Friday, July 14, 2006


Mr. Martel was the 8th grade male gym teacher at Clarke. He replaced Mr. Wolff. I don't recall his first name. Was it Dale?

Martel was a bit of a jerk. I never much cared for him. I think the feeling was mutual. But he did something really shitty once. The story is this. One day our class went to Washington for swimming. Martel was gone that day. We had a substitute. It may have been Mrs. Sigourney. Anyway, in the locker room, after we'd changed, we tried to get into the pool area. But the door was locked. Being a substitute, she didn't know that she had to unlock the door. So anyway, Greg Flemal and I started pounding on the door - quite loudly. Then we started screaming, "Let us out! Let us out!" After a minute or two, Mrs. Anderson (the girls' gym teacher) opened up the door, and said, "That's enough!" She then told us all to go back inside, and get dressed. Our punishment for being so loud was not having to swim that day. Punishment? Anyway, we all got dressed, sat on the bleachers, and watched the girls swim. It was the quietest swim class we'd ever had. And everyone was quite happy with me.

At our next gym class, Martel was back. As the bus started to roll to Washington, he got up and addressed the situation that had taken place during the previous class. He said something like, "I don't know exactly what happened. But I've put a checkmark in the gradebook next to everyone's name. I don't know who did what. But whoever it was, the rest of you can take it out on them on your own time." In other words, Martel endorsed physical violence upon Greg and I. Is that something a teacher should do? Of course Greg was quiet and meek. No one remembered his involvement. But they remembered me. I received a few punches that day. In addition, David Kanera kicked me. And Ross Hofmann gave me a "noogie." Plus Ross cussed me out in the locker room. I couldn't believe a teacher would do something like that. What an asshole!

About the only other memory I have of him is from later that year. It was after lunch. And Kevin Dehne and I were sitting on the bleachers. Sometimes we had a habit of sticking up our middle finger, but leaning our heads on our hands. In essence, we could flip off the teachers without them even realizing it. Martel was a lunch monitor that day. And I was flipping him off the whole time. But he figured it out. He screamed at me to come down from the bleachers. So I did. He then pulled me in the hall, grabbed my middle finger, and started to bend it back as far as it would go, without breaking it. He more-or-less told me never to do that again. I think he gave me a slight sprain. Oh well. It was worth it to be able to flip that fucker off.

To my knowledge, I've never seen him since I left Clarke. I have no idea where he is today. And I don't really care.


At Wed Jul 19, 06:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger MarkC said...

For some reason the first name of John is popping into my head. Or did Mr. Martel have a son John??

At Thu Jul 20, 06:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Dale was his wife's name, she was a high school something teacher.b

At Sun Jul 06, 10:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger M. Steven Smith said...

Mr. Martell's name is John. He had a son named John too - WHS - class of 75. I believe MR Martell is living down in MO or ARK or somewhere like that. He was selling Insurance for a while. Probably retired by now. His son John is a Surgeon.


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