Fierce in Seattle: 20 years later…
a blogumn by Kelli Bielema
Last week I received an invitation to my high school reunion. Twenty years ago I graduated Prophetstown Community High School. Gulp. Twenty. Sometimes I can’t seem to wrap my brain around that. Twenty years. In 1989 I tossed a cap in the air and said good-bye to everything I ever knew.
I have one friend that I have known since I was minutes old as we were born in the same hospital. I always make a stop into the store she manages in town anytime I go back for a visit. I understand another classmate is now a grandmother. I’m not quite ready for another dog, and certainly beyond comprehending becoming a grandparent.
One fellow alumand I have managed to maintain a friendship and regular contact since graduation. Now, with the advent of Facebook, I’m in touch with more of them than I have been since leaving Prophetstown. Graduates have come out of the closet, gone to Jesus, gotten married, gotten divorced, had kids, had cancer, seen war, seen the world. To think of what all of them have been up to alarms my curiosity tenfold. The “whatever happened to” concept is my preferred angle of VH1 programming, but I’m about to live it…80s style!
A questionnaire arrived with this invitation. In reviewing the obvious career/marital status/family/hobbies inquiries, I started thinking about whatever happened to me since then. What has been filling my days, nights, and life? I began to look through old photo boxes to give the memory a juggle. I thumbed through my senior yearbook. I was captain of the cheerleaders, Student Council president, regional finalist on the speech team. I think I always wanted to fit some ideal of the All-American girl. I was a bit Tracy Flick from “Election” but probably a little Ally Sheedy from “Breakfast Club.” I knew there was something else out there for me that was off the beaten path. Something that I knew I couldn’t get in Prophetstown.
In my 20 years since, I have managed to keep company with some of the most amazing, hilarious, talented, generous and complicated individuals I’ve ever known. My friends are my family and I love them as such. In my 20 years since, I’ve developed a case of wanderlust so much so that it’s changed my perspective on the world, my place in it and how I look at my future. In my 20 years since, I’ve learned to take risks, even if – especially if – it means I fall flat on my face into a pile of oopsy. In my 20 years since, I wouldn’t change any mistake, failure, victory or celebration for what I have now. Well, except for perhaps the hairdo in my senior photo…
**Stay tuned for a reunion follow-up in mid-late October! Yikes!