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The idea of sororities holds stronger in the Deep South than in the rest of the country, and at my alma mater, Ole Miss, in Oxford, Mississippi, the Greek letters on T-shirts foretold a person's station in life. Our symbol was the owl; our colors were red and gold, or, in the mythical terms we were taught, "cardinal and straw"; and our chapter, Tau, had been at the top of the Greek order since its founding in 1899.
The idea of walking around in anything other than the T-shirts, tank tops, earrings, gym shorts, necklaces, and sweatshirts of Chi Omega was so intolerable that rushees had been known to collapse in grief upon being cut, and to immediately pack their bags and go home. If we smoked, we were not to crassly stand while doing so, but rather sit, preferably with legs crossed.
Plenty of us could secretly out-drink and out-smoke (sitting or standing) the biggest barfly in town, but we took the other expectations seriously, which is how, on a bright, clear Thursday in the spring of 1987, we arrived at the moment that changed everything.
Socially Awkward and sartorially clueless (purple gel shoes, pink frosted lipstick), I got in to Chi O largely, I suspect, on the lovability of my cousin Jill, the Chi O secretary.
The road rolls a bit between Batesville and Oxford but bottoms out now and then in soybean flats and cotton fields, cutting past one-room churches, lone brick houses, and landscapes of kudzu, which assumes the shape of whatever it drapes, tree, tractor, or shack.
You’ll usually be caught out by this if you don’t have up-to-date internet security.Back row, from left: Katie Rose Guyton, Mary Schiele Daniels Scanlon, Mary Helen Sandifer Thomas, Shannon Moore Dye, Snowe Wilks Green.Front row: Ashley Brock Farmer, Susan Mc Gee Smith, Maggie Elliott Abernathy.Every year millions of pounds is taken by criminals who manipulate cheques by stealing genuine blank ones and forging your signature, intercepting cheques that have already been made out and altering the amount and the payee’s name, or using the details from genuine cheques to create counterfeit cheques.
Survivors of March 26, 1987, gather at the Chi O house, January 2012.Maybe it was that near-marathon distance coupled with the alternating challenge and relief of hills and flats that made Highway 6 seem the perfect location for a charity walkathon.