Monday, November 20, 2006


Mrs. Fischer was the French teacher at Washington High School. She also taught some English courses as well.

Fischer was a younger teacher - perhaps even in her late-20's when I entered high school. I had her for French class during 4th hour. I found her to be one of the nicest teachers I'd ever had.

As I recall, Mrs. Fischer wore the type of glasses that "curved upward" on the sides. It gave her a sort of stereotypical "librarian" look.

French class was a mixture of all grades - freshmen through seniors. I recall that she told us that at that time, the high school only offered two years of French, as opposed to the four years of Spanish. But she was hoping that coinciding with our class, they would offer a third and fourth year. I believe her wish came true.

I enjoyed French class for awhile. It was sort of interesting learning another language. But I also recall feeling terribly shy and withdrawn in that class. Perhaps it was the ever presence of juniors and seniors in there as well. I just felt intimidated. I'm trying to recall what other freshmen were in there. But the only ones I can remember are Robin Richmond and Jason Anderson - two people I didn't particularly care for. Jodi LeClair may have been in there as well. I don't know. All I know is that I was a virtual mute in that class for the entire year.

One thing that does stand out from that class is a senior by the name of Sarah Noll. She may have been the daughter of Mr. Noll, the drivers' education teacher. But I don't know that for sure. Anyway, I was totally smitten by this girl. She sat across from me for most of the year. She was a major hottie. Her senior picture does not do her justice at all. And believe it or not, early in the year, she actually asked me for a picture. And what's even more hard to believe is that she wasn't even teasing me or being mean. She seriously wanted a picture. Was it a romantic thing? I hardly think so. She had a boyfriend named George. I think she was just being friendly.

Since I brought her up, I do have another memory of Sarah Noll. In that same French class was another senior named Shawntel Hooper. She and Sarah were best friends. They were also cheerleaders. And the two of them had an interesting little ritual. We had French class during 4th hour. And we had lunch B - which divided our class. Well, during lunch, Mrs. Fischer would leave, and lock her door. Therefore, when we came back from lunch, we usually had to stand around and wait for a minute or two, until Fischer came back and let us in. Fischer's classroom was right next to the stairs. Well, on the days that Sarah and Shawntel were in their cheerleader outfits, they would stand up against the window to the stairwell, lift their skirts and press their butts against the window - essentially putting on a show for anyone walking up and down the stairs. Please note, they weren't showing off their bare butts, or even their underwear. They did have their cheerleader shorts - or whatever the hell you call them, on underneath. Nonetheless, it was a nice view, to be sure. One day Fischer actually caught them doing it, and in a confused voice said, "What are you doing???" The two of them just pulled away and giggled. I think Fischer sort of shook her held in bewilderment.

As the year progressed, I sort of got lost in her class. She did a lot of stuff on the board. And I was blind as a bat. So I missed a lot. Oh yes, I'd had glasses since first grade. But would I wear them? Hell no! I got contact lenses during my junior year. I had lasik surgery in 2002. But both of those events couldn't help me in freshman year French class. I may have gotten a B for the first quarter. But I think I got C's and D's the rest of the way.

Sometime around Christmas, Mrs. Fischer (in French) told us about some sort of ordeal she'd had getting her family's Christmas tree up in their house. When she was all done telling it, she asked someone to interpret what she'd said. Jason Anderson answered. Thankfully she then described the story again - this time in English.

I recall another story she told us. It was something about her husband putting his shoes in the refrigerator. I can't recall the details on that one. Although I'm not sure I want to either.

Sometime during the school year, she brought in a French foreign exchange student that we had in school. Fischer told us that the girl was really shy or something. I got the impression that she really had to twist this girl's arm to come and speak to our class. Prior to her coming, Fischer metnioned that the girl was cutting her stay short, and was heading back to France. Some student (perhaps class of 1986's Dan Peterson - brother of 1989 graduate Shane) asked why she was leaving. Fischer sort of paused, then said, "Don't ask her that." The girl did come and speak to our class. And she seemed quite at ease actually.

In the spring of 1986, we had the Foreign Language Fair. This is something that the high school puts on every year. And every Spanish and French student has to contribute some sort of project. I ended up doing some really lame report on the Statue Of Liberty - which was a gift from the French. I slopped it together at the last minute. Since it wasn't really a "project" Mrs. Fischer said she couldn't display it at the fair - which I was happy about, since it was embarrassing anyway. But she did accept is as an assignment.

Also that spring I had some sort of freshman language course with Fischer. I felt much more at ease in there. I sat next to Bob Schmidt for the semester. Cindy Rohrer and Chris Thee shared the table in front of us. He and I got along pretty good. Jay Jiminez (a junior who had failed the class as a freshman) sat at the table behind me. He was an asshole. Because I often wore white T-shirts, he'd call me "Whitey." However, during the last two weeks of school, he was really nice to me. Why? Because I'd gotten into trouble with that whole ceiling tile incident. And he was impressed by that. Incidentaly, Jay died several years ago. I'm not sure what happened to him. Kevin Dehne found out what happened. But in his own words, he was very drunk when he was told the circumstances. And today he can't remember any of the details.

Other people in that class were Chip Pelnar, Mark Gordon, Rod Lumaye, Ben Franco, Jeff Bodwin, Ken Bartz, Jeff (Meff) Messerman and Kim Nokes. See my entries on Ben, Mark, Ken, Meff, and Bob Schmidt for other stories from that class.

A few times during the semester, we had to give speeches. I recall that Rod Lumaye must have been very nervous or something prior to one of his speeches. Because his shirt was soaked in the armpit area. It was so wet that people all around him noticed - and whispered about. I felt sorry for Rod - for I could relate. I too had that problem from time to time. Thankfully with time, that problem has completely vanished for me. Perhaps it has with Rod too.

At some point, Mrs. Fischer gave us a simple assignment - describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The next day, she brought in the necessary ingrediants and the proper untensils to do it. She then read some of the papers - and followed the instructions 100% literally. The results were pretty funny. For instance, when one of the papers said, "put the peanut butter on one slice of bread," Fischer set the jar on top of the bread. In the end, only one or two of the papers had specific instructions on how to do it properly. When it was all said and done, she invited people to come up and take the seven or eight sandwiches she'd made. I recall Jeff Bodwin grabbing one. Ken Bartz also grabbed one. But Ken ended up grabbing one that had nothing on it.

One day Mrs. Fischer passed out a potato to everyone in the class. She instructed us to write a creative story about the potato. She read some of them in class. I remember Meff's story being about the fact that his potato was upset at his appearance, and he planned to jump onto a knife, ending it all. Anyway, on that day, Jay Jiminez somehow got a hold of Ben Franco's potato, and broke it in two. I kid you not, Mrs. Fischer crouched down next to Jay, and told him that the next day, he had to bring a new potato to class. He laughed and said, "Are you serious?" She was. He never actually did bring a replacement potato in. I have no idea what repercussions (if any) he received.

In my sophomore year, I took French II. I was equally as lost. I'm not sure why I took it. But I did. Although this time I didn't feel quite so awkward in there. I sat next to clas of 1988's Richard Tess for most of the year. Pete Flora and Jenny Malley were also in that class. See Pete's entry for a brief encounter I had with them.

See my entry on Ms. Neveau for a junior year encounter with Mrs. Fischer.

After my sophomore year, I didn't have Mrs. Fischer in a class again. After high school, she ended up divorcing at some point. Her ex-husband was involved in local politics in some capacity. I saw her several times at the video store. I rented to her and her daughters quite a bit. They were always very nice. At some point in the early-1990's, there was an article in the paper about one of her daughters. I believe she had some sort of cancer. It may have been leukemia. I remember asking her about her daughter, and she said that she was doing great. So hopefully all is well. Since I moved away from the Manitowoc area, Mrs. Fischer is the only teacher I have come in contact with - pre-blog anyway. I saw her at Walmart back in 1999 or 2000. I was with my wife (or perhaps fiance at the time). She remembered me. She even hugged me - the first teacher to EVER hug me. I think she even hugged my wife too. That was interesting. She was still very nice.

Today Mrs. Fischer is remarried, and is now known as Mrs. Charles. And she still teaches at the high school.


At Mon Nov 20, 06:33:00 PM PST, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

I was crazy about Mrs. Fischer. She was too cool for school, and the best-looking teacher I ever had. At least, I thought so.
I stopped by to see her when I moved back from Boston. She was still amazingly cool. I think you got the facts right about her daughter -- I think she had leukemia.

Funny you mentioned Jay Jiminez. He was the only person to ever knock me unconscious. In 6th or 7th grade, he slammed my head into a brick wall outside of school. Knocked me out. He did this because Jeff Salstrand told him that I'd called him (Jay) a faggot. I guess he was sensitive.

I didn't know he died. I hope he didn't suffer.

At Tue Nov 21, 08:24:00 AM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I didn't know you were knocked unconcious by Jay...although, it explains a lot actually.

When do you expect to recover?

At Tue Nov 21, 08:34:00 AM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

UPDATE - Meff and Greg spoke on the phone last night. I agree with Meff. If you called Jay a fag, you got what you deserved! HA!

At Tue Nov 21, 11:42:00 AM PST, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

Funny thing is, I never called him a fag. Salstrand made it up. The next day, he said, "I didn't know he was gonna beat the crap out of you!!!"

I think Salstrand now works for the pentagon.

At Tue Nov 21, 01:17:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Does the pentagon have offices in Iowa? If so, you might be right.

At Tue Nov 21, 07:56:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

That sounds very Salstrand-like. Guy was such a frickin' weasel.

At Fri Nov 19, 04:14:00 PM PST, Blogger Lisa S said...

Mrs Charles lives in Kewaunee now. She was around my neighborhood last year and was going door to door with some political stuff. As my husband open the door I passed it and looked at the person and then came back and asked Mrs Fisher? She just lit up and said I was. I told her who I was and she blushed. Then gave me her address and we discussed life! Still a sweet lady!


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