Thursday, April 13, 2006


Ross is a guy who I met in 4th grade. We both had Mrs. Schmidt.

Ross was a small, skinny guy. He also had some pretty big glasses. Now that I think about it, he looked sort of brainy or dorky. But somehow he didn't come across as a dork. He was however quite bright.

In 4th grade, Mrs. Schmidt used to keep big stacks of scrap paper on her back table. Ross (and others) used to take those pieces of paper and draw pictures of Barney. No, not the purple monstrosity that should be beaten to a pulp before it ever infects another child. No, this was the peanut-shaped cartoon from Barney's Clubhouse Pow. Ross, above everyone else, drew perhaps hundreds of pictures of Barney over time. It was some sort of fad to do that for awhile. Unfortunately, things got out of hand. And Mrs. Schmidt banned anyone from using her scrap paper to draw another Barney picture again.

Ross and I were back together again in 6th grade, with Mrs. Casey. I recall that Ross was a huge Brewers' fan. So we had that in common. In fact, I saw Ross at a Brewers' game once, in the summer of 1983. There was a rain delay. And he was wandering around. If memory serves, John Steltz was with him.

In 6th grade, Men At Work got really big. In their video for "Down Under," one of the guys takes his shoe off, holds it up, and sings, "I said to the man, are you trying to tempt me?" I remember Ross doing the same thing once, as a joke. Don't ask me why I remember that. But I do.

At some point that year, Ross blurted out an incredibly long nonsensical word. I asked him to write it down for me. But he wouldn't. He wanted to keep it a secret. However, later on in the year, Ross wanted to borrow my markers for something. I told him I would, if he wrote that word down for me. So he did. I may be speeling it wrong, but the word was: aaskinstopherdiddlyofermibbledeebabbledeeboo. I love it! I copied the word down and put it on everyone's desk. Before long, the word became a rallying cry of some sort. I can recall being in gym class, leading the class. I'd yell "aaskin." They yell, "stopher." And it would continue like that. And we all would shout, "boo" at the end. We also did this on the bus, coming back from the school picnic at the end of the year.

After 6th grade, Ross and I didn't have too much contact with each other. In high school, I think Ross played the trumpet. I think he was on the cross country team as well. He certainly had the build for it.

In freshman year, I had Ross in Mrs. Fischer's language class. I remember him giving a speech. In it, he mentioned that his little brother had once chased him through the house with a large butcher knife. I think Ross said that he barricaded himself behind a locked door to get away from him.

In our senior year, Ross broke his arm. I think it was some sort of diving board mishap.

Also in senior year, Ross asked me if he could borrow all of my Beatles' albums. He wanted to copy them onto tape. That was fine with me. So Ross stopped by my house one evening and took them. He brought them back a few days later.

Ross was planning to go to college for some sort of engineering. I believe he did just that. I think he went to UW Madison. Today he works for some high-tech company called Orbitec. He married a woman named Kristin. I believe they have at least one child. Today they live in the Madison area.

UPDATE - 11/11/06 - Care to see what Ross was drawing? Look down and view.


At Thu Apr 13, 09:21:00 AM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Ross was, or is, perhaps the smartest human being I know. Spending time with him made me realize how very "not smart" I really was. He came from a large, very close knit family. His parents had a very dry, almost sarcastic sense of humor that he perfectly emulated. I haven't seen Ross for a number of years, but I very much like his wife (even though she chews tobacco...remember Ross??)

At Thu Apr 13, 12:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Ross certainly was one of my favorite people growing up. He lived relatively close to my house. We met in 2nd grade and he was rapidly assimilated into the neo-legendary Space Team.

During this time, he had a hell of toy collection, very enviable...a decent stable of Star Wars stuff, those supercool Shogun Warriors (big honkin' plastic robots with big honkin' plastic swords and fists that would shoot big honkin' missiles), etc.

His family was indeed a cool bunch. His sister Wendy was equally as quick a wit as him, and I remember a bunch of younger ones running around as well...at least up to 2 more, perhaps 3???

Anyway, even though we didn't have many classes together after that, we did seem to cross paths a lot. Some brief Ross R. memory flashes:

* in fifth grade, Drew Konop and I decided to become filmmakers. Drew wrote the script to a Western (which was an utter ripoff of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but hey, how many fifth graders write screenplays so...). We did rehearsals in Ross's basement and we had every intention of filming it with a relative of Drew's video camera. Never quite made it to film but we did a LOT of rehearsal. Which, incidentally, always broke down into chaos. I think Scott Jacklin was involved as well.

* I remember Ross coming over and reading MY screenplay for The Cat Connection, which I intended to film as well. It would have starred Richard and myself and Ross and my cat. It involved a drug ring utilizing my cat as a courier. I don't mean to toot my own horn here but the script had him on the floor laughing. (either my gags really worked or it sucked so bad he could hardly contain himself)

* I remember Ross getting a "B+" on some spelling test or something in 2nd grade and totally falling apart in class. Absolute emotional breakdown. (And there I am in the corner with my "C+" going "hey, WTF?") He was THAT driven a student even then...

* Finally, he was a big time Top 40 fan, as was I. One day, in 5th grade, he demanded I come over to his house after school and hear "THE BEST SONG EVER!" I did so. He popped on his stereo. Hit play on the cassette player...and out poured what was, indeed, the BEST SONG EVER! We rocked out to it five or six times.

That song was "Juke Box Hero" by Foreigner.

Anyway, as time wore on, Ross and I pretty much went separate ways. I must say, though, nothing but extremely fond memories of hanging out with him.

And, quite frankly, one of the funniest individuals I've ever met.

At Thu Apr 13, 01:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Once you mentioned Orbitec, I decided to look 'em up.

How cool is this...Ross seems to be involved with the creation of prospective products for NASA. One project appears to be the potential for growth of vegetables in space for nutrition and recreation.

All that time in the Space Team paid off!

At Thu Apr 13, 07:04:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Yes, Meff...you actually know a "Rocket Scientist"...how cool is that.

At Sun Apr 30, 07:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger MarkC said...

Hmmm... Ross Remiker. Ross lived just down the street from me. I remember Ross being a Mets and a Dolphins fan if you can believe that.

I have very vivid memories of playing football, baseball, and badminton in Ross's yard... just across the street from the pool. We also used to jump our bike over ramps in his yard, very often unsuccessfully. I am actually surprised we later (much later) fathered childen.

In our late elementary years both Ross's father and mine made us these boards that had elastic straps in which we could fasten our boots. We used to go down the snowpiles at Magee on these board. I think we even successfully navigated WHS hill a time or two. I think Ross's dad may have even waxed (with CC Ski wax) the bottom of our boards. We were really into it. The shitty thing about those boards was that we had these homemade boards long before snowboards ever came about. Damn, Ross... why weren't you thinking back then? Here I thought you were supposed to be so smart??? I'd have gladly been your invention partner.

Another spectacular creation at Ross's house was his refrigerator box house. This was not a play house made of one box, but more like 15 boxes. They were all linked together. Some served as hallways, and some were our actual rooms. If I remember right, I think we punched some holes and tied them together, as if sewn. I had the privilege of having a room in that fort. We carried all of the boxes home from the appliance store on the corner of like 35th and Tannery. I can't remember the name of the store.

Ross and I used to ride bikes to LB Clarke together. Ross often had difficulties riding his bike while carrying his trumpet. He hit more than a few parked cars on Bellevue. Ross was quite resilient and bounced back crash after crash.

We also had lots of fun throughout our HS years in Ross's basement. I will not go into detail as to not incriminate my good friends and certain possible alcoholic habits. Ross could, and certainly still can, (last I witnessed) live it up with the best.

Although Ross and I were "slightly" different throughout our adolescent years we pretty much hung in there as friends. Ross seemed to have the perfect balance of smarts, wit, and craziness in him. I never really got into that Sci-Fi part of Ross's life... I guess I was around more for the sports and outdoor fun.

Ross and I were married only one week apart back in June of '96. I regretfully had to miss Ross' wedding due to our honeymoon trip. I do remember Ross having a grand time at our reception at Zorba's in Waukesha. From what I remember he was at the bar attempting to purchase a drink for a nice looking "middle age" lady. I do realize he was intoxicated, but in his friendly way made it be known that this was one fine looking woman. This just happened to be my mother-in-law. She appreciated the flattery, and my father-in-law thought he was pretty studly since this was his wife!! This was just one of the highlights of my wedding.

I actually have several more stories I could include, but I'll cut it off here.

I had kept in pretty close contact for several years following Ross's graduation from UW and have spent several holidays at their lake house in N WI. But, have not seen him recently as our family spends most holidays at a family lake house in the Tomahawk area. This takes lots of work and time. I'm planning a WI motorcycle trip this summer and will make Verona, Ross's current residence, my fist stop.

I am proud to be a friend of Ross's. He may not know this, but he was a very positive influence on me throughout my life. THANKS ROSS!

At Sun Apr 30, 07:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger MarkC said...

One more thing... Believe it or not, we're both STILL married. A real feat for class of 89'ers from what I've read.



Post a Comment

<< Home