WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL TWO RIVERS WI CLASS OF 1989

Thursday, March 09, 2006

BRIAN BELONGIA

He was sometimes called Brian Baloney. I'm sure he was called a few other not so nice words as well.

I first met Brian in 5th grade. We had Ms. Krause together. Brian didn't have many friends. Actually, I don't know if he had any friends. So I kind of latched onto him a bit. For whatever reason, I would call him "The Fonz." He hated it. He even told Ms. Krause to try and make me stop. Of course I refused. He lived right across a small field from my house. I was on 45th street. He was on 43rd street. There was no 44th street at that time. So I could see his house form my kitchen window.

Let's call a spade a spade. Brian was a dork. No, Brian was a major dork. I was friends with him for a few years. Trust me. He was a dork. This is going to sound really shitty. But I didn't want any of my other friends to know I was friends with him. I was embarrased about being friends with him. Sometimes I wonder why we were friends. We had almost nothing in common. I was a troublemaker. He was a goodie goodie of epic proportions. We basically had one thing in common - a love for the Star Wars films. Both of us had big collections of all the Kenner Star Wars toys. We played with them constantly. We set up huge play areas in my attic, and spent countless hours up there. I guess we also had a love for Atari. But what kid at that time didn't?

In 7th grade, I got a Texas Instruments computer. Brian and I used to type in various programs, and sometimes even make our own. We made a lot of games - not with graphics mind you, just text-based games. Some of them were actually pretty cool. We even made catalogs for our games, just as Atari did.

One day Brian and I were goofing around. And I think I mooned him. I must have been tired of screwing around. Because I started playing Atari. Brian wasn't done apparently. He was up in my attic, then climbed down the stairs - butt ass naked. To top it off, he had a boner. I don't know what game he was playing. But I wasn't playing along. I just ignored him and kept playing Atari. Keep in mind, there was nothing sexual involved with his nudity. It was just a response to my mooning of him. But Jesus, could he have at least waited until his hard-on subsided before coming down? That was creepy.

Brian was spoiled. On Christmas morning, his entire living room was filled with so many presents, it looked like Santa's sleigh had been dumped of its contents. You literally couldn't walk in there. Brian's parents even went nuts on St. Nick, giving some high-priced gifts. All I ever got was candy. Was I the unusual one?

In 7th grade, Brian introduced me to a guy named John. John was in his late 30's, had cerebral palsy, and lived with his mother in an apartment on Mishicot Road, just across from the cemetary on the north side. It was quite common to see him tooling around in his electric wheelchair. John was cool. He was a leftover hippie from the 1960's. And he had a bit of a wild streak in him. But Brian certainly wasn't going to get that out of him. Me on the other hand...

John took a fancy to me. So I hung out over there quite a bit. He had great music and more Atari games than anyone I'd ever known. Plus he had a subscription to Playboy. How did Brian react to all this attention? He got jealous. Can you believe that shit? He tried like hell to turn John against me. He tried to get John to ban me from his apartment. Blah, blah, blah. As if a kid can tell a grown man what to do. Eventually that petty jealousy ruined what friendship Brian and I had. That was fine with me. I'd had enough of him anyway. It became real easy to hate Brian. He was a dork. And he was a jerk at this point. He had nothing going for him.

At some point in the winter during 8th grade, I was riding my bike home in the snow. I would often cut through Brian's yard. I noticed a snowman in the backyard. So I knocked it down. An hour later Brian's dad called to chew me out. I denied it and was pretty disrespectful to him.

A few months later, I decided to egg his house. I also took some rotten grapefruit with me. I tossed it all in the back of his house, then took off running. I was wearing shorts at the time. It was dark out. And I completely forgot about the brand new rose bush that my parents had planted in the backyard a few days earlier. I ran right into it - at full speed. Those thorns ripped into my flesh and actually brought my body to a complete stop. The problem was that I stopped halfway through. I had no recourse but to push forward. I literally heard my skin rip and tear. And the pain was unreal. I walked bow-legged to the backdoor, walked in, turned on the light, and saw nothing but red on my legs. I had hundreds of scratches and tears. I filled the bathtub with water and got in. It really stung. Within moments, the water was brown. Thankfully none of the scrathes were all that deep. But my legs looked like they'd been through hell. Thankfully I had underwear on. Otherwise I might not have kids today. I still have a couple of scars to this day.

As the years went by, both Brian's and I would occasionaly cross paths at John's apartment. In time the animosity died out. And we got along for the most part. But he was still a dork.

Brian was a very quiet member of my creative writing class with Ms. Sapa, during our junior year. One memory stands out. At some point, probably in mid-November, Jen Andersen noticed him and blurted out, "You're in this class?" Of course the funny thing was that it was a rather small class - and it was halfway through the semester. Not too many people noticed Brian.

In the summer of 1988, I was hanging around with Scott Jaklin. It was about 3:00 in the morning. For whataver reason, we decided to walk over to Toby Schwartz' house. Along the way, we went by Brian's. We threw a few firecrackers in his backyard. We may have pounded on the patio door as well. Once we were at Toby's, we decided to prank call Brian. Toby's sister had an electronic keyboard. You could record your voice, then play it back at normal speed, or faster or slower, depending on what key you pressed. We simply recorded "Brian Belongia." But when you played it fast, over and over again, and speeded up, it sounded hilarious. So we called him, the kept playing the very speedy version, "Brian Belongia, Brain Belongia, Brian Belongia." Then we'd throw in a long, drawn-out slow version. It's hard to describe. But it was quite funny. We were entertained anyway. About an hour later, Scott called him back, pretending to be a police officer. He told Brian's mom that they'd caught three boys who threw firecrackers at their house, and that he needed them to come down to the police station to fill out a report. I never found out if they did. But she believed the story.

Brian got a job working at Sentry. He worked there for maybe 10 years. He then decided that he wanted to be a priest. As Meff told me at the time, "Doesn't the catholic church like their priests to have at least some sort of charisma?"

In order to become a priest, you must finish college. I knew Brian for year. And to be honest, I never thought he was college material. In all honesty, he was rather dim. He looked like a classic nerd. But he didn't have typical nerd smarts. He was very easily outwitted. I did so many times. But power to him. He did in fact graduate from college. That really surprised me. And finally in 2005, he did become a priest. I remember reading the article in the newspaper. It happened to mention that Brian had taken an oath of celibacy. I think Brian took that oath in 1984. As Meff said, it's not so much that he had to take an oath. It's just the way it is.

Obviously Brian has never married. I think he's now priesting somewhere west of Manitowoc - perhaps in Appleton, or the Neenah/Menasha area.

UPDATE - 5/12/06 - I found a picture of Brian from a few years ago, shortly after he decided to look into becoming a priest.



UPDATE - 5/4/07 - I found a website for the church Brian is affiliated with. Here's the link. ST. MARY MAGDALENE

I also found a page dedicated to Brian at the church he used to be affiliated with. See the link here. ST. PIUS X CATHOLIC CHURCH

On that St. Pius page, there's also a link to some of Brian's articles. Some of them are quite interesting, including how he combined church lessons with Star Wars and Scooby Doo. Check them out here. BRIAN'S TEACHINGS

Apparently at some point today, Brian will be installed as Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Waupaca. See the first link in the update. So congratulations to Brian.

On the St. Pius website there is a gigantic boigraphy on Brian. You can read it below. Below that are some recent pictures of Brian, including 12 photos from the day he got "priested."
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During the sports segment of the 6:00 evening news, Fr. Brian Belongia was born on January 14, 1971 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the son of Gerald and Ruth (Schepper) Belongia. He grew up and was educated in Two Rivers, the home of the Ice Cream Sundae, and graduated from Washington High School in 1989. He was baptized and received first Reconciliation and Eucharist at Sacred Heart Church and was confirmed in 1989 by Bishop Robert Morneau at St. Luke’s Church in Two Rivers. He has one brother, Jeff, who is ten years younger, who also was born and raised in Two Rivers. Fr. Brian’s parents have recently retired from local factories in Two Rivers, where they still reside. They are enjoying retirement and have also been supportive of his vocation. His brother, Jeff is also still living in Two Rivers and discerning life.

Fr. Brian developed an interest in bowling at a young age. As early as 1st grade, his is dad would take him to the bowling alleys on Friday nights to watch the bowlers and sometimes even try it himself, usually throwing several frames of gutter balls. Since then, he’s gotten much better at the sport-yes -- it’s a sport-- but still occasionally dumps one in the channel. Years later, he would come to enjoy a game of golf every now and then; however, he is prone to hitting shots into parking lots full of cars and onto condominium rooftops.

Although not an overly enthusiastic student, nor very popular among his peers, in high school, Fr. Brian did manage to discover somewhat of a skill: acting. He starred in three plays, including playing the role of Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey, a role made famous on screen by Jimmy Stewart. To this day, he still likes rabbits, despite being bitten on his finger by one of those furry puffballs when he was very little! As a matter of fact, he likes animals in general — just look in his room! One of Brian’s favorite things to do for relaxation is going to zoos and wildlife areas to check out all the animals.

Honestly, when Brian graduated high school, he had no interest in pursuing higher education and really thought and hoped school was over. He started at Sentry Foods as a stocker/bagger and over a ten-year span, or so, was introduced to the grocery business. Eventually, he assumed roles of dairy and frozen food manager became a 2nd assistant manager, which included running stock crews, ordering product, learning how to interact with many different people, and in-charge accountability in the absence of the store managers. Although he spent some time working amidst the fruits and vegetables and knows the difference between Endive and Escarole, ask his current housekeeper, he still doesn’t like to eat it.

Life was fairly uneventful for Brian until 1996. 1996 was a big year in Fr. Brian’s life. Brian was fairly active at church from a young age. He, like most of us, too, sat through hours and hours of religion classes, usually just praying for them to end. He always went, though, usually without complaining(can a priest stretch the truth just a little?) listened, did the work, and went to Mass on Sundays, as expected. He didn’t realize that the Holy Spirit was working within him at the time, but God was. Brian started serving Mass in 4th grade. For most this seems the normal time; however, at Sacred Heart, they recruited servers in 2nd grade! Brian wasn’t interested then… he would have rather have gone bowling… but his religion teacher was persistent with him, just as she was with the others in the class. Yes, even he was asked, “Now Brian, what’s more important, bowling or God?” In the fourth grade he started serving and, of all those who started serving before him and after him, Brian continued this ministry well into adulthood. Until he became a deacon, he loved serving mass and would do it whenever he was needed, including funerals and weddings. He also served at many Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions, which included benediction every Tuesday night and Stations of the Cross in Lent. It was a time when we were often reminded of a plenary indulgence being granted for participating in the Stations. He, however, was a typical server who sometimes wasn’t quite on the ball. He clearly remembers one Holy Thursday when all five servers forgot about lighting the charcoal for the incense and the most humble response of the priest that day: It was just a shake of his head and roll of his eyes and afterward he kindly reminded us that when the charcoal is burning, the coal turns white. He also has vivid memories of the priest snapping his fingers to the servers in order to get their attention. Brian learned very quickly to stay alert during mass and be in place at the proper times! In his senior year of high school he became the server captain at which time he trained servers and wrote the schedules. Somewhere along the way, his religion teacher felt serving was not enough; he should try lecturing, which he did for the first time in 8th grade. The first time he read the first reading was from the prophet, Ezekiel. He remembers having to ask how to pronounce the name, if he only realized then that that name is one of the easier names to pronounce.

Then something rather strange, yet expected happened: the pastor of Sacred Heart for 21 years, Fr. Don Marquardt retired and the parish was immediately linked with another parish: Holy Redeemer. At that time he met two new, actually not new, but other priests, one retired and one almost retired, who were saying masses at Sacred Heart. One of the priests was Fr. Paul Schumacher, who remained pastor of Sacred Heart for less than one year. Brian saw there was a need to help with writing the parish bulletin. At that time, the bulletin at Sacred Heart was still a one-page typewritten bulletin that wasn’t edited very well, but served the purpose. Brian volunteered to type them weekly. It was then that Brian realized he actually liked what he was doing. He was strictly a volunteer. He wasn’t getting paid; he even arranged work schedules to meet his commitments at church, and something stirred within him.

The late Fr. John Schmitt, who died just one month before Fr. Brian’s ordination to the deaconate, met him when Brian was serving mass one Saturday evening. Afterwards he said, “Did you ever think of the priesthood.” He said, “Not really”. What Fr. John didn’t know is that Brian had thought of the priesthood and his invitation that day gave him the inspiration and courage to look into it. Fr. Brian had been asked to think of the priesthood before and he even attended a Call By Name dinner in the diocese shortly after his graduation from high school, but he didn’t pursue it afterwards-at least until this holy, happy, and good- humored priest asked.

“Why not?” he thought. He enjoyed serving the Lord, so why not look into it when so many things indicated that this was possible for him. So, he contacted the vocations director who told him it would take at least eight years of schooling to become a priest. The idea of school again, something Brian thought was over for good, did not, at first, sound very pleasing to him. He wasn’t a good student in high school. Not because he wasn’t capable of doing better, but moreso because he didn’t necessarily want to do better. At any rate, eight years after graduating high school, Brian was accepted to Silver Lake College in fall 1997 provisionally for his first semester. That meant he needed to prove himself by earning at least C’s within the first semester in order to continue his studies, but, if he was serious about priesthood, he would have to engage the process…like it or not.

Just before beginning college, Brian received the exceptional support of Fr. Bill O’Brien, who has been Pastor of Two Rivers since 1997. Since Brian has started college, the four parishes in Two Rivers have merged together to form St. Peter the Fisherman parish, and his former home parish no longer stands. When it was decided a new church would be built in Two Rivers to accommodate all the people, Pentecost 2005 was originally set for the completion of the new church. This day was to correspond with the anticipated ordination of Fr. Brian. Incidentally, that goal was achieved and Fr. Bill felt what nobler event could the parish set for the completion of such a holy project?

College was a wonderful experience for Fr. Brian. In his studies, which eventually led to a degree in English with minors in religious studies and philosophy, he excelled at a pace even Brian did not know he was capable. In college, he grew in the love of the Lord, a love of learning, and strengthened many skills, especially writing and research. In college Brian developed a reputation that still is with him-just ask Fr. Tom- of staying ahead of the game and of being highly organized. It seems that, at times, he and the parish secretary are in somewhat of a competition in the category of most organized person in the office. All of this, entered with the intention of going to graduate Seminary to become a priest helped him to complete his undergraduate degree with magna cum laude honors in spring 2001, and this man never thought he would do that-let alone going on to pursue a graduate degree in theology at seminary! Many people are unaware of just how much formation and study it takes to become a priest.

In the middle of his experience at Silver Lake College, Brian’s grandmother died. It was the only grandparent he really got to know. His grandfather died when he was only 3 and his other grandparent died when he was 10. His grandmother never went to church that much; however, she was quite devotional and had boxes of prayer cards and rosaries she prayed often. She had a phobia of being in crowds of people, which kept her from going to church, but Brian does remember seeing her in church from time to time when he was very young. When, however, she found out Brian was studying for the priesthood, she was so happy and joyful. It was quite an unexpected reaction, but she said that she had been praying for a long, long time that someone in her family, one of her grandsons, become a priest. During her last months, Brian brought his grandmother Eucharist every Sunday until she died in 1998.

With College successfully completed, Brian was officially accepted as a seminarian in the Diocese of Green Bay and admitted to the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois in the fall of 2001. Silver Lake College had prepared Brian well for the intensive regimen of seminary, which included three components: Spiritual formation, academic formation, and pastoral ministry. The program also included internships and experience in the field.

This was to be an entirely new experience for Brian; since, until this point, he had still lived at home. As a matter of fact, he had never left the state of Wisconsin—even for a couple of days. The seminary rector, Fr. John Canary, joked with him stating, “you’re only 20 miles away from Wisconsin here.” The same questions emerged again: he kept wondering if he were capable of getting through the program. In short, he was and he did very well. His subjects of interest throughout seminary included systematics, which included studies in sacraments, the Trinity, and the theological views of many, many Councils and theologians including the Church Fathers and Doctors, and moral theology. The good habits he had developed at Silver Lake College continued in Seminary and he took his formation and studies very seriously. He remembers attending a ministry seminar at the seminary near the end of his studies at Silver Lake College, which was a program designed to introduce prospective seminarians to the seminary and its programs. After telling his vocation story to the Rector, Brian remembers his words of encouragement: “We’ll be seeing you real soon, Brian.”

There were also other opportunities for growth and experience that Brian had not had before. The highlight of his formation at Mundelein was an 8-week pilgrimage in the footsteps of Sts. Peter and Paul during which time he, not only flew for the first time but, flew 10 hours oversees to Turkey, Greece, and Italy, which included stops in Rome, Assisi, Sienna, Padua, Florence, and Milan. His first time on an airplane would take him half way around the world to the Holy sites of Tarsus, Antioch, Ephesus, Perga in Pamphyllia, Pergamon, Sardis, Philadephia, Laodicea, Cappadocia, Galatia, Philippi, Corinth, the Hagia Sophia, the Basicilicas of St. Mary Major, St. Paul outside the Walls, St. John Lateran, St. Peters and many more places too numerous to mention. The ancient Biblical world is no longer a place he reads about; Fr. Brian was there in some of the same places that Peter and Paul and many other great saints lived, preached, and served the Lord.

Seminary also afforded Brian the opportunity to experience parish work. Fr. Don Zuleger agreed to give Brian some pastoral experience in 2003. Little did Brian know at the time, this is where he would start his priestly ministry. In the summer of 2004, he completed a unit of C.P.E, or clinical pastoral education, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, which is an internship in hospital ministry. On December 18, 2004, Brian, along with Carl Schmitt, also a native of Two Rivers and nephew to Fr. John Schmitt, was ordained to the deaconate by Bishop David Zubik. Deacon Brian served briefly at St. Pius X before being ordained to the priesthood.

Fr. Brian graduated from Mundelein Seminary in May 2005, also with Magna cum Laude honors. Based on his positive experiences in college and graduate seminary, Fr. Brian would not hesitate to pursue a higher degree, such as a licentiate (essentially a degree with almost all requisites for a doctorate minus a dissertation) or doctorate if a need arises. Two weeks after his graduation from Mundelein Seminary, on May 21, 2005, Bishop David Zubik ordained Fr. Brian to the priesthood. Deacon Rick Simon, who was ordained the week before, was given the great blessing of serving as Deacon of the Eucharist at Fr. Brian’s ordination. Fr. Brian he was vested by Fr. Bill O’Brien and Fr. Don Zuleger. There was an explosion of applause at Bishop Zubik’s announcement that Fr. Brian had been assigned to St. Pius X. There was to be one little difference though. Fr. Tom Farrell would become the new pastor of St. Pius. Fr. Brian would have to learn to work with somebody other than Fr. Don, and who was this Fr. Tom? When Fr. Brian started at St. Pius on June 15, Fr. Don and Fr. John Schuetze were moving out and Fr. Brian and Fr. Farrell were trying to move in. Fr. Brian is grateful for the previous experience he had at St. Pius learning some of the ropes beforehand. He credits this for his ability to dive right into it amidst the transition. Fr. Brian celebrated his First Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Peter the Fisherman parish in Two Rivers the day of his ordination. Fr. Brian is very happy at St. Pius X Parish and priesthood is everything he thought it would be so far. Priesthood is truly one of the greatest things in the world and he looks forward to diving deeper into the ministry as time progresses.

On December 6, 2005, Bishop Zubik appointed Fr. Brian, at the recommendation of Fr. Bob Kabat, Judicial Vicar of the Diocese, an Advocate for the Tribunal of the Diocese of Green Bay. An advocate is someone who is able to assist those who are in need of procuring annulments. Fr. Brian is willing and able to discuss this process with anyone who may be in need and to help get the process started. He may also be able to clear up any misconceptions or questions regarding this process.

Fr. Brian has recently celebrated his 1st anniversary of priesthood on May 21, 2005. Just to show you how the liturgical year changes from year to year, in 2005, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity landed on May 21st the date of his first mass of thanksgiving in Two Rivers, whereas this year is was on June 11. Fr. Brian is enjoying the priesthood and the people of St. Pius X parish very much and hopes to be here for a little while longer.



BRIAN BEING ORDAINED (5/21/05)



























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25 Comments:

At Sat Jun 17, 12:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger frb said...

Greetings, friends. I hope you have some extra time on your hands to read this.

Wow, Burt, thanks so much for painting such a vivid and positive portrait of me during highschool. I say this, of course, with a just a tinge of irony. You must surely have had nothing better to do over the years as nearly the whole blog is almost equally as interesting and vivid.

If there is anyone who bothers to read this reply, I have a question for you: Did you ever have the wind knocked out of you and you found yourself gasping to catch your breath again. That experience happens so fast that you don't have time to react. Before you know it you are driven down, virtually helpless. Sometimes this can happen too if you are socked in the stomach unexpectedly either by a flying object, such as a baseball, or by another person who simply strikes you. That's how I felt when I ready this blog. Not only for myself, but for many others as well.

Burt, I question your motive for doing this. You claim it is something you have to do and its for you. Why, then, is this site up for everyone to see? Why is it not written down somewhere else or a secured site used?

For some of us, highschool was an awesome experience; for others it was not, for others it was ok. I never minded it, but I didn't really care. I always went and counted the days down. I didn't do well in classes, except for about 3 or 4, but it really was because I didn't care much. It's hard to get top grades if you don't turn in your homework. No surprises there! For the most part, though, I liked the class in general and the teachers. Some I was a little more cordial with than others, but for me, for the most part, my highschool years were about the closest thing to purgatory as one could get, just shy of dropping lower. I was glad when it was over and had no intention upon graduation of continuing school at all. As a matter of fact, if it were not a requirement, I would have considered seriously about skipping the graduation ceremony.

Basically, I attended almost everyday, seldom got in trouble and despite everything graduated with 24 credits, two more than the required 22. I have also discovered that grades really don't mean anything. The fact that I received low grades in highschool does not mean that I didn't learn the material as well as anyone else. In college and seminary I excelled and acheived, once I had a goal in mind. Today, I would not hesistate to pursue an even higher degree, a doctorate or licentiate in theology, if I ever have the chance.(A licentiate is a degree that meets all requirements for a doctorate, but lacks a full fledged dissertation on the subject) Now possiblities are there, even as a priest. I could well have an opportunity to teach theology in highschool or even at the college level, it's not out of my reach.

I never intended to hurt anyone, if I did, sorry. I just went along my own business, most of the time. I wonder how many of the class ever imagined that one day the crazy and supid things that were done growing up and trying to find our ways, fit in, etc, ever would have imagined that it would be posted for the whole world to see.

Truthful or not. I have scanned most of the blogs and whether truthful or not, honest as you are, posting certain things is disrepectful and potentially harmful. No! Not everyone is entitled to the truth all the time, only those that need to know for the common good and those that the individuals choose to tell are to be revealed. How does this blog contribute to the common good? It simply continues to haunt the memories of those who have made every effort to move on and get on with life on a path that God leads. As we grow, we learn plain and simple. As we learn, we make mistakes and that's how we grow, from mistakes we make. I'm sure that as most of us look back, we have done things we regret or wonder why in the world did we acted a certain way in particular situations. Who knows, the reasons are virtually limitless.

Being Catholic, a theologian I do not have an opportunity to cite often is Martin Luther. He was a scrupulous fellow and one time he was asked how is it that God can find favor with you, one who sins all the time and makes so many mistakes. How can you ever walk in his ways? His reply was simple enough. He felt deeply it was because God in his mercy and love chooses to look more towards the future, and how we grow in holiness and faith in the future than he does on the past. This means that everytime we make even a half hearted attempt to change, God is with us in that change working from the time of conversion, not before. Every Friday morning the ordained clergy and religious pray on behalf of everyone, as part of morning prayer, psalm 51 : "Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness' in your compassion blot out my offense and wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin." It's a beautiful psalm, pray it once. Conversion and change, of course, is a lifetime process. It may take some an entire lifetime to even come to believe that God exists.Even that is a transformation and one God would hold in high esteem. Some of the greatest saints were also the greatest sinners before their conversions. So, Burt, happily, there's still hope for you, as, of course there is for all of us.

I hold no grudges against anyone in the class; I may not necessarily like every member of the class, but I'm sure that holds true for most of us. We are all good people; however, we are good people, who make mistakes. I have had some usually chance enounters with some classmates over the years and with the exception of one meeting, they have all been cordial.

I admit, I never did go out of my way to get to know many classmates, but then again, not many really went out of their way to get to know me either. That's O.K. I probably was one of the few in the class that really didn't care what others thought of me; I still don't. Even in my college and graduate experiences, although I had gotten better, I didn't go to make friends, I went with a goal in mind. I have met many wonderful and interesting people and some of them are still good friends now.

I think, though, what this blog did do is it shows how our personalities (Yes I took many of those Myers-Briggs type personality inventories; I am a very strong ISTJ-) can get in the way of us fully cooperating with God's grace and doing the best we can in general. The "I" means I'm introverted-this should not be surprising to anyone. This means I am reluctant to go the extra mile to go to gatherings where I can get to know people better. When the day is done, I prefer to withdraw from people, rather than seek others out. When I'm off for the day, I simply leave. I am getting better at this, but still shy away from certain gatherings. I was always like that. I was like that in college and seminary, and I'm still like that today.

In college and in seminary I had a strong reputation of being highly organized and well ahead of things. I don't like to fall behind, and I usually don't. I am not a procrastinator. One classmate once asked if I had begun next quarter's work before the end of the current one.

Seminary though, is a unique experience, not much different than any other college or post graduate program where one lives in community, except everyone has a common goal: becoming priests. You would probably be surprised as to the calibur of parties that were held at times in some rooms. In seminary, though, although there were some obvious personaility clashes among some, it didn't matter. It seemed that everyone was their to help each other succeed, no matter what one's personality. At exam time, everyone helped each other and classes that had gone before us were more than happy to pass along old copies of tests. Other classmates who were excellent notetakers, such as myself and others, were not afraid to share them with those who were struggling to keep up. Some were more difficult than others to get along with, but everyone supported each other because we all had one goal-priesthood. The academics were at the graduate level and intense, there was spiritual formation and pastoral ministry components in addition to the study. Nobody though, was in competition with each other. It was a good experience. Believe it or not, many seminarians came to me for assistance with studying for tests or writing or proofing papers, skills I learned well. I still kept to myself quite a bit; however, I did leave my mark there. I set up and coordinated a bowling night that quickly became the event that many looked forward to over the course of the year. There were about 100 of us, students and faculty that basically took over the entire bowling establishment and it has become a great community builder.

To this day, most of our class still keeps in touch by means of a blog site, just like this one, except it's secured and I have not seen any mean spirited or negative remarks; its a positive thing.

Wouldn't that be a novel idea! A positive blog site for the class of 1989, not a scandal sheet. I believe there was a newspaper some time ago in California, or near there, entitled The Good News. It didn't sell because the news was too good. That says something doesn't it?

Good memories of the class of 1989? Let's see. Believe it or not, I do have a few.

I'm sure some of you know that I share a birthday with a well respected member of our class, Rozy. I'm not sure which one of us is actually the older; perhaps Burt has an insight into this; he does for virtually everything else.

Going back to 7th grade. Burt, I'm surprised you missed this ... and that's OK ... but do you remember Mrs. Westberg's chorus class. I do. There was also a student teacher, Mr. Bush who joined us for a while. Anyway, I, Mr. Goody-goody, used to take attendance everyday and would check everyone off as they came in the door for 1st hour.

Mrs. Westberg has a disciplinary system that included writing names on the board and checkmarks. A name was a warning to behave, one check was 15 minutes after school, 2 checks was a half hour and three checks was ... I forget, but the name was circled. For a while, there was quite a list of names appearing on the chalkboard for detentions that were not made up. I believe, Burt, you had so many piled up that there was no possible way for you to make them up. When she found this system was no working that well, she got frustrated with practically the whole class that was driving her crazy and began 1 by 1 to kick people out of the class. This became a daily routine, first one, then two, and pretty soon almost 1/2 the class had been kicked out. I still find this rather humorous.

Now for a couple of compliments from chorus classes:
Remember Mrs. (or was is Miss) Swoboda, the teacher for our 8th grade chorus class. She was a fun teacher and I think we all, among those in the class, enjoyed chorus that year. I remember selling jewlery in order to go to Great America and putting on a show called American Pop. When we practiced, we often were asked to sit in a circle facing each other and Jenny M and Chris S usually sat near each other. Those two had a talent for singing and sang well, if my memory serves me correctly. Singing is a talent that once you learn and develop you will never lose it. With that in mind, Jenny and Chris you had wonderful talents then and I'm sure you do now ... I would encourage you to come and join my choir!! I need some good quality soloists to enhance the prayer experience here.

Freshman chorus changed though. A new teacher had been hired, Mr. Reilly. I still remember the warm up exercises. Anyway, some of the classmates had changed and of course, couldn't resist driving some of the others crazy. Rozy and Jason sat behind me and they casually would push our chairs ahead with their feet and they also felt they were the best and most important singers in the group. They certainly were good and probably did sing louder than the rest of us. Rozy and Jason, you too had, and probably still do have singing talent -- you too come and join my choir!!

I too have been keeping up with singing. I try to chant at mass once in a while.

I was involed in the theatre guild. How I was allowed to participate I don't know, considering everything, but on one musical I worked behind the scenes. I believe it was South Pacific and Kim N was one of the principle characters, who sang beautifully. She also had a bright smile. Larry D was also involved in the musicals and did a great job too. Larry had a talent for acting and entertaining. With that in mind, Kim & Larry the choir also has spots for you!!

(Anyone who've I've invited to join the choir; if you're not catholic, that's OK--I can work with you! -and bring your family!)

I myself, acted in 3 plays: The Clock Struck Twelve, which was a murder mystery comedy - I believe Laura F was involved, along with Larry D and forgive me if I have forgotten others, but Larry played a multi-billionaire with the mentality of a 6 or 7 year old, and I played the killer--I shot Laura - how interesting - the quiet one as the killer as a matter of fact the character I played seemed to be the virtuous one-- ah, it only happens in fiction. Interesting anyway..

The second play was called the Missing Link. I don't remember too much about this play except that my charatcer was a doctor engaged to be married and in the end, an old flame, named Link, a member of a native tribe shows up. I remember having a scene when I was supposed to rush in, upset that another man was making moves on my fiance and I slammed the door so hard the wall decorations fell off the walls; it got a laugh anyway. This "Missing Link", actually showed up in the last 5 minutes of the play and was played by none other than Dave K.

My Third play was Harvey. In that one I played the title character Elwood P. Dowd, a friendly fellow who had a peculiar friend: an invisible 6'11/2" rabbit. All three plays were fun and enjoyable. Come to think of it, I spent more time at school than I thought I did.

Writing is a skill of mine that I believe was planted in Ms Sapa's creative writing class. I remember that class and it was one of my favorites. I clearly remember the directions for completing Niel Setanga's (or however it was spelled) thriving cucumber story. She said we could write anything we wanted but it had to be more in-depth than simply "and poor Niel died." The first weekly writing packet she gave us had the word "Rush" on the front. That was a fun class - even though Jen A didn't remember I was in it. Speaking of Jen, I believe you had somewhat of an interest in music too. A certain video from the mass media class? Please, come and join my choir too!!

In the summer before my junior year I was hired at Sentry. Granted, It took me a little while to catch on - I did have an attitude--still do to an extent-but after a short time, I grew to enjoy working there. At Sentry I got to know Jeff G, Shawn R and Mike C. Brenda L and I think Carrie F worked there too. If I'm not mistaken, so did Laura F. for a time. Over the course of time, I caught on to things and I worked many closing shifts friday and saturday nights and I didn't mind. After all, it freed up the other guys for other things. I spent much of my senior year working and I enjoyed working with you, as I did with most of those I encountered at Sentry. I got to know you guys and gals in a much different way at work than I ever did at school. It was a wonderful experience and to this day, I still pop in to say hi to those who are still working there.A good number of my ex co-workers attended my Ordination. You probably do not know just how much the experience I gained there prepared me for the priesthood and I comment on that all the time.

Would I change things? No. Things happen for a reason. I don't think that my decision to become a priest was a surprise to everyone, especially those who are in that first communion picture. I also did a lot of church things while in highschool and beyond. Some of you may remember some of my struggles while reading through the Passion or trying to pronounce interesting biblical names.

To conclude, I now have the absolute best job in the world and there is nothing I can compare this to. I love the priesthood and I'm doing very well. I am confident in the things I do and am very happy and I've been told that happiness is clearly shining through. I have a great parish to serve and great staff to work with. There is nothing I would rather be doing. I have no regrets at all.

God bless you all,
fr. brian

 
At Sat Jun 17, 08:43:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Father B,
Wow. Great stuff. I think you most certainly have the last laugh here, to be sure. Because while the rest of us flounder and seek our callings even to this day, you have, essentially, "made it." You are able to do something you love and has such rich and deeping meaning.

Thanks for the wake up call. Blogging is a weird animal. It gives anyone with a mouse and keyboard the world as their stage. Is that right or wrong?

Let's just call it one of the many gray areas that make up God's green Earth and leave it at that.

Take care!
Jeff Messerman

 
At Sat Jun 17, 08:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

"deeping meaning"???

I should not be allowed anywhere near a keyboard after 10pm.

Deep meaning, of course.

 
At Sun Jun 18, 09:49:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

First of all Brian, thank you for the insightful comments. You have given me plenty to think about. I will do my best to go down the line and address your comments and questions, one by one. Also, congratulations on where you currently are in your life. You're clearly happy with where you are. You set a goal for yourself, then went out and achieved it. Being happy in both life in general and in one's profession is something that sadly, a huge portion of the population never achieves.

You question my motive for doing this. Let me see if I can explain. For the record, I don't believe I ever stated that this blog was something that I "had to do." Because frankly, it's not. I don't feel that way.

Back in late December, 2005/early January, 2006, I had a chance encounter with both Jason Anderson and Erin Hynek, on CLASSMATES.COM. Apparently I signed into that website several years ago. As anyone who has knows, they send you E-mails every week or so, asking you to sign up for their "gold package" or something. They also inform you when new classmates join the website as well. I'd ignored those E-mails for year. But on this day in December, I decided to click the link. I discovered that you could send messages to fellow classmates. On a whim, I sent one to Jason Anderson - a guy that I really disliked. But what the hell? More than 15 years had passed since I'd last seen him. So I just decided to say hi. He responded back, and was genuinely friendly. It was a very positive experience. A few days later, I decided to drop a line to Erin Hynek as well. I'd always wanted to apologize to her for something. She, too, was genuinely happy to hear from me.

So here I was. I'd briefly reconnected with two fellow classmates. Both were positive experiences. And this lead to strong feelings of nostalgia. For the first time in my life, I felt some sort of connection to my scholastic past. And I started to think about all the people who shared those days with me - good, bad (and, in many cases, weird) memories.

I began to get a strong desire to do something. But I didn't know what. I realized that I had a flood of vivid memories floating around inside my head. I felt an urge to express them somehow.

Back in 1997, my good friend (and aspiring script writer) Meff decided he was going to write a story about his experiences at Clarke. It's an idea he had toyed with for years. So naturally, he came to me for stories and ideas. I went so far as to jot down notes on several pages of a notebook. Which reminds me. I should look at those notes to see if I've left something out. Meff even came over to interview me. We taped about 90 minutes of material. Sadly, the script never came to be. Perhaps now, he'll be inspired to try again.

Anyway, inspired by the idea of the notebook, I decided to start a diary. Whether the memories I had are good or bad, they were important to me. And as good as my memory is, I can't expect to remember everything forever. But I would like to. The only way to do that would be to write them down. Had it been 1995, I would have done so with a pen and paper. But in today's age, with the advent of computers and the internet, the idea of a blog seemed perfect. A blog is easier than writing it by hand. A secure sight? The idea never entered my mind. Never in my wildest dreams did I even think that my fellow classmates would discover the blog. In retrospect, that was very naive - as anyone who puts their name into a search engine will discover.

It sounds like you and I had some similarities in our approach to high school. I, too, would have skipped the graduation ceremony if I could have. By the way, it wasn't required. But my parents required it. So I was there.

I find your stance on truthfulness and honesty to be quite interesting. I have known other people in the same religious position as you tell me point blank that complete and total honesty (even if it hurts someone's feelings) is absolutely essential. Personally, I don't agree with that. Clearly you don't either. And for the record, let it be known that there is a LOT of things that I chose not to write about. For instance, I've come to learn that there are several members of our class who are homosexual. That could be thought of as very juicy gossip. But I chose not to mention it. I don't know if these people have "come out" to their friends or families. So who am I to do it for them? Have I said some things that have hurt the feelings of others? Sure I have. Do I feel bad about that? Of course! I'm a human being. I'm sure I've crossed the line on occasion. I'm sure some of my readers have also crossed the line. But it's hard. Because how does one know where that line is?

On a few occasions, I've had to defend myself. I've often fallen back on the idea that what happened 20+ years ago really doesn't matter anymore. In other words, don't let my words bother you. They don't mean anything in the context of your life today. Perhaps I use this because it's an easy way out to defend the potentially "bad" things I wrote about people. But I think there is validity to it as well. We all have skeletons in our closets. Perhaps I've aired the dirty laundry of others. But I've also aired out my own. I was no choir boy growing up. I did a lot of bad things. I did some disgusting things. Is it wrong for me to talk about such things? Personally, I don't think so. It is what it is.

Jason Anderson made a good point in the first comment he left on this blog. He said something to the effect of how we all chose different paths in life. Yet today, we're all basically in the same place. Some of us drank, used drugs, played sports, became criminals... Yet today we have jobs, homes and families. Were we really all that different?

I've profiled 260 classmates. I haven't gone back to count them. But I'd guess that only a small handful of those entries did I paint someone in a negative light. Perhaps only 10-15 had an overall negative tone. That's a pretty small percentage.

I only have one regret (thus far) from this blog. I said something that most likely hurt someone's feelings. And that person's friends came on and chewed me out because of it. Had I ever suspected that my fellow classmates would find this blog, I would have tempered some of my words. But now it's too late. I know the person has read it. And I may have reopened some old wounds. When I wrote that entry, I didn't really have an audience yet. Again, it was probably naive to think that I wouldn't have one eventually.

I will not, however, apologize to people who I felt were not very nice to me or other people. It's history. People like Craig Rysticken, Josie Scott and Ross Hofmann are good examples. For the most part, my personal experiences with these people back during our school days were not very positive at all. Most of the time, these people weren't nice to me. Does that mean they were bad people? No. Does that mean they are bad people today? No. Perhaps they treated me poorly because I myself wasn't very nice to them. That's very possible. So be it. It is what it is. I hold absolutely no grudges against these people today. And although there hasn't been too much written about Ross, in regards to Craig and Josie, I have heard nothing but glowing things about them and their lives today. That makes me very happy. Were my opinions about them wrong? Perhaps. In the scheme of life, this blog is just silliness. I would hope that my words wouldn't bother anyone. My entry on Jason Anderson wasn't very flattering. But Jason didn't take a defensive posture. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. 15 years ago, he may have pounded me for saying such things. But today he shows a higher level of maturity, and accepts the fact that everyone has different opinions and perceptions. Mark Ciha is another example. I couldn't stand the guy. But he's come onto this blog, and has sent me some private E-mails as well. And he has been nothing but charming. He makes no apologies. And he doesn't need to.

I knew that if I was going to do this little diary of mine, I had to be honest and truthful. That means writing about "bad" things as well as. What's wrong with that? What's wrong with shwoing people "warts and all?" We all have them. By making mistakes and learning from them is how we grow, learn and mature. As classmates began to show up, I suddenly realized that my personal diary was no longer personal. Instead of just writing for me, I was writing for other people as well. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't enjoy the attention. I then made an effort to not only tell my stories for me, but to tell them for others as well. I tried to entertain, while still staying true to the initial spirit of this blog - and that is as a personal diary for myself.

I must say that I do take great offense to your opinion that "there is still hope for me." By saying that, you're clearly stating that something is wrong with me, or that I need to be "saved" or something. I can assure you Brian, I need no saving. Was there a time in my life where I did need saving? Absolutely. I had issues. But they've been sorted out, and have been for may years now. Today I am happy and healthy. I am a loving husband and father to two adorable little girls. You may disagree with what I've done.with this blog. But please don't insinuate that I need help. Because I don't. If you think I'm wrong about writing this blog, then let's agree to disagree.

Kudos to your memories about Mrs. Westburg and her "checkmark" theory. When I get to writing about her, I had every intention of mentioning it. As for Mr. Bush, I do remember him. In fact, if you read Kevin Dehne's entry, you'll see that I mentioned him.

Brian, I think this blog was a very good thing. Yes, it has had its share of negative moments as well. But that's life. You can't have good without bad.

Look at what this blog has done. On a personal level, it allowed me to get in touch with two former friends of mine, Tom Grassman and Kevin Dehne. Not only did I get in touch with them, but we found time to get together as well. Without this blog, those meetings would not have happened. Both were a direct result of this blog. I still keep in touch with them today. And I will be seeing both of them in the future.

This blog also allowed me to start new friendships with people like Jenny Malley, Greg Pagel, Erin Hynek and Brad Strouf. I will be seeing all of these people in the near future as well. These new friendships are a direct result of this blog.

I know for a fact that this blog has allowed other former friends get reacquainted as well. Beyond just the comments on the blog, I have helped facilitate more, as I've passed on addresses and E-mail addresses to some people. Again, these encounters are also a direct result of this blog.

Lastly, this blog has given our fellow classmates an online place for people to get together. I've created a virtual reunion in cyberspace. And I think that most people have appreciated it.

So in my opinion, it comes down to this. Do the good points of this blog far outweigh the bad points? As far as I'm concerned, the answer is a resounding yes!

 
At Sun Jun 18, 12:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

I really loathe blog debates but I must chime in here.

I re-read Brian's quote, Burt. I don't think he intended to say you are some sort of lost cause. By quoting psalm 51, he's merely offering a glimmer of hope that life can only improve and get better and that we all have the ability within ourselves and our relation with our individual faith systems to grow.

 
At Sun Jun 18, 04:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I understood the quote. I never got the impression that he considered me a "lost cause" either. But I certainly got the impression that he felt that I needed MORE improvement than the average person.

I could be wrong. But that's the impression I gained from the comment.

 
At Mon Jun 19, 05:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger frbb said...

Jeff,
It's great to hear from you again!

Burt & others
This blog site is not all bad. It does have many good qualities; except I still strongly disagree with relaying many of the different personal issues that ought not be publisized, honest and truthful or not. Some of the physicial descriptions of some of the class can be construed as disrespectful, in my opinion.

Burt, and others reading, I beg your humble apologies! The last thing I want to do is judge or offend anyone by any comments I make. Please, my thoughts and feelings and opinions are my own and I expressed them as positivley as I could. For all practical purposes, we're all in the same boat: we've moved on and have all, to an extent, grown.
I intended no harm in my response, and isn't it interesting how everyone can have a different twist on someone's responses. We take from them what we do. In all ways, my comment that so offended you was no more or less intended to offend than you describing or judging me as a spade or dork, referring to me in my first communion picture as a swinger, and jabbing my last name. Just as you had no intention of offending me in your vivid description, I had abosolutely no intention of offending you or anyone else.

 
At Mon Jun 19, 06:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Brian, there is no need for apologies. You didn't say anything bad. I just took issue with one thing which I perceived to be a personal insult. But that's cool. I'm not mad about it. I hold no ill will. Besides, I probably had it coming. My words about you were written from the perspective of the little boy that was me 20 years ago. And frankly, that little boy wasn't always the nicest person he could have been. You and I had our negative moments. But there were also many fun times - Atari, haunted houses, creating "live" versions of Atari games, playing cards at John's... The list is endless.

You have a very valid point regarding some of the personal descriptions or events that I've mentioned. It's a moral dilemma I have wrestled with many times. Do I leave certain things out, simply because I now have an audience? But if I do, am I then lying to myself? Knowing where to draw the line is not easy. Perhaps my liberal point of view and open-mindedness leads me to conclude that I can push the envelope a bit without offending the masses. But not everybody feels the same why.

Anyway, your comments are very welcome. Feel free to chime in anywhere!

 
At Mon Jun 19, 09:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Father Brian--

I'm glad to hear you're doing well. Better than "well," actually. It's always satisfying to hear of an old friend finding happiness.

I enjoyed reading your comments. Wow -- you're a great writer! Better than Burt, at least. You must have done well in Sapa's class.

Speaking of which, I think this might be a good time to send burt some of my material from that class... one of my better bits mentions you, Brian. You'll probably get a laugh.

Oh, and Burt is so TOTALLY a lost cause.

May you continue to have happiness!

 
At Mon Jun 19, 10:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Grr....

Mr. Pagel, you're only supposed to talk about me when I'm not around! Don't diss me in front of my fans!

So you got stuff, huh? Perhaps it's time to do Sapa. I got some stuff of my own. Neil Sitenga will be seen again...

 
At Mon Jun 19, 11:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

I saved alomost all my work from that class.

 
At Mon Jun 19, 03:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger frbb said...

Greg,

How wonderful to hear from you and I'm glad to hear things are going well for you and your family. If you're ever in Appleton, look me up, I'd love to see you.

blessings

 
At Mon Jun 19, 03:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger frbb said...

Jeff,

Good to hear from you too, once again.
We used to be pretty good friends too, especially back in our gradeschool days.

I guess this blog is a great way to get us back in touch with each other afterall.

blessings, Jeff!

 
At Mon Jun 19, 03:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Which reminds me. Meff used to think that you used to chase garbage trucks around. Even Meff's parents allegedly said, "Isn't he the boy that follows the garbagemen? Meff thought it was both strange and cool that someone would have such a fascination with the garbagemen. I had to explain that your following of them had a purpose. You were collecting bottles to turn them in for cash.

I think Meff was disappointed.

 
At Mon Jun 19, 05:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger frbb said...

I was just thinking about that; you're absolutely correct. Just all part of finding my way, I guess. That's something I will never live down; although, today, doing so would be much more lucrative. Aluminum cans have been going for up to 70 cents a pound today!!

Additionally, Mr. Stodola once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up; I mentioned, funeral director. Jeff, didn't you start classes for that? Anyway, considering what I do now, I was not too far off.

A good friend of mine is a funeral director who when I told him I once thought about that; he told me he also once thought of priesthood. Interesting.

As long as I'm at it, It seems birthdays in January have been somewhat of a curse. One time Jeff & I, 5th grade maybe, were going bowling because it was my birthday. January - cold - snowstorm. We went anyway and ended up in a car accident. No bowling that day.

My, I think I'm getting addicted to blogging

 
At Mon Jun 19, 06:07:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Brian brought up some interesting points...Burt countered with some interesting points...I enjoyed the exchange. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, Brian.

Burt, sorry I've been a bit absent, lost my internet capabilities (temporarily)...I'll be back though...

 
At Tue Jun 20, 07:55:00 AM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Father B!
You beat me to the punch, I was just going to bring up the birthday bowling car wreck. Man, that was a wild one. I think we did a full 360 in your Mom's car. However, the day wasn't a total loss. I think we went back to your place and played with your Star Wars figures or perhaps, and correct me if I'm wrong, we messed with your collection of Universal monster figures. Didn't you have, like, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, etc.???

Good days back then, man, good days.

 
At Tue Jun 20, 08:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

And, additionally Brian, yes, I did take a stab, so to speak, at the funeral business. Read Burt's entry on me for some of the sordid details.

Trust me, sir, you picked your profession correctly. The funeral business is not all it's cracked up to be...in fact, neither is cracking up, which I did during that short time period of my life.

 
At Tue Jun 20, 08:01:00 AM PDT, Blogger apeman said...

Now I know who to thank for getting me out of Westburg's class. I can't wait 'til Burt does Mrs. Westburg. Thanks Brian.

 
At Tue Jun 20, 08:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Ah, the Apeman cometh. Kevin has an interesting story about one of Brian's textbooks and a garbage can. Perhaps he'll tell it.

 
At Tue Jun 20, 08:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger frbb said...

Kevin!
Good to hear from you. Perhaps you can thank me for getting you out of that chorus class. I saved you from the John Denver experiences.
Did you ever actually count how many papers you collected at Clark to clutter the halls with?

Jeff,
It's my understanding that one of the courses for funeral directing, actually, it's about 4 courses, is reconstruction. This is somewhat of an art class. Since art, using modeling clay, paint, and even woodworking was not my specialty, no one would want me fixing up grandma or grandpa!

Brad,

Welcome! Thanks for your comments. I'm glad all is well with you. Keep on keeping the peace in TR.

Greg or Burt,
I may have been mistaken. The first packet may have begun with the word, "Risk" not "Rush"

 
At Tue Jun 20, 09:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I think it was "risk." I still have my creative writing packets. But I'm not exactly sure where they are. Several years ago, I moved them and placed them somewhere where they wouldn't get lost. Now I can't remember where that place is. Maybe my memory isn't as good as I thought.

 
At Thu Apr 26, 05:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger HOINKY KOTAREK said...

Hello Fr Brian ,Wow,what are the chances that I would be reading about you. After reading the things people write they really don't know the real Brain. I worked with him for 10 years and let me tell all of you that this guy treated everyone with respect.I hope to talk to you someday Brian , and I WISH YOU all the happiness in the world . Takecare,your friend HOINKY KOTAREK

 
At Thu Apr 26, 05:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger HOINKY KOTAREK said...

Hello Fr Brian ,Wow,what are the chances that I would be reading about you. After reading the things people write they really don't know the real Brain. I worked with him for 10 years and let me tell all of you that this guy treated everyone with respect.I hope to talk to you someday Brian , and I WISH YOU all the happiness in the world . Takecare,your friend HOINKY KOTAREK

 
At Fri Apr 27, 07:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I think I knew him pretty well - at least for the several years that he and I were friends.

Thanks for the comments!

 

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