Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Mr. Scriver (Jerome) was a history teacher at Washington High School. I first had him during my freshman year. I think the class was called something like "Civil War - WWII." I had this class for the second semester. That's curious, because in the first semester, I had Mr. Hough for "WWII - Present." Good planning!

I didn't do too good in his class. In fact, I think I got and "F" for both quarters and the final exam. I just didn't care. We had a lot of films in that class. So that meant some good sleeping time. I sat in the row closest to the door, right up against the wall. I talked to no one in that class. To my left was the trio of Shawn Olson, Stacey Erickson and Brenda Linzmeier. The three of them yacked the whole class. Stacey was in the desk next to me. I found her to be incredibly annoying. She was obnoxious. I even recall her yanking my arm from my head, as I was leaning on it (asleep) during a film strip. She got a lot nicer to me at the end of the year though, wanting to know all about the ceiling tile incident. Go figure.

The class was made up of sophomores and freshman. No one sat in front of me. But two desks in front of me sat the brother of fellow freshman Leslie Weber. I think the guy's name was Larry Weber. He slept a lot too. In fact, one day Scriver caught him. He went up to him, very gently nudged him, and told him to come see him after school for a detention.

The following year, I had Scriver again for the entire year. I decided to sit in the exact same seat. It's a comfort zone, you know? Dave Svatek was on my left, in Stacey's chair. Jeff Gordon sat in front of him. As much as I loathed Dave at the time, it was in that class that the two of us started to become friends - a friendship that lasted 15 years.

I don't know if it was the increased social aspect of talking with Dave and Jeff, but my grades in his class improved. I still had trouble with the subject. But at least I passed. In fact, as I was on juvenile probation at the time, in order to extend my curfew (enforced by my social worker and my parents) I had to get C's or better in every class. For someone like me, who didn't give a shit about grades, that was a tall task. In the 3rd quarter, I pulled it off, with one exception - Mr. Scriver's class. Scriver game me a C-. Nonetheless, my social worker was impressed with my effort, and let it slide.

Later on in the year, I switched seats for some reason. I ended up in the row by the windows, in the last seat. For whatever reason, one day Mike Zeman and I developed a system to pass notes. We got some sort of string or yarn, and tied a circle around one of the legs of each of our desks. We would then tape a note to the string, then pull on one end, until the note got to the other. Mike was in the row next to me, but in the first desk. It worked. But it wasn't exactly covert.

Speaking of Mike, I remember writing the word "idiot" on a piece of paper, then attaching it to Mike's back. It took him a long time to notice. I think he ended up punching me for that. It was worth it.

After that year, I had Scriver for summer school. I was making up for the class I failed my freshman year. I think the course ran six weeks. If we missed more than three days, we failed. I ended up ditching just once. Summer school was annoying. But it was a breeze. I was stuck in a class with a bunch of morons from the class of 1990 - none of whom probably graduated. So Scriver "dumbed down" the curriculum. For a guy like me, that was perfect. I could still do virtually nothing, yet coast with a good grade.

After summer school, I never had Scriver again. Although I wouldn't have minded one bit. Scriver was a nice guy. He wasn't loud or demanding. He treated his students with respect. Scriver had a big red beard. In fact, he looked a little bit like Grizzly Adams. In one of my years, the yearbook was dedicated to him. It showed a picture of him from the 1960's. He looked totally different. He looked like some sort of preppie - the kind of guy you'd see leaning up against some books in a library, smoking a big pipe.

I believe Scriver had two kids - who were roughly my age - I think. Today Scriver is one of the few holdouts at the high school. He still teaches there. I wish him nothing but the best.


At Thu Sep 14, 06:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

Amazingly no one has commented on this man in two days. Maybe no one's around the blog due to kids in school or sports.

It could be also that Mr. Scriver was a level-headed guy who didn't step on the kids and taught us with respect. Its kind of hard to come up with amusing stories for someone like that. (Mr. Scriver, if you read this, that comment was meant with respect).

I believe he lived down the block from Scott Stephens. I used to see him when Scott and I would step out of his house for a smoke or whatever. I think his house was right next to Paul Streubel's. I wonder if he liked Paul?!?

At Thu Sep 14, 08:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Mr. Scriver has lived next door to my parents since 1974. I don't believe Scott Stephens or Paul Streubel ever lived in that neighborhood.

I rode to school with Mr. S every day for at least 2 years. He's a great person. When I visit my parents now, I usually talk to Criss (that's what everyone calls him) about politics or history.

A few weeks ago, my brother & I played music for his dughter's wedding. The whole family is doing well.

Although, Ryan, his son who's about 5 years younger than us, had a huge gash in his head from when he accidently hit himself with an axe a few weeks ago. Seriously. It was a freak accident at his landscaping job -- a back hoe ran into him while he was cutting a tree or something. How cool is that? He's fine, but he's gonna a have a wicked scar.

Anyway, Mr. Scriver is the coolest, if only because he's still friends with my dad after 32 years. I gave up after 22.

At Sun Sep 17, 01:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

Fine Greg, you're right. I bet you're always right. Know it all!!!

But seriously folks, I guess it was a different teacher that lived there. I seem to remember that the teacher in question had red hair and a beard. Who else fit the description?

At Mon Sep 18, 05:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

There was that Driver's Ed teacher who had a big red beard.... Mr. Jones?

At Mon Sep 18, 06:44:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Ah yes, Mr. Jones. I'll do him next.


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