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Cherishing the Celebrities of My Youth


Since Hallmark so brilliantly incorporates the actresses I grew up watching, such as Candace Cameron-Bure (Growing Pains), Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), Kellie Martin (Life Goes On), Lacey Chabert (Party of Five), and Bethany Joy Lenz (One Tree Hill), Hallmark movies inspire me to share how I keep the celebrities of my youth alive in real life.

Thankfully I’ve outgrown the phase where I plaster my bedroom walls with Bop magazine covers of Joey McIntyre, but I have not outgrown my love for him and recently attended The New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) Mixed Tape concert, who I last saw perform—in the company of my exact same girlfriends—in the 8th grade! Admittedly, the concert locations were a bit different. Philadelphia’s Spectrum has been replaced by the Wells Fargo Center, and the Rocky Statue where my Dad dropped us off in 1990 has since been moved near the Art Museum. But, in both cases, I didn’t drive myself there. This time, however, I didn’t have my Dad to play chauffeur; instead I took a train from NYC and an Uber from the train station.

My friends and I showed up having invested in the full experience. There were vintage New Kids shirts involved, along with a Jordan doll with a hair tail; various buttons covered with Joey’s, Jordan’s, Danny’s, Donnie’s, and Jon’s faces; and Swatch watches, to make the experience authentic. Yet as much joy as these throwback trinkets brought, the whole point of this stroll down memory lane was to spend time with girlfriends I’ve literally known my whole life. And sure, it was almost 30 years after our first NKOTB concert, but my inner 12-year-old was still screaming with glee at Joey McIntyre’s rendition of “Please Don’t Go Girl,” and my friends and I danced and laughed like the teenagers we still are at heart.

What I loved most about attending the NKOTB concert as an adult, aside from the fact that they served alcohol and I could spend as much time with my girlfriends as I wanted, no curfew enforced, was the absolute recognition between the band and the audience, that we were in this symbiotic, joy-filled space that brought us back to a simpler time. NKOTB recognized that the girls who idolized them as teenagers have grown into mothers, doctors, lawyers, nurses . . . the list goes on and on, and there was this fundamental appreciation that we all still show up to enjoy this experience together.  We were there to sing our hearts out to songs that are ingrained in our memories. I’ve not sung those songs in years, but once the melody started, the words flowed out of me without pause.

Life gets busy, so it’s a gift to have an excuse to get out of our normal routine and make the effort to get together for a night of pure fun with friends. The moral to this Hallmark in Real Life experience is: we can always find joy in the things we loved as kids. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to settle into a Hallmark movie starring actresses who were achieving their youthful milestones as we achieved ours, and isn’t that just wholesome and nice?

Are there any Hallmark movie moments that make you nostalgic?

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