WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL TWO RIVERS WI CLASS OF 1989

Friday, March 30, 2007

MRS. SCHMIDT

I have no idea what Mrs. Schmidt's first name is. What I do know is that I had her in fourth grade at Magee.

I moved to Two Rivers during that school year. Prior to that, I'd lived in Manitowoc. My last day of school in Manitowoc was Friday, November 7, 1980. On Monday morning, November 10th, my Two Rivers scholastic career began.

The week before (I believe on Thursday the 6th) my mom picked me up at school, and brought me to Magee so I could meet my new teacher. It was a very brief meeting, hardly worth the bother. It lasted all of five minutes. My mom told Mrs. Schmidt that I was an excellent reader. So Mrs. Schmidt said she'd put me in the "top" reading group. That's about all I can remember. All I knew was that I was NOT happy about moving.

On Monday, I came into class, and was met with the inevitable stares as "the new kid." I was shy enough as it was. So this experience was horrifying. I sat in an empty desk, either in front of, or in back of Kristine Kahlenberg. The only other person I recall is that Randy Klein was on my immediate right.

Mrs. Schmidt introduced me to the class. Then she walked up and down the aisles, making each student stand up. Then she introduced each student to me - as if I could possibly remember all 30 or so of them. The only thing I recall about that is when she got to Wyatt Wood, she mistakenly called him "Woody." Everyone laughed at that.

About a half hour later, I dropped my pencil on the floor. I reached to grab it. Randy Klein also reached for it. But I got it first. He then looked at me and said, "I steal." What an introduction!

As the days and weeks went on, I settled in well enough. I began to hang around with Chris Lohr (Chris Storlie). Chris wasn't really all that well-liked. Subsequently I wasn't Mr. popular either. Chris and I got along great though. Both of us were troublemakers. It's interesting that my first day of class in Two Rivers happened to be the very first day of the second quarter as well. When I got my report card (something that Manitowoc never had, believe it or not) my conduct grade was a "C." I was always amused by that. In those nine weeks, I was a shy, new student who took a little time to adjust. In spite of it all, I still got a "C." My behavior must have been pretty bad those last couple of weeks.

At Christmas, we picked names. We then had to get a present for whoever we picked. I can't remember who I got. But whatever the case, I never told my parents about it. So on the last day of class before Christmas vacation, when we had our party, Schmidt asked me where my present (the one I was to bring) was. I said, "I don't have one." She then got really mad and said, "Then you don't get one either!" Oh well. I was a little bit jealous of Ross Remiker though. He got a Star Wars figure.

By the time the third quarter rolled around, I had become a full-fledged hellion. Mrs. Schmidt and I argued all the time. Rarely did a day go by where the room didn't echo with "Mr. Wardell" at least once. She always said "dell." Of course I would always correct her to, by saying "It's Wardall." I'm sure that infuriated her. One day, after several months of mispronunciation, she finally got it right, yelling "Mr. Wardall!" I then said to her, in a very calm voice, "It's Wardell." My future friend Tom Grassman (who came into our class for reading) was a witness to that exchange, and reminded me of it for years. Mrs. Schmidt probably learned to despise me at that point.

At some point that year, I got in trouble for disrupting class. She then moved my desk to the back of that room, insisting that I was going to stay there until I learned how to behave. I figured I'd be back there a few days. Instead, she left me there for about two months. Eventually she relented, and put me back in the general population. My behavior didn't improve though.

I recall one time where I slowly colored my desktop with my pencil. Lots of people drew on their desks, or wrote small messages or something. I was hell-bent on covering the entire surface area with graphite. I slowly did it over the course of several days. I was about 80% complete before Mrs. Schmidt discovered my handiwork, and blew a gasket. She screamed at me and said I had to stay in at recess to clean it up. She wouldn't let me wash it off either. She forced me to use an eraser. The problem was, save for the little pink end on my pencil, I didn't have an eraser. Thankfully Pookie Bergeon let me have hers. With a little elbow grease, I managed to finish up before recess was over.

She did let me use water once though, when she had me clean the chalkboards. I had the sponge and some water. But instead of a simple up and down motion, I spelled my name on the board, with the water. The class was amused. Mrs. Schmidt made some sort of sarcastic remark about me being "talented."

When I received my report card for the third quarter, I saw that she had given me a "D" for conduct. Could it get any worse? Yes... yes it can.

In the final quarter, I was an absolute terror. I was a major thorn in Mrs. Schmidt's side. If it's possible for a teacher to hate one of her students, I'm sure I was the example. I would routinely arrive to school late - sometimes after 9:00. Why? Because Doug Wall and I would sit and play Atari at my house. Then we'd run around in the cemetery, causing trouble. I think Mrs. Schmidt had the principal, Mr. Willert, call my parents about it. From that point on, I was more-or-less on time.

One day Mrs. Schmidt was explaining an assignment in our math workbooks. Once she was done, we were to start. Well I looked at the page. And it was very simple math in my opinion. So while she was explaining how to do it, I was busy actually doing it. When she was done, she asked us to start. When we were finished, we were to put our workbooks on the back table. Well, I had finished the assignment before she had finished explaining how to do it. So when everyone else started, I got up and put my workbook on the back table. Then she screamed at me. "Were you doing that while I was talking?" I sheepishly said, "Yes." I don't recall what she said after that. But man, she let me have it. Personally, I didn't think it was a big deal. Apparently she thought otherwise. Incidentally, I knew what I was doing though. My answers were right.

In May of that year, Doug Wall and I decided to skip out of school one day. For whatever stupid reason, we thought it would be funny to call the school, and ask to speak to my classmate, Andy Reinhart. I told the office I was Andy's father. The secretary said, "This isn't Andy's dad." I then hung up. A half hour later, the phone rang. I didn't answer it. The next day in school, I walked into class and thought to myself, "I pulled it off!" But when I sat down in my desk, Mr. Willert appeared at the door. He called me over. With Mrs. Schmidt hovering nearby, he asked where I was yesterday. I said I was sick. He then asked me for a note. I didn't have one. The next thing I knew, my parents were being called. I think I was grounded for awhile. Mrs. Schmidt made me stay an hour after school for seven straight days, to make up for the time I'd missed. Did I do any work during that time though? Nope. She just wanted me to be there - like detention.

Near the end of the year, our class (and the other two fourth grade classes) went up to Green Bay to see the circus. So we all headed down the halls, and were lined up outside of Mr. Spatz' art room - where the bus would come to pick us up. For whatever reason, Randy Klein spit on the floor. Mrs. Hanson (the music teacher) caught him, and told Mrs. Schmidt. Again, I think Schmidt overreacted. She absolutely flew off the handle at Randy. She was beside herself with anger. I thought she was going to suffer a nervous breakdown. Poor Randy (who had retrieved some paper towels from the bathroom to clean up his spit) was red in the face, and looked as if he was going to cry. Schmidt continued her tirade by screaming, "You're the worst student I've ever had!." The class stood in stunned silence. Then I broke the tension by asking, "Even worse than me?" In a slightly calmer, but still very loud voice, Schmidt bellowed, "No Burt, YOU take the cake!"

When I received my fourth quarter report card, I discovered that my contact grade was an "F." Yes indeed, I went from a "C" to a "D" to an "F." I'm sure my parents were proud. It also said I was tardy about 20 times. I had no idea they even kept track of that! On the back of the report card it said, "This student is promoted to 5th grade." When Schmidt handed me my report card, she informed me that I was going to have Miss Krause for my fifth grade teacher. She laughed about it, telling me that Krause had been known to take a whip to her students. I'm sure nothing would have pleased her more.

After I left Magee, I never saw Mrs. Schmidt again. I have no idea where she is today. Does anyone?

1 Comments:

At Fri Mar 30, 09:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jeff said...

I wonder if Mrs. Casey, Schmidt, and Westberg go to the same therapist...

 

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