The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

By Anne B. Fisher, International Honorary Member
(Paraphrased by Marilyn Ross)
February, 1948 The Torch of Beta Sigma Phi

You say, "That's a funny title for an article in The Torch." But I say that looking at the Chapter tablecloth brings memories of beauty, loyalty, love, charity and earnestness of purpose.

The tablecloth of memories started in 1939, the Chapter's first Christmas. It was presented to the group around the Christmas tree--a banquet-sized cloth of Irish damask, on which was to be written the real history of the Chapter. One member volunteered to sew the fine hems as her labor of love to the Chapter, and then the cloth began its rounds.

Each member in the struggling little group wrote her name on the cloth and embroidered it, as a permanent record for the Chapter. The snowy cloth was spread on the table to honor each new pledge at initiation and again to welcome her when she took the Ritual of Jewels. Through the years each new name was added with love and loyalty to the Chapter as the member wrote their names into the cloth, until there was finally, a border of embroidery.

There was the careless scrawl of a happy-go-lucky member who was always the life of the party, along side the finely written named tucked away in a corner--that sister was a shy one, who, through Chapter work with others, came out of her timid shell to shine with the rest.

There are names of sisters who came into the Chapter, gave their time and energy for a while and then were transferred. There were names of members who followed husbands to our city and were welcomed. Each one contributed her part to help us carry the torch.

There is one name that stands out clear and fine among the memories, for that name, I think, more than any other, is a heartwarming bit of Chapter history. This fun and loving sorority sister had an important job. Then one day money was missing at the place where she worked--a lot of money. Our bright-eyed, easygoing sorority sister was under bond because she handled the money. She stood accused, but the charge could not be proven. Word went around town like wildfire.

We wondered if she would come to the next meeting.

At that meeting love and courage and faith and true loyalty came into being. The other members talked to her and showed their faith to her, their Beta Sigma Phi sister. They knew that she had not taken the money. A Beta Sigma Phi just wouldn't do such a thing. She must not go away. She must stay. They would all stick by her until her innocence was proved.

Those were dark days---and then the sun came out. Our sister came out with flying colors! Such is the power of faith and hands held out in loyalty and friendship in a time of great need. This is living up to the true meaning of our beloved Beta Sigma Phi.

Diotima, the Goddess of Wisdom, has had her part, too, in the tablecloth history. There was one name embroidered--we'll call her Rebecca. Rebecca married a great fellow but the marriage didn't gel properly because Rebecca just couldn't forget self enough to realize that she was no longer only Rebecca but "Mrs. Williams" as well.

The giving was mostly on her husband's side and there was trouble. Sisters in the Chapter rallied around Rebecca and with true sweetness of spirit helped her to see where the fault was--within her. Now "Mrs. Williams" is one of the happiest members in the Chapter.

The founding members, who held the struggling chapter together by their faith, don't answer any more to the last names they once embroidered on the cloth. Most of them married, had children of their own and pursued their own careers. They still shared their time with the chapter and remained loyal to Beta Sigma Phi.

As a crowning glory the cloth was spread to honor those faithful ones. The names were there on a white background to say "Hail and Farewell" to those who first progressed to the Exemplar degree. They had all done so much to keep the Torch of Beta Sigma Phi alight in those early days--and to light the way for those who followed them.

"We are but little candles with a windblown flame
Against a bitter night;
Oh, may the God of Life and Light and Love
Help us to keep alight."

Idea: Why not create your own Memories on a tablecloth. Have each member in your chapter write her name on a white tablecloth and ask someone to embroider the names. Use it at rush parties, socials, rituals, anytime you need a tablecloth.

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