Occasionally someone from the past rises into consciousness and you wonder, “Whatever happened to her, anyhow?” So it is with Bonnie. And no amount of searching on Facebook or Google provides an answer.
In college at IL State U, she was Roland’s girlfriend. They were in our Wesley Foundation [Methodist campus ministry] group. They were a natural couple. Both fun loving. Both very good looking, Roland tall and Scandinavian, Bonnie petite and dark.
They were both Spanish majors. In Roland’s 40 year education career, much of it was spent in bilingual education. And one summer, Bonnie went to Mexico for a language immersion school with students from Mexican teacher colleges.
That fall she told us about her first week. She got off to a very bad start, or a very good one, according to who you might ask. She and the other students were sitting around one night, talking about their respective colleges, and someone asked Bonnie what she did at Illinois State.
“I’m on the pompom squad,” she said.
This was met with uproarious laughter, mostly by the girls, and uproarious affirmation, mostly by the boys. Bonnie was pleased but a bit mystified.
“What do you do on the pompom squad, Bonnie?” someone asked.
“I’m the captain of the pompom squad,” Bonnie answered proudly.
Even more uproarious laughter and affirmation. But one of the girls hurried up to her and said, “Bonnie, pompom here means prostitution.”
Bonnie and Roland broke up, which was good for Roland, since then he met Anita. But I sort of wish they had kept in touch. I’d like to know what happened to her.
This I do know, somewhere in Mexico, there are old men sitting around saying, “If you think things are bad in America now, back in the 1960s, they even had pompom squads in the teacher’s colleges. And called it Normal.”
John Robert McFarland