This month, our cast of mindshine characters included six women with a lot in common – including their passion for people and Milwaukee. Don’t be fooled by how serious they look in their pictures, there were roars of laughter, and even a round of applause during this meal! Some interesting themes surfaced within this personality-filled group: freedom, learning that there is more to the world than what we see (especially when we’re young), and love. You’ll be fascinated by what our guests had to say about That One Summer.
Bridgette Frommell: The Wind In Your Hair
VP of Development, WI Humane Society | Milwaukee Native | Mom of 3 | mindshine guest
“Summer’s such a change. It’s feeling the wind in your hair. Back in 2000, my girlfriend and I took a road trip to Toronto. We had an atlas – remember those days? We had the best sort of ‘clubbing’ experience that 19-year-old girls can do. So, summer reminds me of taking risks…the feeling of freedom…driving with the wind in your hair. Just going for it. Also, when I was 11 or 12, I remember my first boyfriend, getting on the back of his bike, stepping on his pegs; he’d pick me up and we’d drive six houses to the park. He was my first kiss. It was totally that “yeah” feeling. That was my freedom at that age – getting on those pegs.”
Kelly: “That’s totally wind in your hair!”
“Yeah, that’s right!”
Kelly Andrew: The Accident
Chief Ideas Officer, Filament | Farm kid | mindshine host
“I am a 3rd generation 4-Her. The 4-H fair in Rock County is the largest 4-H fair in the state, and it’s a big deal when you get to take an animal…you’ve kind of made it. It was the summer between 7th and 8th grade, and it was the Sunday before the fair was going to start. You’d take your animals to the fairground, so my dad was backing his truck up to hook up the trailer, and I was getting ready to put the trailer hitch on. Somehow, the hitch fell; I went to catch it and it smashed my thumb between two pieces of metal. I remember clamping on to my thumb, and my dad running to get the truck so he could get me in the ER to reattach the tip.
I think that, somehow, this demonstrates the work ethic that I have. It was one week away from the fair, I had cut my thumb off, and it hurt. I was drugs, holding it above my head to sleep…but I was going to show these animals! I showed my pigs with one hand, but I couldn’t show the steer. I had to go through rehab, and now I’m the best thumb-wrestler you’ll meet! I’ve realized (as an adult) that it never crossed my mind not to do the things I said I was going to do. That was a memorable summer.”
Katy: “Oh, Kelly…thumbs up!”
Megan Ithier: Guadalajara
Math Teacher | Mom of 2 girls | Plant-lover | mindshine guest
“I was in college, and my parents said that I could spend the summer in Mexico, at the University Guadalajara taking three Spanish classes. We would stay with a family, and be submersed in the Mexican culture. I was really excited. We lived in a gorgeous house, had gorgeous meals; it was the most incredible cultural experience I’ve ever had. Something that stood out to me: I learned the classism and racism of Mexico. I saw that the brown people were poor – they were on the streets; then the lighter skinned people were the chiefs, the bosses. I was embarrassed that I didn’t understand this before. You think you know everything when you’re young, and then you realize you know nothing, and you humble yourself. You have to see the world to learn that. It’s the only way.
I’m glad my parents allowed me to go to Mexico. I look back and think, ‘I’m so glad I experienced that to open my mind to how the rest of the world really is, and just how beautiful the rest of the world is, and how un-American the rest of the world is.’ It made me appreciate the gifts we have here. The rest of the world is struggling…what we have here is so gifted.”
Nancy Melcher: Boats & Boys!
President & Founder, MOR Strategy Partners | Self-proclaimed “Maximalist” | West Allis native| mindshine guest
“I’ve been thinking about that one summer, and I’ve had 64 of them now, so how do you pick? Coming of age is all about freedom. As a kid, every summer we’d have one small chore to do in the morning, and then the day was your own to ride your bike, to go to the park, to play, to be free. So really, who would want to grow up?
When I was 17, a group of friends were going up north to Waupaca to the Chain of Lakes for a week. I call that the summer of ‘really getting off the leash’. It was just a marvelous week. There were college guys, dances, every ethnicity, motorcycles, we were far away from home. There was no curfew, and there were boats, and boys and dances and more dances! Talk about the wind in your hair…this was the wind blowing straight up your ass! Everything was tingling! I was so naive! I don’t think I slept for the whole week. When I came back to West Allis, I was a different girl.”
Tiffany Herrera: The Cure
Senior Fraud Investigator | Passionate Volunteer | mindshine host
“It was the summer I turned 17; it’s 1988 and I’m officially your sad, goth girl. When my parents divorced, my father moved back to Texas, so every summer I would go to Texas. My cousin Christopher and I were the same age, so we were expected to be together. This summer, when I walked into his room, he said, ‘do you like The Cure?’ and I was like, ‘I love The Cure’, and we realized we had so much more in common. That was the moment we were more than family – we were friends.
Christopher’s best friend, Jason, lived across the street. We were sitting outside waiting for Jason to come over, because Jason had a car. He walked across the street in a Cure tee shirt, and for me, that was pretty much the end. It was one of those moments in time where the heavens parted, and I was like, I love you. I thought I’d found the man I was going to marry. The minute we met, we got along instantly. We laughed for hours. Looking back, that was one of the happiest summers of my life.”
Katy Corey: Seven
Director of Collaboration, Filament | Visual Artist | Traveler | mindshine host
“I went off to be a counselor at Camp Tekawitha in the summer of 2000. I was 19, and I had an expectation of who the camp counselor staff would be. They’d be all white. They’d be bonded from the Fox Valley area. But, that didn’t’ happen. We had counselors from South Korea, Slovakia, Belarus, Hungary, Ukraine, South Africa…it was fabulous.
While I made lifelong friends with these counselors, I really connected with “Seven” – a young man from Hungary. On the very first day we met, we made this extremely profound eye contact, and I had this flash go through my head, ‘this is your soul mate.’ Despite the electricity, I didn’t want to welcome that sentiment. And, neither did he. We fought for the first month of the summer. I thought he was arrogant, and he thought I was a spoiled brat. Then, one day during break, he was sitting on the camp swing, reading a letter from his mom, and he said, ‘Disco, come sit with me! I need to tell you how cool my mom is. She just bought a motorcycle.’ It sparked this deep friendship…just one of us being vulerable. By the end of the summer, we were madly in love.”
The evening closed with hugs and an appreciation for how much love each of us has experienced – and for That One Summer. We thank our special guests for allowing us a chance to glimpse into their beautiful moments in time. Stay tuned for our next mindshine adventure, in which we ask a new to cast of Milwaukee fascinators to: Choose Your Deadly Sin.
Until then, shine on.