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Back Story: Bernard Bowman
Fall 2008
Volume 74
Number 1

Bernard Bowman, Special Events Supervisor for the Wren Building


Photo by Skip Rowland '83

Walk us through a day at the Wren:
Most of my work is at night. I work weddings every weekend. I do all the rehearsals every Friday and I do all the weddings every Saturday. In the years that I have been there, I have done well over 1,000 weddings. We'll do just about three or four every Saturday. I enjoy every bit of it. That is why I am still here.

Sometimes I get some rude people. I don't pay them no mind -- I know how to handle them. I am a cool cat. I can talk to the mother of the bride and if she gets rude with me, I pat her on the shoulder and I tell her, "Momma, you got to cool it now." I always joke with them that everything is going to be all right -- I got your back.

Tell us about the keys:
I have had the master keys for the building since I started. A whole lot of guests and tourists look at the keys and they ask me how I carry them around with me everywhere. I tell them that I don't carry them around the whole time. And really they are not that heavy.

Is the Wren really haunted?
People ask me that stuff all the time. I have been there many years, and I have never seen or heard anything. If I did, I wouldn't be working there.

Who are your favorite musicians?
I'm a jazz fan. [Jazz organist] Jimmy Smith is my main one. I like Dave Brubeck and Kenny G. They are my men!

Are you a sports fan?
Yes. I am a football fan and my favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. I was a Cowboys fan because of [Williamsburg native and former Cowboys running back] Ron Springs -- he's my cousin. But his son, Shawn Springs, now plays for the Washington Redskins. So I'm with them too.

I've only been to a few Tribe football games because when they are playing I am always at the Wren working. I can't get off to see them. Remember, nobody is there but me.

Tell us something that no one might know about you:
I was in the special services while I served in Germany, because I knew how to do a little tap dancing. I'm not a professional tap dancer, but I can do enough to make everybody feel good. On my 50th wedding anniversary just about five years ago, the kids threw us a surprise get-together, and I did a little tap dancing for my kids, and that was the first time they had ever seen me tap dance, which was also the first time I tapped since I got out of the military in 1955.

I blow a little harmonica too. Sam Sadler used to like to listen to me. A lot of times, he'd come into the chapel and he'd get to singing "Amazing Grace" and I'd blow it behind him. I used to blow the sax back in high school but not anymore.

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