In the summer of the odd years

Once upon a time we Delta Zetas lived under the same roof in that funny white house on Fifth Street in Greenville, NC. There we learned to use parachutes to cover the living room ceiling that was falling down. There we learned to comfort one another in times of trouble, boy breakups, bad grades, parent problems, expectations unrealized, hopes smashed. There we celebrated each other’s joy.

Standing in a circle, holding hands, we sang “Dream Girl of Delta Zeta” beneath our crumbling ceiling. We sang one verse for a lavalier, two for a frat pin, and three for an engagement, as I recall. I make it sound as if our joys were all about men, but mostly they were back then.

Time scattered us over the country. Yet every other summer we gather. Under a luxurious roof, no crumbling ceilings thank you, we reunite as sisters one more time. Why do we come back together? Maybe the force that connected us when we were young still lives within us, and when we are together that force grows stronger. Like crickets, we chirp with one voice, a mighty chorus, as we step out of our separate lives and into a shared past.

Yet we are different from each other. Our politics, religion or lack thereof, our socio-economic situations, vary in the extreme. Still we look for where we meet. We focus on similarities, not differences. We talk of children, husbands, friends, of what is lasting and of what is lost.

We remember our beloved sisters who have died. We experience gratitude for each other and for our amazing hosts, Susan and John. We know that in two years our numbers will be diminished. We know this life is finite and insist on having fun now.

Best of all, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We act silly just as we did long ago and laugh often at this crazy wonderful world in which we live. And when we part after our weekend of fun, we take a piece of each other with us.

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