Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A to Z April Challenge: K is for Kappa

Genealogists and family historians get a lot of satisfaction from chasing their ancestors’ stories. Finding a diary, a message on a postcard, or a photo with a name attached is like the sun coming out after a storm. One day we will be somebody’s ancestor. We need to leave our descendants a little bit of sunshine too. So here is my story told alphabetically, not chronologically: Growing Up in Cradock.

is for Kappa.

At Cradock High School there were three service clubs open to the girls. At the beginning of the new school year, my friends and I attended a meeting of Delta. The meeting was a joke, so terribly disorganized. Not impressed. Then we tried Admiralettes. Right off the bat, the president announced there were limited slots available and she wasn’t sure all of us visiting that day could get in. Hrmph. These were definitely the cool girls. I thought I was pretty cool, semi-popular, but I knew right away I was not in their league.

Like Goldilocks finding the right porridge, chair, and bed, we knew from the first meeting Kappa was a good fit. The president Cheryl was funny, welcoming, and a natural leader. For the next three years, my friends and I were devoted members and took part in all the Kappa activities.

1966-67 Kappa Officers 

One of our main projects was painting the lines in the parking lot just before school started. Now how this came to be a club project instead of general maintenance I have no idea. But we made it fun. When we finished, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to Burger Chef, the first fast-food joint in our area, years ahead of McDonalds. We could get a burger, fries, and drink plus change for a dollar.

Burger Chef on George Washington Hwy in the mid-1960s
photo courtesy Todd Renigar Monis

Logo found on Pinterest
Another major project that always provided lots of laughs was “Send a Mouse to College.” Tuition for one mouse was 51 cents. I Googled just recently to learn what this project was all about because I had forgotten. The project provided mice for cancer research. The conversation online was heated ranging from blasting the American Cancer Society for animal cruelty to blasting them for taking advantage of little school children who merely wanted the glory of raising the most money but who did not understand “the ugly truth.” Oh man! And here I thought we were advancing medical science. Seriously, having lost both parents to cancer, I am glad for any advancement in research for prevention and cure.

Like all clubs at Cradock, Kappa always entered a float in the Homecoming parade. My house was the designated “float” house. Every year I rearranged the lawnmower, paint cans, and old screens in the garage to make room for our creation. I could never be sure if my parents were glad for the cleaning or annoyed at hosting a houseful of giggling girls night after night. At any rate, my parents survived three homecoming floats.

In my day, tissue paper carnations were the main ingredient of a float. Yes, we made tissue flowers from either Kleenex or toilet paper by stacking and folding several at once like a fan, then tying them in the middle with wire or string, and finally separating the layers of tissue to form the carnation.

We had the technique down, but Kappa was never a winner in the contest for outstanding floats in the Homecoming parades. Here are the floats that were made in my garage:




Club the Cavaliers: In 1966, having a real live person on the float was frowned upon. Ironically enough, this Flintstone-esque cave with cavegirl was one of our best efforts.
Time Slurps On: How cutting edge and current was this? The Slurpee was the hottest icy refreshment brand new to the area in 1967. The 7-11 even donated the cups dotted around the sides of the float.





Hats Off to Alumni: Oh what a mistake that was! The Homecoming theme was “Alumni Roundup.” We thought making a cowboy hat in hip 60s colors and then WALKING it through the streets of Cradock would be a winner. But the hat never took on the right shape, and obviously the color just made it look like a big cake. The worst of it though was that the frame was way too heavy for the Kappa girls who volunteered to carry it. One girl even quit half way through and crawled out.

Oh well. We had a good time just the same.

Don’t keep your knickers in a knot; put the kibosh on that kerfuffle; keep a hold on your Kinkajou and Kangaroo; kick up your kilt; knit a kerchief.  And whatever you do, key up for the A to Z April Challenge.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

17 comments:

  1. I'm with you Goldilocks! Funny and fun trumps. I am so enjoying my visits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and it was a great group of girls too. So much fun.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like you have many happy Kappa memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do, but I do wish I could remember more of our projects.

      Delete
  3. I remember making those types of flowers for bridal showers and then to decorate cars after someone got married :)

    I bet your parents enjoyed having the float made at their home; always neat to have the kids there instead of other people's homes, at least that was my philosophy :)

    Sounded like a wonderful club to be part of. I wonder if the school encouraged service projects like painting lines in the parking lot to save on some maintenance expenses :)

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good - I'm glad someone knew what I was describing. And yes, I'm sure Momma and Daddy were fine with the float. If not, they would have stopped me after year #1, I guess.

      Delete
  4. Too funny. I took one look at the hat, before reading about it, and wondered what prompted you to make a pink cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally embarrassing entry in the parade!

      Delete
  5. With names like Delta and Kappa, you had to be in the South somewhere, and they were prepping you for sorority life LOL :) Unbelievable the amount of work to turn tissues into ten gallon hats (or cakes). BTW love the word 'kerfuffle'. Makes me want to giggle whenever I hear it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Virginia -- not the DEEP South, but South. These service clubs had sorority-ish names but were not really sororities like you see in college.

      Delete
  6. We didn't have sororities at my high school. I do remember making those flowers with a small group of girls in elementary school club. I don't remember what we did with them as there were no floats to decorate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crepe paper flowers made in the same fashion were very popular when I was in school. We stuck them in a vase or on curtains or even on the wall - kind of a hippie-vibe.

      Delete
    2. IDK if this is crazy coincidence or the FB algorithms at work, but there was a video in my FB feed just now about how to make crepe paper roses . . .

      Delete
    3. Cue the "Twilight Zone" music!

      Delete
  7. Oh the work that went into those floats. It sounds like you enjoyed those days very much and found great friendship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was indeed fun, and I am still friends with many of those girls.

      Delete
  8. In Australia, we did not have the same clubs as you have. It seems we missed out on all that fun!

    ReplyDelete