Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

This past 4th of July, I found out that my boyfriend had no idea that it is required to play “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen on Independence Day. What do you mean, you didn’t grow up with Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi playing every other song on the radio all summer long? What do you mean, YOU DON’T KNOW WHO BON JOVI IS???

I played him several Bon Jovi songs in a row. I still don’t think he was impressed.

“Born in the U.S.A.” is a mandatory staple on any 4th of July fireworks playlist. Everyone in New Jersey, the state where I spent most of my time growing up, knows this. (My boyfriend also didn’t grow up listening to a playlist a local radio station curated for the fireworks show. I’m starting to think Missouri is anti-American.)

Of course, we’re ignoring the fact that “Born in the U.S.A.” is itself critical of America. That’s not important – you either play it on July 4th, or you get the hell out of this state.

This was my childhood. Heading out on our family’s motorboat to watch the fireworks over the river on the 4th. Picking up porkrolleggandcheese¬†– all one word – to take to the beach. Late-night diners and taking pride in not pumping your own gas. Dealing with jughandles because you don’t have any other choice (you can still complain about them, though.)

Then I graduated from high school, and my family moved away.

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