Friday, January 19, 2007


Ms. Meehan (Gwen) was a reading teacher at L.B. Clarke. She dealt with 7th and 8th graders. She was in the same wing with Ms. Lewandowski, Mr. Monka, Mr. Kern, Mr. Fencl and Mr. Trembley.

I was thrown into her class during the third quarter of 8th grade. I was not happy about it. Prior to then, I’d been in Fencl’s class. I believe Lewandowski had the “smart” students, Meehan had the “dumb” students and Fencl had everyone in between. Granted the smart and dumb labels are a little crude, and not entirely accurate. But I think most people will know what I’m talking about. Anyway, although I didn’t really “act up” in Fencl’s class, he and I simply didn’t get along. I was rude and obnoxious to him most of the time. I think he just tired of dealing with me, and had me shipped off to Meehan’s class.

Meehan’s class was somewhat of a culture shock to me. It was filled with all the derelicts from the future class of 1990 – most of whom never graduated. Bob Antonie was one of them. Although Bob wasn’t dumb. He probably didn’t belong in there either. I think the only fellow eighth grader in there was Scott “Gokey” Gauthier. See my entry on him for a story of how I stole his reading book – several times.

Anyway, I was sort of a mute in there at first. Mrs. Meehan was very nice though. And eventually I warmed up to my surroundings. I also thrived in there. Since the lesson plan was sort of “dumbed down” to accommodate the students, I ended up breezing through with A’s. I didn’t really pal around in there with anyone. But I got along with all the guys. We sat in one area of the room. I remember talking with Bob and Chad Lichterman a lot. No one talked to Gokey. The 7th graders despised him as much as us 8th graders did.

Not a whole hell of a lot happened in that class. And surprisingly, despite the students in there, the class was really well-behaved. I do have a couple of memories though.

Our library had “Choose Your Own Adventure” and “Which Way” books. They were the books that would give you options as you read them. It was stuff like, “If you want to take the left road, turn to page 62. If you want to take the right road, turn to page 85.” A lot of the books were paperbacks. And I had a habit of folding the entire book, so it could fit in my pocket. Of course by doing so, it pretty much destroyed the cover and warped the pages. But I did it anyway. Well one day all the guys saw me pull one of the books from my pocket and start to read it. They thought that was hilarious.

One day they opened up the curtain between Meehan and Lewandowski’s rooms. Then Mr. Fencl’s class came in. And we all sat and watched a filmstrip. My old friend Mark Schreiber came from Fencl’s class. So we sat by each other and talked the whole time. And for whatever reason, I had this small piece of wood in my trapper keeper. And I decided to tap it on the desktop, rather loudly. Why? Who knows. But I wanted to see how long I could go before people started looking at me. I think I did it about 20 times before I got a lot of people to turn around in their seats to see what the commotion was. I guess that was entertainment for us.

I did have one negative event take place in her class. On some assignment of mine, I had drawn a small picture of a guy sticking up his middle finger. It wasn’t directed at Meehan. It was just a random drawing. Well, Meehan found it to be inappropriate. So she folded up the paper, stuffed it in an envelope, and addressed it “To the parents of.” It arrived at my house the next day.

Now, over the years, my house received dozens of letters addressed that way. For the most part, my parents didn’t get home until after 5:00 or so. So I always got the mail. And I don’t think my parents ever saw one envelope that came addressed “To the parents of.” They certainly weren’t going to get this one either. She’d sent a pretty brief letter saying something to the effect of how it was inappropriate, and how she feels that they (my parents) could handle this situation better than she could. Well, they never got the opportunity. On a related note, I do remember once being accused by Mr. Vogt and Mr. Slattery of “playing mailman.” How right they were!

After 8th grade, I don’t believe I ever laid eyes on Meehan again. At the time, I think she lived in Manitowoc. In fact, I think she lived by the YMCA, down by the lake. Because I think her house had a deck in the backyard that began to slide down the great big hill, when the ground collapsed a bit.

It looks like Meehan got married (or remarried?) and is now known as Gwen Meehan Braun. She’d be about 80-years-old today, and still lives in the area. Based on some stuff I found on the internet, it appears as if she enjoys playing in bridge tournaments.


At Fri Jan 19, 05:25:00 PM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

I remember none of this...except for the deck sliding down the hill. I'm thinking that was sometime in the early 90's...

She's really in her "80's?" wow, everyone is getting older but me...damn.

At Sat Jan 20, 05:13:00 AM PST, Blogger apeman said...



Post a Comment

<< Home