Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I can't even believe it's been 22 years since I graduated from college. I graduated at age 22, now it's been 22 MORE years. WTF? It feels like five years, until I look at the mirror and no longer see a girl in a Lanz nightgown worn backwards, with Clearisil all over her face and sleeping on a freezing cold sleeping porch with 65 other girls.

Spent three years of college life living in a sorority. Go ahead and hate me. Go ahead and tell me what stuck-up, spoiled, empty headed sorority girls are like. Go ahead. I've got my truth, and no one can take that away from me.

For me it was heaven. A three year slumber party with no parents. No chain-smokers. No active alcoholics (identified, anyway), no un-treated bi-polar middle aged men lying around in their bathrobes all day. It was heaven. Lots of good coffee. Lots of good people. Lots of good conversations and bonding. Lots.

Back in my day, freshmen were required to live on campus, in dorms. You could join a sorority, but you couldn't move in until you were a sophomore. Sophomore year I moved in with excitement, and felt joyfully at home for the first time in 19 years.

Sophomores got all the "bad" duties. Phone duty, kitchen duty and wake-up duty. I'll save wake-up and kitchen duties for another post, because my favorite was phone duty.

65 girls and two phone lines. One central phone and three more on the other floors of the house. Period. No cell phones. There were two pay phones, though, to use for long-distance, the only way to call home.

Sophomores had to take shifts answering the central phone during peak calling hours. There was a three-ring binder used to record all the calls/messages, if the person being called wasn't around. There was no privacy. The phone log was fair game for all to read, and when you're a bored sophomore waiting for the phone to ring, you've got nothing to do but stroll through the old messages.

For efficiency, codes were created. My favorite? BCNMWCBL. Boy Called, No Message, Will Call Back Later. I think I had 1 of those in three years, maybe. We also had BCNM, GCNM, and GCNMWCBL, but who cares about unidentified girls leaving vague messages? No one!

I just realized this week that that system must have been made obsolete years ago. I'm sure every girl has her own cell phone and handles her own calls. How sad. There's nothing better than your friends waiting for you to come home so they can tell you you got your BCNMWCBL call you'd been waiting for. I'm sure there are other ways sorority life has changed in 22 ways. I hope they're not all for the "better."


Jenny Rough said...

So funny! You bring back memories of my girlfriends and I writing messages on our white board about who called. Fun times.

kario said...

I love this! I can remember how small our school was and that created so many "guesses" about who was calling for whom. Boo hoo for technology, huh?

Kim said...

That is adorable! I bet the joy of a BCNMWCBL lasted for days on end. There is nothing better than a big, super-tight posse of girls on their way to becoming women...except maybe a big, super-tight posse of women!

Anonymous said...

Scary thing is, Carrie---I totally REMEMBER you in those Lanz nightgowns, at your mama's house! I CANNOT be 22 years ago!

My daughter, who will be leaving for college in two short years, has informed us that she NEEDS not only her cell phone, but a laptop--no college student would be without those anymore! How did we ever get by? Hmmmmmm......

Nancy said...

I love this post! So much is lost in our "connected" world...everyone within reach all the time! No anticipation!

Jerri said...

I'm with Nancy. Anticipation was the greatest.

I, too, was a sorority girl and loved what Kim called my "super-tight posse of girls."

Love this post, girl. Love that you still remember the code.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I'm still stuck on this:

"no un-treated bi-polar middle aged men lying around in their bathrobes all day"

Anything would be heaven in comparison!

Terry Whitaker said...

I can't say anything better than Kim. I mirror her thoughts exactly.

jennifer said...

44 = power year...44 - 22 = 1/2 power year?? 22 + 22 = power year again...these are important numbers...look close...22 was the two...follow me???

Monica said...

The "bi-polar middle aged men" threw me. WTF is that? You have to tell me immediately.