a ticket in the town where the concert was to be held, Ames, Iowa. This was 117 miles away! Not an insurmountable obstacle, I might be able to get there. I was now a senior and knew lots of friends who could drive and had cars. I'd just have to give them gas money. When are the tickets going on sale? Next Thursday!? A school day? OK we've got a problem . . . . I know that if I ask my mother she'd say no. My twisted logic went like this; if I don't ask, then she hasn't said no and it will be fine. I found a likeminded school chum who was as keen to get tickets as I was and he had a car! Bonus! Plans were made for the day out to Ames. As word got around that we were making the journey to the box office for tickets, money was thrust in our hands to get tickets for them too. I think I ended up with the cash to buy ten additional tickets.
I didn't really think twice about skipping school. Actually, I had never skipped school before. Not one time ever. This was going to be my first time being truant from school and it sort of added a bit of an edge to the day. I was buying tickets to what would be my first rock concert AND I was skipping school to do it. How cool was that?
I met my classmate at the top of the street - so we could get away quickly. We were both skipping and wanted few witnesses. As I went to get in the car, the door was opened by his girlfriend so that I could squeeze in the back. *sigh* OK, I didn't know she was coming along. It wasn't really a problem. I didn't really have designs on this guy but it meant that I was squished in the back of a VW Beetle for the ride across to Ames with nobody to talk to. To make matters worse, the heater kept cutting out. This was Iowa. In the winter. It gets very cold. So while this guy drove, his girlfriend hung onto his neck and kissed him, I sat in the back and froze.
We got to Ames early on and got into the already formed long line to buy tickets. If memory serves, we were issued numbers. We stood in lines all day to get these tickets. It was winter, my feet were freezing because sometimes the line snaked onto an unshovelled sidewalk so we stood on packed snow. I was bored. I don't remember being hungry so I may have had enough sense to pack a lunch.
Toward the end of the day we got our tickets. Yipee! I was so cold and bored by the time I got them that I was more relieved to be able to go home than I was at having the tickets.
On the way home the heater in the VW Beetle that had been problematic earlier died completely. That has been - to date - the coldest car journey I have ever had. I could barely move by the time we got back to our home town.
I waltzed in the house quite casually with my tickets stowed in my wallet only to discover that I'd been rumbled. My mother found out that I had skipped school! As a punishment, I never got to go.
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