Monday, February 13, 2006


The quickest way to get me to write about someone is for that person to come on my blog and post some comments. In honor of Paula's appearance, this is what I recall.

I first remember Paula in 7th grade. And it's an odd, ongoing memory. At some point that year, Paula decided that she was in love with me - or so she said. Granted, she wasn't serious, obviously. But nonetheless, whenever our paths crossed, she would declare her undying love for me. I have to wonder if she even remembers that. But it lasted for months. What was her motivation for it? I don't know. Was she egged on by a few select friends? I don't know. I kind of liked the attention. Although I was embarrassed by it too.

By 8th grade, all the love was gone. (Sigh) I had her in Mr. Stodola's math class. For whatever reason, one day I had the word "Borf" written on my paper. She walked by and said, "What's that... boy?" The attention-starved Dave Kanera then walked by and said something like, "Yeah, it's Boy Burt. He has to say that so he knows what sex he is." For several months, Dave and Paula referred to me as Boy Burt. Whatever.

I don't know which year it was. But I know it took place at Clarke. It was a Monday. We were in the hot lunch line near one another. And Paula had spent way too much time in the sun over the weekend. Her arms were burned as bad as I'd ever seen anyone's. Honestly, they were as red as tomatoes. You could tell she was in pain too.

In high school our paths didn't cross too much. Initially, I thought of her as being really snobby. However, from what I saw, she got much nicer with age. In fact, she was quite charming and friendly by the time high school ended. I found her to be very pleasant.

At some point during high school, she began to go out with class of 1990's Cory Shimulunas. I don't know if it's true or not. But in our senior year (I think) I heard that the two of them had some sort of argument and broke up - allegedly right before a big basketball game. And the basketball coach, Mr. Wegner was pissed at Paula for doing it at that time. So much drama! Did it happen? Who knows. But if it did, it obviously didn't last long. They must have made up. Because eventually they got married, and remain so to this day.

I ran into Paula and Cory hundreds of times at the video store. Both of them were as nice as could be, and were always smiling and happy. To this day, I believe they still live in Two Rivers. I think they have three children. Last I knew, Paula worked for Aurora.

UPDATE - 2/15/06 - Paula has provided a recent picture of her and her daughter. Thank you Paula! (Click it to get the full size).

UPDATE - 7/20/06 - On July 15th, Kevin Dehne and I stopped in to see Paula. We met her three kids as well. Although her husband was out of town at the time. We sat and talked (and gossiped) for maybe 25 minutes, and had two sodas as well. Before we left, we snapped the photo below.

UPDATE - 11/20/06 - Here's some video from that 7/15/06 visit.

UPDATE - 10/4/07 - Back in July, Erin Hynek visited Two Rivers. One night she went out with Brenda Gordon and Paula. While they were out, they ran into Mark Gordon. The results are the picture below.


At Mon Feb 13, 07:11:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

Similar experiences with Paula. I recall her being quite nice at times and at other times, really kinda' vicious and nasty.

But, again, let's not forget what an easy target I was... thick glasses, even thicker sci-fi novels tucked under my arm...dork city.

At Mon Feb 13, 07:57:00 AM PST, Blogger mimikatemom said...

P, you were professing your undying love to people way back then!? Burt, PJ still has the very endearing quality of being completely comfortable expressing her feelings, good or bad. She is someone I describe as genuinely "real"...she loves hard and laughs hard. She is also one of the best moms I know.

At Mon Feb 13, 07:40:00 PM PST, Blogger PJ said...

OK Burt, that was much more painless than I anticipated. I have absolutely NO recollection of the things you mentioned from Clarke. I don't have a whole lot of memories from that time, though. Just little bits and pieces. I assure you, it probably wasn't malicious....I have just always been kind of goofy and obnoxious with my humor.

You are right...I have gotten "nicer" with age. Not that I wasn't ever nice, but I've become more outgoing. I think at times my reservedness was interpreted as snobby.

I had forgotten about seeing you in the video store until the blog showed up and Cory reminded me that you were his video rental consultant.

I totally remember the sunburn you were talking about in 7th grade!!! I laid out on a nice day in May with baby oil on....brilliant huh? My nose was blistered and I was miserable for days.

The break-up you mentioned with Cory and I...I'm sure those closest to us at that time are thinking...which one? I think we have the record for break-ups and make-ups...somewhere around a million I think. The're probably many out there who would be surprised to hear we're celebrating 12 years of marriage in April.

We have two sons (Mac 9 & Cade 6) and a princess........Gabby almost 3.

I work part-time as an RN at AMC. Love my job and my time at home and am glad to be able to do both.

For old times sake.................

I LOVE YOU BURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ha Ha.

At Tue Feb 14, 08:31:00 AM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Hi Paula...

I've known Paula for almost forever...well, since like second grade, which for me is forever.

Hmmm...Paula was always one of my favorites...why? Well she had this endearing quality of being sweet even when she was being pissy. (I know this sounds like a bad start, stay with it, it gets better.)

Paula didn't have it in her to be mean, she just was too damn nice(Cory is laughing at this point...), but seriously, she just didn't have the ability to pull it off.

I remember senior year...or was it junior year? anyway, Paula decided to be mad at me for a while. I don't know why, it doesn't matter. Although I think it had something to do with a calculator. (Paula help me out here).

She just was too frickin' nice of a person to be convincingly mean.

Good thing she didn't spend much time trying to convince us she had a mean streak...it was far more fun when she wasn't trying to be mad...

Now, the good stuff. Paula had the best parent's that any kid could have had. Everyone reading this knows this is true. Some parents turn a blind eye to teenage partying...some parents acknowledge it and allow it to go on...Paula's parents joined in! This was sooo cool. Some of my best (fragmented) memories are from Paula's parties...what a blast...

The nights would always end with a walk on the pier behind the house...Kidd and I had many a serious conversation after a Jonas party...sigh, how I miss those days.

And to make this story even more incredible... this couple takes a high school relationship and turns it into a succesful marriage...wow, talk about defying the odds...(Yes, Brenda and Jeff, I know you did it too, I'll get to you guys a little later.)

I have more, but these were the first memories that popped into my head when I thought of Paula.

Paula, I'm happy for you, miss seeing you guys.

At Tue Feb 14, 09:06:00 AM PST, Blogger SonnyKidd said...

Ditto to what Cheese said. Paula's parents were among the best, oh and Paula was pretty cool too. How we never drowned back then Stroufy is beyond me, two drunks waxing philosophical on a breezy Lake Michigan pier/breakwater, what could go wrong? Any time you wanna take a long walk off of a short pier, I'm there man.

Congrats on the 12 year anniversary coming up Paula. Shoot Burt a pic, we'd all love to see the family I'd wager. Stay cool.

At Tue Feb 14, 02:40:00 PM PST, Blogger Brenda said...

I have to agree with the consensus...your parent's were the best. I have many memories from your house, most of them good ones. I do remember a few break ups happening there though. Anyway, we really should ask your mom if we could get together at her house for a party...just for old time sake..wouldn't that be fun??
Paula and I had an on again off agian sort of friendship in high school. But we always kept in touch after high school and our friendship grew stronger the older we became. We had our two boys very close together (within weeks), but she took the plunge and had her little girl..I however, didn't follow her in that. Ironically we ended up living only 2 blocks away from each other and we do get together as often as we can. Our children have become very good friends and it will be neat to see them go through high school together. Thanks for the friendship over the years Paula.

At Tue Feb 14, 03:48:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Ah... to hear that love again. After 22 years, I knew it was still there. I just knew it. I love you too Paula. I could never say that before. But I can now. But we're both happily married.

What could have been... :)

At Tue Feb 14, 07:46:00 PM PST, Blogger PJ said...

Hey Brad and Jason....

What we wouldn't give to move the clock back and have just one of our weekends of partying, huh? Cory and I just might stage a "break-up" for old times sake. Those really WERE the days.

Remember this one? My house, my rules...1127 Harbor Street! I still use that one to get my way at a party, but usually doesn't work.

Burt...about what Jeff says about my excessive verbalization of feelings...don't listen to a thing he says. He just gets a little testy when I don't give him all of my attention...don't you Jeffie?

I STILL LOVE YOU BURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was blessed with great parents...despite the fact that my dad would have traded me in for my boyfriend any day. I don't know who took the break-ups harder...my dad or I? My dad's been gone 4 1/2 years already....we really miss him. My middle son is JUST like him though....a clone in personality...we call him Paul Jr.

Remember you guys always drinking raw eggs and especially Andy...eating dog treats with peanut butter? Are these still staples in your diets?

I remember numerous party goers puking over the side of the deck and catching Jeremy and Jenny making out in the bathroom once...

At Wed Feb 15, 08:19:00 AM PST, Blogger Lisa said...

I am lucky to be able to call Paula one of my best friends!! Funny, considering we had very little contact in high school. I even checked in my yearbook and in our senior year Paula wrote "Good luck in whatever you decide to do"!! She obviously had no idea we were destined to be friends!!! Fortunately, we started to hang out that summer and it just grew from there!

Paula is a true and honest person and somebody I can always count on to tell me what is on her mind. She loves my husband, maybe a little too much, but I'm okay with that!

She didn't mention that she also has an obsession with running and she's good at it!!

As for the break ups?? I don't really remember anything like that. It's not like she ever threw her ring in the snow and wandered around the East side of Milwaukee by herself, or anything like that!! Her and Cory really are going on 12 years!!

Paula is a blast to be around and I can't wait to be friends with her when we're old and gray!!
Love ya Paula!!!

At Fri Feb 17, 12:06:00 PM PST, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Pretty like her mama :)

At Wed Apr 26, 12:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger CindySue said...

Hey pj,
I love the picture! You haven't changed a bit. Still happy go lucky kind of girl. I love that. My dad told me that he saw you at the gym. I'm glad the old man still has it in him to work out.
I have a million B-ball pictures that I look at from Clarke. Too funny....Big Hugs, Cindy

At Wed Apr 26, 12:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Let's see some of them!

At Tue Aug 15, 07:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger Phuong said...

Thanks for the comment Paula! I get sporadic updates from Laura and she has only nice things to say about you. The SATC thing is overrated....I have drunk more cosmos than I can count and wearing cute outfits has put me in debt. LOL! And forget about the rent thing. With the monthly check I write, one in the midwest would be living in a mansion, rather I choose to live in a micro bedroom and a 1/2 bath on the Upper East Side. Carrie lived on the Upper East side btw. I miss High School. Yeah...I wrote that out loud. I think back and fondly remember how much sincere fun we all had collectively. Some of the best times of our life. We had the best All-American high school, which I why I chose to move there. You look super happy in your pics and your kids are so cute. I expect to hopefully be back sometime this fall to visit my father. I usually stop in T.R. for a day or two to visit relatives. We'll stay in touch over this blog and maybe get lunch? Better yet...cocktails!!! Take care!

At Tue Aug 15, 07:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

Catching up over lunch and/or cocktails sounds fun. I'd love to hear what you've been up to and about life in NY. My dad also died of cancer...passed away 5 years ago. I can relate to what you're going through right now and would be happy to lend an ear to what you're going through and dealing with regarding that. Look forward to keeping in touch with you.

At Tue Aug 15, 07:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

I have to clarify my last comment to you Phuong...it sounds like I'm writing your dad off. I didn't mean for it to sound that way...forgive me if I stressed you out. I think you probably know what I mean. OK, now I feel better.

At Thu Aug 17, 04:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chris said...

Hey Paula, thanks for the kind words. I have fond memories of the old days in the neighborhood and of hanging out(remember the block parties when we were kids?). I was sorry to hear about your dad as well. I do remember my mom mentioning it to me when I was in Milwaukee. Just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten when you were there for me the summer my dad passed away. You definitely helped me deal with those months by keeping me occupied. I hope everything in your life is great because you deserve it!

At Sat Dec 09, 08:19:00 PM PST, Blogger CreativeMuse said...

Hey PJ,
I remember growing up with Paula "PJ" on Harbor Street. Since 1976! Aaah, the memories of wee Little Mermaids, Barbies, playing boardgames like Parcheesi, Payday, Trouble... you name it! I still to this day don't know how I got a cigarette burn in my pajamas!

We used to rehearse "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" WITH UMBRELLAS in my basement, then wait for a rainy summer day to come so we could perform. My mom has a picture of us splashing around in our rain slickers (yep, those lovely vinyl ones) with umbrellas in hand.

We dressed Brian up in girl clothes. :) Hehe! Played cowboys and indians with Eric and Mark Cyr, your brother Jamie, Brian Vanne, my sis Becky, Brian's sister Beth. Had a BLAST!

And... we cannot forget... KICKBALL!!!!!!! OVER THE FENCE is a HOME RUN!

My mom and dad sold their house now... so 1123 Harbor won't ever be the same. *sniff* I know your mom was really, really sad to see them leave. I was too. I loved that house and the childhood memories it held.

Paula would practice basketball for HOURS with her dad in her driveway. I'd watch on envious of her dedication. I didn't have that same passion for it... or just didn't like Coach Wood. :) She kicked my ass in B-Ball all the time. Made me a better defender I think!

I could go on and on about PJ. :) I consider her one of my best friends as a child, growing up in "Trivers".

Would love to hook up again in the near future. Next time you're in Green Bay...look me up. :)

Love ya,

At Mon Jul 09, 09:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger P.K. said...

Hi Paula! Laura said you wanted her to say hello to me. I hope things are going well for you in T.R.!! She told me that the Ethnic Fest is really fun there and she said I should try to come home for it. I flaked out for the 4th of July so now I owe her and my fam another trip - is the fest in October? Hope you and your family are doing well!! Phuong

At Mon Nov 19, 04:59:00 PM PST, Blogger miztec said...

paula. oh my god i remember this too burt. she would always call my name so id look at her then shed have sweet beautiful smile and whisper "i love you" to me. either that or she would ask "will u go out with me?" hahahaha but i left it at that cuz i knew she was just teasing cuz if i remember correctly julie scott and cindy would do the same thing to me. bunch of teaserss hahahaha such fun times at clark..


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