A TRIBUTE TO PAT CROSON – by Barbara Drechsler

Many years ago, I met a very special person – Pat Croson.  At the time, we were in EPSILON Province, Washington DC based chapters of Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority.  I was all of 20 when I joined SPG in 1961, newly married, and a new home owner.
Pat was a wonderful mentor through the many years of sorority…both in EPSILON Province and later in RHO Province.  She went on to become an International Historian 1980-1982, and rose all the way to International President 1983-1984.  From there, she became the International Secretary-Treasurer from 1985-1998.  Along the way, Pat encouraged me to run for an International Office, which I eventually did and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  My family and I saw places we would never have seen when we attended Conventions in the U.S. & Canada.  Pat was always there pushing me, being a mentor, offering advice and being a true-blue friend.  It was a privilege to help her too, when she needed extra hands.
A friend is defined in the dictionary as “a person who knows, likes, favors, and supports; a comrade, chum, crony, companion, patron, and advocate”.  Pat was all these things not only to me personally, but to many other “Sisters” in SPG.  She was the glue that held things together – not the least of which was her family.
Richard and I were privileged to be considered “members of the family” from early on.  After a terrible accident, she and Tom unselfishly raised their little granddaughter, Marlyna, to adulthood, making sure she was always involved with her own mother’s family.  We watched and participated in many family functions as new grandchildren arrived and flourished.  It was an honor to be considered part of the family.  Unfortunately, I had to give up on remembering names as the grandchildren married and the family picture grew.  Eller taught her children well and Pat continued that legacy.
Over the years, Pat endured many health problems – she rarely complained, but was in constant pain.  We called her the bionic woman with all the replacement operations she went through and was ready for the next one if she thought it would help her ability to move easier.  Many times, I think I would have sat it out, but that wasn’t Pat…there were things to do!  She and Tom particularly enjoyed going to Nags Head.  They invited us a couple of times and, lo and behold, we bought a place in 1999 and shared the same time period (along with Diane and Bud Maraist).  This has enabled our Chapter to spend a weekend together once a year…a highlight for everyone, and especially Pat & Tom.  The guys fished and the ladies gabbed.  There was also her sewing club, members of which arrived after our sorority weekend.
Pat and Tom were a great pair – they would have celebrated 60 years of marriage on August 2, so they must have done something right!  They were helpmates for each other and doted on family (and pets).  I remember when I saw the house they bought in Charlotte Hall – me, I would have knocked it down and started over, but not Tom.  He and Pat worked hard on that house and made it a lovely home.  Juli and Jim are lovingly carrying on with improving the home.
There is so much more that could be said about Pat.  I will miss her dearly as will her entire family.  I hope you all will take comfort in the fact that she is no longer in pain and is probably organizing some function as she’s reunited with her mom.
Thank you, Pat…you were one of a kind.  I will always think of you so very fondly.  Rest in Peace.
My Love,
Barbara Drechsler

Facebook Sisters – Linda Bullington

As I relax in my easy chair I find myself reflecting on the sorority friendship connections made stronger through Facebook. I’ve just scrolled through and made comments on several sisters’ posts. One sister just became a grandma! She’s sad because she missed being present for the birth because her granddaughter was born a week early. Thankful that all went well with the delivery. And joyful that she’ll see her new granddaughter very soon. Another sister is home with strep throat. She works out at a gym faithfully, so I know her down time is driving her crazy. One sister is touring in my area. She and her husband went to a tourist site I haven’t been to yet, and I’ve lived here for 40 years. Yet another sister is vacationing in Key West. Quite a switch in scenery from her home base mid country. I enjoy staying connected to my sorority sisters through their FB posts. Because we are spread all over the United States and Canada, FB helps us keep in touch. We share both the joys & sadnesses of everyday life. At times we add a quick emoticon while other post draw out a thoughtful or compassionate response. Sometimes our posts include a joke or pretty scenery, but what really counts is that we stay connected. When I meet up with my FB sisters in person, it’s like we’ve enjoyed some of life’s journey together, despite living across the county from each other. So until we meet next time, know that I’ll be seeing your posts.

Summertime Reflections – Debbie Henize

Welcome to the heat! Based on my local news this heat wave is pretty much nationwide. I think even Canada is warmer than normal. As a reminder, I am in Ohio. Our heat index today reached 106. This may not sound bad to my friends in Nevada or Florida, but to wimpy me, heat is a big deal. The good thing is that it gives me time, in air conditioning, for my sorority work. I am sitting in my recliner, daughter at my left, with my computer and a to-do list.
I am reflecting on our time together in Portland. As my first year as an International Officer has ended, I would like to thank the membership for their support. I could not begin to thank each of you individually for your well wishes, cards and love. But, I do want each of you to know that your acts of kindness are appreciated much more than I can explain. During many tough times in my life, I have found the kindness of a sister has helped to pull me through. Thank you all for being Sigma Phi Gamma Sisters. Be good to one another and continue to support our communities.

Becoming a Sigma Phi Gamma Sister – Vittoria Trentacoste

I’ve heard many stories about my great-grandmother Violet Pettit Tindall. Stories of how meaningful sorority was to her, how much she enjoyed giving back, and being surrounded by Sisters. Although I lost my great-grandmother when I was young, I was able to get to know her. Thoughtfulness, care, and love seemed to emanate from her. Those memories made me realize that Sigma Phi Gamma is a group that I too want to be a part of. I’ve often felt there was something missing in my life and that I never quite fit in, until now.

Service work is one of my life long passions and I enjoy giving back to my community. Reaching out and helping others makes my heart full. So it seemed a fitting time in my life to look into my great-grandmother’s friendship and service sorority. I made my first contact through the SPG website. It took a while to get into contact with someone who could lead me in the right direction. I learned that while there are Chapters in Northern California, all of them were just too far away for me to attend monthly meetings and social activities. I was then told how the sorority was trying to launch a Virtual Chapter and I thought that would be perfect for me. I was put in contact with Sharon Hilton, and we discussed how the Virtual Chapter would work. I became very excited to learn more.

The first meeting was in March and I got a sense of how everything works; the goals and expectations. I also heard that the International Convention would be hosted in Portland Oregon, and registered immediately! I studied parks and recreation in college so the route to the Portland location was very attractive to me. The drive through so many beautiful state and national parks was an enticement on its own. Before leaving for the trip, my Virtual Chapter started talking about the prospect of being pledged at International. I was ecstatic! I was finally going to be following in my great-grandmother’s footsteps.

June came quickly, and I was becoming more and more excited and maybe a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be a little nervous to go somewhere you’d never been and surrounded by people you didn’t know? After my arrival into the city of Wine and Roses, I went to pick up my registration packet. Three women were there smiling at me and so excited to meet me. I just knew that I had no real reason to worry.

I soon met up with two of my virtual Sisters and I met their wonderful group of fun loving Sister friends. We all jumped in the car and went to dinner. Upon our arrival back to the hotel for the first night of fun, I ended up sitting at the International Officers’ table. At the time no one really knew who I was except that I was a pledge from the Virtual Chapter. As I introduced myself I could see the excitement in their eyes as they realized my connection to sorority. As the events of the week went on I felt more and more comfortable. As someone who sees them-self as a shy and quiet person (you would never believe that after seeing the skit I was in), I definitely became more at ease being me. I started to sit at different tables, have conversations with anyone I sat with, and most importantly I started to feel like I had a giant family who would support me in everything I do. For many years I’ve struggled to make friends as I’m not typically an outgoing person. But now I’ve found my place in sorority, to be the outgoing fun loving person that was inside of me all along.

Pledge day came and I once again started to feel nervous. I so wanted to make my great-grandmother Violet proud, and I knew she would be. As the minutes melted away and it came time for the Pledge Service, I knew I was going to be just fine. My temporary anxiety melted away and for a moment I could feel the presence of my great-grandmother Violet standing next to me as I received my pledge pin. I choked back tears, happy to be able to continue what my great-grandmother helped to start ninety-eight years ago. I feel absolutely honored to be joining Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority.

After the Pledge Service, I met up with a tour group to visit the beautiful International Rose Tea Garden and Pittock Mansion. I was able to get to know some of the Kappa Province Sisters as I walked through the gardens. We had so much fun taking time to literally smell the roses. Once the tour group returned to the hotel, it was time to get ready for Recognition night. Let me just start by saying that the food was amazing, the company was delightful, and I was tearing up while women were being recognized for their long term commitments to sorority. I knew right then that I would be a Sister for life. As I was getting ready to leave I started to feel sad that I would not be able to spend more time with the friends I had just made until next year. I loved my first Convention and I am proud to be a Pledge for Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority. I can’t wait for next year!

Portland Has a Lot to Offer!

Portland has the largest wilderness park within the city limits. Forest Park with over 5,000 Square acres. We also have the smallest park 2.5 feet in diameter within the city limits called Mill End Park.

We have the world’s largest independently owned bookstore, Powell’s Book in downtown Portland.

We have over 700 food courts through out the city and have been named the best city in the world for street food. I hope you get a change to try some.

We have great Saturday Market, and close to the Hotel on the Washington side, Easter Shore Park, they have a Saturday Market as well.

The Portland zoo.

Omsi Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Art Museums.

Rose Gardens, Japanese Gardens.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Were you can see the Spruce Goose, Built entirely of wood due to wartime restrictions on metals.

We will have pamphlets at the Hotel with more things to see and do, and if your taking any of the TOURS you’ll get to see lots of what Portland has to offer!


Stanford’s Restaurant & Bar:  $$ · American, Contemporary American chain serving steak, sushi, pizza & pub grub, plus cocktails & local beers.

12200 N Parker Ave

Happy hour food – Late-night food – Comfort food

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse:   $$ · Restaurant, Family-friendly chain outpost pairs familiar pub fare with an extensive list of house brews.

12105 N Center Ave

Happy hour food – Late-night food – Happy hour drinks

Boomers:   $ · Barbecue, Unassuming restaurant offering long-smoked BBQ, plus burgers, booze & breakfast in a casual space.

1335 N Hayden Island Dr

Happy hour food Late-night food Happy hour drinks

Panera Bread:   $$ · Sandwich,Counter-serve bakery/cafe chain serving sandwiches, salads & more, known for its bread & free WiFi.

1400 N Tomahawk Island Dr

Reservations required- Breakfast – Outdoor Seating

Original Joe’s:  Unfussy outpost for simple American eats like sandwiches & handful of Asian-influenced bento boxes.

1321 N Hayden Island Dr

Late-night food – Comfort food – Breakfast

La Quebrada Taqueria:   Mexican

11980 N Jantzen Dr

Comfort food – Small plates – Quick bite

My Granddaughter is Turning Sixteen – Linda Bullington, International Service Secretary

My granddaughter is turning sixteen!
This birthday is a milestone, she’s excited to be getting her drivers license! The car her mom bought for her has been parked out front for months, now she’ll be able to drive herself places & have freedom from relying on others to get her places.
As one of her chauffeurs I’m dreading this newly earned freedom. I enjoyed shuttling her to school in the morning, & back & forth to softball practice, it was a way for just her & I to have a few minutes of together time. I liked catching up with what was going on in her life during our drives. You know teenagers, they stay in their rooms with the door shut must of the time when they’re at home & it’s sometimes hard to keep involved in their activities.
I can’t help but reminisce on times of joy I’ve gotten to share in on as a part of her life in years past.
I didn’t want to be called grandma, I thought I rather liked Grammie so that’s the name I was hoping my grand kids would call me.
As Bailey began to talk she heard her mom call my parents grandma & grandpa so that’s what they became to her as well. We knew she could say g sounds but for some reason Grammie didn’t happen… Bailey started calling me Mammie…needless to say I took some ribbing from friends on that & raised more than a few eyebrows of strangers when they heard it…When someone questions it I just say-as long as my grand kids say it with love, they can call me any name they want.
There was the time I came into my daughters home & Bailey was upstairs, I stood at the bottom of the stairs & yelled up-where’s my granddaughter?- she came running down stairs yelling- here I is Mammie – & at about 4 stairs from the bottom she launched herself into my arms! Its a good thing she was just 3 and was an easy catch!
Once I had cut my long straight hair short & it was curled, Bailey pointed to my head & asked- what’s that?- I asked -what’s what? She said- that- again pointing to my head so I leaned down & asked her to show what she was asking about, she touched my hair & asked- are you a lady Mammie?
In order to give her parents a date night, for a long while I had Bailey spend every Friday night with me. We would walk to school & sing a Friday song we’d heard on the radio- Monday is a bummer, Tuesday’s only fair, Wednesday’s gettin’ better, Thursdays almost there, but Friday, Friday, Friday is our favorite day! & she would add-cuz I get to stay at my Mammie’s house! I really missed it when Fridays at my house changed to spending the night with friends instead.
As Bailey continued to age she came into new areas of interest. She plays softball and is very talented in drawing, she likes K pop music-Korean pop bands- so decided to try & learn Korean on her own. She’s smart & beautiful & yes, I AM biased. I love my granddaughter more than any other grandma/Mammie ever!
As I sit here writing this blog, tears of love are streaming down my face. I’m looking forward to sharing in many years of birthdays for Bailey & sharing in all life brings her way! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAILEY! I love you!
at a recent Pink concert.at the play Pinkalicious
My beautiful granddaughter!

When You Do It – Deb Juracich, International President

When You Do It
Ralph Marston
The work will be done when you do it. The problem will be solved when you solve it.
The money will be yours when you earn it. The skill will be yours when you learn it.
It’s not magic that creates the good and desirable things in life. It is focused, committed, persistent effort.
If you want life to improve in some particular way, then do the improving, be the improver. Jump to your feet and make it happen.
Skip straight past the wishing, begging, agonizing, theorizing, and wondering when the situation will get better. Step up, take action, and keep at it until you get the results you’re after.
You know what makes a difference, what brings value to life, and you know you can do it. So go ahead, without further hesitation, and get it done. — Ralph Marston (www.greatday.com)

As I read the poem above as presented by The Daily Motivator, it got me thinking. Let’s view this poem from a Sigma Phi Gamma perspective:
Finding new members will be done when you do it!
It is not magic that creates new friends and memories in SPG. It is focused, committed, persistent effort.
If you want to improve SPG in some particular way, then do the improving, be the improver. Jump to your feet and make it happen.
Let’s skip straight past the wishing, begging, agonizing, theorizing, and wondering if SPG will be around in a few years. Step up, take action, and keep at it until you get the results you’re after.
Each lovely SPG Sister makes a difference, knows what value SPG bring to life. Just do it! Go ahead, without further hesitation and get it done!
Let’s do it!

Little Sisters Thinking About Sigma Phi Gamma – Donna Collins International Counselor

This month I was invited to dinner with the Sisters of Nu Tau Chapter in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was their annual Mother/Daughter Dinner. In attendance were Chapter members (mothers/daughters/mothers-in-laws), guests (former members and potential members), and the Gamma Province Officers.
It was a great little restaurant with a fabulous menu. We were at a long table and there was lots of conversation, storytelling, and joy. Two of the daughters at the table were Makayla and Allison both elementary aged and eager to be part of the fun. There were moments to ask the girls about school, their pets, favorite colors, and so on. And, Makayla was happy to positively respond to my request that she read a page out of her book: Leif the Luck. She did a great job!
My final question to Allison and Makayla was, “When you grow up are you going to be a Sigma Phi Gamma girl?”

Allison, Donna, Makayla

Makayla said, “No.” I was surprised since her Mother is a 25-year member, leader at the Chapter and International levels. I responded with, “Why not?” and Makayla said, “Sorority is a lot of work.” to which her Mom joined the conversation and agreed it was a lot of work but it was work worth doing. After sharing our stories about why we love sorority Makayla softened a bit, and by the end of the evening said she would ‘consider sorority’ but would make no promises.
Driving home that night (2 and ½ hours) provided me time to think about Makayla and Allison. I wondered:
1. Will we win these girls over by the time their 18 years old, and in a decade, they will want to be SPG members?
2. Will Makayla follow in her Mother’s SPG footsteps?
3. Will Sigma Phi Gamma still be around in ten or twenty years for these girls?
4. What do we need to do today to strengthen our membership?
5. What do we need to do to be relevant well into the future?
6. How do we create a strong brand, tone, and messaging about who SPG is and what we do?
7. While ‘hard work’ is part of our roles (service, meetings, leadership) how do we speak eloquently and openly about the rewards of that hard work so that others see the value not the sweat equity?
I want to work hard and help SPG be all that it can be today and in the future. I want to vote for Makayla and Allison when they run for Province and International offices as they grow into leadership in Sigma Phi Gamma. I want my grandgirl Cierra (13) to be an SPG member and know girls like Allison and Makayla so that they can have strong bonds of sisterhood to last a lifetime.
Who are the little girls in your life that deserve a healthy smart chance to join SPG? Let’s commit ourselves to their future and the future of Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority, Inc.!

Is anyone listening? Debbie Henize – International Historian

Hello!! Hello!! Hello!!
Is anyone listening? Several members of council have been writing blogs over the past several months. It is so discouraging to spend the time writing these blogs and getting no response and only a few people reading them. If you are reading this or any other blog can you reply? Or better yet can you write something? I know you are each great people. I would like to get to know you a little better or laugh at your joke. Treat it a little like Facebook. Write what is on your mind and contribute to the blog. All you need to do is write it and send it to Deb Juracich. She will review and post. It really is that easy. We need each and everyone of you. The more people participate the better this blog will become. No one person is interesting enough to keep this blog going. However, as a group we are fantastic, interesting, funny and just a wonderful group of women. Did anyone read Robin’s recent post? It is hilarious. A laugh can combat stress and just bring a smile to our faces. A recipe would be a great post. How about some information about your wonderful sisters or a great service project? I am from Ohio but would love to hear about the wonderful or horrible weather in other parts of the country. The more we talk the closer we become. You may have a better idea than the one’s I included above. Go for it. I can’t wait to hear from you. (Yes, You, not the person behind you, YOU!!)

Let me share something with you that made me laugh.
My mother-in-law’s name is Ann. My husband used my phone to call her the day before mother’s day. However, he did not have his glasses on and couldn’t see the display that well. He saw Ann and clicked call. Well, I was sitting across the room and he put the phone on speaker. Image my surprise when I heard my sorority sister and dear friend Ann Scott from Kappa Beta chapter on the other end. My husband starts talking to her while I am saying that is my friend not your mom. Well, he proceeds to say this is Mark, Debbie’s husband. She says I am sorry, you have the wrong number. Do you think he would have explained to her what had happened? No, he just says sorry and hangs up. Well she calls back and we had a laugh because you see I don’t get to talk to her very often and she wasn’t sure that it was my husband. If anyone from Kappa Beta writes a post and mentions this story, I will donate $20 to a service project of their choice.
See you all soon in Portland!!!

Funny Story from Robin Pelton-International Vice President

I recently reread a funny story that my sister sent me. Nothing Sorority related, I just thought I’d share it with you. I hope it tickles you as much as it tickled me. I actually laughed out loud because I have been through this. I expect most of us have….
This past weekend I went shopping with my daughter and sister and bought some clearance items. So today, of course I want to wear this one purple V-neck t-shirt I got for $2.50. Quite the bargain huh? Well I don’t know about you, but when you get something new, I like to try to wear it right away. It kind of makes me feel better. Especially since I am a slob, and always dribble some sort of food or drink on my shirts.

Well, after the shower today, getting dressed, I put on a bra, and then the new purple t-shirt. Oops! It’s a bit too low. So I had purchased some camisoles recently. You know the kind I’m talking about, the stretchy ones with the built in shelf bras…………did you know those act very much like sports bras? Unless your “girls” are small, perky or filled with saline, they are gonna get squished in these shirts. It’s almost worse than sports bras. At least with the sports bras you have more material in the “girl” area. You can “expand your horizons” a bit more, where, with these tight, stretchy camisoles, there is no give up front. So I thought, well maybe with the t-shirt over the camisole, you won’t notice the 4 inch roll that runs vertically about 9 inches below my collarbone, and horizontally, goes all around the front of me, including way under my armpits. You know, kind of like those blow up flotation rings that children use in water? Although, I have to say, it really didn’t go around my back, but then again, I can’t twist quite that far around anymore to get a good enough view. So the rule is, if I can’t see it, no one else should, right?

Anyway, I am getting off track here………..where was I. Oh yeah; I put the t-shirt on, and guess what? It’s VERY noticeable. It really looks like a blow up flotation ring is under my t-shirt. I can’t have that now, can I? So now I have to take the stupid camisole off. The trick is, though, not to throw my shoulders out of socket while doing it. Did you know stretchy material doesn’t breathe well? I now know that because, in taking the camisole off, it got stuck, my arms flailing in the air, the camisole is off my body, but still, somehow, connected to my shoulders, the “girls” are peeking out from this stretchy material, or perhaps I should say, oozing out, and it’s not a pretty sight (do you think they put superglue in these items of clothing or something?), and I am stuck, and now I cannot breathe. I’m being smothered by underwear. What will I tell my children? How can I explain this one to my husband so he won’t think my mother dropped me on my head as a baby…..several times? How will my obituary read?
So, trying not to huff and puff too much and use up too much energy, because we all know using up energy uses oxygen, and I can’t afford to lose too much air right now, so, carefully, I pull this stretchy torture device over my head, but it’s VERY stretchy, and no matter how hard I pull, there seems to be more fabric, and it’s still wedged…..back to huffing and puffing regardless of the consequences. I manage to get it off, almost knocking my head on the sink in the whiplash that I experienced removing it.

Needless to say, I put back on the bra, put back on the new purple v-neck t-shirt. You know what? A little cleavage never hurt anyone.
Have a great day!!

Sister to Sister…..