Today is April 3. 2013. Fifteen years ago, my big sister, Deanna, became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Those who knew Deanna, know that after her family and close friends? ...there was nothing she loved more than her beloved sorority. I'm not gonna lie… I didn't get it. I didn't get it when Kimberly pledged in 1992, and I still didn't get it when Deanna pledged in 1998. My connection to sororities and pledging was largely wrapped up in the memories of seeing Kimberly pledge at Tuskegee. She was tired a lot. I would fill late night requests for panty hose and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to be left at her house for her when she finally got home from long days and late nights. But the night I got the call that her line was "crossing"… she was so incredibly happy that I forgot about all the pain I perceived her to be in during that time. Deanna's pledging experience was different than Kimberly's. But I was there on April 3, 1998, when she officially crossed over into Delta-Land. I remembered that same happy, tear-stained face that I had witnessed 6 years earlier on Kimberly.
Delta was their thing… Deanna & Kimberly's thing… sometimes I thought maybe I was missing out on some sisterly bonding by not being a Delta as well, but we had our own little sorority… DKD: Deanna Kimberly Darlene. LOL! Very exclusive!
|"It's a DKD thang... you wouldn't understand!"|
Whenever the Inglewood Alumnae chapter of DST would have a line, Deanna would call me…
Me: Hey, Skleeanna! (that's what I called her)
Dee: Guess whaaaaat? Inglewood Alumnae is having a line!
Me: Oh girl… I told you the day I decide to pledge, you will be the FIRST to know. Hell, you might know before I do! Haaaaa!
Dee: Awww Pookie… Delta NEEDS you!
Me: Guuuuurl, Delta doesn't need me… because Delta has YOU!
Seriously… we had this conversation ALL THE TIME. But I didn't get it. And at that point, my idea of a Delta was Deanna (aka "Super Delta"… aka "Delta on Fire"), and I figured I'd need to love Delta like that to pledge. And I didn't… because I really didn't get it.
You want to know when I "got it" for the first time?
When I walked into New Mercies Christian Church on December 8, 2012… for Deanna's Omega Omega memorial service... When I saw the ocean of Deltas dressed in black to formally say goodbye to their soror… their sister. Easily 400+ women there for my sister… their sister. Something clicked in my head… "Hmmm... this is more than just a club… these women really, really love my sister." I sat on the front row of chairs with my dad to the left of me and an empty chair to the right of me that held a box of Kleenex. My mom was next to my dad, and I believe Kimberly was next to her. On the row behind us? Kimberly's line sisters… many of whom had just spent time and money coming to homecoming for their line's 20th anniversary. Falona flew in from Denver. Kimberly's "Big Girls" were there… there to support their line sister… there to say goodbye to their soror… their sister. It was all so eye-opening to me… the one thing that would make me start to understand Deanna & Kimberly's love for Delta was losing the most incredible Delta I knew. Stacey flew in from Cleveland… Jackie Brown came from Philly… Kim Barnette came from DC… Deanna's best friend, Deborah, came from California. These Deltas… Deanna's friends… Deanna's sorors... Deanna's sisters, came from near and far to say goodbye.
At one point, someone was singing… and my dad and I kinda lost it. Before I could even reach for a new piece of tissue, Kimberly's line sister, Marrakesha, was by my side with her arm around me. And she never left. You see… MY sisters have all of these "sisters"… who are kind of like my big sisters as well. Since we lost Deanna, I have been in contact with so many of her sorority sisters all across the country. Wow… these women LOVE my sister. And that makes me feel good.
So today… April 3, 2013… I'm a bit melancholy. Sad that my sister isn't here to celebrate her 15 year anniversary with her beloved Deltas. Sad that I can't call & wish her well today. Sad that I can't ask her what kind of trouble she and her line sister, Kimberley, are getting into tonight. Sad that she isn't here to celebrate the centennial all year with her beloved Deltas… she was so looking forward to all of this. I'm sad right now… but I will celebrate for her… and I will smile, laugh & be happy. I will celebrate my sister-- line name: Set it Off (how perfect is that name? LOL!) and I will celebrate her line sisters (The 13 Stages of Evolution) as I wish them a happy 15 year Deltaversary.
|The 13 Stages of Evolution|
|#7 Jagged Edge (Kimberley) and #3 Set It Off (Deanna)|
|Line Sisters: Deanna, Erica & Kimberley|
If you're a member of a sorority or a fraternity… or any group/club… spend some time today thinking of how you can recommit yourself to your organization. Deanna would like that.
Happy Deltaversary, Sissy.
I love and miss you more than words can express...
Your baby sis,