Greek Fraternity

After graduation from The Ohio State University in 1966, I was attending the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins.  Everyone there was diligently ‘hitting the books.’  Studying 24/7 was a new and exhausting experience, yet I felt I was always behind.  There was so much to learn and so little time!

One day in October I got a phone call from Mom asking me if I had joined a fraternity while I was at The OSU.  I answered her “No.”  She said, we received a letter from some fraternity asking for $50.  I told her I didn’t owe anyone anything so go ahead and throw that letter in the garbage.

Later in mid-November Mom reported that another letter had arrived; but this one was certified, requiring a signature as receipt.  It again requested $50 for the price of a key to some Greek fraternity.  I told Mom that I’d come home for Thanksgiving and I’d get that straightened out.

The letter was from Phi Beta Kappa.  I was now placed in the class of 1967 since I had not remitted the required $50 for the ‘key’ in time for the 1966 class.  If I wish not to accept the membership, (though they’ve not had refusals before,) I should notify Phi Beta Kappa personally and my name could be removed.  If the $50 fee posed a hardship, they had scholarship to help and I can/should apply.

I explained to Mom that this was not a Greek fraternity at The OSU.  This was a national honored scholarship organization.  It was renowned and deemed a privilege to be selected.  For example, everyone in my Hopkins’s class was a member.

We remitted the $50 promptly.

p.s.  my step-son Marco Simons is Phi Beta Kappa 1997 from Harvard and my daughter Catherine Chu (Kramer) is Phi Beta Kappa 1998 from the University of Washington.

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