It was 1997, and I was in love.
I’d heard the song, and I’d seen the music video, but when YM posted pictures in their September issue, I looked into the (2-D, glossy-page) eyes of Zachary Walker Hanson and knew I belonged with him.
Sure, he was only 12. But I was only 16.
I had recently learned the word inevitable, and it started showing up in my poetry about this hyper young drummer who had so stolen my heart.
My sister Kristin called dibs on Taylor, the middle brother, but my love and energies were directed at the youngest. We plastered our walls in centerfolds, grew addicted to Tiger Beat and BOP, needing each new issue because ohmygoshdidyouSEEthepostersinside?!
I was more than 100% sure that I would marry him. I just had to meet him. I started to set aside money to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and meet my future husband. I checked the daily weather in Tulsa thanks to this new-fangled internet-thing, and I checked out books about Oklahoma from the library. I wrote poems about Zac, about his drummer hands, about the Tulsa sky, which I was convinced was a blue you could not get anywhere else.
In a safe on my parents’ farm there is an envelope; inside, my sister and I wrote down what our lives would be like 15 years later. I can’t remember all the details, but I know I was Mrs. Zac Hanson and our daughter played on the floor by our feet. In the time capsule that is buried on the farm, there is a story about how we would meet when I finally raised the money and took a roadtrip to Tulsa.
(Believe it or not, I did make it to Tulsa. We were in Branson, Missouri, on vacation, and Dad asked if I wanted to drive into Oklahoma. Um, YES. And then in this Father of the Century manuever, Dad let us go all the way to Tulsa, where we stayed overnight. The money I had set aside to meet Zac was collected to pay for this rendezvous, and I considered it money well spent. Tulsa was, after all, where the magic was.)
Anyway, fast forward 16 years to the summer of 2013. Hanson is playing a free concert at the Minnesota State Fair.
“Kristin, should we go?”
It was incredible. They played every song I wanted them to play (including “Madeline,” my favorite!), and I stared in awe at these (married) men who had grown tremendously as musicians, who joked around on stage with each other, and who– yes– exuded sex appeal so effortlessly. I kept looking at Zac and his magnificent mane of wild hair, thinking how well I had thought I’d known him through teenybopper magazines and music videos. It made me laugh and smile all night.
My sister and I rocked out to “MMMBop” and “Penny and Me” and “Where’s the Love,” as well as newer songs that were just incredible. They really put on a great concert, and I loved every single minute.
Afterward, a mass of girls crowded up by their bus, and though we walked over and took a look at the bus, Kristin and I didn’t stay and wait for the guys to come out. I’m 31. She’s 28. We realized a long time ago that we weren’t going to marry rockstars.