Archive for Monday, August 20, 2012


River City Jules: Sisterhood memories

August 20, 2012


I have a confession to make.

One time … back in college … simply because my friends were doing it too … I joined a sorority.

While I only lived in the actual sorority house one semester and drew the line at wearing hair bows to class, I still remember the Greek name my Big Sis gave me at initiation.

And sometimes, when I’m having trouble sleeping, I try to list everyone from my pledge class (I usually get in four or five Jennifers before finally drifting off), which is about as active as I had been as an alumnus until last weekend, when I went back to the house to help the young women with rush.

Standing outside the beautiful brick mansion with its majestic white columns, I quickly traveled back in time 22 years as an adorable young woman holding a clipboard called my name before handing me off to my hostess, Erin, for a tour of the house.

As she led me to my old room on the third floor, she asked me what had changed since I was in college.

“Well, we had never heard of the Internet,” I started, “and the house had three new Macs for all of us to share for writing papers.”

She seemed impressed so I continued. “We didn’t have iAnythings, tweets came out of birds and the Kardashians were just kids waiting for their dad to land a big client.”

Just then we passed a framed composite from my sophomore year. I paused in front of it, scanning the rows upon rows of glamorously-curled, heavily made-up blondes in their matching black drapes before finding my photo: one very disheveled brunette who had, apparently, yet to discover highlights or tweezers.

All of this time I thought I had outgrown my awkward phase in high school, and that by college I was, relative to the bad perm and braces, rather presentable.

I have never been more wrong about anything in my life.

I considered faking it and telling Erin I was sick that day and there wasn’t a photo of me from the early ‘90s to be found anywhere ever, but it was too late. She saw me point to my photo and did a triple-take.

“That’s you?” she asked in disbelief, turning back and forth from the photo to the 40-year-old next to her with her well-shaped brows and undeniably salon-colored hair.

“And we had never heard of the flatiron,” I winced.

“You look,” she stammered for the right words to describe the transformation from 1991 to 2012 before settling for, “really different.”

I took another look at my sisters with their gravity-defying hair, knowing there were pleated jeans just out of the shot, and decided we women really do get better with age.

“Yep,” I replied, remembering the weekend this summer two of my sorority sisters visited for a wedding. We were the prettiest (albeit only) girls wandering into the Hawk after the rehearsal dinner. “I think we all do.”

— Julie Dunlap can be reached at


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