Sunday, July 17, 2011

Proud to be a Gamma Phi

"It's a game," Betty whispers.  I can picture Betty crouched behind the seats of the family in the dark movie theater.  "It's a fun game."  She is trying to get the father to give her one of his family's ticket stubs.  Meanwhile, I am frantically digging through the movie trash bin while the other members of our team are asking ushers for help.  We're causing a bit of a scene and did I mention that we're all wearing hot pink glittery t-shirts and Burger King paper crowns? 

Returning to Ohio for a reunion with some sorority sisters, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Back in college, I joined a sorority for lots of social reasons.  Instant friends, because we all had something in common...even if only the same Greek letters stitched onto our shirts, hats and shorts.  The World English Dictionary defines sorority as "a social club or society for university women."  For me, social was the key word at the time.  Parties!  Formals!  Games!  Boys!  I wasn't a very good sorority member back then.  A giant slob, I was indifferent to the business meetings and wrapped up in my own social agenda. 

After college, I drifted away and moved on.  Except I didn't.  Christmas cards trickled in.  An occasional email arrived and I was "friended" on Facebook.  Through these women's efforts to keep in touch, I celebrated their marriages and births, agonized over their moves and career growth, mourned divorces, miscarriages and deaths.  While I didn't often comment from afar, I appreciated their including me in the loop.

Still, I'm nervous about the weekend.  I haven't seen some of these women since college.  Well, we have a blast.  We laugh, cry, reminisce and catch up.  We play a hilarious game of Amazing Race where--divided into two teams--we drive around Cincinnati with clues performing tasks such as eating hot wings, shooting a basketball blindfolded or collecting used movie stubs on the way to our final destination. 

The root word of sorority is the Latin "soror" meaning sister.  I never had a sister growing up, but now, almost 20 years after graduating college, I still have a whole group of amazing sisters.  We celebrate each other's strengths and respect each others differences.  I realize now that when I pledged Gamma Phi Beta I instantly got these sisters, but over time they developed into friends.  It was worth the wait.

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