A Strange Tale of Paul Revere & The Raiders and the Holiday Inn.
Elk River Holiday Inn - Charleston WV
The year was 1968. The
winter of 1968 to be exact. I was 17, and my best friend was a
guy named Johnny Schoonover. He came from a nice family in Cross
Lanes, but sort of went wild and out on his own. We met at a
place called the "Third Door" on Washington Street E, close to where
the main post office is located. The Third Door was a Hippie
place that sold black light posters and buttons and other kinds of
hippie stuff. It had a jukebox that seemed to have only one
record that played all day. It was Peter-Paul-& Mary's "The Great Mandella". Johnny and I weren't sure what we were. We weren't really
hippies, but we like to hang around the place because it was full of
other outsiders like us.
Sometime in January of
that year, we walked into a place called "The Little Coffee Shop, which
was almost directly across from Charleston High School.
The girls mentioned that they were going to the Civic Center to see Paul Revere and the Raiders show, which was part of "Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars" tour. So we said we were going also, and were even getting a motel room at the Elk River Holiday Inn because we couldn't go home for awhile due to personal issues. This was a lie. Not only could I go home, I LIVED at home with my mom. Johnny on the other hand just didn't WANT to go home. So we told the girls to meet us at the motel at a certain time.....
Neither me nor Johnny had two nickels to rub together, so I had to think fast.
I had watched too many movies which gave me an idea of what to do.
That afternoon we went to the hotel and up to the second floor where I saw a maids cart on the balcony. She was cleaning the rooms, and when finished, she would hang the key off her cart. Perfect! So we sneaked up to the second floor and I waited for the maid to grab sheets and towels and go inside. Just then I quickly creeped over to her cart and grabbed a key. Great, now we have a room. Turns out it was on the front side of the hotel just doors down from where the maid was cleaning. She had cleaned our room so we knew we were in the clear. And since she wouldn't be returning our key to the front desk, we had the room for free. We left for awhile, to give the maid a chance to finish up her work. It was close to 5 o/clock anyway.....
Around 6 we came
back. Now for part two of my plan: We wanted to impress the
girls by going to the show with them and "maybe" let them meet Mark
Lindsay, the lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders. Fact
was we had no money and no tickets for the show. So if I could
just talk to Mark and tell him our tale of woe, maybe he'll give us
tickets, and maybe even back stage passes! I knew Mark was
staying at the hotel, as just about everyone under 30 stayed there
instead of the old Daniel Boone hotel. (that was for old singers) So
how to find out which room Mark was staying? I couldn't just
knock on every door in the hotel dressed as a street kid. No, I had to
play the part.
So I went down to the kitchen area where the lockers were. In those days the waiters and Busboys wore a uniform, which consisted of black pants, white shirt, red vest, and black bow tie. As I entered the locker area, a waiter passed by and said "you the new busboy?" Which I replied "yes I am, and looking for my locker". He leaves and I start going through lockers. I find one with the entire outfit and take it up to our room and put it on. Then I went outside to start knocking on doors to find Mark Linsey. I see a tray that someone had left outside their door with some glasses etc on it and now my transformation is complete. I hold the tray like a typical busboy and start knocking. If anyone opened the door I would ask them if they called for service. About 5 doors later, guess who opens the door? MARK LINDSAY. I start telling him my elaborate story about how I got there and could he please give us tickets to the show. He steps just outside the door onto the balcony while we're talking and as our conversation finished, two things happened: He told me that he was sorry but he had no tickets, and as he shook my hand, I saw what appeared to be 20 or more girls running towards us. They too had been there to find Mark Lindsay, and they saw me and Mark and started running to us. Mark slammed the door just as they got there. One girl grabbed my hand just to touch the hand that touched Mark Lindsay's. All of a sudden I'm some big deal who knew Mark Lindsay, and the girls wanted to meet him through me. So I told them to come back after the show and I would take them to see Mark Lindsay. I even gave them MY room number. Why I did this I don't know. It was a very stupid mistake. What was I thinking? I'll tell you what: I figured that "maybe" just maybe one or two girls might show up, and that would offset any issues with the girls that we had already invited. I mean, those girls may not have in mind what we had in mind, so better to hedge your bet right?
So there we are. Me & Johnny waiting for the girls to arrive. It's about 40 minutes till show time. Finally there's a knock on our door and we let the 3 girls in. I should also mention that we brought along with us another boy just to make it even. We didn't know this boy real well but we knew enough about him that we knew he was OK. (a little too OK because he was a good kid unlike us). So after some back and forth, the good girl and the good boy take off for the concert. That leaves me and the red head along with Johnny and Grapey. To make an even longer story short, we all wound up in the 2 beds. I didn't think Johnny would get anywhere because Grapey had a bad attitude about everything. But then again, she undressed and jumped in bed so fast that I was dumbfounded. The lights go out and within 10 minutes I hear the sounds of sex in the next bed over. Good grief! Johnny's doing the nasty while I've barely gotten to second base! So after a few more minutes I started to mount her, and then it happened.....
BAM BAM BAM! A loud
knock on the door. I jump up and run to the window, wrapping the
curtain around me and peek outside. There must have been 50 girls
out there! I tried to motion for them to go away but there
was so much commotion that they didn't hear me! Why the
commotion? Because for some reason they thought Mark Linsey was
in the room! Those in the back that couldn't see well thought it
was Mark Linsey at the window, so they all start screaming! I've
got to stop this before we get busted! So with the curtain still
around me, I crack open the door to tell them that Mark wasn't in this
room and to come back in an hour. (I'm just buying time). But
guess what happened next? All the girls came busting through the
door and I was in no position to hold it closed! The girls filled
the room, and some even went to the back of the room to where the
bathroom was and went inside to look for Mark. All the while
there's Johnny and Grapey covered up under the sheets, and the redhead
doing the same, her eyes as big as saucers. I kept yelling to
leave and I'd take them later to see Mark, but they have to leave NOW!
The girls leave and it's back to business as usual.... except not quite. Just as we were about to get it on again BAM BAM BAM! Now what? Is this going to go on all night? No it's not, because this time it was a Cop! I open the door and let him in, once again behind the curtain. He looks around and puts 2 & 2 together and I guess due to our age, he tells us to get dressed and get out. I have no idea who called the cops or found out that we were in there illegally. I must assume he had stopped at the front desk and found that the room was supposed to be empty, otherwise he wouldn't have told us to leave. I mean, if we were paying guests, we'd still be there right?
Here's the sad part now that I've had well over 50 years to look back: All of us left the hotel that night, split up, and never saw each other again. That's kinda hard to do considering that the town isn't that big. I mean we literally never saw those girls again.... anywhere. We never got a phone number or anything, so we wouldn't even know where to start looking for them.... so we never did.
This is just one of the many crazy things from my past, and I may tell you more in the future.