Sunday, August 31, 2008

St. Therese Catholic School, Fourth Grade, Mr. Wunderlin, and Gregg Jehl

As I've mentioned before, when the second semester of 4th grade rolled around, my mother had us moved over to St. Therese Catholic School.

I don't know exactly why - it's on my list to ask my mom about one of these days. I know it wasn't because of Mrs. Crowley or anything going on at Indian Village. I'm guessing that her Catholic conscious got to her...but who knows...You would think that the weekly CCD classes would have been enough for her but noooooooooooo.

Going from Indian Village to St. Therese was quite a change for me. At Indian Village, you would have multiple teachers and classrooms for each grade. Here, there was one classroom and one teacher for each grade. Also, there was no cafeteria. You ate your hot/cold packs in your room at your desk.

My first teacher (which was in fourth grade) at St. Therese was Mr. Bill Wunderlin.

What can I say about Mr. Wunderlin? I wish I had a picture of him to show you because it would speak better to him than I ever could.

He was a tall (but not too tall), thin man, who almost seemed out of place at my catholic grade school. He was friendly - but quiet. He was a man fond of routine, stability, and discipline.

Every afternoon, as we were preparing for the end of the school day bell to ring, he would put on his overcoat and reach for his black, pointy, tall umbrella. There was a hat also somewhere in this equation however, not once did I see him put it on while in the building (a sign of respect - I'm sure).

Mr. Wunderlin was passionate about two things. First, he was really into local theater. I don't know if he was an actor or a behind the scenes guy. I just know that lots of his free time was spent doing theater stuff. Second, there were these cloth banners he used to design and sew for the church. They were colorful, meaningful, and just generally stunning.

I have a confession to make. Mr. Wunderlin was the first teacher to ever indulge me re: one of my classroom crushes.

Let me explain.

Every so often, Mr. Wunderlin would rearrange our desks. I'm sure this was a way for him to keep us on our toes.

How would he decide who would sit where?

That's where the class came into the picture. He gave each one of us a grid to complete. Our job was to take all of the names of the kids in the class and place them in an order that we thought was "good" or "right".

So, when I completed my grid, I put myself next to the hunkiest guy in the room (Gregg Jehl). I put my friend Tiena Spears close by, along with the guy she was "going steady" with - Bobby Braun.

Gregg was blond, athletic in a baseball kind of way, and just hot (for your typical fourth grader that is). I wasn't usually into blond guys (Tom Stinson - my crush at Indian Village - brunette all the way) so I attribute this to turning over a new leaf. A catholic school leaf I guess.

I put my on-again/off-again good friend/arch-enemy Alice Jordan - in the opposite corner, next to the goobers (who shall remain nameless - because they may be reading this and they may not be goobers anymore).

I remember - just like it was yesterday - when Mr. Wunderlin picked my grid as the floor plan for our new desk arrangements.

Inside, I was all lit up. Outside, I pretended to protest - just like everyone else.

You see, when Mr. Wunderlin selected a student's grid, he would never share with the class, whose grid it was. Not like I was going to volunteer that information. No sireeee... I was fairly new at the school and I had no intention of making enemies out of everyone in this one room class.

Photo: Taken October 1977. Four fourth grade friends out at recess, on the playground of St. Therese Catholic School. Old church which has now been demolished, sits in the background.

(Back and left to right) Mary Coffee, Kristina Frazier, Theresa Dodane. (Front and center) Alice Jordan.


Sheila said...

Wow! Small world. I went to Indiana Village at the same time as you and I would have been in 3rd grade from 76/77 and 4th from 77/78. I also remember Mrs Crowley.... Small world in deed.

Kristina said...


Wow back at ya! Drop me a line via email...Would love to catch up with you - figure out if we knew each other or at least ran in the same playground circles :).


Colleen said...

Our paths cross again...when I was in high school, I worked at the Burger King on Bluffton road with Tiena Spears!

Kristina said...

I loved Tiena Spears. Any idea what she's doing today?! Her family used to live on Allegany...I think? Her mom had a ceramics shop and in girl scouts, we had the opportunity to make stuff there. My first thing was a ceramic frog for he kitchen sink that would hold an SOS pad :). Tiena also had a really hunky, older step-brother - Brad.

Oh my - so much more to say on Tiena. :) She'll get at least one entire blog entry...I'm sure of it.

ida said...

i went to waynedale elementy when you where in 4th i was in 3rd grade. i had just moved out there to the waynedale area from lincoln elementry school area. there was a girl named michelle downing or downy she had went to st thresea too. we used to go to the fests and have a fun time there. the liberary was nearby and i would ride my bike threw the st thresea area to get to it.