WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL TWO RIVERS WI CLASS OF 1989

Friday, August 04, 2006

MR. WOOD

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.

24 Comments:

At Fri Aug 04, 10:23:00 AM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I would've bet money this entry was going to be saved for last...

Once again, I'm caught by surprise.

If my math is correct, Bill Wood is now 70 years old...God, can that be right...??

Excellent recall and descriptions, I can't disqualify any of it. This man seemed to hate life.

 
At Fri Aug 04, 02:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

What a sweet, beautiful man. God bless him!

 
At Fri Aug 04, 02:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Greg... I thought you didn't believe in God.

 
At Sat Aug 05, 08:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

Just to clarify a few things...

Ms. Bonino is Mr. Wood's step-daughter. I'm sure they didn't have an affair. Mr. Wood's wife, Dottie, was married to Mr. Bonino and they had, I think, 3 daughers. Mr. Wood had been married to Carol Schwantes, thus....Wyatt. Now Mr. Wood is married to Dottie and Mr. Bonino has been married to someone else for a long time too.

That's what I know.

I saw Mr. Bonino naked once...anyone want to hear that story?

 
At Sat Aug 05, 08:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

No.

 
At Sat Aug 05, 08:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

My thoughts on Wood as a former basketball player? He was, in general, ok, but very manipulative and intimidating. He screamed at us every half-time...you just knew it was coming. If you took too many shots..you were a ball hog, if you didn't shoot enough...why aren't you taking the open shots? As a teenage girl...I didn't know what the hell the guy wanted from me. I certainly wasn't a star player, but worked hard at it and I have always felt like, had I not been so damned intimidated all of the time, I could have excelled more. I think he was a good coach as far as plays and fundamentals and teaching us the game of basketball, but as far as dealing with the emotions and personalities of teenage girls...he was definitely the wrong man for the job.

Mr. Nebel, on the other hand, our softball coach, was just your average Joe. He worked a factory job from 7-3:30 and coached us afterwards. He always treated us with respect and like we were valid human beings, not giddy teenage girls. He demanded that the rules be followed, but made softball fun and we just automatically respected him in return. Softball memories are some of my fondest from high school thanks to Mr. Nebel.

 
At Sat Aug 05, 09:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Speak for yourself Brad! Paula, Mr. Bonino is next on my list. Look for his entry on Monday. I look forward to your comments.

Thanks for the clarification Paula. I'm sure he wouldn't have an affair with his stepdaughter. I always thought she looked too young for Mr. Bonino anyway.

So Wood DID have an affair with Mr. Bonino's wife. But it was Dottie Bonino, and not the substitute teacher, Mrs. Bonino that some of us lusted after. Then Wood divorced the future Mrs. Schwantes, while Dottie Bonino divorced Mr. Bonino. Then Dottie Bonino and Mr. Wood married.

I think I got it now!

 
At Sat Aug 05, 10:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Ok, I have an anonymous comment to post. The person who E-mailed this to me didn't want his or her name attached to the comment.

By the way, if anyone else wants to leave an anonymous comment about Mr. Wood, or anyone else for that matter, feel free to E-mail it to me. I won't reveal your name on the blog.
--------------------------------


Ok, so you nailed Wood perfectly.

I had nowhere near the amount of run-ins with the man that you did, but the contact I had with him was
miserable. He was a mean, manipulative, sociopath. He was power-hungry, and an egomaniac.

No defense is going to stand up as far as I'm concerned. The guy was really an asshole.

 
At Sat Aug 05, 11:21:00 AM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

Wow.

If Ze Furer Wood reads this, Tex, he's gonna' buy a gun and shoot you right between the eyeballs.

 
At Sat Aug 05, 01:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Naw, he's a sweetie. Meff, you talk as if Wood had no sense of humor. I'm sure he can handle the little bit of mild teasing dished out on this site. He's a big ol' cuddly teddy bear!!

 
At Mon Aug 07, 09:12:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I have another anonymous comment to post. This one also comes from a graduate of WHS.
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Your blog entry for Mr. Wood was right on. I hated the fact that he thought he had to intimidate people to get the respect he felt he needed. My husband had MANY MANY run ins with the man, so many in fact that when we saw Mr. Wood many years ago, he made a reference to the fact about something about him being in detention or his name being in the daily log for being in trouble.

One thing that was funny when my husband was in high school him and his brothers called and said they couldn't get to school because they had a flat tire and no other way to get there. Well, Mr Wood wasn't going to have that because he knew they were going to be skipping out. Big surprise. Anyway, Mr. Wood personally came out to their house and picked them up and brought them to school. My husband was infamous for skipping out and getting in trouble with Mr. Wood. He had 22 detentions right at the end of school and had to make those up before graduation. I just had to share that with you, because it sounds like you knew him well also.

 
At Mon Aug 07, 01:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Yet another anonymous comment has come in. Here it is.
-------------------------------

Fortunately, I never had any run-ins with Mr. Wood. But I did think he was an ASS just like everyone else does... Keep up the good work.

 
At Mon Aug 07, 07:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger MarkC said...

I sort of liked the guy! I only had a couple interactions with him, but he always seemed to match a consequence with the crime.

I once said "fuck that" to Mr. Neustader in band and received a 1 day vacation. Thought that was fair. I only received detentions for other minor altercations from Wood... all more than fair. When I was escorted back to school after my suspension by my parents, Wood was totally respectful and we all had a decent discussion. I just wonder if the people that hated the man were the students who were constantly in trouble?? I'd assume so!

I would like to hear an opinion of Mr. Wood from when he was in his prime. I'm not assuming he was different, better, or worse. I'm just curious.

After graduation I hooked up with Wood playing league golf in TR. He was a decent golfer and a fun guy on the course. I also ran into him a few more times playing in golf events around Manitowoc County. He was always very friendly. A couple beers, no tie and a round of golf can certainly relax any man.

I've heard similar rumors to those mentioned. But do you really think a man in his profession would do such things in his own community? How could you possibly get away with the things mentioned?? I guess I can believe that a man in his profession would participate in such acts... but in his own community where EVERYBODY knows him?? I doubt it. How could he have never been ratted out?? I have a feeling that when Wood put the hammer down on trouble-making students they attempted to retaliate with such slander. I certainly may be wrong.

I feel some ranting and raving coming on...

I am a little surprised that he didn't take a little more heat from parents when it came to coaching. It bothers me slightly when I hear of 14-18 year old girls or boys getting demoralized and screamed at about performance in a freakin' GAME! It's a goddamn GAME! Yes, it's awesome to win state, but at what price. This is not meant to be a slam on Mr. Wood, but at HS coaches in general. Wood apparently did his job, and did it well... I guess. Think of what coach Nebel would have done if PJ would have struck out or committed an error at a critical time in a softball game. I see only good things... consider it a learning experience. Now that's a COACH! I can't imagine the stress of being in critical game situations and having to perform under such scrutiny. I'd imagine you softballers performed to your ability with minimal stresses coming from the bench with coach Nebel watching contently while giving you that feeling of confidence. John Daly hits tee shots in the trees that cost him thousands... his response is... "it's just a fuckin' game".

The stresses of HS sports bothers me just a little. Bettendorf, the district that I teach in, has contact with their football skill position players nearly year-a-round. It's to the point where you nearly have to specialize in or choose only one sport and work on it all year. I have a good friend coaching varsity hoops in the area. We've played golf only twice all summer because he's running camps/practices with his basketball players nearly every day. He gets pissed when their summer baseball games conflict with his practices. That is amazing to me. Sorry to get off on this tangent... but the stresses that teen athletes are subjected to seems way too extreme. Bettendorf won 5 state championships in 2004-2005 which, among others, included boys hoops and football. Hell, we have a weight room that dwarfs that of UWO's. Those athletes will have great memories. 18 credits and a part time job at the University of Iowa will be a cakewalk after the sacrifices of the previous 4 years of HS. Maybe I'm too critical. I'd love to hear the opinions of those who were REALLY in the trenches of HS sports. I figured the "Mr. Wood" entry would be a good place to talk about such pressures.

 
At Mon Aug 07, 10:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Hear, hear, Mark. I teach piano to a lot of kids who are in sports. They are always tired. They never practice piano enough because they have sports practice 3 hours a day, plus games. One of my kids said they have 2 hour practice after school, plus an hour before school for "conditioning." For fucking volleyball!!! I asked why, and she said, "The coach wants us to be more competitve this year." Of course!!!!! Not because it's what's best for the students, or anything. It's just so they can WIN MORE GAMES!!! Sorry kids, but that's just plain asinine.

Fuckin animals.

 
At Tue Aug 08, 06:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Yet another anonymous comment has come in. Here it is.
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Sorry never got in a "lick of trouble" with Mr. Wood. Just saw how he treated other students. I think that Mr. Wood enjoyed the power he had back then. And being a childless, (not by choice), happily married adult, the throwing star incident that Burt mentioned was "hair on neck raising" scary!!!! Just my opinion.

 
At Tue Aug 08, 12:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Ok, I suppose it's been awhile since I had anything to say. I'm really having trouble recalling much about any of my teachers. It's disconcerting to me actually. Certainly I must have been influenced by some of them!? I think maybe I just got by, by keeping my mouth shut and flying under the radar most of the time. Maybe that's why I'm so ornery now. I think I had a pretty good feel for when things were going to go badly and got the hell out the way! Left the mayhem up to other people. :)
I have two Mr. Wood stories I can add. Once, in our sophmore year Mr. W made a big fuss about throwing away the silverware in the lunch room. So some of the gang I hung around with from the class of 1987 started stealing forks. This was also the year that Mr. W made a very inappropriate and ignorant comment to one of those friends. So, one night under the cover of darkness and the bravado of drunkeness we went and stuck a couple hundred (or so) forks in his front yard. Quite the rebels!!!
Our senior year, I occasionally wore t-shirts with what I thought were pretty clever messages on them. I had one that said,"See Dick drink, See dick drive, see dick die...(and on the back) don't be a dick. Mr. Wood made me go home and change.
That's all I got!
Oh, and of course I was influenced by Coach Nebel. He was definitely a father figure to me. He had a gift for making each of us feel like we were important just for being who we were. He loved his family and it was obvious that's why he worked so hard. It was a great example to set. He could get mad but that's not what motivated us...we wanted to do well in his eyes. And that meant using our brain and our hearts first...our skills and abilities were secondary. But we always did well. (Usually thanks to Becks!)

 
At Tue Aug 08, 02:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Erin, I'd like to hear about that inappropriate and ignorant comment. Please, do tell!

 
At Tue Aug 08, 05:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

My interactions with Mr. Wood during high school were somewhat strange. He was my mom’s boss and my parents were sociable with the Woods. My dad played golf with Mr. Wood as well. Wyatt and I hung out while at Clarke and the first year or two in high school before we took different paths. So I saw Mr. Wood a lot outside of school. I never expected that to buy me any favor with the man and that’s exactly how it was. Mr. Wood didn’t play favorites, at least not with me. I never had a closed door interrogation in his office but I got yelled at enough. He once yelled at me so loudly during lunch that the entire cafeteria went perfectly silent after he was done. My offense: I was laughing too loud.

I saw Mr. and Mrs. Wood about 7 years ago. I had a long conversation with Mr. Wood. He was genuinely interested in how my life had turned out, what I did for a living, hobbies, etc. He told me what Wyatt was up to at the time and how he (Bill, not Wyatt) was enjoying retirement. It was a very pleasant conversation. He seemed different and more relaxed. Apparently, retirement does that to you.

Except for a couple of minor issues, I had no problem with Mr. Wood. I understand that a person in his position can't be the Ned Flanders-type. High school-aged kids in their rebellious years would have someone like that for lunch. However, I do believe that he could have toned down his image as a disciplinarian and still gained the respect of most of the students.

I know my mom enjoyed her job until Mr. Wood retired. From what I saw, he treated her well and with respect. That goes a long way in my book.

 
At Tue Aug 08, 05:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

I forgot to add this.

Burt, when read your take on Mr. Wood and saw "Carol, give 'em three!", I laughed my ass off for a few minutes.

That was kind of a standing joke in our house when someone would fuck up. My sister used to say it all the time when I was getting yelled at by Carol.

Good times!

 
At Tue Aug 08, 08:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jeff G said...

brandon, i had one of those closed door interrogations - it had to do w/those infamous sheepsheads games down in the cafeteria. nothing ever came of it for me - no detentions, no punishment, no nothing - maybe colleen (my mom) next door had something do to w/that. hell, nothing wrong w/some card playing- bill was likely upset he couldnt join in.

like mark c., i've golfed many times w/bill. tuesday night league. saw him again tonight.

that brings to mind the only time i ever hit someone on the course - well sort of. tee'd off on the 1st hole of emerald hills (the former fairview in two rivers), and hit a screamer no more than 20 feet off the ground. tons of top spin and pulled it to the left. as my ball decended with force, a cart was coming down the hill off the 4th hole tee box, and collided out of site in the gulley. when i approached, it was bill wood, and the ball was stuck in his windshield. shit, if the windshild wasnt up, he may have been smacked in the forehead. i wouldnt wish that on anyone.

i dont believe much of the rumors, and as mark said, why would some one in that position risk so much? just my thought.

 
At Wed Aug 09, 06:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger PJ said...

I couldn't agree more with the sentiments about how serious hs sports are taken...and for what? I think that hs sports can be a valuable discipline tool and can teach a lot of useful lessons for later in life. But, we are only kids and teenagers once and to take so much of the free time away is kind of tragic. Mark, I hope that there are a lot more teachers out there like you who are trying to foster our kids in maintaing their youth.

As for a few of the sentiments about the rumor-mill...think of it this way. A few of you are quick to dispell the rumors because "who'd risk such a high profile position and could they get away with it"? It happens every day, people. A lot of very important people do stupid things and take major risks everyday. One of the other arguments for the rumors being false is that this is such a small community and how could it happen? It could happen just for that reason. Small community, small thinking and things can be overlooked very easily.

I'm not saying the rumors are true or false...I just don't seem to have as much faith in human nature as some of you. I think people can be stupid and greedy and unfortunately, those horrible qualities win out more often than "doing the right thing".

 
At Wed Aug 09, 10:16:00 AM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

I have no idea if the rumors are true; in fact, this blog is the first I've heard them. However, child sexual abuse from teachers is way too real. Recently, a band director in WI got send away for several decades for having an affair with a student. He had a wife, kids, a great job, and he threw it all away. Why'd he risk it? Who knows. But being in a small town doesn't protect anyone.

Now regarding Bill W., my only run-in is amazingly similar to Brandon's. I sent it to Burt in an Email as follows, and he suggested I post it:

My only run-in was in the cafeteria, 10th grade, maybe. Someone told a joke and I was laughing. Apparantly, I laughed too hard for Mr. Wood's standards. So, he brought me out into the hall, and said, "Always have to be the entertainer, don't you? What would happen if I let EVERYONE act like that?" I wanted to say, "Then, uh, everyone would be... um... laughing?" I just kind of shrugged and he let me back to my seat.

I thought it was a pretty boring story, but it's interesting how similar it is to Brandon's!!! Laughing musicians -- nip it in the bud!!!

 
At Wed Aug 09, 06:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

Yeah, I hear ya Greg. If they would have let us band people take an inch, we'da taken a mile. We were so out of hand. It was total chaos in the bandroom; the drinking, debauchery, the sacrificing of animals and young virgins. God I miss band!

 
At Fri Aug 11, 01:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

There were virgins in band?

 

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