WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL TWO RIVERS WI CLASS OF 1989

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

RANDY ERTMAN

Randy is a guy I met in 6th grade. He had come from Koenig School. We had Mrs. Casey together.

Randy and I got along really well that year. He was a fun guy. He was also huge. He wasn't fat. He was just a big, tall athletic kid. I remember being outside in gym class, and Randy would pick me up, flip me in the air (head over feet) and land me back on my feet. He did this to a couple of people. But he could really launch me. It was quite a feat of strength.

I remember one day where he and I were partners in some sort of science experiment. Randy was especially jovial that day. It was like he was tipsy or something. When science came to an end, Mrs. Casey announced that it was time to start cleaning up. Then Randy yelled, "Ok Joe, pick 'em up" in his best construction worker voice. Mrs. Casey looked at us and demanded, "Who said that, Burt or Randy?" Randy fessed up. Mrs. Casey just turned away, loking annoyed. Now that pissed me off! She and I had battled each other all year. And I know damn well that if I had been the one to say that, she would have punished me in some way. Teachers do play favorites.

Randy and I sat next to each other in Mr. Kjelstrup's art class as well. One day we were fooling around during the begininng of class, when Kjelstrup was talking. He got really mad at us, and forced each of us to write 200 times: "I will pay attention during morning announcements." That's a lot of words. It was the end of the year, right before we went to Camp Tapawingo. Neither of us could go until we actually finished it. I took mine home, and finished it the night before.

Also near the end of the year, we had an art class outside. This time it was with the other art teacher, Mr. Swokowski. We were all laying on the ground near the bike racks. Randy blurted out the "F" word at some point. Swokowski overheard him, and violently grabbed him on the ground. Randy didn't struggle or anything. It was probably the last time he ever backed down from a teacher.

One day as I was on my way to the garbage can after lunch, to dump my tray, Randy spied that I had some chili left in my bowl, and promptly grabbed my spoon and helped himself, as I was walking along. It was rather humorous.

When we were at Camp Tapawingo, Mrs. Casey took us on some sort of nature hike. Randy and Chad Bennin must have run ahead. Then as we passed this beat up old building, Chad started saying, "Where's Randy? Where's Randy?" Randy then popped out on top of the bulding, screaming "Arghhhhh!" Mrs Casey was surprisingly amused. If it were me, she would have had me arrested.

In 7th grade, I was on my way to Mrs. Westburg's class for a detention. Randy was maybe 10 feet behind me. I passed Wade Wachholz going the other direction. Suddenly I heard Randy's extremely loud, "FUCKER!" Wade had kicked him in the leg, and was laughing at him. Randy was in obvious pain. Mr. Stodola was not amused. He yelled at Randy to "come here." Painfully, Randy said, "No." I don't know what happened next. I just continued on to Westburg's room.

At some point during my senior year, Scott Jaklin and I went to Clarke, and wandered around a bit. We ended up talking to Mr. Schambureck. Schambureck told us that Randy, Ross Hofmann and perhaps someone else used to smoke pot after school, prior to coming back into the gym to practice basketball. He said that Randy and Ross were literally bouncing off the walls, and were sometimes so high that they could barely function.

At some point in the spring of 8th grade, Kevin Dehne and myself conceived a plan to do the ultimate book burn. We dubbed it "the super burn." For those who never attended Clarke at that time, a book burn was simply tossing someone's books or papers all over the floor. Anyway, Kevin had one or two empty lockers near his. And we constantly filled them with whatever scrap paper we could find. Once they were full, one of us would take them out, and slam them to the floor, right before the halls became filled with students on the way to their next class. The problem is that way too many people knew about it. So Mr. Kern found out as well, and stood in the hall on the day of the planned event, moments before it was to go down. That didn't do anything but delay the inevitable. A day or two later, Randy took it upon himself, and made one colossal mess. It was great! Everyone was sliding around on the papers. I pity the janitors who had to clean up that one.

In lunch one day, I went up to the hot lunch table, and helped myself to some more potatoes. There wasn't a whole lot left. Randy was nearby, and said, "Don't eat anymore of those. They're mine." I told him to fuck off, and took what I wanted. After lunch, as I was by my locker, Randy stomped around the corner, and backed me into Mrs. Anderson's health room, where he promptly punched me in the arm, and said that he was sick of my shit. Honestly speaking, that may have been the hardest punch I ever took in my life. But I took it and said nothing. Randy was not a guy I was going to tangle with. As he turned and left, Mark Ciha shouted to Randy, "He's laughing at you." That was NOT true! But Randy marched on, fully satisfied.

On the last day of school, in 8th grade, Randy got into an incident with Mr. Monka, the history teacher. Mr. Monka had a rule. If he caught anyone with a squirt gun, he took it away, then stomped it into little pieces. I wasn't in the class. But I heard about it. It was at the beginning of 3rd hour. Apparently Monka had seen Randy use his squirt gun, and demanded that he turn it over to him. Randy said that he didn't have one. When Monka asked again, Randy allegedly said, "Fuck you! I don't have one!." I think Monka tried to physically find it on Randy. And that's when Randy allegedly punched Monka in the face. I heard that it took multiple teachers to get things under control. But when they finally did, they simply told Randy to leave the school. Those of us in Mr. Ashenbrenner's classroom actually saw Randy calmly walking home. I had Mr. Monka for 4th hour. He looked different. Specifically, his glasses were nowhere to be seen. I suspect they were smashed.

In freshman year, I had Randy in Miss Sapa's literature class. She and I got into an argument one day. And at one point she asked me to move to another desk. I refused. She put the whole class on hold until I relented. Then Randy kicked my desk and told me to move. It's a sad state of affairs when a fellow classmate has more influence than a teacher. But I moved.

I also had Randy in Mr. Heuer's algebra class. I remember Randy falling asleep in class one day. When people noticed, everyone started to laugh. Heuer simply said, "Let him sleep."

In our sophomore year, I had Randy in pre-algebra II. He'd obviously failed at least one semester of algebra the previous year, just as I had. Perhaps he slept in class too much. Anyway, our teacher was Randy's own father. One day we took a test. Mr. Ertman announced prior to class that there would be absolutely no help given. No one was allowed to come up to him and ask him any questions at all. Randy must not have been paying attention. Because about 20 minutes later, he got up to ask a question. Mr. Ertman looked at him and said, "Are you stupid? What's the matter with you? Are you stupid? What are you doing?" Randy suddenly realized what was wrong, and started to laugh. He looked really embarrassed too, as he went back to his seat.

At some point in our junior or senior year, Randy started going out with fellow graduate Tina Short. After they broke up (in senior year) Tina started seeing my friend Jason Krings. Jason said that Randy threatened him all the time. But Jason stood firm. I don't think any physical confrontations ever took place.

I remember telling Richard that I thought Randy would kill somebody someday. I figured it would be some sort of rage, as opposed to anything planned. I just pictured him getting really angry, beating the crap out of someone, and not realizing his own brute strength.

The character of "Meat" in the Porky's movies always reminded me of Randy.

At some point during our senior year, Randy came into the guidance office to use the phone to call his boss. I was sitting in there at the time. It must have been the first Wednesday of the month or something. Because all of a sudden, the tornado siren went off, for it's monthly test. It was right outside the window of the guidance office. And the window was open too. Randy literally screamed, "I'LL CALL YOU BACK!"

As a senior, Randy was 18, and actually moved out of his parents' house. That afforded him the luxury of "calling in sick" to school. I recall Randy missing a lot of school that year. But he did graduate.

I ran into Randy from time to time at the video store. He was always friendly enough. But he seemed to always come in with some very shady-looking characters. To the best of my knowledge, Randy has never married. He has however been arrested several times for drunk driving. In fact, when I looked him up a few months ago, I'm pretty sure I saw nine arrests! However, when I looked him up today, I "only" found eight. So he's either tied with Tony Trzeciak for the class record, or he's one ahead of him. Either way, that number is ridiculous. Randy has spent time in prison, as well as paid more than $10,000 in fines based on all of these drunk driving convictions. He may have just recently been released. It's hard to tell. I hope he has no more problems with this. And I wish him well.

UPDATE - 11/30/06 - As per Sally's comment, Jenny Malley told me that she too ran into Randy recently. She also confirmed that he was looking great. In fact, she said he actually looked younger now than he did when he was 16.

UPDATE - 6/18/07 - Yesterday, Kevin Dehne and I stopped over to see Randy. We thought no one was home. But as we were just about to leave, a dog flew out of the garage, followed closely by Randy himself. We had literally gotten him out of the shower.

Much to my surprise, Randy was not the big tank of a guy I remember. In fact, we were about the same height. And at this point, I probably weight more than he does. Randy was really good-natured and talked with us for quite awhile. In fact, he said that last summer, he had hooked up with class of 1990's Sally Graczykowski (whom Kevin and I had visited on our previous trip to Two Rivers). Randy informed us that they were just finishing up moving her into his place. Small world!

As for drinking, Randy said that he "shut 'er down." He was sick and tired of the numerous fines - and of course being sent away for awhile. So good for him.

We took a few photos. You can see them below. The bottom photo is of a bear cut out of a tree stump. Randy described it as the first purchase he and Sally had made together. They got it in Door County. They had bought and paid for two of them, but apparently didn't have a vehicle to bring them home. So when Randy went up later on to pick them up, he found out that the guy had sold one of them - even though he'd already paid for it. Oh well. He got his money back for the one, and took the remaining one home.









15 Comments:

At Tue May 23, 12:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Alcohol and anger issues tend to go hand in hand. Never easy. I thought his dad was a nice guy...I'm pretty sure he coached swimming in middle school. I don't know why I can't remember for sure. He was certainly an installment at the swim club. I always thought Randy's sister Sue was cool...in a tough chick sorta way. Anyone else share a first kiss with a member of the class of 1989? I did....I got my first kiss from Randy in my parent's living room. I didn't see it coming but it was sweet nonetheless.
It's never too late to fix what's broken...I hope he finds a way around the troubles in his life.

 
At Tue May 23, 12:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

First kiss? Ah... 8th grade.. Wayne Rebarchek. Memories...

When did yours take place?

Actually, my first kiss was in 2nd grade I think - a girl named Jody Gates.

 
At Tue May 23, 12:55:00 PM PDT, Blogger mimikatemom said...

6th or 7th grade. I was a vision in glasses and braces.

 
At Tue May 23, 12:55:00 PM PDT, Blogger CindySue said...

I remember Randy having a party at his house or "trailer" at the time. Cops came and raided the place and I ran on foot from Hwy 10 to a friends house to have my sister Kristine pick me up. I was drinking, so I left my BIG blue cadi there. The cops ran the plates and called my father. I had to go down to the station and explain why I ran. I told them I wasn't drinking, I was just scared. They wanted names of anyone there and the names of the jocks to get them kicked of the team. I told them I didn't know anybody, I just stopped because I saw all the cars. Yeah right, like i'm a party crasher, not. I heard there were people hiding out in the trees for hours. Too funny....anybody remember this party????

 
At Tue May 23, 01:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Cindy, do you remember when that was? Around graduation time? Maybe not if they were looking to kick people off a team. I remember driving past and seeing TONS of cars lined up on the hwy and thinking it would surely get busted.

 
At Tue May 23, 02:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

As I think I mentioned elsewhere, my first kiss was Diane DeBauche, 6th grade.

Oy.

 
At Tue May 23, 03:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger CindySue said...

I was coming home from Paul's (old boyfriend) house in Cato. So I'm thinking it might have been junior year. I'm hoping someone else will remember and tell us.
I ran in a heavy long dress coat so it was chilly out. I forgot the group I ran with, but we ran along Hwy 10 hiding in the ditch every time a car drove by in fear it was a cop. We ended up running behind some of the houses to avoid the hwy., and every time we came across a fence the boys would pick me up and throw me over it. It was a crazy night!!

 
At Tue May 23, 04:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger jenny said...

i was at this party, too. i was in Randy's trailer with randy, jack, and glen soucoup when the cops knocked on the trailer door. i wasn't worried because i had nothing to drink that night. that night i may have observed one of the funniest events in my whole life. i'll see if i can explain it...
as the cop stood in the doorway of the trailer glen sat opposite on a couch giving the cop a fake i.d. and as the cop was writing, glen pushed him aside(almost pushing him down)and dove out the door headfirst and ran as fast as he could. i witnessed a handful of cops chasing him and never coming close to catching him. that night we picked up glen by the high school still dodging cop cars. we pulled him into my car and drove him home.
as i remember i think randy got out of this one because his parents were home at the time. and nobody else got ticketed. even jack got out of it and we were sitting right there. very funny and strange night

 
At Tue May 23, 05:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

Randy lived next to class of 1990's Dave Yauger. The Yaugers had a mink farm. Dave and I used to shoot ferrel cats on the weekends for something to do. There are a lot of ferrel cats hanging around mink farms as they feed them ground up fish.

One particular Saturday, we were "hunting" and Randy appeared from the bushes. It was like a Sashkwatch sighting. Randy just starred at us and calmly walked away. He didn't say a thing. I know Dave and I were scarred shitless. Dave said that stuff happened all the time but Randy never disturbed anything on the farm.

I remember anther one of Randy's many fights in Jr. High. He had cut in line for hot lunch and Mr. Ashenbrenner caught him. He told Randy to go to the end of the line. Randy said "no" and Ashenbrenner grabbed him by the arm. Punches were quickly thrown at that point. It took Ashenbrenner, Mr. Vogt, and one other larger teacher to haul him to the office. I remember Randy's face was red and he was still fighting and somewhat foaming at the mouth. Remindeds me now of some of the people I've seen carried out at Dead or Phish concerts over the years.

One last thing. I to this day can't believe that Randy's dad allowed one of the pictures of him to be printed on his page in the yearbook when it was dedicated to him. I don't have my yearbooks anymore but I remember Mr. Ertman was "posing" behind a buck that he shot. It looked like he was pretending to fuck it. Craig Rysticken told me that's what he was up to when the photo was taken. I remember the expression on his face was priceless.

Burt, look that one up and tell me if my long-term memory is still intact.

 
At Tue May 23, 06:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I know exactly what picture you're talking about. I never realized what he was doing. But after looking at the photo moments ago, I can confirm that that is exactly what he is doing. Their legs are intertwined and everything. I'm glad the yearbook police missed that one.

As for Glenn Soucoup, there's a name I haven't heard in awhile. He got into some serious trouble his first year of college. It made the news and everything. I never knew what the outcome was. Speaking of Glenn, that reminds me of another B.J. story.

 
At Tue May 23, 07:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger CindySue said...

Jenny, that is so funny you remember because that is the time I ran out of the trailer too. I recall someone pushing a cop and that was my chance to run, and I took it. Too funny!! Did Jack run too because I thought he might have been one of the guys I ran with. Maybe it was Glen. I wish I could remember things like Burt does....

 
At Tue May 23, 11:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Randy seemed to be a Jeckyl/Hyde type of guy.

One day he'd be totally cool and approachable and the next day he'd threaten to kick the living shit out of you.

When the latter was afoot, it was best to make tracks. The man was a tank.

With a personality like that, I found every excuse in the book to never be within 20 feet of the guy and I believe I was usually successful.

 
At Fri Aug 11, 06:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger shoot_the_moon said...

We used to party quite a bit at the ole' Ertman homestead. I remember one particular New Year's Eve when somebody from the class of 1992 drove her car through the glass patio door. I'm pretty sure that didn't stop the party - I think Randy cleaned up the glass and the party continued.

I ran into Randy recently. He looked great - healthy looking - probably the best that I've ever seen him in all the years I've known him.

 
At Mon Aug 13, 10:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger troy greenwood said...

hey guys! i think i was a that party also! along with many other! randy,ross h. tim k. and myself would plan parties in 7th hour! (weightroom)if i recall. for most of the parties, if i remember right were around the rec basketball time of year. (octoberish)

 
At Thu Apr 01, 02:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Tim Koeser said...

Randy was the only guy in our class who was as crazy as I was. We had a lot of crazy adventures just the two of us because nobody else was fit enough to tag along because we were just too crazy. I could write a book about all the stories. I really miss that guy. His breakup with Tina drove him a little too nuts but he got over it. Randy is one of the greatest men I have ever met. He was one of the few people in school who wasn't scared of me but he respected me and I respected him to. Randy was more like a brother to me then a friend. I tell stories about he and I to my firends and family over here in PNG and they all want to meet him. He would actually fit right in over here.

 

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