Two chance encounters with Paul

Published 10:14 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

By Frank Roberts

A pretty young lady from Suffolk, Va., now lives in the county of Suffolk on Long Island. There, she met the man described by the Guiness Book Of World Records as “the most successful composer and recording artist of all time.”

Not once, but twice, Nicole Speight spent quality time with Sir Paul and Nancy McCartney. The 27-year-old 2004 Nansemond-Suffolk Academy graduate, who also studied communications and English at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, kept her cool, retaining her composure while schmoozing with the famous couple.


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Nicole, and 16-month old Marlowe, the girl she was nannying, were an audience of two for Sir Paul.

“That’s how I met Paul,” she said. “The first time, I was on the phone with (sister) Pam. I pulled into the parking lot, and I saw a man walk by. I told Pam, “Oh my God, I think it’s Paul McCartney.”

She hung up in mid-conversation. “Then I got the baby out of the car to get her to the park. I think he was going to his car. I decided to walk toward him. I waved discreetly. Then, he walked up and shook my hand. I said, ‘It’s such an honor to meet you. You’re such a legend.’ He was very nice. I was trying to be discreet.”

The McCartneys have a summer home in Amagansett, one of several areas known as The Hamptons, one of the country’s wealthiest communities.

“After that meet, we went our separate ways,” said Nicole, quickly noting that meeting number two was more fascinating.

“It was the same routine, two days later,” she said. “This time we were sitting in a gazebo in the park. I was feeding the baby when Paul (Paul?) and his wife sat beside me.”

“I thought it was weird — seeing him again,” Nicole said. “The baby pretended to hide. He made faces at her, trying to get her to laugh. I said, ‘I met you the other day.’ This time we spent about 20 minutes talking about his summers.”

“They seemed friendly, not stuck on themselves. They were always smiling,” she said.

Then came the unexpected treat. It was time for a gazebo concert. McCartney’s songbook is a little smaller than the New York City telephone book. Was he going to do a medley? “Hey Jude,” or “Let It Be?” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Penny Lane,” “Silly Love Song” or “I Want to Hold Your Hand?”

None of the above — not even Nicole’s favorite, “Yesterday.”

Before mentioning the piece of music he spontaneously selected for the gazebo performance, it should be noted the performer’s instruments are listed as guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and drums. The instrument selected for the cozy mini concert was the only one he could carry around inconspicuously — the harmonica.

The song he chose was written a couple centuries ago by this country’s first pop music composer, Stephen Foster.

“The baby is great,” Nicole said. “She’s always smiling. Anyway, Paul (Paul?) took out his harmonica and, to get her giggling, he played, ‘O Susanna.’ She giggled, and he was stomping his feet.

“Then, they got up. He said, ‘Nice to meet you,’” she said. “I shook his hand and whispered, ‘Can you take a picture?’ He said, ‘Sorry, I don’t do pictures.’”

Lots of famous people live in the Hamptons.

“I saw Chris Martin (Coldplay’s lead singer). I saw Gwyneth Paltrow, and I saw Billy Joel unloading groceries from his car and taking them into his house.

“But Paul (Paul?) takes the cake. He is on my iPod.”

She will be returning to the family home on Greenway Road with her rescue dog, Layla, for Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, she continues nannying and doing online marketing.

“Eventually I want to start my own business — a produce delivery service working with local farmers,” she said. “I want to be my own boss.”

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at