Friday, July 28, 2006


Mr. Parkinson (Bruce) was a teacher at Washington. He taught a variety of English courses.

I got thrown into one of his classes during my junior year. I was one of only two juniors in the class. The rest of the students were sophomores. Randy Klein was the other. We were both in there as a result of failing a class the year before. Thank you Ms. Wisnicky!

We were seated alphabetically, two to a table. I ended up being at the last table in the back of the room, right next to the door. As luck would have it, the seat next to me was empty.

I don't think a lot of the students cared for Parkinson too much. But I liked him. I had no problem with him. He was much easier than Wisnicky. I think I ended up getting a "B" in his class.

Not that Parkinson was strict by any means. But kids tended to behave in his class for the most part. At least they did in my class. So there was very little drama. But I do have a couple of memories.

I can't recall what the deal was. But one day Parkinson went into a disappointed tirade about a Saturday Night Live sketch that apparently poked fun at some sort of disability. He was very upset about it, and encouraged us not to watch the show. As I'm sure anyone who had him knows, Parkinson was blind in one eye. Although I don't think the sketch was about that. But I got the impression that someone close to him was inflicted with whatever disability was being made fun of.

Parkinson's wife was a substitute teacher within the school system.

At the table to my left sat two class of 1990 honor students - Amy Miller and Diana Rank (sister of Ann). And believe it or not, they used to cheat on tests and quizzes from time to time. Being in the back of the room, and taking advantage of Parkinson's one blind eye, it was easy to get away with. Or was it Wendy Remiker (sister of Ross) instead of Diana? That could be. I can't recall for sure. If both were in that class, then it was Wendy, with Diana sitting at the table in front of them. But Amy Miller was definitely the other one.

It was in this class that I asked Randy Klein if he could score some acid for Richard and I. It was during that same conversation that Randy told me that he smoked pot at lunch everyday.

My biggest memory from that class was an incident involving the Satanic Bible. As I've explained before, it's merely a book. Despite what some believed (and I never discouraged it) I was never a Satanist - never was, never will be. But the book is fascinating nonetheless. Anyway, it was the day of a test. And we had the whole hour to do it. When I was done, I turned in my test, then sat and read the book. As others were still taking the test, it was obviously very quiet in there. But this weird feeling came over me at some point (a Satanic feeling? Ha!). I felt like I was being watched. So I lifted my head up from my book. Remember, I was in the back corner of the room. So I had a clear view of everyone. I shit you not. I literally had 30 shocked heads turned, staring at me and that book. I had no emotion. But I just glared back. And within a few seconds, every single head turned back in unison. Wow! I felt like I had some sort of power. I smirked to myself, and was laughing my ass off inside. From that moment on, I think a lot of kids were scared of me - not scared in a physical sense. But it was more like a "stay away from that freak" kind of fear. And I loved every minute of it!

Near the very end of the year, Parkinson and I had a conversation. He used to come and hang out by the door a few minutes before the bell rang. Somehow we started talking about George Harrison and his plagiarism lawsuit from the early 1970's. Harrison's song "My Sweet Lord" was accused of sounding like the Chiffons's "He's So Fine." And they do sound stunningly similar. Harrison was sued, and lost. I told Parkinson that I had a copy of the two songs back-to-back on a tape, along with some commentary about the case. He asked if he could use that for a class. So I made a copy of it for him. I'm sure it earned me some brownie points.

I never had Parkinson as a teacher again. I can't find any evidence that he's still teaching today. So I assume he's retired. I believe he still lives in Two Rivers. For awhile, he was the president of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind. He may still be. I don't know. Parkinson had a son. His name escapes me at the moment. Something tells me he was a few years younger than me. I think I can picture him in one of my yearbooks. But I don't think he graduated from Washington. I used to see him at the video store a lot. He was a nice guy - very smart too. I don't think I've seen his dad since high school though.


At Fri Jul 28, 10:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ann (Rank) Polich said...

Sorry, Diana is not my sister--, not even related.

At Sat Jul 29, 01:23:00 AM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I think his son's name was Chris. I know he was younger than us, three years maybe?

At Sat Jul 29, 09:02:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Yep, it was Chris - class of 1992. But I don't think he graduated from WHS.

Wow, I always thought Diana was Ann's sister. They even have similar facial features. That's a shocker to me.


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