WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL TWO RIVERS WI CLASS OF 1989

Thursday, February 02, 2006

DAVID SVATEK

Sit back, relax, and get some popcorn. This is going to be a long one.

I first met Dave in freshman year. I had him in Mr. Heuer's algebra class. I didn't care for him. He seemed somewhat snobby to me.

My first memory of him was from a pep rally. It may actually have been our very first experience with a pep rally. Early in the year, the freshman were brought into the gym, and sat down on the bleachers. A couple of the cheerleaders taught us all the school cheers. I suppose that was a good idea - not that I gave a shit. I can count on no hands the number of times I cheered at a pep rally in my four years of high school.

So while most of the class was standing, learning a cheer of some sort, I of course was sitting. Kevin Dehne was seated behind me. Dave Svatek was standing in front of us. He had his books and stuff with him. So Kevin leaned over and pushed Dave's books off the seat, and under the bleachers. Several minutes later, when Dave finally turned around to gather his stuff, he was obviously dismayed to see where his stuff had gone too. It had spread all over under the bleachers, making a huge mess. He immediately accused me, and said he would "beat the shit out of me." I laughed and told him point blank that I hadn't done it. Later on in algebra class, he asked me if Kevin had done it. I told him yes. Dave never did anything about it though. A Dave/Kevin fight would have been a good one. I suspect Dave would have won. But who knows.

My next memory is also from freshman year. In second hour, I had Mr. Wheeler's science class. Toby Schwartz came in one day and slammed his books down in a huff. I asked him what was wrong. And he started bitching about Dave. Apparently he'd just come from gym class. The class was playing basketball. And for a time, the gym teacher had left them on their own. Dave allegedly assumed some sort of leadership role, and announced that because there were no authority figures, they would have to call their own fouls. I would have been annoyed too. What kind of crap is that?

In our sophomore year, I had Dave in gym class. Early on, we had volleyball. Dave was on my team. The ball was headed in my general direction. But it was actually closer to someone else. So I backed off. The other person screwed up and missed it. Dave went ballistic on me. "What are you hear for?" "Why don't you just go home?" You get the idea. The ironic thing is that it wasn't even my fault. And truth be told, I was actually very good in volleyball. What an ass.

Later on during our sophomore year, in Mr. Scriver's history class. I sat on the right, up against the wall. Dave sat next to me, on the left, right behind fellow graduate Jeff Gordon. At one point, the three of us were laughing about something, when Dave out of the blue asked if I would make him a copy of the film "Bloodsucking Freaks." I was well known as having a vast movie collection, and had taped lots of things for people. So I said I would. From that point on, Dave and I were good friends - in school. Dave, Richard and I also shared gym class together. The three of us became a trio.

As our junior year began, the three of us were best friends. Of course if you've read my post about Richard, you'll know that he and I never treated Dave as our equal. We would often belittle him for being one of the "beautiful people." We insulted Dave quite often, and I know for a fact that sometimes we really hurt his feelings. Quite honestly, I don't know why he put up with our shit. But he did. And in time, our teasing subsided quite a bit.

In October of our junior year, the three of us went driving around one night. We were accompanied by Dave's older sister Kelly, and her friend Rob Stangel - older brother of former T.R. public school, and would be class of 1989's Craig Stangel. Anyway, we were coming down Washington street in Manitowoc. We stopped at a red light on the corner of Washington and 8th Sreet - facing the greeat big Budwesiser murals. Richard was driving. I was shotgun. Rob leaned over, handed me a donut, and told me to toss it at the car right behind us. Without asking why, I obliged. My awkward toss nailed one of the headlights. When I asked Rob why he wanted me to do that, he stated that it was a guy used to work at his dad's store - some asshole named Ted Fricke. An asshole, huh? I made Rob give me another donut. By this time, we had turned the corner and were now in front of the Capitol theater. I crawled out the window and tossed it, nailing the passenger side of his car. To my horror, the maniac started to jump out of the moving car. We sped off, and the chase was on.

They followed us down Memorial Drive, where I tossed a few soda cans at them. The chase wove through Two Rivers and Mishicot, before finally being stopped by some police near Shoto. I was ticketed for "throwing a missile from a moving vehicle." The cop warned us that Ted was some sort of psychopath, and that we should consider ourselves lucky. As we were sitting in the car, awaiting our fate, Dave teared up a bit. I wanted to tell him that this was no big deal. Hell, I had police run-ins all the time. But he wasn't in the mood. With the exception of Rob (who had switched drivers with Richard, and was cited for speeding) everyone agreed to help me out in paying my $80.00 fine. Kelly gave me $10.00. No one else ever did. Richard, Dave... you owe me!

See my Richard post for the particulars, but as the summer approached, Dave and I got a lot closer, as Richard and I grew apart. Along with Scott Jaklin, the three of us hung out together nearly everyday. Of course on weekends, I would usually hang out with Dave and his family at their cottage near Sturgeon Bay. Scott was jealous that we never included him. But I guess we were just assholes.

As our senior year began, Dave and I were as tight as ever. It almost got to be too much for me. Dave was the kind of guy who needed people around him. He needed friends. I was a loner. Dave wanted to hang out almost every night. I usually obliged. But there were times when I just wanted to stay home, relax, and watch the Brewers' game or something. I got a reprieve in February.

At some point that year, in Mr. Hensl's class, we all had to recite some poem from memory. For whatever reason, on this given day, Mr. Hensl decided to sit at his desk to listen to us. Dave sat in front of me. When it was his turn to recite, he stood up, turned around, and faced Mr. Hensl. And despite the fact that he hadn't really studied the stanzas, he recited his poem perfectly. How did he pull it off? I had his notebook sitting on my chest for him to glance down and read. Score!

In February, on the night of one of Mike Tyson's famous one or two-round knockouts, Dave went out with fellow graduate Becky Monka. They obviously hit it off and became a fast couple. In doing so, my time with Dave was reduced quite a bit. At first I was a bit jealous, no doubt. But in a way, I enjoyed the free time I got back again. Don't get me wrong. Dave was my best friend. And I enjoyed hanging out with him. But having some "alone time" was nice too.

After high school, Dave attended UWGB. He actually had a math class taught by my dad. After awhile, he stopped going to class. But he showed up for the tests, and wound up with a 'D'. After two years, he dropped out, and got a job working for some Chemical plant or something, in Sheboygan County. He still works for them today. Although now he works in their Milwaukee location.

For the first couple of years after high school, I saw Dave sporadically. Sometimes it was in spurts. We would go months without seeing each other. Then we'd hang out quite a bit for several months at a time. Dave had a tendency to frequent bars a lot. And although I was never one who cared to know, I know he had quite a way with the ladies. I believe many a young lady got some Dave lovin' over the years. (See my entry on Treesa Carron). Obviously this was after he'd broken up with Becky. For awhile he was with class of 1991's Christy Peterson, and (did she graduate?) Kelly Haataja.

In 1992, he hooked up once again with Becky Monka. It was short-lived. I think he dumped her and hooked up with another girl on the same day - or at least within a day or two of each other. The new girl was a senior at Roncalli named Jessica. She worked at the Manitowoc Public Library. I was hanging around with Dave a lot at this point. So I met Jessica shortly after he did. I remember feeling sorry for her because she was so nice. And knowing Dave's track record, it wasn't going to last.

I was wrong. In the fall of 1992, Jessica went off to school in Fond Du Lac. Within a week of her departure, Dave showed me the engagement ring he'd gotten her. I was surprised. But I was happy for them both. They were married in August, 1995. Yours truly was the best man. The fricken' church was hot as hell. And those damn catholic ceremonies last for an eternity!

In the summer of 1996, Dave and I went skydiving with Jenny Malley's older brother Steve.

At this point the two of them were living in an apartment in Sheboygan. When I got my first post-college graduation job (in Milwaukee) they invited me to move in with them. It sounded like a good idea at the time. I moved in some time in March, 1997. The place was temporary, as we'd talked about moving to the Ozaukee County area and finding a bigger place together.

It was during my stay in Sheboygan that I discovered a few things about Dave. For one, he and Jessica would literally go up to Manitowoc and Two Rivers every single weekend. It was like they were tied to Dave's family. Now I knew firsthand that Dave was very close with his family. That's fine. Dave's family were nice people. I liked them all too. But I found it odd that they didn't seem to have a life outside of them.

The other thing I discovered was that Dave has a really jealous side. During my time living there, Jessica and I got really close. Mind you there was never any sort of romantic notion on either of our parts. We were literally just friends - good friends. To be honest with you, I couldn't even tell you if she was an attractive girl, as I never saw her in that sort of light. She was like a sister to me - someone I trusted, someone I could confide in. Dave never thought for one moment that there were any sort of "sparks" between myself and his wife. At least I assume he didn't. But he was clearly jealous of our friendship, and I believe he thought we were too close. He openly told me that he's the jealous type, and a bit possessive when it comes to her. She was aware of it too. She was just the opposite. She said she could care less if Dave playfully flirted with other women - just as long as it never went beyond that - which of course, it never did.

Anyway, Dave decided that when they moved in June, that I too should find a place of my own. I was hurt by this. I didn't understand his jealousy. It was baseless and ridiculous. At that point, my whole life was a mess. And this event just pushed me over the edge. One bad thing after another had happened to me around that time. And I had some sort of breakdown. I was absolutely furious with Dave. But I got over it in time. We eventually patched things up. And each of us got an apartment in Grafton.

They stayed there for a couple years. Then they moved to an apartment in Wauwatosa. By this time, I was engaged and living together with my fiance. As we were young and without kids, we often had parties on the weekends. We always invited Dave and Jessica. And they always turned us down. Remember, if it was a weekend, they had to go up to Two Rivers. It was insane. My wife seriosuly thought that they simply didn't like her.I had to reassure her time and again that no, they like you just fine. They simply feel the need to go back home every weekend. Jessica once confided to my wife that she really didn't enjoy (for the most part) going up to Two Rivers every weekend. She said that while there, they would mostly just sit around and do nothing. So she read a book or something. The point she made was that she could have just as easily done that at her own home.

Whenever we invited them over (on a weekend) we never expected them to show up. But every once in awhile, they would say that they would come. But even then, they would often have a "last minute" thing that would come up which caused them to have to go up to Two Rivers. Whatever. I never minded. It was just expected. It became a joke between my wife and I.

In September, 2001, my lovely wife planned a surprise party for my 30th birthday. She invited everyone. Obviously she invited Dave and Jessica. Of course since my party was on a Saturday (a weekend) she knew they wouldn't come. But of course she was going to extend the offer. She also sent an invitation to Dave's sister Kelly. On the night of the party (which was great by the way) she whispered to me that not only did Dave and Jessica not come, but that they hadn't even responded to the invitation. That pissed me off! Now those who know me know that I almost never get angry. So it takes a lot to get me riled up. But this did it. I simply said to her, "Fuck them. I'm through with them." And I meant it. My wife felt really bad, and said she'd wished that she hadn't told me she'd invited them. But really, by losing them as friends, do we really lose anything? We saw them maybe once or twice a year. To me, it was no big deal to cut them off. If it had been an isolated incident, it would have been fine. But this sort of behavior had been an ongoing pattern for years. They'd broken promises at the last minute on several occasions before. But this time, they didn't even have the courtesy to respond. I suppose they could say that perhaps they never got the invitation. But my wife not only mailed an invitation. She E-mailed. And since Dave's sister was also invited (and also never responded) there's no way he couldn't have known.

My last contact with Dave was on a Saturday afternoon in July, 2001. We were having our housewarming party. And miracles never cease. Dave and Jessica showed up - on a Saturday. Quite honestly, I think the main reason they showed up was to show off their first child, who'd been born a week or so earlier. Of course they only stayed an hour or two. They had to leave to head up to Two Rivers. As he left, I said to him, "Don't be a stranger." Those were my last words.

In 2001, Dave and Jessica moved to a house in the Racine area. They have since had two more kids. In September, 2005, Dave's mom died. Very sad. To my wife's surprise, I sent some flowers to the funeral. And they sent us a thank you note for them. But other than that, I've had no contact with them whatsoever.

I was friends with Dave for about 15 years. It's the second-longest friendship I've ever had. It's a shame that it had to end on such a sour note. Overall, Dave was a good guy. We had a lot of fun together. The good memories far outweigh the bad ones.

UPDATE - 11/16/06 - Out of the blue, I got an E-mail from Dave. He apparently discovered the blog this morning. With his permission, here's the first E-mail I received from him. He's also sent me two pictures - one of of his three kids, and one of his oldest daughter. You can see them below.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I got an email from a blog spot. I don't know much about blogging so I thought I would send an email instead.

Well, I guess that I should comment on this, seeing as though this one is about me. It really brought back alot of memories, obviously not all good. Mostly everything stated is true.

One thing that is slightly incorrect. It's not that I was jealous, I was very insecure. I suppose jealousy is linked to insecurity. My earlier years in high school I was a jerk. I was mean and hurtful. I took to the offensive so I wouldn't be attacked. I really don't like the person I was early in high school. That's one of the reasons I don't go to the reunions. I wasn't nice to nearly enough people so I always felt "too little, too late".

Same thing for when Jessi and I lived in Sheboygan. I wasn't confident enough to accept the situation of having a roommate.

Confidence. That's what first drew me to Burt and Richard. They were so confident in who they were that it just didn't matter what others said or did. I wanted to be more like that. That's why I took the "hurtful" things from them. I felt if I try to let it "roll off" that eventually it would. I have many good memories of our times in high school. From Richard's cartoons, their creative writing packets, funnel ball... My friendship with them is truly one of the highlights of my time in high school.

I really don't know why I did not keep the friendship going. I do regret this. There is no reason about why this happened. I had good intentions to keep up or to even call, but as time went on it seemed a larger task to try to break the ice again and try to explain why I lost touch.

True, my family is very important to me. I won't apologize for that. With Mom dying, it just emphasized how important my time with them was. But things do change. Now I have three kids of my own so we don't have nearly as much time for out-of-town family visits.

Well, thanks for bringing back some memories. I appreciate the kind words and understand the negative, but truthful words.

If you want to write back, it would be wonderful. If not, I understand.



UPDATE - 2/16/07 - Two days ago, Dave and I had lunch together. I hadn't seen him in 5.5 years. We went to Oakland Gyros - the greatest restaurant in Milwaukee. Anyway, I snapped the picture below.



UPDATE - 6/18/07 - Thanks to Shannon Koch for providing this photo of Dave from graduation day, June 4th, 1989.

7 Comments:

At Thu Feb 02, 09:30:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

Remarkable entry. You're right about the popcorn aspect, that was very cinematic...

It's funny, my early experience with Dave much resembles yours. I had the extreme misfortune of being in a gym class with him. Toby was there too.

Anyway, Vollyball time. Let's face it kids. I sucked. I knew it. (this does not excuse me, however... I am quick to loathe my chosen position in life as a "bench warmer" and am just now doing something about it... getting in the game, as they say... because I don't want my daughters to follow Dad on that path... I'll take a solid game of one-on-one in the driveway over arterial sclerosis any day of the week...)

Anyway, I'm sure I blew some sort of volly that cost our side the game or whatever... (hey, fuck you, I still got a "B" in gym!) Next thing I know, I've got this barking, beet-red jag in my face screetching about how the world as he knew it was now over because of that missed ball, yadda yadda...

The beet-red jag in question was, of course, Dave.

A quick note to self was composed...avoid this nimrod at all costs! I think we had at least five or six more run ins, mostly gym class based, mostly him letting me know how useless I was.

Then I moved.

I kept in pretty close contact with Burt during and after the move. Imagine my surprise when he informs me he's hanging out with Dave Svatek.

"Er, um, what?"

Even as Burt and Dave hung out, I never really crossed paths with him. When we did, it was always friendly. Friendlier than I expected, actually. Was this the same guy?

It was funny, because I was never really jealous of Burt hanging out with Dave. Dave and I were such completely different people. Burt got whatever he needed from Dave and whatever he needed from me. It was shockingly healthy!

In any case, I was certainly on the periphery when all those troubles took place up in Sheboygan. I won't say that Burt downplayed it, but from my vantage point, the entire situation appeared rather grim...

Like LIFE AND DEATH grim, if you get my drift...

As stated, I was only on the periphery of the situation, but, to Dave's credit, he was quite concerned and helpful during this "problem" phase. But perhaps he was just trying to come off as a stand-up guy for my benefit. Hard to say.

In any case, those days are long over, to be sure. It's a damn shame that things worked out the way they did. In later years, I actually found Dave to be a relatively warm and welcoming fellow.

Who knows? Maybe one day I'll challenge him to a vollyball game...

 
At Thu Feb 02, 10:24:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

By the way, that whole "third wheel moving in with a couple" thingy?

It never works.

I tried it myself.

Oddly enough, that couple and I are no longer on speaking terms either.

Total poison. Avoid at all costs.

 
At Thu Feb 02, 10:49:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

check this trailer for more on that topic!

http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/youmeanddupree/

 
At Thu Feb 02, 02:32:00 PM PST, Blogger HappyMama said...

Dave and Jessica did stand up in our wedding, and that took place on a Saturday. They must have notified the Two Rivers Planning Committee in advance.

 
At Wed Apr 19, 05:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger Treesa said...

Any and all statements made about me and Dave are untrue. -Treesa Carron

 
At Wed Nov 22, 01:20:00 PM PST, Blogger nwalk said...

Dave's house, 911 17th st. was on my paper route as a kid. He lived a block away from me, and he was about my brother's age. When I was in kindergarten and grade school, he was on my bus. One time someone told me to say that he loved Becky Schmidt, BS + DS! Being much smaller I complied. I know he threatened me, I can't remember if he actually hit me. I think he picked me up by the neck and asked me who told me to say it. This would have been around 1982 or 1983.

Later, his black poodle, which apparently was punished by getting smacked with papers, decided to shoot the messenger. Bit me right under the fingernail. I made sure to jab it with the newspaper any time I could after that.

 
At Wed Nov 22, 01:32:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

If memory serves, the Svateks' dog wasn't originally theirs. They got the dog after it had lived elsewhere for awhile. And apparently the previous owners didn't treat her all that nicely. So your comment about being smacked with a newspaper may actually be accurate. Mandy (the dog) would go crazy everytime someone walked down the street, or knocked on the door. She would charge into the front room and attack the floormat, shaking it and growling at the same time.

I wonder if anyone in the Svatek family has any idea that their former dog (who has been dead for about a dozen years) is getting some publicity on the internet?

What a big, wide, wonderful world we live in. Life is interesting.

 

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