BELLS ARE RINGING
NO!!! WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT AN OLD FILM ABOUT A DITZY PHONE OPERATOR STARRING JUDY HOLLIDAY:
AND WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE BIG SHEET MUSIC HIT OF 1917:
BELLS ARE RINGING
"FOR ME AND MY GAL"
AND WE KNOW ITS CHRISTMAS TIME, AND WE ALL LOVE BING AND INGRID, BUT THAT'S NOT OUR TOPIC TODAY:
AND WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOME OBNOXIOUS GUY IN THE THEATER WHO FORGOT TO TURN OFF HIS CELL PHONE:
NO, TO ANY RED BLOODED SALTAIRE ADOLESCENT FOR THE LAST THREE GENERATIONS "BELLS ARE RINGING" COULD ONLY HAVE ONE MEANING: AN IRRESISTIBLE URGE, AS STRONG AS ANY TEENAGED URGE, TO GO TO CHURCH AT NIGHT AND RING
"I assumed you all knew that Richard Campbell passed on the title to me. I was known as Cosimodo the Bell-Ringer." -- COSMO
RINGING THE CHURCH BELLS WAS ALWAYS A TRADITION AMONG SALTAIRIAN SACRILEGIOUS KIDS.
"We called him Super-Lenny McGahey. He once chased me, Terry McGowan, Matt Scanlan, and Geoff Meluso through the bushes between Navy and Pacific North of Lighthouse because we had just rang the churchbell. He wound up giving Terry (the biggest by far) a flying tackle thus apprehending him. Terry did not give any of us up though." --DERF
JOH: "THE ONLY CONVINCING ARGUMENT I EVER HEARD AGAINST THE PRACTICE WAS AT A "TEEN MEETING" ONE TIME IN THE 1960'S. ROBIN TORREY GOT UP AND WARNED ALL THE GATHERED TEENAGERS THAT REV. TORREY WAS WORRIED THAT SOMEONE MIGHT GET HURT BECAUSE THE WOOD SUPPORTS THAT HELD UP THE BELL WERE ROTTEN AND THE BELL COULD FALL DOWN AND KILL SOMEONE. "
BEAVER: "So true - that's why Father Torrey had my father go up in the bell tower and repair said rotten support beams - in the intervening 45+ years nothing has been done to the church."
"Whenever Rev. Beardsley needed the rope re-run, he always called on me because he knew I was the one responsible." --COSMO
"The tradition was passed on to me by Richard Campbell. He was the one who taught me how to get into the belfry, ring the bells and get away without being caught. The trick, of course, was knowing that the Hill's kept a big extension ladder under their house and having an accomplice. Once up the ladder and into the belfry, the accomplice would take down the ladder and put it back under the Hill's house. Then the accomplice would stand on Broadway in front of the Church while I would start ringing the bells (traditionally between 2 am and 5 am), When Lenny would come around the corner of Lighthouse Prom onto Broadway, and my accomplice saw the light from his flashlight, he would signal me, and I would slide down the roof on the north side, jump into the bushes, and cross over to Neptune Walk. I would then walk around the corner and back up Broadway to meet the officer. Jimmy Loduca was always dumbfounded as to how I got through the padlocked front doors of the church.
I believe the tradition was originally started by George Roy Hill.
I am still looking for the photos taken of me in the belfry. I was hunched over playing 'Cosimodo', with the first light of day shown on the eastern horizon. "
WHAT IS THE MAGIC OF THE BELLS? THE TINTINABULATION OF THE BELLS?
CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL.
CLICK "COMMENTS" BELOW AND TELL YOUR BELL RINGING STORIES AND READ MORE STORIES.
"I say it's time for all of us to confess our sins and come clean. Hell, the Statute of Limitations has already run."
- COSMO, ESQ.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND GOD BLESS COSIMODO
ANONYMOUS ADDS HIS STORY: (NAMES DELETED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT)
Although there are many, many stories that could be told, perhaps what may have been my last bell ringing occurred. I can't remember the year but I would imagine it was the early 70's at the latest. The front door of the church was chained shut (I'm sure you can divine some spiritual contradiction in that one). I will guess on the personnel. Safe bet would include myself, _______, _____, etc., possibly __________. As the back door was also locked the only way in was through one of the stained glass windows that was ajar. Of course the smallest person was chosen for the entry task. I made my way into the dark house of worship and opened the rear door for the others. We first spent the appropriate time in the first two pews demonstrating our respect for the hallowed location. We then proceeded to the front entrance and the task at hand. The bell ringing (and necessary rapid departure) in this instance required a great deal of finesse as the usual means of escape (the open front door to Broadway, and hit the road) was not available. The bell was tolled and a mad dash was made down the aisle, through the Revs room, through the back door, and across the open but prickly expanse to Neptune Walk where we would blend in with the middle of the night crowd. One thing I do remember is catching my ankle at Neptune's edge (Ouch!). Survived, however, to tell the tale.
Feb 18 2008 UPDATE: WE ASKED THE RELIC, ROBIN WRIGHT, WETHER HE WAS THE FIRST TO RING THE BELLS AT NIGHT. TO OUR SURPRISE, HE DID NOT OWN UP TO BEING THE FIRST. hE POINTS THE FINGER AT:
"As far a I know it was my father (Bob Wright) and Paul Conley Jr. who rang the firstnight bell in Saltaire."