Wednesday, February 15, 2006



Chris T. was around at Magee, Clarke and Washington.

Prior to high school, I have few memories of him. Although Meff once told me that in 5th grade, he and Chris used to run down the hall after lunch, jump at the end, and touch the exit sign. One day, for whatever reason (perhaps a sixth sense) Meff decided not to take that leap. But Chris did. On his way down, he ended up tackling Mrs. Maki - who had just walked around the corner. They came down in a heap together. Maki was fuming - and possibly swearing. Her glasses may have broke. At some point in high school, I asked Chris about that incident. He started smiling before I'd even finished telling the story.

Chris was affectionately known as "Kiffie." I was told that he was called that due to the fact that there was another Chris (Chris Lohr) in the same grade. I don't know if that's true however.

Meff told me that he, Greg Pagel and Chris all had a piano recital together, sometime during the Clarke years. At one point, Chris disappeared. According to Meff, Greg opened a door, burst out laughing, then closed it again. According to Meff, Greg saw Chris "fucking under a piano" - allegedly Chris' first time. Again, according to Meff, Chris was silent the entire car ride home.

In high school, Chris had a reputation of being somewhat of a casanova. He sat next to Richard and I in homeroom. He would often talk about some bizarre stories he'd lived - women, drugs, slurping (yes, slurping) a wad of cocaine... He seemed to lead an interesting life. Hell, most of it was probably true.

Looking back on Chris, I think one could label him as being metrosexual. He seemed to dress impeccable, and was always perfectly groomed. Personally, he kind of looked like a vampire to me. But that's just me.

In our junior year, Chris showed me a Valentine's card that fellow graduate Trina Taddy had given him. It was done in Spanish. As it turned out, Chris had not done an assignment in Spanish class that required him to make something. So he signed his name on the front of the card, and turned it in for a grade! He was quite impressed with himself for that. I thought it was cool too. I must have known I was going to do a class blog 20 years later. So I asked him if I could have it. He complied. You can see it below. Click it to make it bigger.

Chris had an older sister - class of 1987's Joanna T. - one of the scariest senior pictures I've ever seen!

According to Meff, Chris' house had several secret passages behind the walls.

I'd heard that Chris was once arrested for stealing a car. Somewhere else in this blog, Drew Konop mentioned stealing a car with Chris. Is this the same event? Or did Chris perhaps steal cars for joyrides on more than one occasion?

What became of Chris after high school? I don't know. I don't think he ever went onto school. But don't quote me on that. I also don't think he ever married. It looks like most of his time has been spent in Door County. He's had a few run-ins with the law, including being cited for paraphernalia. He also got sued by Discover Card. But that lawsuit was dismissed when a resident at Chris' address told the process server that Chris had moved to Vermont - which by the way appears to be total bullshit. Today, it looks like Chris has recently relocated to the state of Washington, perhaps living with an older woman.

UPDATE - 8/30/06 - I have heard from Chris. He now lives on Orcas Island, which is in the middle of a group of islands off the northwest shore of the state of Washington. He works as a chef at the Rosario Resort & Spa. He has given me permission to share his E-mail address. So if you care to write to him, feel free to contact me.

UPDATE - 12/15/06 - Rumor has it that Chris very recently got married. I haven't been able to confirm that though. Also, I have an anonymous comment about him. Well, it's not really anonymous. It comes from Dave Svatek. Here it is.

"I was just looking at Chris T. My funniest memory of him was freshman year in Algebra. He sat in front of me and started falling asleep. I just happened to have my pencil pointed upright (eraser down). His head fell back right onto my pencil. He lifted his head up and the pencil went with him. I still laugh to this day."


At Wed Feb 15, 03:51:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

Actually, I don't recall actually being on site for the "under the piano" fuck incident. I think it was just a story Chris and/or Greg had told me on the Clarke playground.

At Wed Feb 15, 04:15:00 PM PST, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Chris's sister called him "Kif-ta-fer," which led to his knickname.

At Magee, Kiffe hung around with me and Meff and Tom, et al. He was really funny. I remember him cracking me up a lot. I don't know exactly when his parents got divorced, but I think it messed him up a LOT.

At Clarke, we were very close friends. We'd go to his house and listen to jazz records, some Tchaikowsky and stuff. We read Robert Frost poems.

In 8th grade, he found out girls liked him and how to take their clothes off. So he didn't need me much after that. And he learned you could get used to whiskey if you drank enough of it. So we stopped hanging out.

In 9th or 10th grade, Kiffie got drunk and took his mom's car for a ride. I don't think he had his license yet. So he didn't have a license for long time.

But that didn't prevent him from stealing a car. He told me about it years later. If I remember right, some guy had left his car running while he went into a gas station. So Kiffie drove it around for a while. I think a bunch of other stuff happened that night, but I don't remember Kiffie's story.

Senior year, Kiffie was my lab partner in Chem I. YAY! On the rare daays he actually showed up for school, he was drunk or stoned. In one of our labs, he stuck a piece of white-hot magnesium into my hand. I looked at my smouldering skin, then turned to him and said, "Kiffie, you dick. Don't burn my flesh." Actual quote from my actual life.

In 1998, I reconnected with Kiffie. His girlfriend was an actress named Amy MacKenzie. She was artistic director of Penninsula Players Theatre in Door County. She commissioned me to write the score for a show and be the show's music director.

So I saw Kiffie quite a bit for a few months. He was doing roofing. He had long hair and a beard and looked like Jesus.

After that, the next time I talked to Kif was a couple years ago when he called to ask if I knew anyone who'd buy his mom's piano for $11,000. He was moving to Vermont to enter a school for culinary arts, and needed money for tuition and stuff. I didn't ask if he and Amy were still together.

That's all I got. I don't know anything about him doing it under a piano. Whoever told that story, it warn't me.

At Thu Feb 16, 06:25:00 AM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Well, the whole Vermont thing wasn't 100% bullshit. However, it doesn't look like he ever got there.

At Thu Feb 16, 12:28:00 PM PST, Blogger drew konop said...

i wasn't present for the gas station stealing, but i think i was there when he developed a taste for the practice.

kiffee and i would occassionally tell his mom we were sleeping in the boat house after we were lucky enough to find a neighbor to buy us alcohol. usually a 2 liter bottle of orange wine cooler (yeah, that's right). often we would walk aimlessly around the city performing mild acts of vandalism, hang out at hardee's eating big cookies with the bar crowd at 1 am, or check for unlocked cars. i didn't know what we would do if we found one, but he did. as i raced down the street like a wee lil' girl, he hopped right in, fired up the wagon and hunted me down to go for a joy ride. there we were - a couple boozed up (if i can call it that) 15 year olds cruisin the winding streets of point beach.

kiffee wanted to dump the car near his house. when i told him that it would surely be reported stolen, he agreed to put it where we began (near the t.r. hospital), stating "maybe the idiots will leave the keys in it again!" personally, i was happy to be alive and out of "juvy". i guess some itches need to be scratched.

At Tue Feb 21, 10:28:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

An interesting "Kiffie" tale:

In 4th or 5th grade, he was forced by Ms. Hanson, the music teacher, to croon. So he took his place before the class and belted out a really high pitched, yet absolutely PERFECT, rendition of the Rogers and Hammerstien ditty "Oh What a Beautiful Morning."

It was shocking. His voice was like total gold, like someone who'd been coached all his life.

I dunno' if he continued said pursuits post school but that was, as Samual L. Jackson would put it, "one talented mutherfucka'"

At Tue Feb 21, 01:51:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Yes, I remember him singing "Silent Night" at our Christmas pageant in 5th grade. He was a good singer.

At Tue Feb 21, 02:09:00 PM PST, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Kif was an EXCELLENT singer. In fact, he he's one of the most natural musicians I've ever known. In 7th grade, he had a sound on trombone that you'd swear was at least a college student. He also played giutar.
It's really a shame he got so messed up. With his talent and wit, he could have been a successful musician.
But when I saw him in '98, he seemd happy with life in general. In fact, he admitted that "aside from some memory loss, I have no regrets."

At Tue Feb 21, 08:05:00 PM PST, Blogger mimikatemom said...

I'm pretty sure Kiffie and I went to kindergarten together at magee. One of my earliest memories. Later in middle school, Jen, Greg, K and I played in a youth orchestra in manty so one night a week for at least one year...I think 2, we shared something I think we all really loved to do. Good memories for me....shared history. Yup, K had alot of talent but I don't think he was comfortable in his own skin. I do recall him being a romantic at heart. Maybe that's why he was so popular with the ladies! In HS, based on the stories I hear he got kind of lost and I wasn't aware of the extent until reading this. I was able to track him down about 11 years ago when he was working in Door county in some sort of chef capacity. He brought my roommate and I homemade ice cream he said he made. Was really good. Kiffie, I hope you are well.

At Thu Mar 02, 11:05:00 PM PST, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

In my 1988 yearbook, Kiffie wrote the following:


I like your glasses.
Can I have them?
Stop fuckin' around with
the blackboard.
What the hell are you doing?
Fuck like a beast!


(actually, a lot of people wrote "Fuck like a beast" in my book that year. Maybe Meff remembers something else about me that I don't. Or that never happened.)

At Sat Mar 04, 07:06:00 PM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Greg, you gotta stop commenting at 1 in the morning...you're not making sense my friend.

At Sun Mar 25, 02:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger vben said...

Intersting!I espeically appreciated the comment about his sisters senior picture since I am the one who took it(Chris's older brother)NICE.....No wonder she hated Washington H.S. so much!

At Thu Sep 09, 07:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger marty said...

some of you guys are really losers. if you don't know the facts about someone, don't conjecture. simply shut the fuck up and pay attention to your own life...like some of you are doing so fabulously well. what idiots. that's certainly one thing you can say about washington hs; produced some of this country's finest idiots.

At Wed Aug 01, 07:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

...and I must concur with Greg.

Chris was one of the funniest people I have ever met in my life. I was lucky in my young life to have been surrounded by people with really sharply refined senses of humor: people like Greg, Drew, Ross Remiker, Scott Jacklin, Tom, Richard.

But The Kiffie was the Monty Python of the lot.

Underrated comic genius.

At Fri Aug 03, 01:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger bstrouf said...

I heard that his sister couldn't pronounce "Chris T." when she was little and it came out "Kiffee".

I don't know where I heard that, I also don't know why his sister would use his last name when talking to him.

Chris talked alot about stealing cars, even had one picked out for a while back in high school. I was invited along, I declined...that might have threw a kink in my future career plans.


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