For more than 80 years, Bullock’s Jewelry has been a part of Roswell’s history. Yet, in a play premiering this month, Kyle Bullock, the great-grandson of the store’s founder, will focus on the family’s personal history.
Oscar Bullock and his wife Helen started the shop in the 1920s. Their son Dixon attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where he met and eventually married Pat Hobbs. The couple returned to Roswell to manage Bullock’s Jewelry and together, had two sons, Don and Glen. When Dixon died in the 1970s, Pat and Don, Kyle’s father, took over the company.
But the family’s committment to the business never interfered with its committment to each other. Kyle said a lot of family traditions were built around the business.
For example, the family spent several Christmases working together at the store. Kyle and his sister Heather would help their grandmother make homemade mints and cookies for customers.
“We kind of lived and breathed the holidays there,” he said. “We had a huge sense of pride working together.”
The 20-year-old studies psychology at Lubbock Christian University and plans to pursue a master’s in organizational leadership, but also would like to carry on family business one day.
Kyle described Pat as something of a family historian and remembers fondly the stories she would share with him and his sister.
“The thing that really stuck out to me was when she would talk about Dixon,” he said. “For her, they were always the happiest stories and you could tell, the way she told the story, how much she loved him.”
Pat, who died in 2010, never remarried. “She believed Dixon was the man for her,” Kyle said.
Months before her death, his grandmother confessed that she was afraid of dying and seeing Dixon again in heaven because she thought he wouldn’t recognize her after more than 30 years apart. That admission affected Kyle so deeply that he sought to write about the love she and Dixon had.
The result is a play entitled “Those Unforgettable Black Rims,” which uses interconnecting storylines and flashbacks to tell the story of a grandmother’s life, the love of her life and eventually her death and its impact on her family.
The work will make its theatrical premiere at the Children & Adults Theatrical Studios Playhouse in Lubbock this month.
His family has read the script and in what Kyle recalls as a special moment, his father even came to a table reading and saw one act of a rehearsal. “It was neat to share that experience with my dad,” he said.
For Don, seeing others perform what he and his family lived brought about a rush of emotions, thoughts and memories.
“Good ones,” he said. “But it was still kind of an emotional thing.”
He said the family was aware that Kyle was working on something, but were “totally blown away” by the result. At a young age, Don said Kyle was involved in performances at church, but also was extremely shy at times and would refuse to perform.
“He went from being over shy to a little outgoing and now he’s center stage,” Don said.
Kyle also is mature for his age, Don said. “He’s always been two or three years ahead,” he said, adding that it comes naturally.
Don feels blessed to have both an exceptional son and daughter. “Kyle is his own guy and I’m really proud of him,” he said.
The first time his family will see the play in its entirety will be during the premiere. Family members from around the country also will visit to see performances. “It’s an exciting time to get people back together and just be a family,” Don said.
The title, which refers to a pair of glasses, was suggested by Kyle’s fiancée Devon Langford. The couple met two years ago and often perform in shows together. They plan to marry in November.
Despite its dark subject matter, the play is a light comedy, Kyle said.
“When your grandparents get to an age where they can’t take care of themselves, it’s difficult on all families,” he said. “The tough seasons of life are never fun, but one of the most important things is to share memories and laughs.
“Even when it’s hard, as families, it’s important to laugh and share with one another; it keeps us alive.”
“Those Unforgettable Black Rims” premieres 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 19, at the C.A.T.S. Playhouse, 2257 34th St., Lubbock. For ticket information and other showtimes, visit www.catsplayhouse.net or call 806-792-0501.