Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My College Sorority Reunion Weekend October 5-7, 2007-Rochester, NY

my sisters, their spouses, partners, families

Now for something non celebrity related, but all these women are celebrities to me and all who know them...they are the A LIST

This past weekend, I ventured back to my college, my Alma Mater-Rochester Institute of Technology, for a reunion with my sorority sisters from Alpha Xi Delta. I graduated 23 years ago and have not ventured back to Rochester since then. I have only been in touch with one of my sisters in that time-my best college friend Barb, who came to my wedding 6 years ago this week. Never in a million years would I thought I would have had so much fun.
This all came about less than 2 months ago. While sitting at my computer working on my images from a shoot, I got an email from a woman named Debbie. Debbie was another sorority sister but we never really spoke much in college. She emailed me to say "hi, remember me" and then went on to say she married a man from college, they had a son, and he is starting as a freshman at our Alma Mater. 2 more emails and then I phoned her. We started speaking almost daily. We thought-hey. let's have a reunion. We decided on the first weekend in October since that was the college's reunion...but we were really going to see one another. We started a blog and started looking for our long lost sisters. One by one, we would find someone. It was so exciting. Before we knew it, we had over 30 from our era-the 1980's, saying they were going to come. Then, a group of Alumni from the 1970's heard about it and said "hey, can we come." 28 from the 1970's were in!
When we were all students, we did not have a house-we lived in the dorms. The girls now have a real house-a mansion, and it is just beautiful. The school also is beautiful-so different than when we were there.
Friday night, the alumni from the 70's had a dinner and we, the alumni from the 80's, met at a bar. One by one, someone would arrive. The screaming, crying, hugging and laughter was, as one of my sisters said, SURREAL. 23 years apart, no contact, and it was as if we were all together yesterday. Was this a dream? Am I really seeing...Gretchen,Diane, Dara, Shari, Robin and Kim, Kathy, Lauren, Cyndi, Stacey, Alma, Beth,Janet, Faith, Terri, Marian, Barb, Debbie, Sandy,Vicki, Margie, Dawn. Is it really them?? OH MY GOD. Time stood still. Everyone looked so wonderful. No one looked like they were in their mid to late 40's. To me, they were all stuck in a time warp-they are all still in their early 20's. Some looked like movie starts.
Saturday, we went over to the mansion-the house the current girls live in. WOW! Everyone was just in awe. This house is just gorgeous. One by one, the alumni from the 1970's arrived. We had a nice ceremony. These college girls are so put together, so amazing. But looking back on how we were in college, we were pretty much the same way. Alpha Xi Delta has always been a strong house, and they are still strong, having the highest GPA on campus (when I was in school there were 2 sororities-there are now 15) and winning awards like we did. We were women at a college dominated by men, in majors dominated by men. We are strong, successful women. We are photographers, engineers, IT, Business owners, Computer whizzes, authors, mothers, teachers,artists, software engineers and most of all...we are sisters. We are all from different eras-the 70's, the 80's, current sisters and new members, and we are so much alike.
27 years ago I was placed in the house as a freshman because there was not enough room in the dorms. A lot of us came to the house this way. We decided to join, after meeting the wonderful sisters and seeing what they do, for the college and the Rochester Community.
I graduated May 19, 1984 and left that day with my middle finger up. I was probably one of the least likely to succeed as a photographer, according to my professors who told me "you suck, you're never going to make it, find a new career." Well, little did I know, it seems that is something quite common to be told. I knew I did stink, but I surely did not need to hear it. They were very wrong--I DID make it. I fought through all the pain and heartache and suffered many years but I have proved them wrong. I photograph a lot of events for various colleges and everytime I have been at an alumni event for another college, I felt this little bit of jealousy. My brother and sister in law are graduates of Penn State and they go back almost every year. They wear their school name with pride. I always missed that. And THANKS to my sorority sisters, I can now look back on my Alma Mater, for the first time in 23 years, with PRIDE. This weekend, and all of them, restored something in me that has been missing since I left.
And THANK YOU ALPHA XI DELTA-we are sisters always and forever, no matter where we are and what we do.



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