Gill Bell?

I remember that my eighth-grade teacher, God rest his soul, used to use the expression “Gill Bell” (spelling and capitalization approximate, as he never actually wrote it out), usually after telling a seemingly outrageous fact. One day when he said it, I said to him, “Why do you like to say ‘Gill Bell’ a lot? What does that mean?”

He explained this: you do not lie on a Gill Bell. If you do, you are never to be believed ever again. In other words, if you say “Gill Bell,” it’s a solemn promise that you are absolutely telling the truth. And you had to say “Gill Bell” – any variation on it didn’t count. (Indeed, when he mentioned what his childhood nickname was, he swore he didn’t know how he got it. When we prodded him for more info, he again swore he had no idea where the name came from, and said “Gilbert Bell” after we demanded he say “Gill Bell.”)

I guess a typical example might be something like, “I shot a hole in one yesterday! Gill Bell!”

Thing is – I’ve never heard this expression outside of that school – except when I saw a “happy ad” in the paper years later, something like “Joe Smith is fifty today – Gil Bell!” And the “from” person in the ad happened to be an old childhood friend of my teacher’s! Which leads me to believe that it’s just an expression my teacher and his friends would use.

But has anybody else heard of this expression??? Is it a universal thing, or just an expression he and his friends made up???

Sorry to reply to this nearly-year-old post, but…I just found out the back story on “Gil Bell.”

Turns out it was an inside thing between my late 8th-grade teacher and his friends…one of whom is named…Gil [one “L”] Bell. He’s currently a college baseball coach.

So there’s my answer.

Gordon Bennett!