Sunday, July 01, 2007

o/` Memories..... like the corners, of my mind..... o/`

July 1st, 2007

What a weekend. Memories, old and now new ones, from the college fraternity I was in over 30 years ago.

I organized a reunion for all ages of those from the Oklahoma State
University chapter of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity this passed
weekend here in Tulsa, 70 miles from where we went to school in
Stillwater. Originally I sent out an initial mailing back in early 2006,
to get a feel for what others would like to do, and how many might
attend, the planning began.

Friday night was a "mixer' at a local hotel, with "Hideaway Pizza" from here in Tulsa. When we had our old fraternity house in Stillwater, we were one block from the original Hideaway Pizza, and it was our second kitchen. About 25 showed up for Friday night, and we spent the evening talking and reminiscing about old times. Due to end at 11, the last of us left the ballroom at 1 am.

Saturday morning those that wanted to were scheduled to play golf. Though 9 were signed up for it, 2 opted not to due to wet conditions, and 1 never made it to town. So the other 6 played, and had quite a nice time.

During the day Saturday was "Free Time" to do what one wanted to around Tulsa, or elsewhere. A number of the guys opted to drive to Stillwater to see how it had changed, as some of them had not been there for many years. Others visited relatives or other friends, or went shopping, or to museums, etc.

Saturday night we descended on the Perryman Ranch, with about 45 in attendance. We had some of that tasty BBQ for dinner, and rocked out to the Fabulous Midlife Crisis Band. Though the band had trouble at times getting anyone off their chair to dance, they did succeed at times, especially towards the end, when they played the fraternity favorite, ala "Animal House", (It Makes Me Want To) "Shout ! ". That got most of the fraternity brothers out on the dance floor. And just the guys, no wives or girlfriends. We were out there dancing at the same time, though I'd never claim we were all dancing together. It was quite a fun evening, with lots of talk and plans for another gathering in August of 2008, back at the ranch.

Sunday morning, 15 of us went to Brunch at KAL's Southern Hills Chop House. It was another fun, and talkative gathering. The food was quite good, the service very good, and those of us that were there had a great time, still catching up on more memories from the past, and talking about those that were not there.

One interesting observation was that on Friday evening, it sure seemed to start off slow, with people arriving at different intervals, and many of them meeting some of the others for the first time. That was because we invited all the guys from our fraternity, covering over 70 years while it was on campus. The house folded around 1995, so there had not been a lot of interaction since between many of the members.

However, by later Saturday night, and Sunday morning, the conversations were flowing much more freely, even between the different age groups. We all had that common bond of having been in the same fraternity, regardless of when, and what location. Over the years, our "house" had moved around a bit. The one I actually lived in during the mid 70's burned down around 1980. After that, there were several moves around campus, yet the feeling of going back to visit the fraternity during football season, etc., was never quite the same. The old familiar feeling one usually gets going back a college football game, and visiting one's fraternity house, just wasn't there, after the fire, and with several moves in just a few years. That seemed to take the steam out of the fraternity, and it never completely recovered.

Will we ever re-open a new chapter at OSU ? I do not know. It's not easy, and it's not cheap. Will we keep the alumni group going, and keep trying to involve more of the former members ? Yes, definitely. Now that this first event has come and gone, and those that attended all seemed to enjoy themselves, it does appear they will be more interested in having another event, and helping to get more members contacted, and to show up.

That's what I am hoping to accomplish. This was not done for making money on the event, as that did not happen. It was done to re-unite old friends, and make new friends between the generations that all share a common bond. This first gathering was the tough one, the others will have some momentum from this one. The more members we get involved, the more the future gatherings will be fresh and fun, as we will continue to have new faces show up.

It was worth the effort, and the headaches.

I do need to give credit to some in my office that were a wonderful help in getting the mailings out. I know I pushed a lot of extra work on them, but they handled it cheerfully and did a great job. I could not have done it without their assistance.