Bruce Springsteen and Aniela Krawiec were two quiet kids in the Freehold High School Class of ’67.
But they shared a year of learning in Mr. Hussey’s English class. Springsteen signed Krawiec’s yearbook at the end of the school year, and now it’s up for auction through the Lelands.com auction house.
We found Krawiec, formerly Aniela Derylak, thanks to a tip from a reader. Krawiec was happy to chat while on break from her job at Mendokers’ Quality Bakery in Jamesburg.
“He sat next to the window and I sat next to him and he had his guitar in between,” Krawiec said. “He was a loner. He carried his guitar all around and he wore his army jacket. I also had him in study hall.”
The guitar was a hint that Springsteen was in a band, the Castiles, and Krawiec saw them play a few times, at a school dance and at the Left Foot teen club, adjacent to St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Freehold.
Aniela Derylak Krawiec: A member of the Freehold Class of '67. (Photo: Chris Jordan)
“He had his band friends and he had a girlfriend named Bonnie, I remember that,” Krawiec said. “(The Springsteens) lived right in Freehold. I lived in Colts Neck.”
Mr. Hussey was Robert “Doc” Hussey, a popular teacher who taught in Freehold and later Manalapan High School, where the library was renamed the Robert Hussey Library after he passed away at the age of 63 in 1995.
Krawiec credits Hussey with helping to bring her out of her shell.
“I was very shy,” Krawiec said. “I only had a few friends. I wasn’t a big social butterfly.”
In turn, she asked the future Boss to sign her yearbook out of an empathy for the solitary Springsteen.
“He was very quiet,” Krawiec said.
“Anielia, Best of luck in the coming years and always remember Mr. Hussey’s English class. Have fun this summer, Bruce,” Springsteen wrote, adding an extra “i” to Aniela.
Over the years, Springsteen became a rock ’n’ roll star and has played his songs to millions around the world. Krawiec married and raised a family. They haven't seen each other since. The two never attended the same class reunions.
About 20 years ago, she needed funds to finance a trip to Florida to be with an ailing sister. She sold the yearbook to Springsteen historian and collector Billy Smith for $400. Smith subsequently sold it to finance a move to Florida.
The consignor of the yearbook now is the widow of a longtime collector from Long Island who obtained the yearbook, named “The Log,” more than 10 years ago, according to Lelands.
The starting bid for the yearbook was $500 and those interested in bidding can do so online via Lelands through Friday, March 23. The bidding is over $650 as of press time.
“One of the best-selling musical artists of all time, Bruce Springsteen is an American icon and living legend,” reads the lot description. “This yearbook, from Freehold Regional High School in New Jersey, comes from Springsteen’s senior year in 1967 and is signed by the Boss himself.”
“He didn’t just scribble something,” Krawiec said. “I’m kind of sorry I sold it in a way but I needed the money really bad.”
“Tell Bruce Springsteen I’m sorry for selling the book.”
Chris Jordan: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisfhjordan