by Pam Mers
What did I do after college?
I went to the University of Illinois. I got a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Education (major emphasis: history). I was quite disconnected from the turmoil of political events of the time, even though I minored in Political Science. I remember escaping the weekend after Kent State, watching the National Guard-lined streets as I hopped a bus to Glenview.
I taught at Buffalo Grove High School in their Social Studies department (mostly US History - I loved it) from 1974-1982. There was a reduction in forces and all of us with eight years experienced were "riffed." I was pregnant with our first child and we made it work.
So what's behind that story?
Dale Mers and I met during May exams at NTE freshman year. We were best friends throughout high school. We would call each other about our girlfriends/boyfriends throughout high school and college. We would pair up on vacations, glad to be with a good friend who knew our souls. We liked each other and were waiting for the sparks.
We went on our separate ways while keeping in touch infrequently. I was at Buffalo Grove High School. He was at Maritz Travel in Minneapolis and then Josten's in St. Louis.
At our NTW 10th Reunion we finally got our romantic act together. We were married the following June (1979).
We had two children, Anna (1982) and Peter (1984). We lived in Glenview, first by Hackney's on Lake and then a few blocks further east.
Once I didn't have teaching job, I started to teach Sunday school at our church, Glenview Community Church. I took on more responsibility until I was in charge of a sizeable program.
Dale had been working with Marriott Hotels in a variety of association sales positions. He decided to make a move away from the company so that he could make a major move up the corporate ladder at Marriott. We moved to San Diego so he could run the sales division for the convention bureau.
We loved San Diego. Our house was in a neighborhood that had a horsetrail through it. The weather was predictable (i.e., unchanging). But the workplace wasn't Marriott.
We moved back to Glenview and Marriott. And then, on Jan. 6, 1994, while launching a national association convention in Chicago, Dale was working at a Habitat for Humanity Project. He suffered the eruption of a brain aneurysm and died that day.
I chose to stay in Chicago to stabilize the family. Anna is graduating from Glenbrook South this year and going to Oakton Jr. College. Peter is about to enter his junior year.
Until recently (Good Friday to be exact), I was the Director of Christian Education at the Glenview United Methodist Church. At the same time, the opportunity arose to create a publishing company for a new model of Sunday school. I am now the co-president, writer, publisher, distributor and promoter of Cornerstones Publishing, "A Multi-Intelligence Approach to Christian Education." Our website is http://www.cstones.com.
What do I do for fun? I drive my boat at the cottage in Michigan, pulling a variety of people on tubes. I quilt (though not as often as I used to). I travel to interesting places when I do consulting jobs. And I garden; I currently have 34 rose bushes and am trying to contain myself.
And now the politics. I asked my children for the following gift this Mother's Day: to attend the Million Moms March in Chicago. (As one placard said, "Our feet are in Chicago, our hearts are in DC." That was me.) My politics have come full circle. I am now politically motivated with an agenda.
So, there is my life after high school, in a nutshell.
I am anxious to see everyone who shows up. I always look forward to these events. So many of us were together from kindergarten. If nothing else, we have our own history in common.
Pam Hertel Mers