Wednesday, April 3, 2013

15 Years...

It's been well over a year… and I haven't been compelled to blog. Not sure why… I guess it's just life happening. It's not like I haven't had PLENTY on my mind... plenty of new and wonderful things going on in my life... a few extra craptacular things happened as well... but I figured at some point something would happen to inspire me to mosey on over to this here blog and post something.

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,


  1. Absolutely wonderful and thought-provoking. I've enlisted the support of 2 chapter Sorors to make sure I dont spend the next meeting day in's where I've been hanging out since losing my friend and my brother: Work, home, spend time with family, half a$$ sleep -the cycle continues. And on the weekend, more family time, more alone time that I fool myself into thinking I need, and more half-a$$ sleeping. I justify it by telling myself "I'm catching up on the sleep I don't get during the week." Meanwhile, I'm not sticking to my "take care of myself" plan....not overeating - but not eating enough to move the metabolism....therefore ZERO energy.

    No need to sound the alarms. I've called on family and friends - recognizing that I need help out of this grief-stricken rut.

    I remind myself, my big brother Nate and my homie Deanna would NOT want me sulking. Both of them loved life. I'll pull it together with that in mind.....slowly, but surely. I'm giving myself time to grieve because I'm on spring break. My rat race of a job is so high paced that it's been nearly impossible. My tragedies are on MY mind at work - no one else's. Unfortunately, I'm in an adverse urban school turnaround environment. People can careless about the tough times in my life.

    But u are right. Life in Delta has been and will be good to me. It's time for me to get back to life. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Ummm.....typo....
    Care LESS
    (hearing Deanna)

  3. Kimberley Richardson "Jagged Edge #7"April 3, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Ohhhhhhh Jolai!!!, I am sitting in my office waiting on my next psychological evaluation to arrive with tears streaming down my face!! I anticipated the difficulty of this day, but I told myself I was gonna be a big girl and do better. Deanna would always tell me that my heart was superbig and I felt everything deep to the core, but I have to feel it deep to the core...I LOVE HER!!! I always will. God knew what he was doing when he denied both of us in undergrad so that we could cross paths in our journey. The day I met her, we instantly connected and when we discussed our friends...we were flabbergasted at our deeper connection. I thank you for your loving words in celebrating Dee and the rest of us today on our 15th DELTAVERSARY....I will miss that we won't celebrate tonight physically until I see her on the other side ( but Ohhhhh what a glorious day!) Heaven ain't even ready when the #3 and the #7 reunite! So to you Set it OFF!! I salute everything about you today and always!

  4. Wow. This is such a beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  5. Beautiful post! My condolences to you.

  6. Love, love, love this. Deanna is setting it off in heaven right now!

  7. I'm happy that you have such fond memories of Deanna and the organization of people that are so very dear to her.

  8. beautifully written. your post is extra special being that Inglewood Alumnae will be celebrating our chapter's 20yr anniversary on April 16th!! Deanna is truely missed (by me) on two fronts: Inglewood Alumnae Delta's and Morningside Monarchs.

  9. From Scoopy,
    Great job Scoop! I went to Dr. KD's blog and was directed to a work in progress. I don't have to tell you that I'm a snotty mess but I will celebrate her anniversary belatedly.
    I miss her so much!


    Keep up the blog

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