Roger Wixom Sibley

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10/31/16 04:12 PM #3    

Richard Slater

jim, thx for sharing your memories about roger.  a courageous admission.  inexplicably, memories of roger will pop into my head from time to time.  i still have vivid memories of stopping guys from harrassing him in the "A" and "C" wing halls on a number of occasions throughout our HS years.  my lingering regret, looking back from a distance of many years, is that i falied to do more to be a friend when he needed it and to put a stop to the bullying.  he's been gone 10 years now and yet i still think about it and remain bothered by it.  i'd like to believe that once he cleared the slippery and sometimes treacherous decks of our HS and college years he found love and acceptance and was able to form lasting and meaningful friendships.   rich slater

10/31/16 06:15 PM #4    

Beverly Fairfax Griffith

I remember Roger from elementary school but lost track of him in High school. I must have had blinders on because I missed the bullying in HS.I do remember him being different and teased in elementary but was insecure myself and not strong enough to stand up for him. I am saddened to hear of his passing.

10/31/16 08:14 PM #5    

Roma Dehr (English Teacher)

Beautifully written, James Riley.

Roma Dehr - Seaholm English teacher.


10/31/16 10:24 PM #6    

Ginny Brunke (Brunke)

I can only hope that our schools address this problem of bullying better now than when we were at SHS.
I know that they often still do not.

A couple of times I was bullied but I guess I was a strong enough character that they gave up on me.

Three years ago a girl in my senior Girl Scout troop was being bullied. Her father died very suddenly of a heart attack--the bullies started texting that the girl had murdered him! News travels fast and my daughter's neighbor's son told his mother about the texts. She made a call. Almost immediately another father in the neighborhood took control of the situation (texts) and visited the bully's home. He just happened to be with the Michigan State Police. My young friend and her mother are doing well now.


11/02/16 04:10 PM #7    

Judy Elaine Tower ((Kajander))

Jim, thank you for your heartfelt post of high school memories.  I too, was shocked and saddened to learn how many classmates have passed, both known and unknown to me.  I too, flew under the radar and was not involved in school spirit and activities but rather worked part-time jobs.  Our class was large compared to other high schools at that time yet I'm still taken aback by how many names I don't know.  I did not know Roger Silbey     but your courageous post brought tears to my eyes and traumatic memories of being bullied myself in third grade.  In first grade, I was seated at the back of the room at Quarton Elementary and desperately needed glasses.  Unfortunately, I did not get glasses until the end of the school year and did not learn to read.  In second grade, the teacher forced me to write with my right hand even though I am left-handed.  I wrote backwards and upside-down and was quickly labeled "slow" by the teacher and "stupid" by the kids.  In third grade it got worse and I was beat up after school several times walking home.  It took many years to overcome feelings of not being smart and competent.  Also in third or fourth grade, I shamefully remember when beautiful Ellen Bishop was a new student and I called her Hazel Bishop (the cosmetic company) to be mean, feel powerful, or get attention from peers?  I was punished by the teacher and swore to myself that being hurt doesn't warrant hurting back.  It's amazing how memories can remain so vivid.  I have been a clinical school social worker for 35 years and bullying seems to grow worse over time with social media and the crude, nasty political discourse.  Like myself, many bullies who have been bullied try to temporarily feel better by hurting others.  My career life work has certainly been shaped by my childhood experiences and chaotic family of origin.  

As I age, I'm trying to reach out more and connect to old acquaintances.  I recently looked up Becky Blazo Berube in Marquette and had the great pleasure of connecting with Janice Poplack in Houston.  Jim, Doug White told me a long time ago that you had a marina in Montague.  My husband's family has a cottage on Lake Michigan near Stony Lake that we go to every summer.  I regret that I let the years pass and did not contact you.  However, this summer I am going to look you up in Muskegon.  Thanks again Jim for your courage, inspiration, and compassionate words.  I look forward to connecting with everyone at the 50th!


11/03/16 07:03 PM #8    

Charles Jeffrey McLean

Thanks to everyone who has taken up the bullying theme. I was mercilessly bullied from 1st grade through 9th grade in parochial school. I begged my father to let me change schools. And when I was in 9th grade, he finally said that if I got straight As, I could choose my school.

I did exactly that, vowing to make a new start for myself.

In 10th grade I moved to Seaholm as an “unknown quantity.” There, I was far from the top of the social ladder, but also far from the bottom. I found myself somewhere in the middle for the first time in my life. I wasn’t a national merit scholar or a star athlete, but at least people treated me as a person—not a thing to be kicked, punched, or beaten.

By the simple act of changing schools, I became a person. I made make friends, I got along with others, I dated girls, and I began to have a life.

Not judged by my undisclosed past, I began to advance on the basis of merit and ability. I wasn’t extraordinary. But I made it into the National Honor Society, and later into Phi Beta Kappa. I earned a B.A. with honors and distinction from the University of Michigan and left Brown University with a 4.0 average and a Ph.D. Undeterred by my past, I’ve gone on to enjoy a successful writing and editing career.

I agree that there’s no excuse for bullies. But some who have faced bullying have used that experience to advance their lives. They’ve learned that they can survive—even in a tough world. I want to thank everyone in the Seaholm Class of 1967 for making that possible for me.

And since this is really about Roger Sibley, I hope that he found that something similar was possible for him, after the bullies had gone their separate ways. 

11/03/16 07:18 PM #9    

Bill Canning

Judy Jim et al  thank you all for your comments an inspiring words. As we the 50th committee are still in the planning stages I encourage all of us to connect like Judy just stated with those from our class who are still on the missing classmates.  The more individuals that we can find and ask to  create profiles, whether they attend the 50th or not, on this website the better.  The  In Memory section on our website has generated these heartfelt words. Just imagine all of the conversations and reconnections we each can make over the next 11 months until next fall at our 50th weekend.  Good health to all.  






05/19/17 10:29 AM #10    

Patricia Smith (Bostwick)

Like Beverly, I went to elementary school with Roger and lost touch with him in high school.  At Pembroke, he was well loved and got a lot of support when he had heart surgery in I think 4th grade.  Living in the area for much of my adult life, having kids at Seaholm and being a counselor, I've run into a lot of Seaholm alums.  It's amazing how many people relate having felt  completely anonymous and outcast, or suffering in silence, and am generally surprised at being remembered.  It's astounding to me that anyone thinks that stuffing 2000 teenagers into one 3 grade high school was ever a good idea, and even moreso, that thinking still goes on.  I've experienced high schools with graduating classes of 39-180 compared with the nearly 700 we had, and I have a real bias toward the smaller schools.  One positive trend has been the abiltiy to communicate and the value of empathy, with kids today really reaching out to kids like Roger.  It breaks my heart to think of anyone being unkind to him, and I hope with all of you that he found the love and support that he so deserved.

05/20/17 02:43 PM #11    

Alan Carter (Carter)

Bullied, I remember being more willing to defend others rather than myself. When the chess club was given letter sweaters, the jocks BROKE the instep of our chess champion. I was willing to dress as the Sable Samuri Queen for the human chess game to immortalize the importance of the chess team (Chance Theatre, the unofficial theatre group). The White Aspergus played against us while our best two chess players had a side game to determine the human game (Harry Potter movie felt like my childhood...). White flour and my seltzer bottle threatened the gym floor and got our sponser Mrs. Chow in serious trouble. I have announced in church that I am claiming the term Cissy to describe a CIS (gender identfying with our birth gender) white males that supports all people, gay, minority, trans, etc. Take the sissy term I heard in high school and term it into a badge of honor like SNOWFLAKE, which I also claim...winter is coming. So, I post what will label me as weird, and having an agenda but my memories of the chess game are vague. I am trying to figure out more details. Did anyone care I was cross dressed? Who was our chess champion, Malcolm Smuts or someone else? I rescued Malcum from being jamed in his locker, but was I brave or just in secret love with his sister? Barb Smuts has a huge story line from her Africa stint with Jane Goddel. Thanks for listening. Luv, Al


05/21/17 02:13 PM #12    

Charles Tyron Gorman

to all who contributed so've made it a very kleenex infused experience...i looked up roger's pic in the senior yearbook...of course, i recognized him...we wore the same style glasses and we were about the same size...and then, nothing, i couldn't tell anyone anything about him...and ya'll voted me mr friendly...something got lost there...i think, without knowing him, the only major difference between us is i fought back...shit, i never won a fight in my life, but bullies have always wanted it their own way. so i didn't have too many repeats...patti lynn...what a horrific tale to tell, a little boy has heart surgery in 4th grade...then life gets worse...judy, i got to quarton late and i just remember that perky little girl who had the first party where we played spin the bottle and your dad was oz to all of us. never knew the nasty al, the old cross country/track 'sprint dog'...ya' had unbridled passion for so much, and the story about helpin' smuts only reinforces, ya' didn't need to write what you did... hell, all your life your integrity/honor has been 1/2 step ahead of every life's door ya' walked through...jim, whew, that must have been like carrying an anvil inside ya' for all those years...we've all, i would surmise, wondered if we could have done more...ah, yes, to be possessed of hindsight is a marvelous commodity, eh? if any of you have gone this far with this blather spewed, thanks...and life's pains are not easily forgotten.


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