Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I believe Toby was with me at Magee. But I don't have any memories of him until our days at Clarke. I didn't have him in 6th grade. But I'd see him in the gym after lunch. He seemed to always be milling around with the girls.

Toby was a littler guy. I got to know him in 7th grade. We had every class together. And we became pretty good friends. There weren't a lot of guys in that class. In fact, if memory serves, it was Toby, Jason Anderson, Kevin Dehne, Jim Colby, Wyatt Wood, Ron (Cuyler) Gretz, Rob Sisel, B.J. Lutterman and myself. So we were nine guys and 20-25 girls. I think us guys tended to be closer, simply due to being outnumbered.

In gym class that year, Toby was often "burned" by Kevin Dehne. In this case, "burning" meant having his shorts pulled down. I can recall Jenny Malley of all people encouraging this behavior in Kevin. But as luck would have it, Toby had the longest gym shirt on the planet. And when his shorts came down. his shirt covered his whole butt. I wasn't as fortunate. Once or twice mine came down - nothing like an underwear flash.

Something else happened in gym class early that year. 7th grade was the first year that we as students were made to take showers after class. The first day we had to do this, Toby and I actually ducked out of the locker room without doing so. Mr. Wolff was pissed. I remember asking him, "Why do we need to shower anyway?" To which Jenny Malley replied "Because you stink!" In Jenny's defense, she wasn't singling out Toby and myself. She was referring to everyone in general. But I still disagreed. It was gym class. It wasn't like we were running a marathon. No one ever got sweaty anyway. But I digress.

The next class, we all showered. As I was undressing, I was actually sitting next to Toby. And I noticed something... Toby was at half mast. It wasn't a full boner mind you. It was more of a Hollywood loaf. I remember thinking oh boy, this is really bad for him. I showered and got dressed. But after class, Jason Anderson came up to me and said, "You better watch out for Toby." I played dumb and asked why. Jason then said that Toby did indeed have a boner in the shower. Let the teasing begin! Toby heard about it all year long. Of course he denied it though. You have to, you know? I felt bad for him. As a guy, sometimes boners happen for no reason. I was terrified that it might happen to me at some point. But thankfully, it never did. Incidentally, after about a month, Wolff stopped enforcing the shower rule. And we all stopped taking them. So I guess we stunk for awhile. But gym class was 7th hour, the last class of the day. So be it.

Toby was one of the guys who would occasionally join us when we walked over to my house for lunch. On the way back one day, Kevin attacked Toby, threw him in a snow bank, and doused him with snow. Why? Because that's what Kevin did. Toby emerged a little wet, but no worse for wear.

I remember riding my bike over to Toby's in October. He lived right by Clarke. Toby was busy though. He was carving pumpkins with his mom and sister.

Toby once told me that he found a $20.00 bill in his neighbor's yard. he used it to buy the Star Wars Dagobah Playset.

I see to recall that Toby was a fan of Lionel Ritchie during 7th grade.

As the year went on, I got into more and more trouble. Toby was a much more straight-laced kid. But I dragged him down with me a few times. He tried not to get involved with some of my shit sometimes. But hey, I was fun! 7th grade was a blast! I know for a fact that Toby's mom hated me. She was involved with the school - on the school board or something. And I know she used to try to steer him away from having anything at all to do with me. One day Toby came to school and said, "Do you know that your name has come up for possible suspension 12 times?" My response? "Cool!" In actuality, I only got suspended twice that year. And both of them were decided at the time of the incident, not at a school board meeting.

In Mr. Stodola's science class, Toby and I used to play a game. He sat next to me, in another row. Julie Scott sat next to me on the other side, in another row. Pam Schley sat next to Toby on his other side. So Pam and Julie were three rows apart. During class, when it was quiet, I'd whisper to Julie that Pam wanted her. Toby would whisper to Pam that Julie wanted her. Then the two of them would try to communicate with each other from three rows apart, trying to read each other's lips, figuring out what each wanted - which was of course nothing. It was pretty funny to watch.

In Mr. Longhini's math class, Toby sat behind Pam and would regularly pull and snap her bra strap. This fun came to an end when Brenda Dax saw it and blabbed rather loudly about it.

In 8th grade, I think Toby and I had one class together. But for the life of me, I can't recall which one. Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps we just ate lunch together. Yes, I think that's it.

At some point in 8th grade, Toby got a detention. He was freaking out about it because his mom would have been mortified. So he ended up telling her that he was able to stay after school to work on the computers. I guess she bought it.

In freshman year, Toby sat two seats down from me in Mr. Wheeler's science class. Julie Scott sat between us. When we did experiments and stuff, Toby and I would usually team up. I remember teaching him that if you stuch a pen cap up your nose and tickled, you could make yourself sneeze. I still use that method today if I have a sneeze that simply won't come out on its own.

Throughout high school, Toby and I never hung out. But we always remained friends - or at least friendly. Toby was involved in the school newspaper.

In the summer between our junior and senior year, I was hanging out with Scott Jaklin. For whatever reason, in the middle of the night, we decided to walk over to Toby's house. His parents and sister were out of town. For whatever reason, I brought up the subject of the catholic communion crackers, and how they tasted like shit. No, I'm not catholic. But once or twice I went with Dave Svatek to his church. And I took communion. Why not? Is that blasphemous? Anyway, Toby disappeared to his room, then came out with a bag of them. He then started to eat them. Toby had stolen several bags from his church. I loved the irony. I couldn't believe he liked to eat those things though. We also made some prank phone calls to fellow graduate, Brian Belongia. You can find details of that in my entry on him.

In our senior year, we had Mr. Hensel's class together. He sat right next to me. We got a free day once when Hensel was out. We knew it was coming the day before. So I went home and found all my mazes and notebooks from 7th grade. And we had a good day reminiscing.

In our senior year, various teachers required us to keep journals. Many students used these journals as diaries. Not that I had an abundance of intimate details, but I never put anything personal in mine that I wouldn't want others to read. There was a justified fear that it could end up in the wrong hands. A pair of those wrong hands belonged to Toby. Apparently he used to steal the journals of others and read them. And if I'm not mistaken, I think he actually got in trouble (with the law) for doing it as well. Incidentally, Toby had a journal too. He let me read it. In it, he mentioned that his sister was too trendy, and that his mom wore clothes from the 1970's. I don't know why I remember that. I just do.

There were rumors that if you bribed Mr. Hensel with chocolate, it could help your grade. I felt I was in serious danger of failing the second semester. So I was all set to do just that. But something better came up. One day in class Hensel was very distraught. He told us how his Latin/English dictionary was missing. Honestly, he seemed devastated by this. Toby told me that he had taken it - for whatever reason. So I asked him if I could have it. So he gave it to me. Then I returned it to Hensel, telling him that I'd found it on top of the lockers in the basement. He was overjoyed! And I passed, even though I shouldn't have.

After high school, whenever Meff came up to visit, we would often call Toby in the middle of the night, and tell him to turn on Dr. Gene Scott. He never seemed too amused by this. I think Toby was working at Walmart at the time.

I saw Toby again around 1994 or 1995. He owned a business at the J.C. Penney Mall. It was an antique store. I was greatly impressed with his Star Wars collection. I was getting into Star Wars again at the time. So I bought a lot of stuff from him, including a pillow case - which I still use to this day, much to the chagrin of my wife. Toby even followed me to my house one night to view my collection.

Toby eventually moved his business to a location right off of the highway by the Newton exit. The last time I saw him was around 2000. I went back once or twice since then. But Toby had sold the business.

A few years ago, I happened to see Toby's name in the paper. He had opened an EBAY store and was selling stuff for people. I believe he does that to this day. He's got impressive feedback. Today Toby also works part time at the Manitowoc YMCA, where he occasionally runs into my parents. As far as I know, he has never married.

UPDATE - 11/9/06 - Kevin Dehne and I have tried to see Toby on both of our trips to Two Rivers. We've stopped at his house twice on each day. Thus far, he has never been home. He did E-mail me however, and said that he was disappointed that he'd missed us. Although he lives on Memorial Drive in Two Rivers, he apparently works at a Sheboygan bank every other Saturday. Of course both of our trips have been on Saturdays. The picture below was taken on August 12th, 2006.


At Wed Mar 29, 10:35:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

Pretty accurate Toby assessment. Let's see if I can add some color to the picture...

Toby was indeed at Magee. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had him in every grade from 3rd on up. He was always a diminutive fellow but never really took it too bad. In fact, more often than not, people would refer to him as Toby SHORTS as opposed to Schwartz...again, he never seemed too put off by this.

Toby alwasy seemed to be a HUGE hit with the ladies in elementary school. As in, they always hung around him! Perhaps because of his small stature, they felt he was like a pet? I dunno'...

Toby and I always got along during those days, as far as I recall. Two elementary school incidents come to mind: I remember in 3rd grade (or 4th???) he was accused of putting a ailing bird in his backpack and shaking the hell out of it, possibly to death. He categorically denied it but Miss Charter kinda' jumped all over him anyway.

Another incident...I think in 3rd grade, Toby found himself on the receiving end of Randy Klein terrorism. Old Space Team pride and duty (see earlier references on this in Greg Pagel's entry) forced myself and someone else (not sure who) to intervene. I believe I walked away from that skirmish with some sort of bruise or contusion.

I didn't have a great deal of contact with Toby through our Clarke days.

At Washington, though, during my short tenure there, he was one of my favorite people. We had gym together and since we both pretty much sucked at everything, we hung out a lot. He had a killer sense of humor at that time and I could always get a larf outta' him. If I recall, we were both BIG Benny Hill fans at the time (thanks TR Cablevision!) and he had some Benny Hill cassettes which I borrowed (I may still have one....send me your address Toby and I'll get it right back to you!) and I tried to turn him on to the stylings of Monty Python.

Either way, thank God for Toby Schwartz. I don't think I would have made it through Freshman gym without him.

At Wed Mar 29, 11:29:00 AM PST, Blogger squarenuts said...

Hey Meff,
Good to hear from you. Yes, Benny Hill was among and still is my favorit British comedian. I was going through some old school papers and found his obituary that my grandma cut out of the paper. The ailing bird thing wasn't correct as I remember. I believe it was 3rd grade in Ms. Casperson's room and I was going to take it home to nurse back to health. I remember Craig Rysticken wanting to kill it and I tried desperately to keep him from doing so. I don't recall what ever happened with the bird. Drop me a line at my email trivers1970@yahoo.com and i'll give you my home address. Would be great to catch up on old times.

At Wed Mar 29, 09:00:00 PM PST, Blogger HappyMama said...

That bird thing bugged me. Thank you, Toby, for setting the record straight.

Nikki (Burt's wife)

At Thu Mar 30, 10:08:00 AM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

Rysticken! Of course!
I should have known!
Some things never change!

Hope all is going well for you, my friend.

At Mon Apr 03, 12:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Toby was one of those people in school that I never really got to know. I remember him well, I have no actual events to re-tell but I recall him being a fairly happy guy. He hung around with a crowd that I didn't, not that it was better or worse, just different. He seemed grounded, which was unique, sort of, for an adolescent.

It seems he is doing well, good to hear...Incidentally, I am curious about the "square nuts" moniker...

At Mon Apr 03, 07:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger squarenuts said...

Hey Brad,
Nice to hear from you. I hung around with people that seemed interested in me as a person and not something fake like most the jocks and whatnot of our class. I'm not saying that you were snobbish, but you had your crowd of friends and I had mine. All and all, I thought you were a very nice guy when the "others" weren't around.

At Mon Jul 03, 09:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger apeman said...

I remember goofing around quite a bit with Toby in 7th grade. I can still laugh today when I think back to when he used to put his foot behind his head. Not an easy feat for a young teenage boy. Right in the middle of class. I wonder if he can still do that. ?????

At Wed Nov 22, 01:35:00 PM PST, Blogger nwalk said...

I worked with him in a factory around 1995, while he was establishing his antique empire. There was a small cadre of star wars geeks, of which he an I were counted as members. I bought a dagobah from him, and also a cantina band. What a great guy though. I worked with a lot of burned out factory people, and many more since, but he was always positive. He had his plan, and he followed though. I hope he is still doing well, I haven't heard from him in over a decade.

At Sat Dec 08, 07:06:00 PM PST, Blogger squarenuts said...

If I try real hard, I can still put both my legs behind my head. I won't tell you what other stuff I used to be able to do.....
(think about it)


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