Her black turtleneck and black shorts were a blur as she zipped past the crowd. The bowler hat was bobby pinned to her long wavy hair so it wouldn’t blow off as she rounded the curve coming down the home stretch. It was her race to lose, and her short legs pumped the pedals as fast as they could. Victory was hers as the nose of her three-wheeled vehicle broke through the finish line tape!
I searched for a photo of my Sigma Chi Little Sister tricycle race experience, but alas none has made it all the way down through the years. What did survive was something else from 1970-something: these glimpses into how collegiate life helped me become more of my own person.
Before, Mom had always kept my hair short or corralled by a headband in an attempt to keep the random curls under some sort of control. After I headed off to college and let my hair grow and grow and grow, I discovered there was more wave than actual curl.
Before, clothes were either hand-me-downs from my older sister Betty or bought by Mom with her own tastes in mind. After, I sewed a lot of my own dresses with matching choker necklaces or purchased items with designs and colors that I loved. I even adopted the shorter hem line that was the style, much to the chagrin of my traditional parentals. See how Mom had me scootch over to “hide my legs” in the official Parents Weekend photo.
Then I decided to transfer from Stephens College in Missouri where my sister had gone. Butler University in Indianapolis became home for my last two years and that’s where the tricycle race and lots of joint community service projects and fundraisers took place between my Tri Delta sorority and the Sigma Chi fraternity where I little-sistered. I learned what mattered to me and more about who I was created to be.
During the summers, I worked as the only Children’s Counselor at a resort ranch in Michigan. I had applied to the job on a whim and it was only after my parents had dropped me off & headed home to Tennessee that I learned I was “it” as far as counselor staff. I would be responsible for providing horseback riding, archery, and water skiing lessons to 6-12 year olds. Never mind that I didn’t know how to do any of those activities myself! That’s what the week before summer session started was for, I was told. Good thing I was up for learning anything!
Speaking of which, except for our Supervisor all the staff was made up of college kids-the cooks, the activities/adult program folks, the wranglers. After dinner, the parents stayed for fun and games and the entire staff was expected to participate in the week’s Finale Performance. Singing and dancing required.
When our version of Hair: The Musical was so well received, the management decided to have us repeat it the next summer. Most of us had returned for another season, including me. Not sure my parents had a full grasp of the wardrobe my semi-hippie character donned, but I enjoyed breaking out of my comfort zone in bellbottoms and a halter top. Just not too “far out”. It seemed that the same stretchy knit headbands I had disliked so much a few years earlier were stylish after all…and so was my naturally wavy hair.
Here’s to no more squelching of ALL the parts of our beautiful inner and outer true essence!
I’d love to support you in capturing the moments that were part of your journey toward discovering who you are today. Let’s get started today!
Capturing the Moments that Matter…Energizing Your Faith…Passing It On!