Monday, February 20, 2006


Back in the day, I liked Wyatt. But I couldn't stand his father. I could write several paragraphs on the man who gave life to Wyatt. In fact, you can bet that I will in time. But for now, let's talk about his son.

I met Wyatt in 4th grade. We had Mrs. Schmidt together. On day one, when she went around introducing everyone to me, she accidentally called him "Woody."

At some point that year, Wyatt, Chris Storlie, myself and someone else who I can't recall performed some sort of skit together where we were pretending to drive down the road, drunk and cracking jokes. I wonder if that sort of act would be allowed today?

I don't think I had Wyatt in 5th grade. But I did have him in Ms. Hynek's reading class. About all I remember is that he and I were seated at the front table once. And for whatever reason, we got a serious attack of the giggles. It lasted a long time. Somehow we suppressed it enough to avoid Hynek's horrible wrath.

In the summer of 1982, I ran into Wyatt at the Family Swim Club. As it turned out, both of us were going to have Mrs. Casey together in 6th grade.

In Mrs. Casey's class, we were watching a film strip once. As was the norm, inevitably several students would grab a chair and move up closer. I was next to Wyatt. For some reason, one of us had a string that needed to be cut. Wyatt pulled from his pocket the largest knife I've ever seen. We both chuckled at this. That would probably have gotten him suspended, had it been discovered.

Near the end of 6th grade, we all spent a night at Camp Tapawingo. Each sixth grade class spent a different night. Our class was the last to go. I almost didn't get to go because of some trouble I got into. When I get to writing about Randy Ertman, I'll cover that. But nonetheless, I was able to go.

Late at night, as most people refused to go to sleep, I offered to run upstairs and steal some milks. Everyone was happy about that. I made Greg Flemal come with me. And the two of us pilfered several milks and brought them back down for the others. Mr. Burnstad most have overheard this. He came out of his private room, and bellowed into the darkness, "Where's the big Burt?" Greg of course had no repercussions. But I walked towards Burnstad's voice, and was met with a finger in the eye - accidentally of course. It was very dark. Burnstad threw me into a bunk and said, "Move out of there and your ass is grass!" The room was deadly silent from that point on. And everyone drifted to sleep - except me. Telling me not to move was practically an invitation for me to get up at least once. I waked over to where most of the others were sleeping. And there was Wyatt, on a lower bunk. My presence obviously woke him up. With the moonlight casting an eerie glow on me, Wyatt stared, was startled and said, "Who's there?" I responded, "You know who it is." Wyatt said, "No I don't." Then I walked away. The next morning, Wyatt was telling everyone that he'd seen a ghost or something. I of course chimed in and told him I'd seen it too. Over the years, I would occasionally bring this incident up to Wyatt. And the two of us would reminisce about the ghost we both saw. Finally in our junior year, I admitted to him that it was me. But despite my admition, Wyatt refused to believe me! He insisted that whoever he saw was glowing. I asked him if he found it odd that I was the only other person who saw this "ghost" and brought up the incident every once in awhile. But he still wouldn't believe me. Wyatt, if you're out there, it really was me. Sorry.

Wyatt was one of the guys that I had every single class together with in 7th grade. Near the beginning of the year, in Mrs. Westburg's chorus class, I was seated next to Wyatt. Westburg was going up and down the class, making everyone sing something solo, so she could position us in the room accordingly by our voices. She remembered Wyatt from the year before, and was familiar with his vocal tones. So she had something specific she wanted him to do. But Wyatt couldn't do it. His voice was cracking. Picture Peter Brady singing "When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange." Wyatt had obviously gotten pubes since the previous year, and his voice was deeper. Westburg kind of smiled to herself, but didn't say anything.

In high school, Wyatt and I shared homeroom all four years. He and I always got along. Wyatt was well-liked by all. And he treated nearly everyone with equal respect, regardless of social status.

In our freshman year, we were handed ballots to vote for class president, vice president and treasurer (I think). There were only two people running on each. The three big names for each position were Josie Scott, Julie Scott and Paula Jonas. People were saying, "We'll have dances every week." As if they had that power anyway. Wyatt was the only non-girl running, as he was up against Julie for vice president. Based on his being a male, I figured he was a shoo-in to win. And he did.

In our junior year, I had Wyatt in Ms. Neveau's speech class. Every Friday, we would have basically a free day, where each student would take turns, pick a topic, then lead a discussion with the class. I think Wyatt's topic was teen pregnancy. We happened to have Keith Welnicke in that class. At the time, Keith was an expectant father. Keith had mentioned that Mr. Wood had approcahed him, grilling him about the specifics regarding the alleged pregnancy. Keith refused to tell him anything. Wyatt sided with his dad. And the two of them verbally went at it in class. Wyatt maintained that the school needed the information for insurance issues. Keith maintained that it was none of his business, and that he should ask his girlfriend - class of 1990's Dawn Love. It was a great exchange. At one point, Wyatt yelled, "He doesn't fuckin' listen." Neveau let the comment ride. For the record, I sided with Keith on this one.

At one point in high school, I asked Wyatt if it bothered him that everyone hated his dad. He kind of laughed at me. But I don't think he appreciated the question.

If memory serves, during our senior year, he may have gone out with class of 1990's Pam Schmidt - sister of Amy.

I also recall during our senior year, Wyatt was talking to Angie Owens and perhaps Brad Strouf in Mr. Kakuk's psychology class. Wyatt was talking about bringing a bottle of peppermint schnappes to some sort of bonfire party they were going to have in someone's backyard.

As a senior, I did everything I could to avoid Mr. Rusch's consumer economics class. I often missed tests. So I'd have to leave the room to take them in the guidance office. Wyatt would always loan me his notes from the class, which I took with me to the guidance office when I took the test. It really helped. I ended up getting a "D" for the semester. But it was a required class to graduate. And I had it in the last semester of our senior year. So Wyatt may have helped me graduate. Thanks Wyatt!

After high school, I believe Wyatt attended UW Eau Claire. Beyond that, you've got me. However, I think he may live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area today. It looks like he may have been married to a woman named Lisa. But they may be divorced now. He appears to be the director of sales for some company in Minneapolis that specializes in information technology.

UPDATE - 10/4/07 - I was able to locate an online picture of Wyatt. You can see it below. The picture is allegedly from some sort of family golf outing. And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that Mr. Wood standing behind Wyatt? I also learned that Wyatt is apparently seeing another woman right now. And rumor has it, the two of them are expecting a child. I believe it will be Wyatt's first child.

UPDATE - 5/31/08 - Well, as you can see from the comment below, Wyatt discovered the blog and left a comment. He also sent me an Email with a few pics. You can see them below. And of course any new baby set must include the obligatory "baby in a box" photo.


At Fri May 09, 05:47:00 AM PDT, Blogger wwwood1970 said...

Burt - Great blog! You're memory is unbelievable! I've only had time to read your "memories" that you've written about me. I do have to say that I'm extremely disappointed that my one and only experience with the paranormal turned out not to be real! :) Just a quick update, I did go to college in Eau Claire, graduated, and move to the Twin Cities. Got married and 9 years later got divorced. I've had a few sales jobs over the years in technology...currently working for a small technology company (virtually based, so I'm working out of my house) selling software to retailers. Right now, I'm living in sin with my girlfriend in St. Paul (we'll get married some day) and we have an 8.5 month old son, Allan Andres Wood (mom is Latina, so we had to get a little Latino flair with his middle name). I will try to attach a couple pictures...and look forward to reading more to get updated on everyone that we graduated with. Great job Burt!


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