Or was it the summer of '90? Yes, I believe it was the summer of '90 because I was 15 at the time and had just gotten my driver's permit and thought I was hot "you-know-what"! My Mom has a picture of me sitting in our ultra cool mini van, sporting Tom Cruise "Top Gun" type shades and flashing my brand new permit at the camera. Oh, yes. I was it!
That summer, our family headed to Wisconsin for the first of two family reunions that year. This was a reunion with my dad's side of the family (the reunion I went to a couple of weeks ago was my mom's side of the family). Anyhoo....I was anxious to go, because not only did I get to hang out with my cool cousin "T" (which is what I will refer to her in this post for the sake of anonymity) for two weeks at a lake, but since I was an official and legal driver, that meant that I got to break in the new driver's permit by helping drive out there. Oh, yes...I was pumped.
At this particular time in my life, I happened to be just mildly obsessed with a young and popular boy band. You may have heard of them. They were called "New Kids On The Block". It was just a mild obsession. As luck would have it, my cousin T was also mildly obsessed. I cured her mild obsession, however, and cranked it up to fever pitch during our little visit to Wisconsin.
We spent long and glorious summer days sitting on the dock at the lake fantasizing about our dream-boat famous boys. My man was Jordan, hers was Joe. (If you are unfamiliar with these boys, then google 'em. For real. Go do it now.) We imagined what it would be like to meet them and of course knew without a shadow of a doubt that if these boys were to ever meet us, their days of singing "Please Don't Go Girl" would be over, and they would be singing "I'll be Loving You Forever" and "The Right Stuff" for the remainder of their days to us. I mean, who could resist us?! Really.
T and I decided that this fantasizing stuff was for the birds, and we absolutely must turn fantasy into reality. Besides, we were being totally mis-treated by the adults at the family reunion and we were sick of it. We were ready to go be with the men that we knew were just waiting for us, they just didn't realize it yet.
So, we set the plan in motion. I pulled out my trusted copies of "Teen Beat" and "BOP" magazines to find out where they were on their tour at this time. We found the closest location we could and decided that was to be our destination. Connecticut. That is were we decided we must go. We figured out the mileage from Wisconsin to Connecticut, how long it would take us to get there, and how much gas it would take to get there. We didn't need to worry about gas or mileage on our way back, because....well, we weren't coming back. Nope. We were going to hook up with the boys in CT, and naturally since they would fall in love with us, we would just join them on their tour.
Since I was a "legal" driver at that time, we decided I would be the one to drive, therefore we would use my family's mini-van. "How was the rest your family going to get home", you ask? We don't know. We weren't thinking about minor details such as those.
"But what are we going to do about money?" T and I thought. Well, we'll take our parent's credit cards, and any cash we can find. That ought to cover us until we get to CT and our suga-daddies can start paying for everything we need. Then we'll send their credit cards back to them.
So, we did just that. We secured the cards and some cash, packed our bags, and threw them outside the bedroom windows so that we could avoid making noise in the middle of the night when we left. We were all set.
Then the middle of the night came. T and I were ready to go....we thought. "Are we ready to go?" T asked. "Ummm...not so much, maybe." I say. As with all grand scheme type ideas I had ever come up with when I was a young'un, this one was a lot more fun to plan than to execute. The ramifications of all this plan entailed started to enter into my thought process. Why had the ramifications never entered in before? Well, probably because I never thought we'd actually go through with it. And here we were, the eve of the great "NKOTB Getaway" with the plan all set in motion, and I was starting to panic. The credit cards....the suitcases....we were sure to get caught. How would we replace and/or hide all evidence of this highly thought up scheme before the parentals woke up in the morning?
Well, we didn't. And we got caught. And we got punished. BIG TIME. I got to spend the remaining days of our vacation sitting inside my lake-shore cabing watching everyone water-ski and frolic in the water. The fact that we begged and pleaded withour parents and told them it was just a plan and we didn't intend to go through with it fell like dead weight on their ears. It did no good whatsoever. Suffice it to say, I lost all driving priveledges for the remainder of the summer.
You'd think this whole deal would have soured my love for the group that caused me to go temporarily insane, but oh no. My love withstood the trauma, thanks to die-hard friends back home and constant correspondence between T and I, who had become known to our family members as "Partners in Crime".
"Why", you may ask, "are you telling me this story that has forever altered how I feel about you, Kristen?" Well, because T was visiting us this weekend on her way to another family reunion, and of course, everytime we are in the same room together, the story has to be told again. and again. and again. We now just roll our eyes at eachother and nonchalantly plug our children's ears. "How could we have been so stupid." We always say.