Thursday, June 15, 2006


Mrs. Pohlman (Virginia) was one of two Spanish teachers at Washington High School. I think her husband was a fireman. She was also Richard Wheeler's aunt. Richard had a few very interesting (although not surprising) tidbits about her. But alas, I'm not going to repeat them here.

My first contact with her came in freshman year. I was actually in French class. But I was with Meff one day after school. He had to go into her classroom to get something from her. Apparently there was a test or quiz coming up the next day. Because she kept getting into his face saying, "Estudio mucho, estudio mucho!" She was really too much. And I was turned off by it. As a sophomore, I took Spanish as well. I was really hoping that I would get Mrs. Kulas. But no, I got Mrs. Pohlman. Thank God!

To my surprise, Mrs. Pohlman ended up being one of the coolest teachers I've ever had. She was a space cadet, no doubt. But she was friendly and a lot of fun. She seemed more like an older peer, as opposed to an authority figure. Since there was no Spanish name that coincided with mine, I got to choose any name I wanted. So I went with "Chico." I loved it!

For some reason, my class had a bunch of boneheads in it - people who had no right being in a foreign language class. There were several members of the "black T-shirt crowd" so to speak. So to be honest, the class was a bit "dumbed down" to accomodate everyone. That worked out great for me!

Class of 1990's Stuart Cook was also in Spanish with me. If I'm not mistaken, he may have had some Hispanic blood in him. Stuart was a good guy. But he just couldn't grasp basic concepts of the language. On day one, we learned one thing for certain - how to say "My name is..." in Spanish. Stuart's name was Rudolpho. So of course he would say "Me llamo Rudolpho." Anyone who has ever taken Spanish knows that when you have two "L's" together, it makes a "Y" sound. Stuart could never commit that to memory. He always said "LA-MO." Even in January, as the second semester began, he would say, "Me la-mo Rudolpho." Pohlman would be exasperated and yell, "Llamo Staurt, llamo!" Before January ended, Stuart was gone.

I had Mrs. Pohlman as a junior for Spanish II. By this time all of the boneheads were gone. And real teaching started to take place. I was never much for learning. So my grades suffered that year. One main memory stands out. As the foreign language fair approached, I did nothing. I had no idea what my "project" was going to be. I was clueless as to what to do. A day or two before the event, Pohlman took class of 1990's Chad Lichterman and myself into the hall. And she berated us for not doing anything. So that night, I put together the biggest slop job of a project you can imagine. I took a piece of construction paper, and made some sort of board game. I made cards too. It was something to do with an English word. Then the player had to guess the Spanish word that went with it. If you got it right, you moved up one space. I have no talent for drawing. So the board consisted of maybe 10-12 spaces - which were poorly drawn rectangles. Honestly, it was the shittiest looking thing I've ever seen. I brought it to school on Friday. Richard (who never had a problem with doing something half-assed either) saw it and laughed his ass of. He kept saying, "You can't turn that in!" But hey, I had to. It was an assignment. It was awful and embarrassing. But at least I got something done. I think I got a D on it. Trust me, that was beyond generous. Actually, now that I think about it, Mrs. Pohlman gave me a ride home from the foreign language fair that year. I put my bike in the trunk of her car. I remember laughing and saying "It (the trunk) won't close." She rolled her eyes and gave me a "duuuh" look. I think she also brought Richard and Larry Daffner home as well.

Mrs. Pohlman came into the video store all the time. She was always nice and friendly. Today it looks like she recently moved to the Madison area. I believe she works for the Waterford school system. She actually may be the president of the board of education.


At Thu Jun 15, 09:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Boy, I'm pretty sure I know the "tidbits" you speak of having known Richard for such a long time and yes, good choice, it's best to not repeat them here.

Now, that said, I don't think she actually cared for me too much. It may go back to the notion that I was such a rotten influence on young Richard.

Although, it's funny, all I did was plant the seeds. Richard eventually became an even WORSE influence on ME. What comes around...

At Fri Jun 23, 11:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I had Mrs. Pohlman and I really liked her as a teacher. I didn't really exceed in Spanish class but, had I known then about what I know now, I would have tried a lot harder. This was one of those classes that would have been worth paying more attention to.

Ciao...I mean, adios...or whatever.


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