Being Bullwinkle

I was born in Washington D.C., fifty years ago.  February fourth 1952. My family moved to Lubbock in 1955, when my father was transferred from Washington D. C. to West Texas. I was educated for the first 7 years of my life by the Sisters of St. Joseph, from Orange County California. I attended Christ the King Catholic School from the first through the seventh grades, but decided to leave Christ the King in order to play football and make passing grades, which I was having problems doing.  My life changed when I entered Lubbock Independent School District.  I was in the eighth grade. The new guy in school. Sure I knew a few people that went to O. L. Slaton Junior High School.  But I was still new and nervous. The school year started, and football was all I cared about. I was playing tackle football for one of the worst teams in the city, but I was playing. I wore number 44. After football season, and through the year I did well.  I started going steady with Karen Ellis, the eighth grade head cheerleader, and people began to tell me that I should run for Student Council President.  So I did. And low and behold I won that popularity contest. I just knew that life was too good to be true. During the summer between the eighth and ninth grade there was a state wide Junior High School Student Council Seminar in Abilene, Texas on the campus of Hardin Simmons University.  All the Presidents, and Vice Presidents, and Secretaries, and Parliamentarians from all the Junior High Schools boarded a charter bus and headed out to learn Junior High School politics at the Junior High seminar. Then when we got to Abilene we converged with a few hundred other young people from all over the state.  We were given questionnaires and ask to answer the questions, which we all did.  One of the things that was asked was "do you have any nicknames?"  I had been called Bullwinkle a couple of times at Christ the King, so I put down Bullwinkle.  My fellow O. L. Slaton student council members had no idea I had any other names, and I think they thought I was crazy.  I didn't think much about the nickname question, but the other kids at the seminar thought that was great. I was a hit. I even found a friend who called himself Rocky so he could be popular too!  Well we divided into groups and we took on the task of creating a brand new school.  We were Central Junior High School.  We had to write a constitution, and decide on a mascot, and school colors and mottos and things like that.  It was a great experience, and I was ready to get back to Lubbock and get to work being the Student Council President.  However, while I was gone my folks had purchased a house in the W. B. Atkins Junior High district, and we were told I would have to attend the school in whose district my family resided.  I was devastated.  Bummed beyond belief.  I would have to leave O. L. Slaton and Karen Ellis behind forever. I had to go into the school office at Atkins Junior High in order to register, and while I was there I saw Gary Doss the Student Council President at Atkins.  Of course we knew one another from the seminar, and so Gary asked what I was doing at W. B. Atkins. When I told him that I was transferring to Atkins it was as if the whole school was notified that Bullwinkle was coming. "Bullwinkle's coming. Bullwinkle's coming." The very first day of school I remember leaving the safety of my father's car, and walking up to the front door of my new school. It seemed that everybody knew who I was, and wanted to say hi to the guy named Bullwinkle.  I was over whelmed with all the greetings, and so with each hell-o I would respond by raising my left hand in the I love you position in deaf signing, and with my head slightly bowed I would respond "Hey Man." This was a greeting technique I  learned from my running buddy's older brother. I was a hit. I left my new  school that day missing my old friends at Slaton Junior High. Especially Karen Ellis. But each day things improved. And the rest of the school year was great.  I wore the Bullwinkle moniker with pride, and I was known by a lot of people throughout my school career as Bullwinkle.  My pre-Bullwinkle friends never did get into it. In fact they made fun of me for allowing the name to happen at all.  But I must say that being Bullwinkle was a life changing thing for me.  People that knew Bullwinkle thought he was a good guy, and it established me as an everybody likes Paul kind of guy. So it was great being Bullwinkle for awhile, and even now and then somebody from my past will greet me by using the name Bullwinkle.

Paul Bullock