They Came and Took Me Away (written for WTIT: The Blog by Bud Weiser)
When WTIT recorded its first tape in 1967, I was a sophomore at a public school. I only knew public school, I wasn’t a great student, but they kept promoting me to the next grade. That, I thought, was the idea.
After all, the guys I was taping with at WTIT all went to public school. That is, until Bouncing Billy was sent away to military school. I felt badly for him, because I could not have gone away to any school, let alone a military one. Billy seemed fine with it, fortunately.
Eight days into my junior year at public high school, a bombshell hit. Some kid at the local uppity private school, had caught malaria, leprosy or something. They had an opening and were desperate. My folks arranged for me to transfer there. Now, my younger brother went to this “Kingswood School”. It begins with 7th grade, which is when he started. He loved the school, but he wasn’t 16. No girls? You had to be shitting me.
I begged. I pleaded. I threatened (Don’t ask me about what, I don’t remember. It was probably an “I’ll hold me breath” thing or “I’ll tell everyone on Tape Radio that you are the worst parents!” It didn’t work, so off I went. It sucked. I hated almost everything about those two years, except the guys I went to school with and with whom I played football. Everyone warned me, that I probably would have a hard time making friends. After all, these guys had known each other since 7th grade. I didn’t care about that aspect, I already had good friends, like Galloping Gary, Bouncing Bill, Gypsy, Johnnie Walker.
So expecting to be unpopular along with being miserable, I entered Kingswood. It was an incredibly hard school. I barely passed my junior year, and barely graduated in my senior year. They had rules about everything. I nearly got thrown off the football team for getting caught smoking a cigarette. After my suspension (two games) I was now the lowest rated back. Fortunately, the guy now above me at running back was dumb as a rock. The coaches during the first quarter got so mad at him that they threw me in for one play. The quarterback and I got along very well, so he ignored the play I had brought in to the huddle. He used a play where I, as the running back lined up as the QB in a shotgun formation. You can imagine the coaches' outrage seeing me get the snap. They couldn't stay angry long, because I gained thirty yards on the play. I scored a touchdown on the next play. I never went back out. By the end, I had scored four touchdowns. I missed a fifth by inches. I started the rest of the year. The dumb guy had to learn another position.
I did not find myself unpopular at school, as was feared. These guys were around a long time together. Probably WAY too long. A boy’s school just should be outlawed. The students behaved like childish jerks most of the time and the rest of the time they passed gas. The problem with boys maturing without girls to impress, is a big one. Whatever was going on there before I arrived was certainly not Tape Radio. But suddenly, all these guys I met wanted to become DJs at WTIT.
These guys were not Howard Stern wannabes. They had heard about our wild WTIT Parties. So the reason I was popular was the simple fact that I actually knew girls. I knew lots of them. I could fix them up or just invite bodies. (A college friend, Many Miles, also a DJ met his first wife at one of our parties. It’s probably why I don’t hear from him anymore. Only DJs could come to our parties, so a lot of guys signed up. While the primary DJ staff were still Gary, Joe, Billy, Johnnie and I, the Kingswood guys were great additions. Most became contributors, and almost all went on to college radio because of the exposure to Tape Radio at WTIT.
The crew from Kingswood were: Nick Bocker, Chester Fields, Hunt Winklee, Bull Durham, Benny Hedges, Carter B., Teddy Q and Ken Kolt. While Ken lasted the longest, all brought “something to the table”. When it came time for the class yearbook, the editor wanted a “Humor director”. When he asked for nominations, so many guys yelled out “Bud” that I was unanimously elected. All the DJs got their DJ names in that book, and WTIT was voted favorite radio station. By our sophomore year at college, most of the Kingswood crew were gone, except for Ken. I suspect they now could meet a woman without me. Carter B. & Teddy Q. came to our 20th Anniversary Shindig. That’s the last time I saw them, but I did talk to Teddy Q. when he RSVP’d in the negative for our 30th Anniversary Party. I hear from Hunt every few years or so.
Every now and then my dad used to ask me, "All in all, aren't you glad you went to Kingswood?" It always cracked me up. "Not a chance, Dad," is how I replied each and every time. Although, I did't tell him it made for a decent post on that very cold New England day in January. I'd give anything to hear his voice again. Even to debate Kingswood again. Yet, on my tombstone it could read, "All in all, I'd Now Rather Be at Kingswood..."
(from left: Teddy Q., Carter B., Chester Fields, Ken Kolt)
The Guys from Kingswood
The Kingswood Guys
((from left: Bull Durham, Benny Hedges & Hunt Winkee)
After the publishing of this page I forwarded a link to Hunt Winklee, the only member of the Kingswood WTIT DJs that I’m
still in touch with, thanks to Facebook. Here’s his response that he left on our Facebook page after his initial viewing:
Your comments on Kingswood struck a chord. Those of us on the WTIT roster were, by and large, outsiders
at school. Lonely, sad little creatures with virtually no chance of getting laid. I never had clothes from the
right stores. Is it my fault that burlap sport jackets never caught on?
I wasn't all that jazzed about being at a pretentious boys school but, to torture me even more, my parents
sent me to an all boy's aquatic camp in the summer. At least it wasn't pretentious and we often saw cute
girls drowning in the distance.
What better way to escape the rancid prospect of a future as a monk than into the world of Tape Radio? I'll
never lose the great memories from that time. Your idea of dealing heroin so we could all afford hookers
was brilliant. Why Johnny Walker had to knock up and marry that skinny little ... chick is still a mystery to me.