Monday, June 15, 2009


They kept playing that song “Wild World” by Cat Stevens all night long.

We had sister Churches, St. Paul Methodist and Hurst Methodist, and between those two Churches and our own Bedford Methodist we had a pretty good group of kids. When I think back it seems like whatever we did, they did as well. And whatever they did, somehow we managed to tag along too.
I think it must have been Halloween 1971, I was in the 8th Grade. The plan was to meet at one of the Churches, bob for apples, take a hayride, watch a scary movie, and then on to Hurst Bowl for all Night Bowling. I remember the movie was ‘Tomb of Ligeia” with Vincent Price, but I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was too busy trying to maneuver myself into the proximity of Nancy.
And it seemed like they just kept playing that song “Wild World” over and over again.

Nancy was one of the smartest girls I ever knew. She was not just a classmate, and not just a church-friend; she was also the daughter of longtime friends of my parents. Our parents had been friends before she and I were ever born. In a strange sort of way that made her a sister, or a cousin maybe. It made her at least very much like family, except I had a crush on Nancy.

After the movie was over we all loaded up the buses and headed for the Bowling Alley, where they would lock us safely inside for the night.. It was on the bus that I was very much entertained by Vickie , who kept sticking her tongue out at me and saying it was really a lizard. I was delighted, and from that moment on I was all past Nancy , at least for the night, because Nancy, never would have you know, shown me her tongue, and now I was all about Vicki .
And it seemed like they just kept playing that song “Wild World” over and over again.

So at the Bowling Alley, all night long, I kept trying to maneuver myself into the proximity of Vickie . Didn’t do any good, but we all had lots of fun Bowling. It was exciting to find that I could have a crush on TWO girls at the same time. Ah, the promiscuous heart and mind of an eighth grade boy!
And it seemed like they just kept playing that song “Wild World” over and over again.

At 6AM the next morning, after donuts, we were turned loose into the world. I carried the silver/chrome tray that had had chips and dips on it to Mikes ’64 Impala, where Vickie, Nancy, and no tellin’ how many kids piled into that car to be driven home. It was on Hurstview as we crossed the bridge only a few blocks from my house that the flashing lights lit up the dawn and appeared in the rear-view mirror.
The cops were pulling us Church kids over!
This was very exciting, more exciting than Nancy's wit, more exciting than Vickie sticking her tongue out at me, surely the most exciting thing that had never happened to me before.
I mean, my dad had never been pulled over. Why would anyone want to pull over my Dad?
But in 1971, a car load of bleary eyed kids driving around at 6AM was probable cause enough for Hurst’s finest to be suspicious.

The officer approached the drivers window.
‘Can I see your license”
“Yes sir” Mike says
“What are you kids doing out this time of the morning”
‘Were coming back from an all night Bowling Party at the Church.”
“Your Church has a Bowling Alley?”
Mike stutters ‘Er, well, um, what I-I m-meant to s-say was….”
But the Officer stops him. “I know what you meant son, its OK.” Smiling, he hands Mikes license back.

But then he glances to the back seat and sees me, holding that darn silver-chrome tray for the chips and dips. He frowns and sticks his head in the window.
“What do you have there son?”
I’m frozen speechless, terrified. I had never been asked any question like that by a policeman.
In fact we are all a bit tongue tied. No one says a word, and his eyes are starting to burn right through me. I feel like I am holding a sack of stolen money, or a guys head, or some kind of contraband.
Just when the officer looks like he is about to draw his weapon, Nancy snaps.
“Officer, that is a tray for chips and dips.” She smiles sweetly, takes it from my hands and gives it to the cop. “See?”
He turns it over in his hands, examines the shine of the chrome and hands it back to Nancy saying
“Hmmm, I thought it might be a HubCap”

What a relief!
We all just cracked up!
And on the radio comes that song, ‘Wild World” for the 10th time that night.
I can’t hear that song without thinking about Nancy, without thinking about Vickie, without thinking about that cop.

click here to see a related post about the majikat.


West Texas Insomniac said...

In other news, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), just released a new pop record in May '09 to rave reviews. (His first since '77.) A world tour was announced on his web site to promote the new album. And yes he's going to "play the hits".

So if you ever wanted to see "Wild World" live, you'll have your chance.

The "Lock-In's" were always a risky proposition, whether at the church, the junior high school or the skating rink. Matter of fact, any parental chaperoned event was like a "dare" of sorts, to see what we could get away with...

bulletholes said...

Yeah, I did a post about the Majikat a while back, and went ahead and offered a link at the bottom of the post.
And here as well...

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Hey baby it's a wide world...and it is hard to get by just on a smile girl......I remember that one! Hey Chef!!

Angela said...

But what is a scary Hub Cap???

Barbara said...

What a great story, even if it isn't true. How did Laney fit in? I expected you to figure out that the girl next door was actually the one you wanted.

bulletholes said...

Thats the one Waiter.
Angela, a hub cap is the shiny thing that covers the lug nuts on your wheels. Back in the 50's and 60's kids used to go out and steal them.

Barbara-this is all true except for the names. laeney = Nancy and I fixed the name in the post.

laughingattheslut said...

In the eighties we had something called Super Bowl, which involved staying out all night with kids from other churchs and bowling and skating and eating pizza, and once when there was a really big group it started out at a Mavericks game.

bulletholes said...

Laffin-yaeh, they still have the all-nighters, but in keeping with the times, they call them 'Lock-Ins" these days.
The last one my son attended, he never made it there. He showed up at some chick named Megans ttwo days later, with a broken ankle and happy as a clam.

GrizzBabe said...

Steve, you are such a good storyteller.

David Kanigan said...

Great story Stephen. And certain songs trigger same memories for me.