THE PERSON OF THE WEEK, #6: KELSEY SCHOMBURG
Kelsey Schomburg is 5'3". She is my sister. She is my only sibling. She is 13 years younger than me. When I tell people this, sometimes they ask or wonder if we have the same parents. We do. Our parents’ names are Bruce and Nancy. Right now, as I write this, they are all in Council Bluffs, IA, where we grew up, barbequing with our grandma, Betty, and Kelsey’s boyfriend, Jace, and their new dog, Mabel, and other friends. I’m not there. I’m writing this in Portland at Ford Food + Drink. Kelsey and I were kind of raised separately, in two different eras within the same Schomburg family house, because I left for college once she started first grade. I remember one time at the beginning of my senior year in high school, and her first days of kindergarten, we rode the bus together to school because we thought it would be fun. When she was in 3rd-5th grade, she fought Leukemia and won. She battled through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, a barrage of invasive treatments, spinal taps, physical pain, and a steady stream of unwanted attention for her appearance. Watching a little girl fight through that fear and pain while staying joyful and positive and hopeful, has taught me so much about real bravery. She kept swimming and living her days as normally as she could have. And knowing that girl is my sister makes me especially proud. In the years following her remission, she was an active advocate for and supporter of Relay for Life and other cancer charities. When she was driving age, I pretty much taught her how to drive. Or at least that’s how I remember it. I was in the car with her the first time she merged into traffic and drove on the interstate. It was at the Lake Manawa exit on I-80. We were singing to Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” on repeat while we drove. I think I remember our mom was kind of mad because we didn’t tell her that is what we were doing, but we didn’t tell so she wouldn’t worry. I also remember getting in trouble because I let Kelsey watch Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead with me when she was really young. We have dumb names for each other. I sometimes call her Kissy and she sometimes calls me Pooky, or Pook, but sometimes I call her Pooky-Kissy. Those are very awful names, which is why we call each other those dumb names, and we know that so lay off. Kelsey was a very good swimmer. She broke records and won championships, but I don’t think she could ever beat me in a one-on-one race. Now Kelsey is a special education teacher at Walcott Intermediate in Walcott, IA. She’s really interested in being an educator and doing stuff with speech pathology and autism. When she was 16, she started dating a boy at a different high school named Jace. She and Jace are still boyfriend/girlfriend. He is a part of our family, etc, and has a Christmas stocking at our house, that sort of thing. They live together in an apartment in Davenport, IA, but just recently rented a duplex, and they’ll move into it at the beginning of next month. It has a nice backyard which is important because just this week they got a dog named Mabel. Mabel is half basset hound half golden-retriever I think. They had a goldfish for a while that I got to name, but if you want to know its name, you’ll have to ask me about it in person. Also, Kelsey’s birthday is coming up in two weeks. I already got her a birthday present. A Wild Ones t-shirt. I like to get her graphic tees for gifts. So, because this week she has a new dog, a new house, and she’ll be 24 very very soon, Kelsey Schomburg is this week’s The Lovely Arc’s The Person of the Week.
Follow Kelsey’s twitter here. If you follow it, maybe she’ll tweet more.
Please submit your suggestions for next week’s The Lovely Arc’s The Person of the Week to me via email.