A Hot Time Comes To The Old Town This Summer!

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf -Column published in the Albert Lea Tribune, April 28, 2014

Our past, good or bad, shapes our future. This year my community will be celebrating our past as we go forward to the future.

The United South Central School District will open a new school in the fall. The United South Central community comprises Bricelyn, Kiester, Freeborn, Easton, Walters and Wells. Before we go forward into the future, we are going to celebrate our past with an all-school reunion on Kernel Day weekend, Aug. 16.

As a former Wells-Easton graduate I am excited about this weekend. It will be a chance to connect with friends and acquaintances from outside of my class of 1968. It will be a time to walk through the old school and remember our high school and grade school memories and listen to the stories we all have to tell that others might not be aware of.

It will be a time to remember those we loved who are no longer with us but whose spirits live in our hearts forever.  I have heard some comments about those who aren’t sure about attending this reunion because of past hurts or insecurities.

I would tell them that this is a time to heal those hurts and make new memories the same way our children and grandchildren will in the new school. USC  is moving into the future, not letting go of their past but embracing it and coming together so we can move into the future.

I had a conversation recently with someone who has been hurt in the past and isn’t sure about possibly reconnecting with those people who caused the pain.

My advice to this person was that they should attend. People have changed. Life circumstances change all of us, and we might miss something wonderful and moving if we continue to hold on to those old grudges. Come and make new memories that will overshadow the old. I hope they come to the reunion and make peace with those things that still fester inside of us.

I may meet the person that in 10th grade who told me I was ugliest girl he had ever met. I am sure he doesn’t remember that comment, but I do and I have let it go.

I am amazed at the weekend that the reunion committee has planned for people who will attend this celebration of the past of all our communities. The reunion committee is made up of people that have a vision. They may be looking at the past, but they are doing so with the tools of today. This committee has utilized social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and they have created an app for your phone, also.

The Facebook page “You might be from Wells if you remember” is 900 members strong, and the stories are alive in anticipation of the reunion.

The tentative reunion schedule is set up. There will be a pre-reunion kickoff at the Flame Theatre, a short program and the plans for the weekend will be outlined. This will take place on the evening of Aug. 14, a Thursday. Following the kickoff, comedian Roger Radley will perform two shows.

On Aug. 15 there will be many class reunions held. Christina Wood Wilson, a 2003 graduate, will display her work during the weekend.  Also, Led Penny will perform. “Mr. Jones,” a movie directed and written by USC alumnus Karl Mueller, will be shown at the Flame.

On. Aug. 16, it will be time to say goodbye to the old Wells school. Many memories will be shared as young and old tour the school and listen for the whispers of words of former students and teachers in your mind as you walk in the hallways, and as you pass by your favorite places and spaces that meant so much to you.

Join those from the your past and your present as we meet for the reunion lunch, gather in the afternoon to listen to the reunion pep band led by Bruce Van Bronkhorst of the class of 1962 and look at art and memorabilia from the past and stay for the variety show.

That evening, the Wells Kernel Day Parade will be alive with sentiments of the past. You will see the history unfold as the parade passes by.

I am excited to see old friends, the displays of former graduates who have careers in art, movies, books and other such things that they will display to let us all know the lives they have carved out for themselves from their humble beginnings in what is now the United South Central School District.

I will be sad to take the final walk through the old school, whose future might be in the wrecking ball of time. I will be sad that I will no longer be able to walk the old halls and sit in the old auditorium, which holds so many precious memories for me. The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is, “You can never go home again.” This community will still be home but part of what made it home will be gone.

In my sadness is excitement about remembering the past, cherishing the coming together of those who shared that past and moving on to a future in a new school that will shape the lives and the future of our young people. One day there will be a 100 year reunion for them and they will be able to see those in the past cared about their future. Who knows what the future graduates of United South Central will accomplish. We can only imagine.

“Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past, what to enjoy in the present and what to plan for in the future.”

— Arnold H. Glasow 

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