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Will The Real Bob Joseph Please Stand Up?

June 10, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ Robert Joseph of Napoleon, Ohio, who never before knew anyone else with his name, now has met 35 Roberts, one Roberta and two ″Future Bob″ Josephs.

They met Sunday in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park at the first Bob Joseph picnic, where they ran a one-mile Bob-A-Thon, bobbed for apples, ate shish-ka-Bob, staged a battle of the Bobs in volleyball, and sang a theme song with lyrics by - who else? - Bob Joseph.

Roberta Joseph of Framingham, Mass., and New York Bob helped lead the songfest, highlighted by ″I Want to Be Bobby’s Girl,″ and the theme, sung to the tune of the Beach Boys’ ″Barbara Ann″:

″Went to a picnic that had a special name,

″Found everybody there had all the same.

″Oh, Bob Joseph, Bob, Bob, Bob,

″Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob.″

The youngest Bob Joseph, 31/2 , came with his father, Bob, 36, and his grandfather, Bob, 62, all from Hampton Bays.

The oldest Bob, 71, an insurance salesman from East Meadow, said he used to get the mail of another Bob Joseph, but that Bob didn’t show up at the picnic.

Much of the afternoon was taken up with introductions, ″Hi, Bob,″ being the most common. Then came the ″Bobbed″ humor, and some soul-searching on the importance of being Bob.

″You look a little young to be a Bob Joseph,″ Bob of Grand Blanc, Mich., told one of two Staten Island Bobs on hand, to the amusement of six or so Bobs within earshot.

Bob Joseph of Anaheim, Calif., was unable to attend, but sent a photograph and a ″Hi, Bob″ cassette tape that was played to general amusement.

Bob-day was organized by Robert Thomas Joseph of Brooklyn, a senior vice president with William Esty Advertising, who conceived of the idea after a business associate was unable to telephone him one weekend.

″The information operator told me there were seven Bob Josephs in Brooklyn, and they all had unlisted numbers,″ said the associate, Chuck Hyman, who was present as an ″honorary Bob.″ ″I called Bob the next Monday and told him that everybody named Bob Joseph must be crazy.″

Brooklyn Bob said he sponsored the picnic for $1,000 ″because I wanted to make us all famous. To help our business. And it’s working.″

The Bobs wore blue T-shirts bearing their names and tags with their home states. Their spouses and non-Bob children wore tan ″Friends of Bob″ shirts and the crew serving Bob-a-que wore red ″I Wish I were Bob Joseph″ shirts.

Judi Joseph of Queens and Alice Joseph of Chicago, both pregnant with ″future Bobs,″ wore T-shirts that proclaimed their expectations, although they said they might balk at passing the name to their offspring.

″Today convinced me that there are too many Bob Josephs. And Roberta is definitely out,″ said Chicago Bob’s wife, Alice. ″It’s confusing enough around the house now.″

At the close of the day, the group elected the Bob from farthest away - Alba, Okla. - to run the newly created ″Bob Joseph Society for the Discovery and Advancement of Bob Josephs Everywhere,″ and to organize next year’s picnic.

″It’ll be in Alba or Oklahoma City,″ he said. ″We’re looking for 100 Bob Josephs. We can’t go backwards.″,

One of the last Bobs to arrive drove up in a police car with his wife, Lucille, and their two daughters.

″The cab drove us to the park at 110 mph and we were in a state of shock,″ Lucille said. ″So we just asked him to let us out and found a policeman to bring us here.″

The policeman had no trouble finding the gathering, held right next to a parked van emblazoned: ″Bob Joseph Inc., Electrical Contracting, Edison, N.J.″