Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Call me what you will. I admit to it. But I finally got another teacher entry done. I've been quite busy.

Back to the blog party. It has privately been suggested to me to consider the establishments of Tim Petri or Mark Henrickson. We know Tim runs a couple of bars. But what does Mark run? I guess he owns some place in Two Rivers. But I'm unaware of it. On another note, both of them (or so I've been told) are somewhat irritated that they were never asked to host the previous two class reunions. It sounds like they would have been happy to do so.

Personally, I don't care. If people want a blog party, I'm cool with it. I'll go anywhere. Whether it be five people or 25 people, I'm game.

Does anyone know if any of Tim or Mark's various establishments serve food as well?

On another note, I added another picture of Kim Nokes. And it's a lovely picture!

Lastly, I exchanged a couple of E-mails with Chris Thee. I've added an update to his entry. I've also included his E-mail address, as he said it was ok for anyone to contact him. I should point out that since I sent him the link to this blog, I haven't heard a thing from him. Perhaps he's pissed at something. That would suck.


Ms. Vesper was one of the gym teachers at Washington. She looked every bit the stereotypical gym teacher.

Something about her scared the crap out of me. She looked nasty and grumpy. I prayed I would never have her. My prayers went unanswered.

I often get my sophomore and junior year gym classes mixed up. But I think I first had her during my sophomore year. And much to my surprise, I actually found her to be ok. If memory serves, she ALWAYS wore red sweat pants and a red sweatshirt. She looked like a giant cherry with curly hair.

A couple of minor memories stand out. I had her for swimming in one of those years. Swimming class was really a joke. As students, we were supposed to do laps across the width of the pool. We had to do a certain number, which increased by five every class. It started with five, then went to 10, 15, 20... When you were done, you could do anything you wanted. Vesper would randomly pick a student or two at some point during the six-week course, and watch them to make sure they did their laps. If you did your laps on that given day, you were pretty much assured of an "A." Most of the kids simply jumped in and screwed around the whole period - playing pool basketball or whatever. But Richard and I actually did our laps. It didn't matter how you made it across - swimming or walking, as long as you did it. So we just glided back and forth talking and whatever. Vesper took notice of us. So when it came time to count our laps, she actually told us the day she would do it. We each got "A's."

The other big memory I have is from volleyball. I believe this event took place during my junior year. In gym class volleyball (where rules like "in the net" don't apply) I was actually quite good. I could serve, I could volley. I was an asset. Our class was a mixture of juniors and seniors. During one game, I found myself in the front row, across from class of 1988's Kevin Vanderlinden on the other side of the net. Someone on my team (perhaps Becky Koeppel) hit the ball. It was headed in my direction, but didn't look as if it had quite enough height to clear the net. So as it got above my head, I jumped to give it an extra tap to get over the net. Well at that exact same moment, the super macho Vanderlinden also jumped from the other side, with the intention of spiking it back down on our side. I'm not exactly sure what happened. But both our hands met on the ball at the same time. He was trying to slam it with just his fist. While I had an open hand, and had a much better hold of the ball. With the littlest of effort, the ball rolled past Vanderlinden's fist, and bounced harmlessly onto the gym floor, on his side. Vanderlinden's balance was lost from my push of the ball. He ended up in a heap on the floor. My teammates cheered. But more importantly, Ms. Vesper (who spent the class period walking around the gym, eyeing up all the games one at a time) happened to be watching our game at that exact moment. And she yelled out, "Way to go Burt!" Way to go indeed. That one nifty moment scored me another "A." for gym class.

I didn't take gym my senior year. So my gym career came to an end, as did my time with Ms. Vesper. Like I stated earlier, despite my initial fears, I found Vesper to be pretty decent and friendly - at least to me anyway.

I believe Vesper retired several years ago. I believe she lives in Two Rivers to this day. In trying to find information on her, I came across this newspaper article from 10/14/64. It's really too small to see. But there's a picture of her, and an article about her performing well in some sort of bowling tournament. Look close. She's on the left.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Another mini-reunion took place yesterday, as Greg Pagel and his wife traveled to Madison to see Jenny Malley and her husband. They spent the day hanging out and listening to some live music. As far as I know, they hadn't seen each other in over 17 years. In fact, I don't think they hung around with each other back in high school either.

A few days ago, in anticipation of this day, Jen told me how excited she was to see the Pagels. She also said it was all "thanks to me." As I told her then, although my little blog may have been the catalyst for them to touch base with each other, it was the two of them who took it from there.

Those who know me, know that I'm really bothered when I find out that something I've written ends up hurting someone else's feelings. It depresses me, and I face a moral dilemma where I contemplate whether or not the blog is a good thing or a bad thing. But then I see pictures like the ones you see below, that convince me that yes, overall, this blog is a good thing.

Keep smiling you two! I'm glad I could play a small part.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Or his wife anyway. Tim's wife has left a comment in Tim's entry. Their user ID is "Peach and Paula."

Welcome Tim & Paula!

Friday, August 25, 2006


August 1st or August 9th - the Bradster turned 35. I was unaware of it. Although I guess I should been.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


It has been suggested by several people that we should organize some sort of blog party. I don't know how much interest there would be in such a get together. But if there is, I'd be happy to plan it.

Obviously it would have to take place somewhere in the Two Rivers area. I guess it would be similar to a reunion. But I would be happy with anyone attending. I know I have many readers (and some posters) from other classes.

Perhaps something in the fall or early winter? I don't know. It's cool with me, whatever. Like I said, if there's interest, let's do it. If not, that's fine too. I'm just throwing it out there based on the suggestions of others.

Any interest? Any ideas?


Hoping to be caught up soon.

In the interim, wish Tammy Swoboda a happy birthday. It's today!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I've been swamped with stuff. It looks like the earliest a new entry will come is tomorrow. Look for Ms. Vesper and Mr. Scriver to be next.

On another note, my number of "profile views" is sitting at 1989. How appropriate!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Anne E-mailed me and sent me a photo. And a chance encounter with Ms. Anderson scored me another picture. You can see them in their respective entries.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Class of 1990's Jason Krings has signed in and left a comment in Mr. Otto's entry. He even brought up a story that I had forgotten about. But I do remember it now.

Welcome Jason!


If I'm not mistaken (and I could be) this weekend will feature birthdays from two of my readers.

So happy birthday to Erin Hynek on Saturday!

And happy birthday to Mark Gordon on Sunday!


I added a few more photos to Saturday's trip - photos from Kevin's camera.

I also added a brief tidbit about Brett Gruetzmacher, as well as a movie memory with Brad Strouf.

Also, there was an earlier update from yesterday that may have been buried by the big post on the trip. Mark Ciha shared some hunting photos. There's also a new photo in the entries of Ken Bartz, Mr. Spatz and Jenny Malley.

In the last couple of days, there have been new comments left in many entries, such as Phuong Baum, Paula Jonas, Jenny Malley, Brad Strouf, Brandon Podhola, Greg Flemal and Chris Staudinger.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Saturday August 12th was picked out by Kevin and I to be trip #2 to Two Rivers. Needless to say, the weather was much nicer. Instead of 100 degrees, we were hit with a much more comfortable 75.

I picked up Kevin in Sheboygan around 8:30. Then we were on our way. But instead of heading straight up to Manitowoc, we decided to hit a few homes in Sheboygan. Why not? That was out starting point anyway. So we headed south. Our destination was Lori Wavrunek. As we pulled up, we noticed a woman in her garage, getting ready to leave. We were sure it was her. As I fumbled with the camcorder, Kevin got out and tried to flag her down. Lori pulled out right past him, and got into the street. Then she noticed him. She rolled down her window and asked us who we were. Once she knew, she pulled back in, got out and posed for pictures. You can see them below.

Our next stop was north of Sheboygan. In a rather new subdivision, we found the home of Bob Pilzak. Needless to say, the lawn was a sea of weeds. No grass had ever been planted there. It looked like no one was home. But it was worth a try. We rang the doorbell. Moments later, Bob answered. He had a look of confusion at first. But then came the smiles as recognition slowly crept in. He invited us in. We saw his wife (pretty woman) - although she didn’t want to be photographed. They were just on their way out the door, as they were having a family day at the Milwaukee Zoo. But nonetheless, Bob posed for pictures on his front porch and in his backyard. He was quite happy to see us. We talked for maybe 20 minutes.

Next we headed west, to an area north of Howards Grove. There we found the homestead of Chris Staudinger. It’s a sprawling area in the country. It was obviously a farm at some point. But I think it’s a non-working farm today. I knocked, and was greeted by a woman – Chris' mom. She informed us that Chris was working. So we missed him. So it was back in the car and on our way to Manitowoc.

Our first stop was the home of Shawn Mehlhorn. There was a camper in the driveway that had some severe hail damage. There was also a big truck there. But there was no sign of Shawn. So I snapped a picture of his sign instead.

Our only other stop in Manitowoc was the home of our 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Franke. We knocked on the door. A woman (presumably his wife) answered. When we asked for him, she said, “Are you students of his?” I got the impression that over the years, others have stopped by as well. After several minutes (perhaps he was still sleeping) Mr. Franke emerged. I believe he couldn’t remember Kevin. But he at least remembered my face. Mr. Franke hadn’t changed a bit. He was as nice as he always was. He had tons of stories to tell. He had a full house, and he introduced us to several kids and grandchildren. He also took our autographs. Apparently he’s now collecting the autographs of former students. We told him about the blog. He thought it was a very cool thing to do, and promised to check it out. He then took us into his backyard, where we reminisced some more. Franke informed us that he has been teaching at Clarke since the very first year it opened – nearly 40 years ago. He’s contemplated retirement, but hasn’t yet. He still enjoys what he’s doing. Instead, (like Brett Favre) he takes it on a year-to-year basis. Incidentally, because of the full house of family he had, he had to borrow a camper from someone so some people could sleep outside. The camper belongs to none other than fellow former Clarke teacher, Mr. Schambureck. I mentioned to Franke that he had given me an "F" for the 4th quarter. He looked shocked and said, "I didn't think I gave "F's" to anybody." But I earned it! We took a few pictures with Franke. Notice the fake street sign on the fence.

I should point out that within our travels this day, I was informed that someone else is unhappy about the words I wrote. That person is Tim Petri. One of my readers ran into Tim at the bank, and asked him if he’d read the blog. Tim apparently said, “Yeah, and just wait til I get my hands on that son of a bitch!” Tim was asked what was wrong. Tim then said, “He said I had four OWI’s.” My reader then asked, “Well, do you?” To which Tim replied, “No, I only have three.” So I guess Tim was upset that I credited him with one extra drunk driving arrest. Well, I looked it up. And Tim is right. I made a slight mistake in my entry on him. I had said that Tim had four, which was one more than Peter Soucoup. In reality, the numbers should be reversed. It was Peter who has four, while Tim ONLY has three… Sorry Tim. The mistake has already been corrected!

After we left Franke's, we were on our way to Toby's house. We'd stopped there twice on our first trip. Both times we were shut out. Would #3 be the trick? Nope. Once again, Toby was not home. So instead, we were off to see Mark Gordon.

Mark lived right near the lake - or so we thought. The woman who answered the door said that Mark hadn't lived there in two years. Oops! So we hopped back intot he car and headed toward the home of Lenny Lewis.

The last time we'd stopped by, Lenny wasn't home. But we saw a big truck in the driveway this time. We worked our way around the back, and came up onto the deck. Then right before I was to knock, Lenny stormed out with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. We sat and talked to Lenny for about a half hour. He and Kevin had some good stories to reminisce about. Of course he posed for some pictures. You can see them below. As a side note, Lenny has a real hottie for a neighbor.

We then headed towards the home of Chad Daffner. We saw a big pair of boots on the front porch. But the house was quiet. The untouched newspaper gave the impression that no one was home. Always trust the newspaper. There was no sign of Chad. However, thanks to some comments left by class of 1990's Sally Graczykowski, we knew that she lived right next door. The door was open. So we knocked. Sally answered, knew exactly who we were, and invited us in. She gave us each a Sprite. She was in the process of removing wallpaper from her bedroom. So she grumbled a bit when I asked her to pose for pictures. It's feminine vanity, not catching someone "at their best." But Sally was a good sport and happily agreed. I even got a photo of her tattoo. We stayed for maybe 20 minutes, and chatted. We also found time to play with her dog. She has a cat too. But the cat took off at some point. In the first dog picture, it looks like I'm stepping on him. But it's an illusion. I'm actually standing on the floor with both feet.

We then went a few blocks north to Brian Klein's house. On our last trip, we had the wrong address. This time we got it right. Unfortunately, Brian was sleeping. So we decided to come back.

Our next stop was Doug Wall. He is currently living with Kurt Psenicka and Kurt's fiance. When we knocked, we were greeted by Kurt. As friendly as Kurt had been four weeks earlier, he was very different this time. He was real short with us. He said that Doug was sleeping, and that he wouldn't wake him. He also confirmed that it was Doug's birthday. He said Doug would be up around 4:00 or so, but was then going to his mom's house for awhile. We told him we'd be back. As we walked away, Kevin said, "Not very receptive, was he?" I joked that perhaps Kurt had read what I'd written about him. Of course when we last saw Kurt, I had told him that I wasn't all that nice in my memories of him. I also added that all that stuff happened 20 years ago, and that it doesn't matter anymore. Kurt had told me point blank that he wasn't concerend about what anyone used to think about him. Perhaps he had a change of heart.

Doug and Kurt live next door to Dave Coenen. Just as it had been in July, no one answered the door. The dogs didn't bark this time though.

By now it was close to lunch. As planned, we headed over to Phil Rohrer's Restaurant, a Two Rivers staple for over 40 years. Of course as many people know, it's run by the father of fellow graduate Cindy Rohrer. Cindy had E-mailed me the day before, and told me to introduce myself. So we did. Kevin and I both ordered a burger and fries. It was very tasty. Despite how busy it was, Cindy's dad found the time to chat with us for awhile. This time I treated. Kevin left a generous tip. And we were off.

Our next stop was the home of Rod Lumaye. We found him in his backyard. Surprisingly, Rod has become a smoker. He said he'd started at some point in the early 1990's. We had a pretty good time with Rod. He also had lots of stories to share. We laughed quite a bit. We spent a good half hour there, perhaps even longer.

After we left Rod's, we headed north to the home of Cory Schultz. No one answered the door. Then all of a sudden, a woman drove up, and drove right onto the lawn to confront us. It was the owner of the house. She said that Cory didn't live there anymore. She thought he lived down by the river (not in a van). I had a second address for Cory, which was next to the river. We would hit it later on.

Our next stop was Kevin Koehler's house. I was familiar with the home, as it had been owned by the aunt and uncle of a friend of mine, back in the 1980's. I was also the paperboy. Kevin was outside, in the garage. The two Kevins joked about the time they had stolen some food off someone's grill. Good stuff! Kevin talked about how he spends time with fellow graduate Dave Hartwig. Perhaps we'll hit Dave on trip #3. Kevin was proud of the fact that his oldest kid was graduating (or just did graduate) from high school. Kevin has another son, who was also hanging around while we were there. Kevin's dog loves to chase a stick. If you don't pick it up and throw it, he'll stare at it forever.

On a whim, we then drove by Mr. Wood's house. We thought it'd be funny to see him outside mowing the lawn or something. But there was no one to be found. Instead, we headed to the home of Mike Polich and Ann Rank. The last time we'd been there, they weren't home. This time they were - barely. We had caught them moments after returning from a camping trip. They were still unpacking their vehicle. Feminine vanity showed its face again, as Ann mentioned that she hadn't showered or anything. But she of course posed for pictures. She gave us a each a soda as well. She offered me a wine cooler. But I had to pass, as one drink can make my head start to buzz a bit. So I drank a Sunkist. Ann let me use her bathroom. Of course as she let me in, she said, "Ignore the mess. We just got home." I of course said, "Everyone's home is messy when they're not expecting company." Of course when I walked in, I said, "Oh, I take it back. This is really messy." Ha ha! It's a laugh-a-line with me. Anyway, I filtered out Phil Rohrer's Mello Yello and the Sunkist, the joined Kevin in the car. Before we left, Ann gave us each a hug. As I said to her, "That's our first public hug." Mike and Ann had mentioned that Mark Gordon was at his parents' house - which was a block away. So we decided to stop by.

Sure enough, Mark was there. We rang the doorbell. Inside, I could see a shirtless Mark fast asleep on the couch. One of Mark's kids answered, then went and woke him up. Mark let us in, gave Kevin a soda (I declined) and talked with us for awhile, while two of his sons played a Pac-Man game. We then went outside and took some pictures. Mark had a rather bizarre story about Mr. Wood. Perhaps he'll share it someday. You can see the pictures below.

After we left Mark, we headed out into the country to visit Keith Welnicke. Keith is another guy who wasn't home the last time we were in town. We pulled into the driveway. It looked like someone was home. Sure enough, Keith's wife answered, and let us in. She said Keith was due home in about 10 minutes. Keith's wife is a big fan of the blog. Actually, she reads it more than he does. Because of her given profession, she's familiar with a lot of the people profiled here. Anyway, Kevin and I decided that we'd do a quick run to Rob Sisel's house while we waited for Keith to return.

Just like last time, Rob wasn't home. But unlike last time, Rob's dad was. He sort of surprised us, popping out of nowhere from behind the garage. We left him a note for Rob, with the URL for the blog. Then we went back to Keith's. Moments after we pulled into the driveway, Keith drove up as well. He noted that he was dirty from work, and wouldn't take a picture until he'd showered. So we all went inside. Keith's wife gave us each a soda. We then went to the gigantic living room and chatted a bit while an episode of Roseanne played in the background.

Keith and his wife were a delight. They had tons of stories and gossip. I probably shouldn't repeat most of it. But it was a blast. I bet we stayed there for at least an hour. They even offered to cook us brats. But we had more stops to do. And time was dwindling. So we declined. In retrospect, I wish we would have stayed. I was getting hungry by that point. Oh well. They can owe us a meal! Ha ha. Before we left, we snapped the photos you see below.

Our next stop was the home of Mr. Wheeler - father of fellow graduate Richard. He wasn't home. But his wife was. She remembered me, having been friends with Richard. She gave us the scoop on what Richard is doing today. She also said that Mr. Wheeler should be home any minute. But he was late. We had to get going. But before we left, I made sure to tell her to tell Mr. Wheeler that I did NOT steal his final exam at the end of freshman year! She said she would tell him. She also said that she'd tell Richard about the blog. Lastly, I asked if she had a recent picture of Richard. We each zoomed in with our digital cameras and snapped the pictures you see below. Richard looks pretty much the same.

Our next stop may be a surprise to some. We stopped by the home of Craig Rysticken. His boat was there. But there was no answer at the door. Kevin took a picture of me writing a note. I stuck it on his mailbox.

I was very curious about our next stop. We headed towards the home of Shannon Almand. I never knew her. I don't know if I ever talked to her. But we knocked on her backdoor. She answered, but wouldn't come out. She just peered at us through the screen door. She didn't remember either one of us. She was very cautious. She made it clear that she wasn't interested in taking any pictures. Her thoughts were that no one ever kept in touch with her. So she had no interest in touching base with any of them. In time, we were able to sweet talk her into coming outside. And she opened up a bit more. But pictures weren't happening. So we had to respect that. I will say this though. She looked really good.

Our next stop was just down the block, and to the home of Colleen Krejcarek. We found a bunch of people in the backyard, who motioned for us to go into the house and up the back stairs, to the upstairs apartment. So we did. We knocked on the door, and were met by a teenager. We asked for Colleen. He said that she didn't live there. He named a road out in the country where she did live. He then blurted out a bunch of information that didn't make much sense - something about her stuff being here, but that it gets taken over there... I don't know. All we knew is that Colleen wasn't there. So we bolted.

Our next stop was the second address for Cory Schultz. But the whole house appeared to be vacant - despite the fact that there were two cars parked in the driveway. We were now done with our list. So we then headed back to the home of Brian Klein. The door was wide open. The TV was blaring. The biggest fricken' dog in the world was scaring the crap out of us. Yet nobody answered the door. Very odd.

So we hopped back in the car and headed for the home of Doug Wall and Kurt Psenicka again. Although the same truck was in the driveway, no one answered the door. But we remembered that Kurt had mentioned that Doug was going to his mom's house. So that's where we headed. We weren't 100% sure if we had the right place. But a woman answered the door. It was Doug's mom. She remembered me. She was very nice to us. We told her about the blog, and that we were trying to find Doug. She thought it was very interesting. She said that Doug should be stopping by any minute. And sure enough, she spotted him down the block. She quickly invited us in so we could surprise him. So we hid on the staircase waiting for Doug to arrive. When he finally ventured in, we said, "Hey!" He looked at us, shook his head, said nothing, then went into the kitchen. His mom kept asking him what was wrong. He wouldn't say anything. None of us knew what was going on. Eventually Doug came back into the living room and sat on the couch. Kevin asked him if he'd had a hard day. He mumbled, "Yeah." I mentioned that I'd seen Tom Grassman recently, who told me he'd run into him several years ago, down in Illinois. With that, a slight smirk did cross Doug's face, as he no doubt remembered seeing Tom. But still, Doug sat and sulked. Finally Doug quietly said something to the effect of how he didn't like a lot of the stuff I wrote about him. He said that all of those incidents should stay in the past, and that people don't need to know all that stuff about him.

I immediately felt like shit. Doug was clearly very upset about this. And the fact that we happened to come see him on his birthday made me feel even worse. Never in a million years would I expect Doug to be upset about anything I wrote. I was good friends with Doug for many years. And in all that time, I never knew a more carefree and happy-go-lucky guy as Doug. He never cared one bit about what other people felt about him. The last time I'd seen him, we laughed about all the incidents I wrote about. If there was anyone in this world who I felt would not be upset about anything I wrote, it would be Doug. But I was wrong.

At one point Kevin suggested that Doug go on and leave comments of his own. He even said to Doug, "Did you see what he wrote about ME?" But Doug clearly wasn't in the mood to discuss anything. I asked him if he'd like us to go. He simply said, "Yeah... I guess." Doug's mom looked puzzled by it all. But she said her goodbyes as she lead us to the door. I wished Doug a happy birthday, to which he said, "Thanks."

I must say, that drama with Doug really left a sour taste in my mouth. But I've come to realize that I should expect that reaction from some people. And it once again makes me question whether or not the blog is a good thing, more than it is bad. I do believe that to be the case. But man, sometimes the negative aspects hurt.

The next day, I wrote a letter to Doug and stuck it in the mailbox. I'd love to discuss this with him, if he's willing to do so. I even called his mother shortly after I sent the letter, to apologize for what happened the day before. She said Doug was very upset by it all, and that it was probably best to just let it alone. She did appreciate my call, and said it was a kind thing to do.

Anyway, after the incident with Doug, Kevin and I had one more stop to make. We tried to hit Toby Schwartz once again. As usual, he wasn't home. We've made a total of four stops to his house. Is the boy ever home? Kevin took the last picture of the day, as I walked away from Toby's house, after leaving another note on the door.

All in all, it was another good day. The incident with Doug was a real bummer though. It makes me wonder if there are others out there who aren't happy with this blog. I'd hate for another incident like that too happen again. Nonetheless, the good parts of the day shine though. Will there be a trip #3? Bet on it.


Mark wanted to share some hunting photos. If you have a problem with hunting, don't check out his entry. I added a Pac-Man to Ken's entry. I added some Pop Muzik to Jenny's entry. Lastly, I added a frog to Spatz' entry.

Also, it looks like Greg Flemal's entry was the place to be yesterday. There are lots of comments.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I finally got the website to cooperate. What a pain in the ass. I'm still working on Saturday's trip. But in the interim, I've posted an old photo of Lenny Lewis, photos from Greg Flemal's wedding, two recent photos of Phuong Baum, an air guitar performance from Erin Hynek and Matt Doran (in Matt's entry) and some pictures of a rabbit eaten by Kevin Dehne.



Chris has signed in and has left some comments for himself, Brad Strouf and Brandon Podhola. You can't miss him. He goes by the name of "Chris."

Welcome Chris!


I've got a very recent pictures of both of them. You can see them in each of their respective entries.

I'm still working on the Saturday trip. I have my fingers crossed that it will get done tonight. However, blogger.com isn't helping me much. The website has had serious problems uploading photos over the last two days. I was able to get Jenny and Cindy up this morning, before it stopped working again. I have some new photos of Greg Flemal to post as well. It wouldn't let me do it. Frustrating!

Monday, August 14, 2006


As I mentioned earlier, I had spoken with Phuong. Now she's logged in herself with an update in her own entry, as well as those of Joe Antonie and Brad Strouf.

I absolutely LOVE this woman's honesty.

Welcome Phuong!


As some of you now know, Kevin and I did another trip to Two Rivers on Saturday. I hope to have the pictures and text up today. Overall it was a success. But there was a real bummer at the end of the day. I can add two more names to the list of people who aren't exactly thrilled with this blog. One person we saw. One we didn't. The one we saw was the real bummer.

In other news, I spoke with Phuong Baum. She is now reading. I told her what she needs to do to login and leave comments of her own. So hopefully we'll see some from her very soon.

Lastly, I received an E-mail from Tina Short. I also have a picture of her. It should be on her entry in a few minutes.



Thanks to Kevin Dehne for remembering yet another classmate. Further thanks to Jenny Malley and Mike Polich for being able to confirm her existence. I didn't recall her.

Brenda attended Koenig School. She also attended Clarke. Perhaps she stayed only through 6th grade or 7th grade. No one can remember for sure. But Kevin remembers riding the school bus with her. According to Jenny, Brenda was blond, rather quiet, friendly, and pretty as well. Kevin believes that Brenda is the younger sister of Jeff Dorn - who married Missy Vertz.

I can only assume that Brenda left the area. I don't think she was ever in high school in Two Rivers. At some point she moved for sure. Today it looks like she's married and living in Green Bay. Today Brenda Dorn is known as Brenda Browning.

Friday, August 11, 2006


There have been new comments left for the likes of Ben Franco, Missy Vertz, Randy Ertman, Stan Conrad and Tim Petri.

Oh, it appears as if the class of 1989 has a new member. Kevin Dehne reminded me of a girl named Brenda Dorn. Jenny Malley confirmed her existense as well. I've tried in vain to find her. I will do an entry on her soon. But does anyone else have any information on her?



Officer Strouf sent me an up-to-date picture of himself. You can find it in his entry.


Thursday, August 10, 2006


The past two weeks have been interesting. I've gotten E-mails from several people from different graduating classes. Most have chosen to remain anonymous. Some of them have told me they plan to stay that way. That's cool.

But based on some of the profile views for some of the people who have commented, it's become very clear that my readership has increased quite a lot. Yet of the few hundred who are reading, only Jen Owens and Sally Graczykowski have posted comments of their own. They have had the courage to make their presence known.

So who else is out there? I know Sheila Vanne has read it. Sheila, are you still there? How about Craig Rysticken or Ross Hofmann? Nick Novachek tells me you two have read it at one time or another. Are you two still out there as well? What about members of other classes? Speak now!

I've said it to my readers before. I'll say it again. Don't be shy! No one is judging you. Just be brave and say your peace. If I've wronged you, tell me about it. I can take it. If you're enjoying reading it, tell me that too. Tell me anything you want.

By request, look for Mr. Scriver tomorrow.


I added recent pictures of Erin Hynek, Cindy Rohrer. You can see them in their respective entries. I also added a picture from me in Mr. Franke's class. You can see it in Mr. Franke's entry.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Mr. Franke (Bob) was the 8th grade science teacher at Clarke.

Mr. Franke was one of the most popular teaches I've ever had. Everyone loved the guy. I think the reasons for that are pretty simple. He was a nice guy. And unlike some of his coworkers, he treated kids with the utmost respect. One of the most endearing qualities about the man is that it was clear that despite his age and position of authority, he never forgot what it felt like to be a kid. He could relate to his students better than any teacher I ever had.

See my entries on Mrs. Olsen, Ken Bartz, Tim Loucks, Peter Flora and Brett Gruetzmacher for more stories about Mr. Franke.

Mr. Franke had tables for desks - two people per table. I sat with Ken Bartz all year. For awhile, Ken and I had this game we made up. We simply called it "points." We awarded each other various points for whatever trouble we would cause in class. One day, we took a test. At that time, I had one of those pens that had about eight different colors on it. Actually, it may have been 12. Ken dared me to take off the end of the pen, spread out the colors so they were side by side, then make a mark from the top of my test to the bottom, right down the middle of the page. Then I was to do it from left to right also. It couldn't be light. It had to be noticable. I ended up doing it. The next day, as we got into class, Franke pulled me aside and confronted me with the mess I'd made on my test. Believe it or not, I tried to lie my way through it, claiming that it was simply an accident. I tried to make him believe that the pen had fallen down, and had somehow made a mark all the way down the page. Meanwhile, I can see Ken sitting in his seat behind him. Ken's body was convulsing with stifled laughter. Franke looked at me in utter disbelief that I was trying to make the mark look like an accident. When I insisted that it had been, he looked at me and said, "Twice?" Remember, I had made the same lines acorss the page as well as down. In retrospect, I'm sure Franke would have had more respect for me if I'd have come clean. But, oh well.

Franke had a ton of stories to tell. I can't remember the whole joke. But he mentioned more than once about a car that was a lemon. He said, "The carburetor doesn't carb. The generator doesn't gen. And the pistons... don't work either."

One time Franke told us the story of how he got frostbite. He and his friends got a flat tire. So he helped change it. About an hour later, he suddenly had major pain on his ear. I guess he recovered from it though. He always had two ears.

One day Franke had a human skeleton in his room. This event actually happened in 7th grade. His room was right next to Mr. Stodola's. Sometimes they would open the curtain between the two rooms, and have a joint teaching session between science classes. Anyway, on this day, he mentioned that years earlier, the skeleton somehow fell forward from its hangar, then shattered onto the floor in several pieces. His response was "Oh shit." But he called the place that had loaned him the skeleton. They laughed and said it happened all the time. It was no big deal.

At the beginning of 8th grade, Franke told us that at the end of the previous year, he had asked his students how the 7th graders (us) were, and what he should expect from them the next year. He said they (the class of 1988) trashed us, saying we were awful. Franke said that really irritated him, and that he didn't believe them.

One of Franke's most memorable stories was one he told us of his time in middle school - specifically the problems he had with his gym teacher. Apparently this guy was just an asshole, and would constantly badger him. One of things that irked him was the fact that he would always mockingly refer to him as "Bobby." Franke joined the basketball team. As it turned out, the gym teacher was the coach. After being verbally abused by this guy all the time, Franke decided to quit the team. By doing so, the team no longer had enough boys to make a team. So I believe the team had to fold. Because of this, when he quit, the school principal made him come to school with one of his parents, and have a meeting with the coach. At one point, the coach said, "What's the matter Bobby - afraid to undress in front of the other guys?" At that point, Mr. Franke said, "With that statement, my dislike for him turned into hatred." Perhaps his experience with this teacher is what helped motivate Franke to be the good teacher that he is. In other words, he would never behave like his former gym teacher did.

Around Christmas time of that year, I went to some sort of Christmas-themed reading at the Manitowoc Public Library. Franke was one of the readers. Franke had a deep, booming voice.

For several months of the year, Franke had a dead owl in his backroom. Yes, he had a dead owl. I think he had planned to stuff it or something. But after awhile, the thing really started to smell. I happened to be in his class after school one day, no doubt being punished for something I had done. I was alone. The janitor, Mr. Debauche came in to empty the garbages. When he got near the backroom, he said, "Jesus Christ! What smells?" He wheeled out the dead bird on the cart it had been sitting on, grabbed it by its stiff legs, and tossed it in the garbage. "What is this shit? Jesus Christ this reeks!" He repeated it over and over. I just started laughing. The janitor seemed shocked.

Mr. Franke once brought in one of those electro-balls. Don't aske me what its real name is. If you put your hand on it, your hair would stand up. He let a couple students try it. Since I had a lot of hair, due to my infamous bowl cut, the class wanted to see me up there. So I did. Franke snapped a picture of me. You can see it below.

Franke was such a nice guy. He was so nice that when I screwed around (which was often) I honestly felt bad about it. It's like I didn't want to disappoint him. Franke had a look that he would give you when he got mad. It was a stern stare. And you knew that when he gave you that look, you better shut the hell up and behave.

Whenever we had a substitute teacher in his wing area, Franke would often stand by the door of the substitute's classroom, and make sure that the students weren't giving the teacher a hard time.

Another story Franke told us was that he almost never gave out a grade of "F." In fact, I think he said he'd only given one out to two different students over the years. He told us that one of those two ended up in jail. For the 4th quarter of that year, I got an "F." I felt ashamed, seriously. I always wondered if in fact I was only the third person he gave an "F" to, or if he was just telling a story in order to scare us a bit. Franke didn't seem like the scaring type though.

Franke once showed us a home video he had made. It was brief. But it showed several members from one of his classes in the 1970's.

Franke once brought liquid nitrogen to school. I think that's what it was anyway. It was the stuff that you can put a tennis ball in, then drop it on the floor, and watch it shatter like glass. It was pretty cool.

Over the course of two days, Franke once brought in the film "The Fantastic Voyage" for the class to watch. I was the only one in our class who had actually seen the film before.

As a senior in high school, Scott Jaklin and I went back to Clarke one day after school. I'm not sure why. But we sat and talked with both Franke and Mr. Schambureck. He was fun to talk to.

I saw Franke again, around 1992 or so. I'm not sure what exactly happened. But I think Franke wandered into a video store in Brown Deer - a store where Meff was working at the time. Franke was looking to purchase a tennis game for Nintendo. They didn't have it in stock. But a few weeks later, they did. So Meff came up to visit. And we stopped over by Clarke after school one day to give it to him. At that time, Franke was lamenting the fact that Clarke was going to be changing everything. Apparently they were going to be removing all the curtains bewteen the classes, and knock down the walls, in order to have three giant classrooms. In other words. each six-classroom setup in each corner of the school was going to be come one big one. I think the art class area was going to stay the same though. Fanke wasn't happy about it. He said it made no sense to him. Nonetheless, it happened. I believe today Clarke refers to each area as a "house."

I haven't seen Franke since. Although I think he spent a lot of time at City News & Video in Manitowoc. I think Franke was friends with all the guys that worked there. That was a great video store. They closed down about a year ago.

Today Franke lives in Manitowoc. I think his wife's name is Judie. He still teaches at Clarke. He obviously loves his job. According to Mrs. Westberg, Franke will teach until the day he dies. Power to him. He's one of the best teachers out there.

UPDATE - 11/13/06 - On Saturday, August 12th, 2006, Kevin Dehne and I took another trip to Two Rivers. On the way, we stopped at the home of our 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Franke. We knocked on the door. A woman (presumably his wife) answered. When we asked for him, she said, “Are you students of his?” I got the impression that over the years, others have stopped by as well. After several minutes (perhaps he was still sleeping) Mr. Franke emerged. I believe he couldn’t remember Kevin. But he at least remembered my face. Mr. Franke hadn’t changed a bit. He was as nice as he always was. He had tons of stories to tell. He had a full house, and he introduced us to several kids and grandchildren. He also took our autographs. Apparently he’s now collecting the autographs of former students. We told him about the blog. He thought it was a very cool thing to do, and promised to check it out. He then took us into his backyard, where we reminisced some more. Franke informed us that he has been teaching at Clarke since the very first year it opened – nearly 40 years ago. He’s contemplated retirement, but hasn’t yet. He still enjoys what he’s doing. Instead, (like Brett Favre) he takes it on a year-to-year basis. Incidentally, because of the full house of family he had, he had to borrow a camper from someone so some people could sleep outside. The camper belongs to none other than fellow former Clarke teacher, Mr. Schambureck. I mentioned to Franke that he had given me an "F" for the 4th quarter. He looked shocked and said, "I didn't think I gave "F's" to anybody." But I earned it! We took a few pictures with Franke. Notice the fake street sign on the fence.

UPDATE - 12/12/06 - Below is the video from that August 12th visit.


Yesterday I mentioned that someone named "shoot_the_moon" had signed in and left a few comments. I had no idea who she was. I guess I should have reread what I'd written about Mark Gordon. Because she responded in his entry and commented about a specific tidbit. Mark has also confirmed that Sally did in fact go out with Class of 1988's Steve Seefeldt at one point. This girl was beautiful.

Sally was a member of the class of 1990. She married fellow class of 1990 member, David Crabb. They ended up divorcing in 2000. I believe they have one daughter.

Welcome Sally!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

WELCOME ??????

A new visitor has graced these pages. She goes by the name of shoot_the_moon. Who is she? I don't know. She hasn't said. But she has left comments for Nikki Baugniet, Mark Gordon and Robin Richmond.

So welcome stranger. Now who are you?

Monday, August 07, 2006


Mr. Bonino (Jerry) was a gym teacher at Washington. He was also the football coach.

Bonino was the football coach for the Washington teams that won three consecutive state titles. I believe the years were 1980, 1981 and 1982.

Overall, I never had much of a problem with the guy. I never found him to be overly friendly. But I didn't find him to be an asshole either.

I had Bonino during freshman year. I think he was the only gym teacher I had all year. About the only two incidents I can recall are him telling Jason Radant that he needed to take a shower because he stunk, and grabbing Todd Zinn when he was getting mouthy. Read each of their respective entries for the details on those incidents.

During freshman year, Mark Schreiber and I used to refer to him as "BONERino." Of course we never called him that to his face.

In my sophomore year, I saw Bonino lounging by the pool at a hotel in Appleton. He was with a woman - who I assume was his wife. I didn't acknowledge him. I don't think he noticed me.

During my junior year, I had Mr. Bonino for some of my gym classes. The year was broken down into six different six-week courses. I know I had him for archery in the fall, and softball in the spring. I also had him for gymnastics sometime in the winter.

During gymnastics, Bonino would often refer to Richard Wheeler as "wheels." We mocked that term to no end. I also recall that class of 1988's Kevin Vanderlinden mooned Bonino while his back was turned one day. Why? Who knows.

For the last six weeks, we had softball. I enjoyed softball. But Richard didn't. So we decided to rip up our gym clothes and not participate. After two days of sitting on the bench, Bonino exploded on us, and dragged us up to Mr. Wood's office. Wood yelled at us too. Bonino said he'd give us an "F" for softball. We didn't care. We still passed the semester. So we got a study hall for the last six weeks instead of gym.

See my entry on Mr. Wood for another story involving Mr. Bonino.

Fellow graduate Paula Jonas recently mentioned that she once saw Mr. Bonino naked. Short of being crude, I can't imagine how she managed to do that. But I'd love to know the details.

I have not run into Bonino since high school. I think he retired maybe 5-10 years ago. I'm sure he still lives in the Two Rivers area. Below is a picture from 2003 (I believe). He's second from the left. Incidentally, the guy on the far left is another Washington teacher, Mr. Wegner.

UPDATE - 10/26/06 - Keeping with Paula Jonas' naked theme, I received an E-mail this week from one of my readers. This is what the reader said.

"I ran into a father of a classmate from 1991..he said he hung out with Bonino and 1 time in GB they went out to a bar and lost him...he was found walking in traffic with his penis hanging out...I was laughing my ass off"

Good stuff. I have to wonder whether or not Bonino is an exhibitionist.


First off, I need to say welcome to class of 1990's Jen Owens. She has logged in and left a comment for Ms. Kiel/Mrs. Berg. Welcome Jen!

Mark Ciha informed me of what Mr. Wood is doing today. I put it in Wood's entry. There's also another anonymous comment left for the man.

Also for those of you who have asked about Tammy Berzinsky's "Dinner and a blog," her computer apparently wasn't working. So they never got a chance to read it that night. Oh well.


Friday, August 04, 2006


Wow. Where does one begin with this guy? I have a lot I could say. And I've wrestled with it for a few months. Scandal, rumors... do I write about them? When I first started this project, it was just a personal diary. But by placing it in a public forum, I've opened it up to anyone with internet access. Now I have an audience - a big audience. I know and understand that anything I say here may (and probably will) be read by the individuals I write about. For the most part, I've followed a couple of basic guidelines. Tell the truth. And if someone else told me something, make it clear that I can't verify its authenticity. Basically what that means is that if I wasn't witness to something, but someone told me about it, then it's just a rumor. But if the rumor existed, then what's wrong with mentioning it? Those are the same guidelines I'm going to take when dealing with Mr. Wood.

First and foremost, I want to make it clear that I wish nothing but the best for him today. Yes, I had problems with this guy. I thought he was a fucking asshole. I believe we had a mutal hatred for each other at the time. But those feelings are long gone - at least on my part. If I were to run into him today, I'm sure it would be cordial - at least on my part.

Mr. Wood was the vice principal of Washington High School. He was also the father of fellow graduate Wyatt Wood. I really liked Wyatt. I think Wyatt takes after his mother.

I first met Mr. Wood in September, 1985. If you read my entry on Kevin Dehne, you'll see me mention the throwing star incident. Ms. Sapa kicked me out of her class, and walked me down to Wood's office. This was my first time meeting him. And he wasn't happy about it.

Wood sat me down and got all smug with me - talking nice, but clearly in a mocking tone. When he saw the throwing star, he said, "I have one of these. I know what this is." He repeated it over and over, as he dug through his desk. And sure shit, he found one! He then stood up and whipped it at my head. He missed. But in all honesty, I'm sure he missed on purpose. It ended up hitting the wall, and knocking down a few photographs of some of the girls on the basketball team. Then he started screaming at me. Truth be told, I was startled. No authority figure had ever come at me with a weapon before. But that was Wood being Wood. He wanted to rule by fear. Intimidation was his weapon. But the sad thing is that the more you saw him, the more that intimidation fades. Then all you can do is laugh at him. And boy oh boy, he didn't like that! Anyway, he said to the secretary, "Carol, give him three." That meant three detentions. Incidentally, Carol was Carol Podhola - mother of fellow graduate Brandon Podhola. Wood also told me that I wouldn't be allowed back into Sapa's class until one of my parents came in to talk with him.

Both my parents worked. So finding a time to come in was difficult. So the next day, I had to sit in the office instead of going to class. When Wood saw me, he screamed, "Where are your parents?" I said, "They're busy. Someone will come when they can." Wood was really irritated about that. He couldn't seem to comprehend that every parent can't just bow down to his whims. My mom found some time a day or two later. And I got back into Sapa's class.

I had several run-ins with Wood during my freshman year. I can't even recall all the incidents that were involved. But needless to say, I got to be very familiar with the detention room. Wood was one of three people at Washington that loved to yell, "This ain't L.B. Clarke!" Whatever. Wood, Mr. Hough and Mrs. Mull would say that at least five times each day.

Outside Wood's office was a bench. Someone had scribbled on the wall (in very small pencil) "BW SUCKS COCK"

See my entry on Ron Gretz for information regarding the ceiling tile bust. You can also see a picture of Wood. Wood told us that the only reason we weren't suspended was because it was the end of the year. So instead, he gave each of us 10 detentions. At that time, you could work with a janitor during study hall to work off two detentions. So I did that and served my time before the year was up.

In regards to that ceiling tile incident, my mom ended up having to go down to the school. It was the first time she had seen Wood in several months. The reason for that is simple. Everytime I got in trouble at school, or got kicked out of a class or something, Wood would demand to have a conference with one of my parents. After the first few conferences, my mom said that she would never go back. She stated that Wood was a rotten man, and she wanted nothing more to do with him. From that point on, whenever Wood had the secretaries call her to set up a conference, she flat out told them no. Urged on by Wood, they would tell her that she or my dad had to come down to speak with him. My mom insisted that they never would. And if they wanted one of them to come down, they had to arrange for them to meet with someone else. How cool is that? Eventually they gave up trying. From that point on, anytime one of my parents had to come down for a conference, they got to speak with Mr. Schott - who was as good a man as you'll ever meet.

I saw Wood one day in the summer of 1986, when I was in summer school. We passed each other on the steps. He had this goofy beanie-type hat, and was carrying a small dog. He looked ridiculous.

At the beginning of sophomore year, I had a bizarre statement directed at me from Wood. It was picture day. Throughout the morning, they would call us down by our homerooms to get our pictures taken for the yearbook. I was planning on skipping it. I was actually outside when my homeroom was called. Why? Because it was my lunch break. I was actually down by the river, relaxing and eating a bologna sandwich. I remember wondering how they could possibly continue to take pictures over the lunch periods. Several students left school during lunch. Great planning! Anyway, the homerooms were called alphabetically. As I had Mr. Wheeler, my homeroom was one of the very last to be called. As I was walking back inside to get ready to go to my 5th hour class, they suddenly made a new announcement. Anyone who had yet to get their picture taken was to come down by the gym to have it done. Well, despite my plan to skip it, I decided to go - because it would get me out of class for awhile. So I wandered down to the hallway outside the gym. I saw the photographer. No other students had shown up. So he was just about finished packing his equipment. Mr. Wood was there too.

WOOD: "What do you want?"

ME: "I'm here to get my picture taken."

WOOD: "Where were you when your homeroom was called?"

ME: "I must have been outside."

WOOD: (Yelling) "Wardell, (they always say "dell") if you had a brain, you'd be eatin' lunch!"

Ok, I've wondered about that phrase since the day he said it. If I had a brain, I'd be eating lunch. Now what the hell does that mean??? Now, "if I had a brain" clearly indicates that he thinks I don't, then I would be eating lunch - presumably when my homeroom was called. Well gee, that's exactly what I was doing! So what the hell is he bitching about? But since I didn't have a brain, what should I have been doing instead? It's one of life's mysteries.

Anyway, the photographer unpacked his stuff and took a sloppy picture of me. See Mr. Wheeler's entry for the details on how it looked.

See my entry on Mr. Sustman for a sophomore year run-in with a bush. That minor incident also brought me into Wood's office, once he figured out it was me. I knew it was coming. So I brought my micro-cassette recorder to school, and had it recording when I went in there. Although I still have the tape, I haven't listened to it in years. But the conversation went something like this. As I walked in, Wood Started.

WOOD: "What's the matter sunshine?"

ME: "What?"

WOOD: "What's the matter sunshine?"

ME: "What are you talking about?"

WOOD: "If you're dumb enough to go beating down a bush... I've spoken to the janitor. He says the bush is gonna be ok. If not, you'd be paying $50.00 for a new one."

ME: (Laughing) "I wouldn't be paying for any bush."

WOOD: (Rising, and getting red-faced and bitter) "YES YOU WOULD!"

WOOD: "Get out of here. Carol, give him two!"

See my entry on Laura Fowler for a junior year confrontation with Wood - a confrontation that I won!

Amazingly, I had no detentions at all during my junior year. I guess I finally started to shape up. I followed the same path during my senior year as well. But near the end of the year, he got me.

During the first semester, I had a study hall for 7th hour. So I would get a pass to the library, then walk out the doors and go home. It worked out great. In the second semester, I had Mr. Schwantes' class for 7th hour, and a study hall for 6th hour. I asked Schwantes if I could switch the two classes, as he did teach the same class during 6th hour as well. He let me do it. So again, I was able to go home an hour early each day. It felt great! I just calmly waltzed out the front doors everyday. And no one ever noticed. But one day in April or May, the guidance counselor, Mr. Boehlke wanted to see me for some reason. I was supposed to be in study hall. But he couldn't find me. No one could. So the next day, Wood called me in and screamed, "Where were you?

ME: "I was downstairs."

WOOD: (Disbelieving) "You were supposed to be in study hall or the library."

ME: "Well, I was. Then I was downstairs. It's no big deal."

WOOD: "And I suppose taking down ceiling tiles was no big deal too."

ME: (Confused) "What???"

WOOD: "Carol, give him two!"

Why on Earth he brought up the three-year-old ceiling tile incident is beyond me. It had nothing to do with me skipping study hall. Whatever.

During my senior year, Craig Rysticken told a brief story about Mr. Wood. It was in Mr. Schwantes' sociology class. It was during the timeframe when a bunch of the seniors (including Craig) were betting big bucks on sheepshead games in the cafeteria. Craig actually saw Mr. Wood one evening, outside of school. Apparently a bunch of the teachers had gotten together for some reason - perhaps to play cards. Craig's dad (a teacher) was one of them. So it's probably safe to assume the get together was at Craig's house. Anyway, Craig described Wood as being very drunk, when he came over to him and said something to the effect of, "I'm gonna catch all you guys playing cards." He knew the betting was going on - even though no money was ever exchanged out in the open. Everything was done on paper. But eventually he busted them all anyway. I was just amused that Craig had talked about seeing Wood drunk.

Throughout my years at Washington, there were rumors about infidelity and scandal which surrounded Wood. I don't know all of the details. Perhaps someone else may be able to fill me in. But from what I was told by various people (most recently Meff) was that Mr. Wood was married to fellow Washington teacher Carol Wood. They are the parents to fellow graduate Wyatt Wood. Anyway, at some point, Wood allegedly had an affair with Mrs. Bonino - who was the wife of the gym teacher and football coach, Jerry Bonino. The Wood's divorced, as did the Bonino's. Mrs. Wood went on and married Mr. Schwantes - another teacher at the school. Mrs. Bonino ended up marrying Mr. Wood. That is one hell of a soap opera! I don't know when all these events happened. But I suspect it was in the late 1970's, or early 1980's. I would love to know all the details surrounding this story.

There was also another set of rumors surrounding Mr. Wood. And these rumors were far more scandalous. But in my time at Washington, there were rumors that at some point in the past, Wood may have had various affairs with members of the girls' basketball team. Wood was the coach of the team. I never paid much attention to the rumors. They just seemd too far-out to believe. Besides, I wondered how a man in his position would be able to get away with it, if he had done such things. Nonetheless, the rumors were there.

The rumors came to light again for me years later, when I was working at the video store. We had a regular customer who I'll call "D." She was a very nice woman. For whatever reason, we started talking about Washington High School one evening. I believe her daughter was attending the school at the time. Anyway, she started to complain about Mr. Wood, saying that he was a horrible man. I laughed and said, "I won't argue with you." But the look on her face was one of absolute disgust. It wasn't just a normal dislike of the man. She had a story to tell. She told me that she had been an employee at the Lighthouse Inn (perhaps even when it was the Carlton Inn). Anyway, she looked me in the eye and told me point blank that she had personally witnessed Mr. Wood take a student into a hotel room - perhaps other students at multiple times. She stated that she was sure the girl was underage. Then she used words like "disgusting" and "scum" to describe him. I was shocked. I told her that when I was in school, there were plenty of rumors about the alleged activities which she described. But I also told her I never really believed them. She told me the rumors were true.

For the record, I have absolutely no idea if what she told me was the truth. But there is no denying that she told it to me. And there is also no denying that those same rumors existed during my time in high school. I recently posed this question to several of my former classmates. I wondered if anyone else remembered those rumors. Many of them didn't. But some of them did. I'm going to choose not to believe them. Perhaps I don't want to believe them.

Speaking of the video store, I never ran into him there. However, he did call the store once. Around 1994 or 1995, there was a scandal in the national news about a woman named Kathy Willets. She was allegedly a nymphomaniac. Her husband was a deputy sheriff. She used to prostitute herself while her husband hid in the closet and filmed it. Anyway, after her trial, she ended up doing some porn work. And she had a movie made in which she starred in her own life story. Well, one night Mr. Wood called up and asked if we had it. We didn't. So I had to tell him no. I doubt he knew it was me on the phone. But I knew it was him! Anyone who has ever heard Wood's drawl will never forget it. His voice is unique and unmistakable. I ended up telling a friend of mine who also happens to be a local businessman. This guy runs into Wood from time to time. The next time he saw him, he said he told Wood something like, "Why are you calling T&R Video looking for porno movies?" According to this friend of mine, Wood got very upset and started screaming, "That son of a bitch!" Incidentally, this guy still runs into Wood every once in awhile today. Everytime he sees him, he says something like, "Burt says hi." At that point he says that Wood always launches into a minor tirade and says stuff like, "That son of a bitch! That son of a bitch! Did you know he took down all those ceiling tiles?"

I must say that I do get some perverse pleasure in knowing that after all these years, he still gets riled up by the mere mention of my name. But Jesus, let it go!

I believe in 2001, Wood was arrested for drunk driving. He was stopped near his house - perhaps in his driveway, or the driveway of a neighbor. He was allegedly so drunk that he had sort of run his car into a snowbank, had fallen out, and still thought he was driving when the cops pulled up. I would give a month's pay to have seen that! He was found guilty. The newspaper article is below. I don't know the exact date that this article appeared. But the postmark on the envelope (that a friend had mailed to me) was dated June 11, 2001.

Wood continued to coach the girls' basketball team. I believe he finally retired after the 2003-2004 season. He must have been a very good coach. Because it seems like his teams always won about 90% of their games. I believe the two pictures below are from his last season.

In my opinion, Wood should never have been in a position of authority with kids. I don't think he related well to them. He seemed like he was on some sort of power trip. And for what? Did he need to impress a bunch of kids? Wood dealt with discipline problems through fear. He yelled and screamed until he was red in the face. Eventually, the problem children became completely immune to that sort of nonsense. I know. I was one of them. The first time I had contact with him, he scared me. But by the third or fourth time, he was just a joke - a parody of himself. And when you get to that point, you lose your ability to reach kids. Then what good are you? The problem children are the ones that need the most help and guidance. Yelling at someone, or whipping a throwing star at their head isn't the way to go. It only breeds more anger, resentment and defiance. I wish him nothing but good luck today. I hope he's doing well and enjoying his retirement. But I'm also very happy that he's no longer working with kids.

UPDATE - 8/7/06 - Thanks to Mark Ciha for providing me with this information. Mr. Wood is still coaching. He coaches women's basketball at UW Manitowoc. He also coaches golf there. So I guess he's not fully retired.

UPDATE - 6/5/07 - A member of the class of 1990 (who prefers to remain anonymous) had this to say about Mr. Wood. "I can corroborate the no laughter allowed policy in the lunchroom, as Tina Kust and I were suspended by Mr. Wood from the lunchroom for three days for laughing. We then went to Jason Krings' house for lunch instead, and drank beers." Good stuff!

UPDATE - 10/5/07 - I found this picture of Wyatt Wood. It was apparently taken at a family golf outing. I include it here because standing behind Wyatt appears to be his father, Mr. Wood.