That's What She Said

Episode 64: Visiting with Shandra Summerville of Champaign, IL and her story, “Amusement Parks with Broke Best Friends.”

A woman in blue top and pearls talks on microphone with hand up
                                    SSPP ep 64 SHANDRA SUMMERVILLE “Amusement Parks with Broke Best Friends”

Shandra joins hosts Kerry and Jenette live in the studio to share more details about her story "Amusement Parks with Broke Best Friends," from the 2023 show in Champaign. As the daughter of two well-known, local educators, Shandra reflects on her relationship with her mother through tough times and happy times. 

ANNOUNCER 00:00 Raising women's voices. One story at a time.
Welcome to The She Said Project Podcast.

[Music: The She Said Project Podcast Theme]

JENETTE JURCZYK  00:28 It's another great day for another awesome episode of The She Said Project Podcast. Thank you for being here. I'm Jenette Jurczyk, your host, and National Director of this amazing platform called, The She Said Project.

KERRY ROSSOW 00:40 And I'm Kerry Rossow, Co-Founder and co-podcaster. I'm co, I'm basically, I'm your sidekick.

JENETTE 00:47 A sidekick who was the one who created this whole thing. [laughter] Like I we say this all the time, but it's like, I adopted the child that you birthed. And we are co-parenting, co-raising this child. But, it really is a place where women can come together and shine. And you've helped me do that. And I've, I've hoped that I have taken your legacy and paved the way forward for many, many more women.

KERRY 01:14 Oh, my goodness, and then some. Thank you for taking care of my baby. [Jenette laughs].

JENETTE 01:18 I shared that metaphor with someone recently in one of our shows, and she said, Oh, it's an open adoption then. I said Well, yes, actually it does. It does feel like that. I said, “You know, the founders of The She Said Project are welcome to visit anytime, join in the fun, and the magic that we get to create.” But as always, it's an honor that I've been able to pick up the reins and keep it going and help it grow, so that more women can experience what it's like to stand on a stage and share a raw and intimate part of your life journey. You've been there. Kerry, you've been on the stage with the spotlight. It's something you can't explain. You can only experience. 

KERRY 02:07 Yep. Until you've done it. And that's the beauty of having the shows be of local women, because I'll be out and about and I'll see someone like Shandra Summerville walking down the street getting their exercise on, and my heart just like pitter pats, like, oh, there's there's a She Said Sister, or, I see Nancy Sullivan. I passed her on Prospect, all of those things, and just the connections just are a beautiful thing.

JENETTE 02:31 I think, that's the word – connections. It happens with every show. But it happens outside of the show, in the community, in the audience. It's just bigger. It's bigger than one woman. It's bigger than one woman's story. It's so interesting that you should mention Shandra Summerville, in your story there, because she is our guest today [Kerry chuckles] on the podcast. 

SHANDRA 02:51 Hey ya'll.

JENETTE 02:52 Hey Honey. Thank you for being here. And I'm so excited to say here in-person in the WILL-Illinois Public Media Studios where we get to record our podcast.

SHANDRA 03:03 Thank you. So glad to be here.

JENETTE 03:05 So it's only been a few months. 

SHANDRA 03:07 Yes.

JENETTE 03:07 Since you had the experience of standing on the She Said stage in the Champaign cast in, in 2023. Not that long ago. You just heard Kerry's explanation of that connection, that community. Do you resonate with that?

SHANDRA 03:20 I do resonate with it. I will tell you I've been a She Said groupie from the very beginning. I recall when Kerry envisioned it and said, this is what we're going to do. It's just going to be one time.

JENETTE 03:35 I think we even have a secret because Shandra was there – not just there at the first show 10 years ago, but you were on stage.

SHANDRA 03:44 I was on stage. I was singing in the choir. I helped go and pick up choir robes, so that we could sing. And-

JENETTE 03:52 She was in the delivery room.

KERRY 03:54 It was- She was in the delivery room. It was something special. It was the you know, our 10th anniversary and Shandra, who you know that first show was just it was supposed to be a one-and- done. And to have her who had been singing her heart out on the stage, that first show and then all to come full circle and that she had-

JENETTE 04:12 In our 10 year anniversary. 

SHANDRA I was singing!

KERRY 04:13 Yeah. 

SHANDRA 04:14 That is a full circle moment. I didn't even think about it from that perspective.


JENETTE 04:18 You sang on the first show.

SHANDRA 04:20 I was in the background, the first show. And then this show-

KERRY 04:24 You were front and center.

SHANDRA 04:26 In the front and in the center [Kerry laughs]

KERRY 04:29 Finally, it was so great. It was perfect timing. [Shandra laughs] Oh my gosh.

JENETTE 04:33 And you're so well known in this community, in fact your parents, very well-known educators in the Champaign-Urbana community. And you did pay a beautiful homage to them in your story. And you know, there was definitely this buzz, this community cheer when you mentioned them. And so yeah, you're no stranger to this kind of community connection whatsoever.

SHANDRA 04:58 No, not at all. Champaign is home, they are my people. Being born and raised here, I really am grateful for the opportunity of the bridges that I've been able to cross. And even after the passing of my parents, how bridges are still being built, that I had no idea were even here in our community. So it's been a real gift, learning the community. Now as a, I call myself an orphan, learning it as an orphan, because you have to totally rebuild your village after your parents pass away. And so you kind of learn about some new things, new paths, that haven't even been blazed at all.

KERRY 05:48 They would be so proud. So did you know when this journey started for you to brave the microphone, did you know right away what you were going to talk about? How did that happen?

SHANDRA 05:57 So I had about three different angles that I was going to do. And what made me seal the deal was when the ladies, I had told them, like about a story. And they were like, how did your mom talk publicly to you about sex that comfortably? [Kerry chuckles nervously] Like, how did she? I was like she just did. And so as we got to writing, I just said, "Okay, let me just go and go this route." But also, my mother is not the one that's well known. It's my dad, who people always say, "I didn't even get to know your mom. But wow, I wish I would have talked to her more, I wish I would have interacted with her more." Because they really, she was much more reclusive, and much more of an introvert. But definitely was a powerhouse, definitely had a whole lot to say. And definitely had a lot of thoughts. So-

JENETTE 07:02 And in your story, you address your personal relationship with your mother, the type of friends and mother-daughter relationship that you had; the topics that you covered, and the why behind the topic. So I think this would be a good opportunity for us to share your story. 

SHANDRA 07:19 Okay.

JENETTE 07:20 So that our podcast listeners can be in on it with us, you did deal with some very sensitive subject matter. So before we hit play, would you share with our audience anything that they should know in advance?

SHANDRA 07:32 So just be mindful, definite trigger warning, I do not go into details about it. But it definitely is a part of my story that is gasping. So just be prepared. And take care of yourself. Once you hear it, but do not stay there. Keep listening. Because there's more at the end.

JENETTE 07:59 Be prepared. We're going to take a listen to Shandra Summerville onstage in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in That's What She Said 2023, our 10 year anniversary show with her story, "Amusement Parks with Broke Best Friends." Take a listen.


SHANDRA 08:14 Growing up in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. I heard mixed messages about sex. I would hear songs like [sings in tune] Let's get it on, to,  [sings in tune] Let's talk about sex, baby Let's talk about you and me, to, [changes rhythm to reflect] It's okay to say no, and, [changes rhythm to that of Single Ladies by Beyonce] if you like it, then you should have put a ring on it. 

In a young mind that's trying to figure out their identity. I wonder. how do you keep all these messages clear? Do you do it? Do you not do it? And then there's the sweet talk from people that wanted to do it with ya [audience laughs]. Along with being raised in a Christian home, this could be a challenge. I needed fearless people that would embrace my curiosity and answer all the questions that I may have had. I grew up in the home of some of the best educators in the world [applause and cheers].

09:56 My parents, Willie T. and Valerian Sumerville, [applause] they taught in Urbana schools for a combined- [applause] Yes. [ Shandra chuckles] They taught for 76 years combined. [applause] And so I learned very early, why it was important to invest in all youth. I will say though, being raised in a home like this was like living in an amusement park. I experienced all of the emotions in one place. 

So think about it at amusement parks, you laugh, you cry, you feel rage, you get good food, and you just also feel peace just by simply sitting on a park bench watching everybody else experience the park. Ya' know, an amusement park also isn't all fun and games, there can be some very dark and scary places as well. I think about my introduction to sex, let's just say that is not how anyone should have been thrown in. 

At five years old, I was a survivor of sexual assault and kidnapping, the summer before I entered kindergarten. This kind of traumatic event can really screw a kid up. You know, I'm grateful though I had a mom that knew I was going to need a whole lot more support than most girls she had worked with as a junior high counselor. 

Have you guys ever heard of that term "broke best friend"? It's that annoying friend who always tags along, never has money to pay, but you know what, you just love them and you just pay and treat them anyway. Looking back, I was my mother's broke best friend. [audience laughs] We had healthy boundaries, yet she processed everything with me. 

She was that mother that did not shy away from reproductive health and well-being...also known as sex. My mom's perspective was very broad and open-minded if you were willing to listen. She wasn't this "don't you do it" kind of mom. She was the mom that explored the entire topic without fear. She led a Christian life and being raised by a Christian mother made me who I am today. Her message to me was,  "Shandra, keep yourself in mind at all times. Make sure whoever you choose to be with thinks enough of you too." 

Sex talks with my mother were never taboo. And they actually helped me appreciate experiences that I had, without shame and guilt that often happens for survivors of sexual assault. Her wisdom embraced my entire being to the point I went away to college, and she sent me packing with a whole big box of condoms and birth control for an entire year. [audience chuckles softly] I was even able to share with the ladies in my dorm and my nickname, they affectionately called me "Miss Condom Mart." [widespread laughter] 

So while I was in college, I met this man that was my senior. Basically, he was a little older than me. He appeared to be mature. He met all of the standards that were perfect for me. He wooed me, and I was ready to ride the love train with him. [laughter] On the winter break after my first semester of college, my mother and I were driving to the airport. These car rides were always where we would catch up because we would have uninterrupted time to just process everything. On this particular car ride, I let my mother know about this man that I met and she had to remind me, 'I hope you thinking enough of yourself to be safe. And does he really care about you and your well-being?" I'm sitting in the back, rolling my eyes and like [Shandra sighs] and finally, I just couldn't take it anymore. And I screamed out, "Mom, I have needs, and I'm gonna get my needs met." [laughter]

15:46 My mother was like what, what, what? [laughter continues] "Okay, you might have needs, but he still needs to care about you." Of course, I listened to her and I rolled my eyes and I didn't talk back – because I wasn't gonna talk back to my mother. But I said in my head, "I'm gonna keep meeting the need." 

Fast forward. Four months later, I had to make a call and let her know I was expecting a baby. My mother was so disappointed, but she wasn't disappointed because I had premarital sex. She was disappointed because she had prepared me for my choices. As mothers, we think about the way we prepare children based on our own fears, instead of just giving tools when children just need to make their own decisions. I had to get real serious about life and make a decision, because here comes motherhood. The biggest roller coaster of them all. This home that I was raised in that was like an amusement park gave me the ability to approach life with like twists and turns. I also learned I didn't have to live in this amusement park forever. It could just be a place I could visit. 

My mother showed me ways to explore life, because she did not want me to live in fear. I chose to attend college 500 miles away from home in the state where I was kidnapped and sexually assaulted at five years old. She never questioned my choice, and supported my decision. My mom knew a byproduct of trauma was going to be fear, so she would process all of my feelings because she knew I would be afraid. Please understand something though, even though I would ask questions, I'm going to make sure that it's gonna be safe. Before I get on any roller coaster rides or any just unsafe things with people, I'm going to make sure that it's safe, even if I want to get my "needs met." [pause] 

Thankfully, I had a mom who would process all of these decisions that I made. Some of them were wise, some of them were not wise at all. I was just grateful to have her in my life. Especially when I experienced motherhood. You know, a relationship between a daughter and a mother can be tricky, especially with the kind of father Willie T. was. He was very conservative. And he would say things like, “why you got to talk to her like that?” Because she just chose to be open and honest with me about things like sex. But you know, he never tried to stop our conversations either. Our conversations were very sacred. They were honest. And also they were very hilarious. Even with everything I had endured and what I had been through, she still raised me to live a life without fear of living.
Our last vacation together, we actually visited an amusement park. Due to the logistics, my mother was not able to fully participate in the entire experience. Instead, she sat and enjoyed her children, grandchildren, and great grandchild, experience all of the ups and downs at this amusement park. The very next day after this wonderful day at this amusement park, my mother passed away. This is while we were on vacation, and in that moment, I realized she had equipped me with everything I needed to thrive. 

I think about 29 years ago, when she sent me to college packin' with condoms and birth control. 

She wanted to ensure I was equipped for battle, and I still ended up with a baby. She recognized I was going to make decisions based on what I wanted, or what I needed. She loved me and she accepted me anyway. We were a fierce pair. I was absolutely her broke best friend. And she was the wisest friend that I could have ever had. And you know what? She wasn't even scared to talk about sex. [applause]


SHANDRA [laughing]

JENETTE And did you hear that applause? So much applause.

KERRY Oh my! I was about to fall out of my seat at this point. I, I… My favorite: “I have needs!” When you said that…

SHANDRA [laughing]

KERRY 21:46 I've said it many times over. I mean, hubba hubba, not to give too much away. But seriously, “I have needs”  – that just cracks me up. I loved and I love that you felt comfortable just saying that to your mom. I love that.

JENETTE 22:06 And to a room full of you know eight, nine-hundred women in the community [Kerry laughs].

SHANDRA 22:12 And men. 

JENETTE 22:13 And men, and men.

SHANDRA 22:14 And my child. [Shandra laughs loudly}

KERRY 22:17 It was the greatest moment.

JENETTE 22:19 [Kerry laughs] Now, now Shandra shared with me something about that quote. 

KERRY Uh oh.

JENETTE And, and we debated whether or not we were going to put it in the story. And she said and I quote, "I think we're gonna save it for the podcast." 

KERRY 22:31 Well, hey, here we are. Let's hear it. Spill it!

JENETTE  22:34 So when it comes to, you know, having your needs met, tell us the story you shared with me.

SHANDRA 22:41 So what they asked, was the person that I was talking about, was I referring to my son's father? Because the way that that story was told it was that I was with the dad before and it wasn't the dad [Kerry laughs].

KERRY 23:01 Hello [Shandra and Kerry laugh].

JENETTE 23:03 She and I met more than once. But then what did, remind me what your mother said to you when you were in the delivery room.

SHANDRA 23:10 So we were in the delivery room. I was like, Mom, this hurts really, really bad. It hurts. It hurts. She said, "Hmm but you had to get those needs met, didn't you?"

KERRY 23:25 [Kerry laughs] How'd that worked out for you?

JENETTE 23:27 So a lesson in consequences.

SHANDRA 23:29 Consequences. You get the need met. You have three days of labor. 

JENETTE 23:37 Three days? 

SHANDRA 23:38 Yes. I went into labor on a Friday and had him on a Sunday, Monday morning, via c-section. Like I was miserable. 

KERRY 23:49 After all that work.

SHANDRA 23:50 After all of that. All of that work. 

KERRY 23:53 Oh.

SHANDRA 23:53 And the need being met,  then this. I said, we gonna re-think, we rethinking all this. [Kerry laughs] And how do women do this over, and over, and over, and over, and over again?

KERRY 24:07 We have needs, Shandra. We have needs [Kerry laughs].

JENETTE 24:10 So my mother tried to convince me after I had my first child she said, "You forget, you forget the pain." That's why women do it again because you forget. Do you think you'll ever forget? I mean, I did it twice. You did it, what you did four times?

KERRY 24:26 Yeah.

JENETTE 24:26 There were-

SHANDRA 24:27 So here's my thing about that. If you do not have a hard experience your first time, you do it again. So it's just depending on what it took to get the baby in the world. If it was you know normal contractions five minutes apart, 20, 18 to 24 hours. You know that's, those are like textbook things. But me, Mmm Mmm. I did not have a I had textbook all the way till delivery. It was a fantastic pregnancy. I was healthy. My hair grew. It was beautiful. Nails. I had beautiful skin. [Kerry laughs] Like all of it.

KERRY 25:13 I think that's true. I loved being pregnant. I wasn't sick. Not one single day. I loved it. And so I say that's why I wound up with like a litter of puppies because I loved being pregnant. Felt great. I just kept going.

JENETTE 25:25 I did enjoy pregnancy.

SHANDRA 25:27 Yeah, pregnancy was fantastic. And after childbirth, like you've, you think, because the relationship with my son's father was a bit complicated. I also rethought, like, who you choose to have children with. Like, that's really important, podcasters. 

KERRY 25:48 Mmhmm, amen.

SHANDRA 25:49 If you choose to have children, there's another party involved. It's another party.

JENETTE 25:59 So that PSA brought to you-

KERRY 26:01 It is true, yeah-

JENETTE 26:01 -by Shandra Summerville. but it is true. Like it isn't just about the needs. It isn't just about the delivery. It's about the next 18 years, and who you have to juggle those 18 years with. Yeah.

SHANDRA 26:14 Yeah. And that they want to be parents, because we were both young, I was thrown in the fire. And the guys can kind of choose do I jump in? Or do I just be the firefighter and spray the hose and have fun doing it? [Shandra laughing]

KERRY 26:33 Okay, I got to hear what, what was the reaction? [Shandra chuckles] Was anybody shocked? Was anybody? What was the feedback you got?

SHANDRA 26:40 Everyone was shocked. Like, like, shocked, like, shocked, shocked. So even to like my family, because my family was there. And I didn't tell, I hadn't told my family, like what I was talking about. I told them that I'm going to talk about some things that happened to me when I was younger. And it's going to be homage to the relationship with my mother. I said, some of you will remember, some of you will not. So, after the show, we had a whole conference. I have questions. That's what they say. We have questions. 

JENETTE 27:21 Oh, there was a family meeting?

SHANDRA 27:23 There was a family meeting. And they had questions. And so I was just kind of able to answer their questions, because they were like, why hadn't we ever heard that you had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted? Like, why didn't we know that? I said, "We get together at Christmas. Do we sit down at the holidays and have those types of discussion?" No. But in our private time and in our conversations, we can explore the whys and why we make certain decisions that we do. And then you move, then you can like, heal and move forward and talk about well, how did you handle that? What did you do? And so that's kind of the questions that we had. I also noticed there were some people that tiptoed like around it, they're like, who kidnapped you? [laughter] Who kidnapped you? Was it somebody you knew? So it was like people tiptoeing around that, so that was kind of like the jarring. Like they were afraid to ask. And then, there were some people who were like, I don't even know how you, your mom even just knew how to talk to you like that. How does she even know what to do? And I had to explain, like, my mom was a guidance counselor. And so her being our guidance counselor, she had a whole lot of skills, just to be able to communicate with younger people about hard stuff.

JENETTE 29:01 Yeah, we talked about that, specifically a lot, that she had that experience and she knew how to give you what you needed, and give you space to heal and uncover things and how to have a healthy relationship with sex as an adult. Which, you know, had its ups and downs, just like a roller coaster [Kerry laughs].

SHANDRA 29:24 It is such a roller coaster. But the beauty of it is, is that there's no shame in who I am. She did not put this level of shame that could have been associated with- 

JENETTE 29:38 And that is a gift. 

SHANDRA 29:40 It is such a gift.

JENETTE 29:42 There are so many girls and women out there who have been through, fill in the blank. And, and there's this, this layer of shame and guilt that's applied to it, whether it was their fault, not their fault, they, you know, made choices, whatever. But the fact that you walk through this earth just owning who you are, like, that's to be admired. Absolutely, regardless of the circumstances.

SHANDRA 30:08 And the beauty of that relationship that I had with my mother, we got to process all the things. Because, like, you know, sex is probably 10% of the whole thing. But it really goes down to self-esteem. It goes back to how are you educated about just the wellness inside of you and your body? How do you go to and speak to your gynecologist? Are you ashamed about menopause? How do you advocate for your health, especially with the health disparities for black women? Black women are dying at the hands of a whole lot of health care providers just because no one will listen, and my mother gave me some skills on how to speak up for myself. And she even would tell me, she said, "I should have been taking you to all my appointments with me, because your dad wasn't helpful like you." [Shandra and Kerry laugh] But he was being that supportive and loving husband for his wife being present, making sure, but he was not asking the women questions, and she just would say, ‘I'm so glad I have a daughter.' 

KERRY31:27 It's pretty special. 

SHANDRA 31:28 It is. It really, really is.

JENETTE 31:30 And by speaking up and speaking out, you get to be that role model for all of the women who saw your performance. For all the women who are listening here today. For all the women that you interact with in this community because you are such a role model. You give women permission to be just open, honest, truthful, authentic, all of those things. 

SHANDRA 31:50 And the men too.

JENETTE  31:51 And the men too, yes.

SHANDRA 31:53 They get to be, they get to be who they are in it too. Even them dads that's not ready to be parents. [Shandra laughs]

KERRY 32:00 Well, I love when you were like I'm so resonated with me when you said your dad, I forget how you worded it but like what? Why are you-

SHANDRA 32:07 Why are you talking to her like that? [laughter]

KERRY 32:09 That is my house. When my husband walks in and I'm putting it on the line. His face goes 10 shades of red and he just shakes his head and leaves. [laughter] But I was like, Yeah, that's right. We got to equip our girls. They gotta know the things.

JENETTE 32:26 They gotta know the things.

SHANDRA 32:27 Gotta know. Because they're gonna leave you one day.

KERRY 32:30 No, Shandra! Why would you say that? Why would you ruin this beautiful moment? My girls are never leaving my house. [everyone laughs]

KERRY 32:36 Thank you.

SHANDRA 32:40 Okay. [Kerry and Shandra laugh]

JENETTE 32:40 I got like, eight more years. I wish it would hurry up. [Kerry laughs]

SHANDRA 32:45 Do not. I will tell you this. Do not rush. 

JENETTE 32:47 I know. 

SHANDRA 32:48 Enjoy and embrace every moment. I was looking at a Facebook memory today, and my son graduated from high school 10 years ago. Not graduated from high school today. 10 years ago. I have a whole adult. 

JENETTE JURCZYK  33:09  You have a whole adult. 

SHANDRA 33:10 A whole adult.

JENETTE 33:11 Those Facebook memories will get you. 

KERRY 33:15 Oh, yeah. It will get you. 

JENETTE 33:16 My husband and I absolutely mourn the fact that we're already more than halfway. And it's, you know, what do they say? The, the days are long, but the years are short?

KERRY 33:26 Yep. 

JENETTE 33:27 So so so true. Like, she, we just finished our school year and the fact that my baby, we blinked, and we have a middle-schooler. And we're, we're literally in shock, literally in shock. But I do challenge myself to have the hard conversations with my two girls. I do look to women like you, Shandra, for advice, and guidance and mentorship. I do love having Kerry Rossow in my life, who keeps it real and keeps me laughing. But still we talk about the hard things. 

KERRY 33:27 It's so true. 

KERRY 34:02 It's true. And I think I'm a cautionary tale basically. So I did not have any of this education. I was literally clueless. And when I was like 16, I was in health class. I had breached the perimeter. I don't think I had permission to be there. And our health teacher was talking about an activity between two consenting adults. And I was so shocked by the words coming out of her mouth. Before I could censor myself, I said, "On purpose!?" Like, you know, maybe you just like everybody stumbled and you're wound up in this unfortunate position. And I remember everyone started laughing and I was like, dang it! Clearly like there's a lot of fun going on. And I don't know about it. 

JENETTE 34:42 Missed it. 

KERRY 34:43 Yes. And I thought I am not going to raise that kid. I, you know, I don't want my girls being, thinking that you know, sex happens when you stumble on to each other.

JENETTE 34:51 Well, when I had the birds and the bees talk with my oldest, you know and explained how babies are made and she gave me the look with, "Oh, you and dad did that. twice?" Well, there's two of you. So-

KERRY 35:03 Just twice. That's right.

JENETTE35:05 Just twice. [Kerry laughs]

KERRY 35:09 So this is all leading. Shandra, can you come over and talk to my girls tonight? [Shandra snorts and chuckles]

SHANDRA 35:13 -sure.

JENETTE 35:15 I do think that you would be an excellent sex educator. 

KERRY 35:17 Yeah, she would.

SHANDRA 35:18 So, So let's also talk about when Planned Parenthood was thriving and doing very well and we didn't have a whole lot of interference. I was a teen sex educator.

KERRY 35:32 Wow. 

SHANDRA 35:33 Yeah, my mother wanted me to go. That's how I had a box of condoms. Because I was a part of the Teen Awareness Group at the Planned Parenthood of Champaign County.

JENETTE 35:45 Teen Awareness Group.

KERRY 35:46 I was part of the teen unawareness group.

SHANDRA 35:49 TAG. And we used to have, like empathy bellies, and like that showed the pregnancy.

JENETTE 35:56 Empathy bellies, really? Now, that's, I mean, but that's education. That's showing, that's consequences. Showing girls, you know, what consequences look like and feel like.

SHANDRA 36:07 And that's why she was so angry. Because she's like, you knew better like you knew, you knew you knew. What was it, you know, what was it? And so it just kind of goes back to, children are going to make their own decisions.

JENETTE 36:25 Ding, ding, ding. 

SHANDRA 36:27 They really, really are. You can equip them, you can get them prepared for life. You can tell them all the things.

KERRY 36:34 They are dedicated, they are invested in making mistakes, and they should, they should be making mistakes. [inaudible] Yeah, of course. 

SHANDRA 36:42 We make mistakes.

KERRY 36:43 Good kids make bad decisions every day. 

KERRY 36:46 But there's this, I don't know what world it is. But it's some world that believes that children should not make mistakes.

JENETTE 36:58 It's part of learning. It's part of growing up.

SHANDRA 37:01 And then the people who are like really criminalized for it. And so, yeah.

JENETTE 37:10 But look at you today. 

SHANDRA 37:12 Today's-

JENETTE 37:13 It's perfectly imperfect.

KERRY ROSSOW  37:15 Look at you.

JENETTE 37:18 Beautifully. We're all beautifully imperfect. I loved that you shared at the end of your story, the day you went to a REAL amusement park. We were, I think we were all like in shock when you shared that, because we found this beautiful metaphor for the story. And then you're like, no, we were really there. And then that was your last memory that was it, that was the end of the journey, and it just fits so perfectly.

SHANDRA 38:00 Yes, we went. And like I said it was she wasn't able to participate fully but we were actually there. Just enjoying all the rides and it was grandkids and great grandkids involved.

KERRY 38:16 Enjoying the ride. 

JENETTE 38:17 Sometimes you're on the big crazy roller coasters. And sometimes you're just sitting on the park bench watching people enjoy, and just enjoying the peace of it all. That's life in an amusement park with Shandra Summerville.

JENETTE 38:33 And her broke best friend. 

SHANDRA 38:34 And my, my broke best friend. I was her broke best friend. She was wise. I was the broke one. [Kerry and Shandra laugh]

KERRY 38:42 I love it.

Do you have broke best friends today that you would- ?

SHANDRA 38:45 Sebastian.

JENETTE 38:46  Yeah. Yeah. I think I think we all have that friend. We all have that friend.

SHANDRA 38:51 Yeah. Sebastian. My son used to be before he got a job. [chuckles]

JENETTE 39:00 You taught him well.

SHANDRA 39:01 Yeah. Adrian has a job and is doing very well. And actually for Mother's Day like sent me on a train for a gift. I got a chance to go down south at his expense. 

JENETTE 39:16 Oh, he sent you on an adventure? On a journey?

SHANDRA 39:19 On a trip. Yes. 

JENETTE 39:20 Nice.

SHANDRA 39:21 And I had the most amazing time. I did exactly what I wanted to do. As a mother. 

KERRY 39:26 Look at that. You done good.

SHANDRA 39:28 Everything like I wanted to do. I did not get anything I did not want.

JENETTE 39:34 That is a gift.

KERRY 39:35 What a gift.

JENETTE 39:36 When was the last time you had that?

SHANDRA 39:37 Children, if you're listening. [Kerry and Jenette laugh] Don't give your mother things she doesn't want. Ask her.

JENETTE 39:43 [Mimics the crashing of cymbals] [laughter] But on that note, that's perfect. Life lessons. I mean mother to daughter, daughter to son, friend to friend. Life lessons, that is my beautiful take away. And to take care of yourself because things happen, life is hard. People make mistakes, people you love make mistakes. But listen, communicate, be open. These are all the little nuggets that I get to take away from our time together today. 

KERRY 40:16 Thank you, Shandra.

JENETTE 40:16 And our time together, you know, it's been months now and it was a beautiful journey. So, thank you for being part of the She Said experience. Thank you for reliving some of it here today on The She Said Project Podcast, and thank you to everyone who joined us today because we do, we dive deep, we get to know these women on a whole new level and we get to learn and grow. Peace out. 

KERRY 40:37 Over and out. [Jenette chuckles]

SHANDRA 40:39 Bye y'all.

KERRY 40:40 Bye. 

JENETTE 40:42 Perfect.


[Music: The She Said Project Podcast Theme]

ANNOUNCER 40:47 Thank you for listening to The She Said Project Podcast in partnership with Illinois Public Media. All materials contained in the podcast for the exclusive property of The She Said Project and That’s What She Said, LLC. For more information on our live shows go to [url=][/url]
This podcast was made possible with support from Carle and Health Alliance and presented by Sterling Wealth Management, empowering women to live their best lives.


Shandra Summerville joins hosts Kerry and Jenette live in the studio to share more details about her story "Amusement Parks with Broke Best Friends," from the 2023 show in Champaign. As the daughter of two well-known local educators, Shandra reflects on her relationship with her mother through tough times and happy times.

The She Said Project Podcast is recorded in partnership with Illinois Public Media. All materials contained in this podcast are the exclusive property of The She Said Project and That's What She Said, LLC. Learn more at