How I've "stayed the same"

It was the summer of 1989 when I met my cousin Melissa for the first time.  She lived in California her whole life, and I had always lived in Rhode Island; we'd never met.  That summer her family moved her from California, and they lived at my nana's house.  Melissa is a year older than me, which means she was about 8 when we met; I was 7.  I remember the first thing she ever said to me:  "Do you like the New Kids on the Block?"       

"Yes," I replied "I love them!"

"Who is your favourite?" she asked excitedly.

"Joe!  He has the best voice.   Who is yours?" 

"Jordon!  He is so cute!"   she said, and we giggled happily as we discussed everything there possibly is to discuss about the New Kids on the Block. 

I remember going to my nana's house to visit her during the summer.  Whenever I would go over, we would sneak upstairs with a New Kids casette tape and shut the door behind us.  Then we would play it, and lip synch.   I always got stuck being Jordon, because I (at the time) had a higher voice.   Sometimes my little brother would play; he was always Donnie.  He liked the New Kids too, because he always copied my musical tastes (and still does to this day).  

Once Melissa's family moved into their own house, Melissa invited me to sleep over during the weekends.  The walls of her new room were plastered with posters of the New Kids.  Before we went to bed, we would always kiss our favourite New Kid's picture goodnight.  Then she would go to sleep in her bed with the New Kids quilt, and I would sleep on the pullout bed with New Kids sheets. 

My uncle Tom was a lawyer in Boston at the time, and did some legal work for them.  He got them all to sign a group picture for me, and personalise it.  I have it framed on my wall to this day.  It says "stay cool, Christina!" and they all signed it.  Joe made a little heart under his signature <melts>.

To this day, I still love the New Kids.   Joe is still my favourite.  Whenever I hear one of his songs or see him on tv, I revert back to my 7-year old self, and giggle helplessly as I did back then while watching "Hangin' Tough Live!" (which I still have, somewhere).  It's uncontrolable.  The man is just beautiful.  He lives like, 20 minutes away from me.  Can you believe it?  I can't.  Just knowing he lives in the same state as me is so weird.  The guy I work with makes fun of me for childish Joe attracation aaaaaall the time, but I couldn't care less.  Joe is wonderful. 

I plan to buy the New Kids greatest hits as soon as I can find it at the stolen discount music store.    And, I will always love the New Kids.