Wednesday, May 24, 2006


It took 4.5 months. But I have now blogged about 259 former classmates. As far as I know, I got them all. It's been quite an experience. When I started this quest, it was merely meant to be a diary of my life - or at least my school life, with my former classmates. As I've stated before, I never expected any of the people I wrote about to actually discover the blog, let alone contribute with comments of their own. I never wanted the attention. But I'll admit that I've enjoyed the little bit of fame I've gotten from this.

I've come to realize that in some cases, my comments have hurt some feelings. I truly am sorry for that. It certainly was never my intention to cause anyone to feel bad. I would hope that everyone takes this blog in stride, and wouldn't hold it against me. After all, these events happened back in the 1980's. That's a long time ago. And what happened back when we were kids really means nothing in the context our lives today.

I want to give thanks to the 35-40 people who stopped by to leave comments of their own. Your contributions are just as good as mine.

As I stated on day one, I never thought of myself as a member of the class of 1989. But I feel a little different today. At the very least I think I've made a personal connection of some sort to many of my former classmates. That's been really cool.

I need to give out some special kudos to a few people as well. In alphabetical order:

ERIN HYNEK - Erin has E-mailed me every week or so since she first started commenting on the blog. Whether it be ask me a question, brag about the St. Louis Cardinals, or to simply ask how I'm doing, she's made a point to stay in touch. And that's been very nice. Erin deserves all of the accolades that have been bestowed upon her by her fellow classmates.

JENNY MALLEY - A girl I had a crush on for my entire childhood. We haven't just gotten in touch with each other. We E-mail nearly everyday. Today she is no longer the pretty girl that I admired from afar. She's now someone I consider to be a good friend. Personally speaking, getting to actually know Jenny and befriend her has been the coolest thing to come from this blog. Quite simply, the girl friggen rocks!

GREG PAGEL - A guy I considered a fringe person for me. I always thought that back in the day, we could have been friends - if only I'd have been a little more "normal." Today I know we could have been. I'm just a tad more normal today. And he and I are now getting along swimingly.

CINDY ROHRER - The girl has perhaps millions of photographs in her possession. The candid shots from her days in school are priceless. Thanks to both her and her father for some of the great photo contributions to this blog.

BRAD STROUF - A guy who's been here since close to the beginning. Some have come and some have gone. But Brad is a staple. And his contributions have been great. He also deserves special thanks for getting my butt in gear again when I started to slack off.

In case anyone's interested, I've actually met three of the classmates during this process. Those three are Kevin Dehne, Tom Grassman and Toby Schwartz. Toby I just happened to run into. Kevin and Tom both knew I was coming. Without this blog, those two mini-reunions never would have happened. I also look forward to future mini-reunions which I know are going to occur. Whether it be one-on-one, or when Kevin and I do the town, they will happen. And I'll be posting all the pictures.

I've also talked to a few people on the phone as well. Those people are: Jen Andersen, Joe Antonie, Kevin Dehne, Jeremy Karman, Jenny Malley, Cindy Rohrer and Brad Strouf.

I've also gotten E-mails from the following people: Jen Andersen, Jason Anderson, Joe Antonie, Treesa Carron, Mark Ciha, Carrie Collard, Kevin Dehne, Laura Fowler Jeff and Brenda Gordon, Mark Gordon, Chad Hoerth, Erin Hynek, Scott Jaklin, Lisa Koch, Kelli Kupsch, Jenny Malley, Greg Pagel, Shane Peterson, Cindy Rohrer, Toby Schwartz, Brad Strouf, and Tammy Swoboda.

Lastly, in trying to confirm information about people, I've often called their homes or offices. If someone answered, I would simply pretend that I'd dialed a wrong number. But the voices or voicemails of classmates I've heard are: Larry Daffner, David Duvall, Randy Ertman, Stephanie Gardner, Jamie Grainger, Dana Grasee, Terry Hug, Brian Klein, Shannon Koch, Kelly Kotarek, Sara Kvitek, Dean Lichterman, Jim Messman, Nick Novachek, Angie Owens, Robert Pilzak, Shawn Rappley, Andy Reinhart, Dawn Schmidt, Josie Scott, Chris Staudinger, and Tina Short.

And thank you to all of the rest of you who are reading, but have chosen not to say anything. I know who many of you are!

This quest is not over. Now it's time to start writing about the teachers. But first things first. We're going on a vacation next week. But upon my return, the writings start again.

So now that the classmate blog is done, tell me... how did I do?


At Wed May 24, 09:07:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

I'm way too behind in my work to be writing this, but... hey, you all know me.

As all the memories get stirred up by this weird bit of cyberiality, the word which keeps coming to mind is "decency." High School was not what I'd call a pleasant time for me, nor for many of us, presumably. But I can say that a large part of the reason I survived those dreadful years was that, although I didn't appreciate it at the time, I was surrounded largely by very decent people.

One memory that popped up early on when Burt started this blog was when I played something for district solo/ensemble festival freshman year, when our school was hosting. I remember that it came my time to perform, a lot of classmates showed up to listen. Among them, Jay Rozy and Jason Anderson. Jason? I mean, we got along, but we weren't real close. But he showed up to be supportive, because, you know, music was a big deal for me, and it was just a decent thing to do. I thought little of it at the time, but looking back, I now appreciate it.

I remember one time I got into this huge fight with my dad -- one of those you never fully get over. I didn't talk to anyone for about two days, and finally Brad got through to me and I told him about it. I don't remember exactly what Brad said to me, but I remember that it helped.

I didn't belong to any particular "clicque" in school, but I had a few very close and valuable friends. Erin was certainly one of them. She always listened and was polite enough to laugh at all my jokes. I can't describe the pleasure of getting in touch with her again.

I loved Jenny Malley as much as the next guy, but I never knew her that well. That is, even though I talked to her probably most days for twelve years, I never realized what an interesting person she is. Shame on me for not paying more attention! I've been in touch with her quite a bit in the past few months, and it's a joy finding someone besides my wife who actually seems to understand half of what I'm talking about!

Burt, I know I was a "fringe" person, but that's probably a good thing. If I'd spent more time around you, I probably would have gotten killed. Probably by fire, or possibly radiation. Through the miracle of the Internet, it's been delightful getting to know you from a safe distance. Here's to getting reacquainted with my new old buddy.

I always tell people that my youth was hell and I hated it. What I've recently come to appreciate is how much worse it could have been. Truth be told, there were a disproportionate number of people in our class were absolutely golden. I'm honestly not sure if I'd be here otherwise. It's a blessing to have come to see this in my mid-30s. Thanks, Burt.

Oh, and Meff's still a big turd.

At Wed May 24, 10:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I won't try to compete with the sheer eloquence that Greg used to describe his take on this "project." But, alas I will comment.

This blog took me back to a simpler, easier time. My memories of high school were relatively good. I enjoyed those four years more than any other years in school.

Ridgley Schott said something at our graduation that I still think about from time to time...He commented about how the class of '89 excelled. Not only academically but athletically. He congratulated us for the way we stuck together. I'm sure this is a typical statement made at any graduation ceremony, yet he said it in a way that made me believe he truly felt it. He summed up by commenting, almost challenging us, "you ain't seen nothing yet." Was he right? I don't know, but this type of thing might have been what he was talking about.

This has brought people together and allowed them to communicate with each other. It allowed us to see how we grew, how we succeeded, and how we have failed.

Burt did us a service. He made us look at our lives as kids and he allowed us to examine our lives as adults. He provided a catalyst for communication and discussion.

Burt claims to have not created this for anyone other than himself. Is that true...? Maybe. It sure didn't turn out that way.

Burt, I have congratulated you privately on sticking with this project and I meant it. This was a huge undertaking and I can't imagine the hours you must have put in. Thank you also to your family for allowing you the time and support to complete this monumental task.

I was, and still am proud of this group of people.

Oh, and meff is kind of a turd.

At Thu May 25, 05:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger apeman said...

Yeah what they said.

At Thu May 25, 09:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Well said Burt, Greg and Brad. This blog played right into my tendency to be sentimental and nostalgic. Thankfully my memories are positive of most of the whole high school experience. As I help my children wrestle with making choices in their lives, with my own childhood and young adulthood as my frame of reference, I am even more aware of how simple and uncomplicated my life was. I appreciated it then but certainly I appreciate it even more now. Personally I found it interesting to hear about all sorts of things that apparently happened right under my nose and I either completely missed it or chose to block it out.
Just because I remember TR as being simple and uncomplicated certainly doesn’t mean it wasn’t at times stifling and conformist. Maybe that’s the trade off. I also couldn’t wait to get out. But I still consider it home and I have many beautiful reasons to return every chance I get.
Greg perhaps said it most succinctly….we were and are mostly a decent bunch of people. Not perfect….but decent. Or certainly heading in that direction. In spite of our parents, who do the best they can, and in spite of teachers who I feel largely failed a significant percentage of our class. I still CANNOT wrap my brain around the fact that so many people in our class were subjected to the kind of verbal and physical abuse, at the hands of teachers, that would be considered criminal today. Anger and violence in the name of discipline breeds anger and resentment. Kudos to those who chose to rise above it. And even more kudos to the underpaid, overworked teachers who got it right, make a difference, and continue to get it right. I had several and I still feel their influence today. Sounds like we’ll have a chance to sound off about that too! 
Thank you Burt for sharing your memories and for the time and commitment you’ve given to complete the project. Thank you for providing the opportunity to feel connected to more of my past than I ever imagined. You are part of my past by default and you are part of my present by choice. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know the husband, father and friend you are today.

Greg, I never considered anyone a charity case, least of all someone I admired for his talents, appreciated for his sense of humor and generally enjoyed being around. So knock it off already  People listen to your music because you have an amazing gift that most people aren’t blessed with.

Jenny what an interesting life you have lead! You go girl. I had the pleasure of knowing that you always marched to your own drummer and I loved that about you. I talk to my daughter a lot about how being pretty on the outside means nothing if you’re not “pretty” on the inside. Jenny was and is both.

Can’t wait for the gloves to come off with the teachers! I wonder if any will stumble across it!

At Thu May 25, 11:47:00 AM PDT, Blogger jenny said...

dearest burton! thank you! because of you i have greg to talk dharma with and share our passion of ecclectic music!
i now have a cindysue to love and adore once again!
i have a meff to critique film with.
a tommy to rock out to:
a phantom to get reaquainted with, and a long lost best friend to chat with every day!

At Thu May 25, 07:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

First, Burt - you done good.

I won’t even try to be as eloquent as Greg, Erin and Brad.

Bottom line, my memories of jr. high and high school for the most part suck. It was an incredibly awkward and challenging time in my life. There were some real assholes within and outside of our graduating class that didn’t make it any easier. I felt a ton of animosity towards those people for years but, like everyone else, I grew up, moved on with life and pretty much forgot about it.

As Burt stated, people change as they grow up. I’ve seen that in the posts that many have left here. We all spent 7-12 years of our lives together so it has been fun to see the changes and to hear everyone’s stories.

So, thanks Burt! This has been a trip so far. I never would have imagined that I would have had contact with you or any one from our class again. Who would have thought that the guy who tore down all those ceiling tiles, the guy who was a pain in Mr. Wood’s ass, or the guy who used feces as a retaliatory weapon, would have been the driving force that got us back in touch?

I too cannot wait to chime in on some of the teacher’s blogs.

At Thu May 25, 09:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

The teachers will read it. Oh, yes. They will read it.

I'll be in my bunker if you need me....

At Fri May 26, 06:55:00 AM PDT, Blogger mimikatemom said...

LOL greg :)

At Fri May 26, 12:19:00 PM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

It struck me looking at some of the recent pics of former classmates...that even though we all are and were very different from each other...we have one strong commonality...where we grew up and our high school experiences...for the most part.

I've enjoyed catching up on what everyone is doing and has been up to and it seems that everyone else has too.

I'll make sure I have a couple of beers in my fridge at all times, just in case my house gets "hit" when Kevin and Burt hit the town.

Thank you Burt and everyone else...this has been a lot of fun.

At Fri May 26, 12:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Grape, orange or watermelon smirnof for me. Barq's root beer for Kevin. You'll be on the list Paula.

At Fri May 26, 06:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

That will be easy...orange smirnoff is my fav and my son, Cade loves rootbeer, so odds are we'll have that too. Mike's hard lime is good too, if you haven't tried that.

At Wed May 31, 06:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger apeman said...

The "Phantom Visitor" Hmmm.

At Sun Jun 04, 04:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

All right.

You went to Hilton Head. You hung out on beaches. And now you're back. And we, your ever-demanding audience, have only ONE thing to say to you...




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