Monday, February 27, 2006


I believe Ross joined me at Clarke in 6th grade. He may have had Mr. Burnstad.

Ross was kind of a studly-looking guy, quite popular with the ladies. He was also a jerk.

Dave Svatek once told me that Ross was the first person he knew to lose his virginity. Apparently Ross lost it when he was 11 or 12 years old. If memory serves, Ross was older than most of us. I think he was actually 19 when we graduated. So if Dave is right, that puts Ross at "becoming a man" possibly as far back as 1982. Wow. Throughtout most of 1982, I was 10 myself. Sure, I got boners. But I wasn't actively looking to stick them anywhere.

In 8th grade, Ross and I got into a brief argument in the lunchroom. I told him to fuck off. He responded with the oh so typical, "You're dead!" Whatever. Later that day, after school, I walked out the doors with Greg Flemal. Ross rode up on his bike to confront me. He basically badmouthed me, questioned why I'd said what I said, and threatened to hurt me. All the while, some friend of his was laughing at the situation. Ross offered me a deal. He said that he wouldn't touch me, and would let me go, if I were to run around the tennis courts five times. I looked at the tennis courts, looked back at Ross, and said, "Beat me up." The look on Ross' face was precious. He wasn't expecting that from me. I never got the impression that Ross truly wanted to get into a physical altercation with me. So he thought he'd be smug. So be it. I wasn't about to be bullied by this asshole. I repeated it again, "Beat me up." A beating would have been far more dignified than being humiliated by running around the tennis courts like a fool. I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction. Ross didn't know what to do. So he just warned me not to be cocky or anything towards him anymore. Whatever. I just walked past him and went home. I'm sure it was a major blow to his ego.

I had Ross in Mr. Swokowski's art class that year. I remember him telling Nick Novachek that he'd bought a smokeless ashtray for his dad - for Christmas or something. Of course he mentioned that he was planning on using it himself, if it truly worked, so his parents wouldn't know he was smoking in the house.

In our freshman year, Ross and I somehow got teamed up together in two-on-two basketball in gym class. We slaughtered our competition. Well, I should say HE slaughtered our competition, with just a little help from me. But I made a few baskets too.

In our freshman year, our school was hit with a plague of suicide attempts. Ross Hofmann was one of them. I never knew the circumstances involved. But I think he shot himself in the chest or shoulder or something. Rumor was that he lost a lung. He was out of school for several weeks. When he returned, I heard some people mention that they were "shocked" that he was still smoking. Dave told me that Ross mentioned to him that he got tired of people asking to see his scars. Can you blame him?

As a sophomore, I had Ross in Mr. Conrad's biology class. The only thing I remember about him is that one day he began mocking Sheila Vanne. Sheila had some sort of obsession with her boyfriend, and was always going to the door to see if she by chance would catch a glimpse of him. Ross paraded himself and did a great job being Sheila. It was pretty funny - to everyone accept Sheila. Perhaps Ross did have a good sense of humor. But I'd guess that only people who were close to him ever got to see it.

In our junior year, both Richard and I found a class picture of Ross. So we each put one on our respective trapper keepers. Why? Who knows. Ross knew about it and said to me, "I know you have my picture on your trapper." He statement sounded sort of ominous. But he said nothing more than that.

I think in our junior year, Ross started going out with fellow graduate Lisa King. I think they remained a couple throughout our senior year as well.

In our junior year, Richard and I would sometimes accompany Dave's sister Kelly, and go to the Coommunity House to watch Dave play basketball in some sort of rec league. One night, Ross was there as well. He and Lisa (and a few others) were on the stage, on the other side of the room, far away from the bleachers where we sat. I think Kelly had left to go to the bathroom or something. For whatever reason, Ross took this opportunity to whip a basketball at me. So he flung this ball from quite a distance. His aim was good. Of course as the distance was so great, I could easily see it coming for quite some time. I casually moved to the side, as the ball clanged against the bleachers. Why did he do this? No reason - other than the fact that he was an asshole.

At the very end of the year, I was sitting in study hall. I was at the front table, close to the pencil sharpener. Ross came up to sharpen his pencil. As he was doing it, he turned to me and said something like, "I'm getting sick of your shit!" He then went off on me about absolutely nothing. When he'd finished his infantile tirade and walked away, I turned to Richard and said, "What the hell was that?" I had done nothing to Ross. I had said nothing to Ross. I had no contact with Ross whatsoever. He hadn't even accused me of anything. So what the hell was he talking about? Nothing of course. Ross was just an asshole.

According to Dave, during the senior lock-in, Ross and Lisa allegedly got caught having sex in the balcony of the basement gym.

Ross was very athletic. He was perhaps the star of the track team. But as a senior, his fellow teammates voted Dave Svatek as MVP. According to Dave, Ross was a little miffed about that, feeling that he should have gotten the award. Dave thought that Ross should have won as well. But it was a popularity contest. Dave was well-liked. Ross was not. Sorry Ross. You lose.

Ross was planning on becoming a mortician. I don't know if he ever did. Did his parents own Hofmann Monuments? I ran into Ross a couple of times at the video store. He never talked to me. Eventually he got married to a woman named Barb. I believe they live in Manitowoc today.

UPDATE - 4/11/06 - Cindy Rohrer has provided me a copy of a "love letter" that Ross sent her. Good stuff! Although I think Ross should have been boning up on his spelling, as opposed to worrying about boning. See it below.


At Mon Feb 27, 07:52:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

This post underscores the glaring difference between you and me.

I would have been sprinting that tennis court.

At Mon Feb 27, 07:54:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

Additionally, I always figured Ross HAD to have mellowed with time and age, after I left TR. And especially after a failed suicide attempt, I always figured there'd be some sort of "moment of clarity," as they say.

I guess, according to your post, NOT.

Did you know that Richard actually seemed to get along with him back at Clarke and I had to kinda' tag along as he tried to get in good with him???

I always fell on your side of the equation.

Total asshole.

At Wed Mar 01, 06:16:00 AM PST, Blogger 2time ace said...

Ross is now a prison guard some where in the state of WI.

At Tue Apr 11, 04:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I'm not sure if Ross actually works as a prison guard...based on his "love letter", I'm guessing he's probably employed by Hallmark...Those are some sweet, caring sentiments...I was touched.

At Thu Apr 13, 05:54:00 PM PDT, Blogger CindySue said...

Brad, you crack me up!!! I love reading your comments.

At Sat Apr 15, 11:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Thanks Cindy...glad I'm entertaining someone other than myself.

You're insight and especially "picture sharing" has really livened things up...I, for one, am glad to see you join in.

At Sun Apr 16, 12:20:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Agreed. And that was a pretty funny comment.


Post a Comment

<< Home