Resilience Stories Dancing Grannies

Pam Junion, 65, and other members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies practice in a parking lot in Milwaukee on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. Junion is one of a few women who answered a call for new members as the group attempted to rebuild in the face of tragedy. Three Dancing Grannies and one group member’s husband were among those killed at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, when the driver of an SUV struck them on the parade route. Dozens more, including some Grannies, were injured. 

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The high winds forecasters warned about are blasting down Wisconsin Avenue, but 15 grandmothers lining up in the street are ready to march.

They’re dressed for this morning’s parade in wide-brimmed hats held on tight with elastic chin straps. They’ve subbed out red pom poms for white ones so the dye won’t run in rain that is teasing its return from a leaden November sky.

“This is like my calling,” says Kathi Schmeling, a retired human resources assistant, her grin framed by the crimson lipstick that is a signature of the women who call themselves the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies. “This is my happy place.”

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