Friday, July 14, 2006


Mr. Vogt was the principal at L.B. Clarke. If memory serves, he had short, curly, red hair. And the man was an asshole.

I never had much contact with the man during 6th grade. But I was in his office at least once, after I'd left school one day, when Mrs. Casey pissed me off. I'll write about that little incident when I get to her entry. Other than that, I don't recall dealing with him again until 7th grade. But I made up for lost time.

In 7th grade, my troublemaking days pretty much peaked. I saw Vogt on a weekly basis. The man hated me. I don't blame him. I was always getting into some sort of mischief. He was very mean about it though. He would yell and was just terribly brutal. He ruled by fear, to be sure.

I don't think I'm telling any tales here, when I say that the man was an alcoholic. I was too naive at the time to know much about it. But I'll say this. There were times when I'd be sitting in his office. And he would pour a bottle of booze into a cup, and drink it while he yelled at me. He kept the bottle in the lower right drawer of his desk. Again, I didn't think it was a big deal. But obviously, that sort of behavior is unacceptable. My parents often had to meet with Vogt for various conferences regarding my discipline problems. And my mom has since said to me that she could tell right away that he was an alcoholic, due to the reddening around his nose and eyes. I eventually told my mom about his drinking in front of me. (I was in high school by this time). Her jaw dropped. I asked her if I'd told her about that back when it happened, would she have done something. She said, "You better believe it!" Wow. Had I not been so naive, I could have gotten him fired. What a notch on my belt that would have been!

In my senior year, Doug Wall and I were reminiscing about our days at Clarke. And he said to me, "Man, Vogt would come back from lunch. And his breath smelled like a fuckin' brewery." Doug was right. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I was often kicked out of chorus class - as were Doug and Kevin Dehne. We had chorus for 5th hour, which was right after lunch. So inevitably, we'd be sitting in the hall, when Vogt came back from lunch. We saw him quite often. And there were times that we'd see him stumbling a bit as he walked down the hall, back to his office. It's amazing he didn't kill anyone on his drives back to school. Perhaps the alcohol contributed to his nasty disposition as well. I can recall sitting in the hall by myself one day. I can only surmise that Doug and Kevin were sick that day. Anyway, Vogt shuffled around the trophy case, saw me, and snarled. He came by, reached down, and pulled me up by my hair, saying, "I'm getting sick and tired of your shit!" Geez, all I was doing was sitting there. He dragged me by the hair, all the way down to his office, where he sat me down and screamed some more. What a jerk.

Vogt had the dryest laugh of any human I've ever known. It was just strained wind that would come out of his throat. I obviously can't do it justice in a description. So if you see me, as me for a demonstration.

In April of 2006, I became privy to an old piece of gossip about Mr. Vogt. Apparently he was a drinking buddy with a female teacher at either Koenig or Case. And according to the person who provided this gossip (someone very close to the situation) not only were they both alcoholics. But they were having an affair with each other as well. Both were allegedly cheating on their respective spouses. Now obviously, I have no idea if this little tidbit is true. But this person insists it is.

See my entries on Kevin Dehne and Mrs. Westberg for other stories about Mr. Vogt.

When Vogt suspended Kevin and I for the first time (see Kevin's entry) he was happy as hell. He was laughing at us, and saying we'd earned a "three day vacation." I've never seen a man so overjoyed about such a thing. I guess he was happy to not have to deal with us for a few days.

I'll never forget the day that we came back from our suspensions. It was a rule that a suspended student had to bring one of their parents in to meet with the principal in order to be let back into school. That morning, I walked into the office. And of course I saw Kevin and his mother sitting there as well. Of course Kevin starts to "cough" words to me. And it makes me laugh, even though I'm trying not to. Then Kevin laughs, turns to his mom and says, "That's how we talk sometimes."

8th grade was a bit different for me. For whatever reason, the amount of trouble I got into was reduced substantially. Perhaps it was because I only had Kevin in two classes, and none with Doug. Although I did have a lot of problems with Mr. Kern. But Kern dealt with those issues himself, rather than involving Vogt. More on him later. Anyway, about midway through the year, Vogt called me into his office one morning. I was scanning my brain to think of what I'd done recently that he could have busted me for. But no. He actually sat me down in his office, and praised me for being so good that year. Yes indeed! He said I'd "turned over a new leaf." I'll be damned! Mr. Slattery was in there too. And both of them heaped praise on me. That really shocked me. Of course later in the year, I did in fact receive two one-day "in-school" suspensions. But for the life of me, I don't recall what I did to get them. I even wrote an essay (for fun) that day, entitled "The joys of an in-school suspension." I still have it. Perhaps I'll scan it in.

After I left Clarke, I don't think I ever saw Vogt again. However, his son Andy was in high school with me. He was a senior when I was a freshman.

Around 1996 or so, I read in the paper that Vogt had passed away. I don't recall the cause of death. But I think he died relatively young.


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