Sometimes We Find Family Along The Way

DPhiE Reunion Large group
Delta Phi Epsilon sorority Delta Omega chapter at Monmouth University. The entire group in attendance at the recent reunion.

Family are the people who love you when you need them whether you’re born to them or pick them up along the way. That is the heart of all my books whether it’s my middle-grade series or my women’s fiction series.

Last week I spent some time with my sorority sisters. My sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, celebrated its 100th year anniversary and my college’s chapter, Delta Omega at Monmouth University, held an event for all sisters current and alumni. Because when you become a D Phi E sister, it’s for life.

I was a commuter student when I went to Monmouth. There are some great things about being a commuter, but it’s hard to make friends if you don’t get involved with something. As a Freshman, I kept to myself mostly. I’m an outgoing introvert (a personality trait that quarrels with itself often) so I needed some friends and fast. I’d already known a couple of the girls in the sorority and a friend at the time encouraged me to pledge. I’m so glad I did.

D Phi E reunion Just Us
These are some of the special ladies I went to school with. I love them all. 

I met the Coffee King because of that sorority. And I made some fantastic friends. Here’s what’s so great about the girls I went to school with, years can go by and we won’t see each other or talk outside of Facebook, but all it takes is to be in the same room with them and it’s like no time has gone by at all. I walked into that event and saw women I haven’t seen in 25 years. The hugs were fierce and the tears were real. That’s friendship. That’s sisterhood.

I’ve been asked often how could I have joined a sorority. (I don’t adhere to conformity well) but my sorority wasn’t like that. Our motto translated is “To be rather than to seem to be.” We believed in everyone being an individual. There was plenty of room for all personality types. Those girls accepted me for who I was and still am. They let me be me and I let them be them.

Those girls were strangers to me all those years ago. It was scary at that first pledge class meeting with nine other girls I didn’t know, but was about to be thrown together with twenty-four hours a day for six weeks. We had to learn to get along, learn to work together, learn to respect each other and we did it. That doesn’t mean we didn’t fight, because you always fight with family. We had a lot of fun together too. Mostly, it was fun. (I’d tell you some stories, but then you’d need to go into the Witness Protection Program.)

My sisters are there for me whenever I need them. I don’t even have to ask. They only have to hear that one of us is in trouble, sick, or celebrating and they are right there beside you holding your hand or cheering you on too. (Who else would help you bury the bodies??) When my first book came out my sisters applauded the loudest. I am eternally grateful for that. (Ladies, I’ll need you again soon. Stay tuned. wink wink)


D Phi E reunion My Family
My family tree. My Grand-Big Sister, Big Sister, and Little Sister. 

These amazing women are my family. The family I picked up along the way. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


6 thoughts on “Sometimes We Find Family Along The Way

  1. I went to a commuter school, as well, and I’m not sure folks who’ve had a more conventional college experience appreciate just how hard it is to make friends under those circumstances. It’s effectively like having a job, where you schlep to the campus every morning, take your day’s classes, report to some retail job in the evening, then crawl into bed in the wee hours of the night. Rinse and repeat.

    I didn’t join a fraternity, but I was lucky enough to have been enrolled in an experimental program my freshman year that paired incoming students together for all their prerequisite classes; it wasn’t all that different from junior high school, in that sense. That program gave me a social foundation that had ripple effects that resonate to this day: My wife was in that grouping, too.

    I think it says something quite special when you’re able to forge lifelong relationships under a set of circumstances that don’t lend themselves to easy socialization. And it says something special about all of you that you kept the group together, which is a rare thing indeed in this day and age. Thanks for sharing that story, Stacey.

    1. You nailed it on the head! Your experience at school is so much like mine was. I did exactly what you said. Went to class, went home, went to a retail job. It wasn’t until I forced myself to get involved that I made friends. When you join a sorority or a fraternity I suppose, you’re told you’re making friends for life. You will always have a common bond with these people. At the time I wasn’t sure I believed it. But it’s true. That group in the second picture and the ladies in the third have stayed my friend over all these years. Even if months or years go by and we don’t talk as much as we’d like, when we do it’s like going home again. I’m so grateful for that.

      Sounds like that program your freshman year paid off nicely. Everything happens for a reason.

  2. I didn’t retain any friendships from college and envy those who did (I got married as a junior – not something I recommend – yeesh). I have a few friends that go back to kindergarten, though, so I’m not completely pathetic. Ha ha. What a wonderful experience to have those strong connections then and now. Friendship is a true gift. 🙂

  3. I agree that friendship is a gift. But I also believe that people come into our lives for a reason and when that reason no longer exists the Universe will send us on different paths. It’s okay not to have maintained any friendships from college. They don’t serve you. But friends from kindergarten is impressive. I certainly can’t say that. (Though Facebook has allowed me to keep in touch with some elementary school friends from a very long time ago.) I’m grateful for the people in my life while I have them. And I’m grateful for when someone steps away for a while then finds their way back.

    1. “It happens. Friends come in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant, did you ever notice that?” Stephen King wrote that in The Body. He’s absolutely right: Most friendships aren’t built to last. They are of a certain time and place in your life, and like dandelions, they blossom and dissipate. That’s okay — that’s how it’s meant to be, really. But that only makes me cherish the friendships I have maintained for twenty, thirty, even forty years even more.

      1. I wrote a whole post on how friendships are disposable. Let me be clear because I always get yelled at for that comment. Friendships are disposable. Not people. Friendships are like paper plates. They serve a very important purpose, but when that purpose is over, you toss out the plate and go get another one. Friendships that last a long time, a life time in most cases, are made from stoneware.

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