The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross



by Jack Ross, Lillian Hermann, Cathy McLaughlin, Mary O’Neil, and Alexander & Michael
(paraphrased by Marilyn Ross)


The word "VISION" has a dreamlike quality about it that leads us to think of ancient prophets and mystics. It is much simpler and much more immediate than that. VISION is the ability to see. It is up to us whether we see only the dust [the stones, danger, precarious places; pitfalls, obstacles, etc.], or whether we see beyond that when we look up to the stars. Whatever tasks we have to do in life, our success depends on where we look and what we see. If we look down to see only the negative, we’ll never look up to see the stars and all that is radiant and sparkling! All of us are moving along our separate pathways which lead in the same direction. There are turnings and twistings and side paths in every road; there are dark forests and broad vistas along every way. Those of us who will pass along our paths most easily are those who know where they are going. There are those who can see beyond the turning of the road, beyond the side paths, beyond the dark forests. There are those who recognize when a milestone has been passed, who see the stars, who find their journey an impelling reason for moving on, and who find in that reason enough joy that the way seems short and the pathway seems smooth. This is VISION. It is to see.

Cathy McLaughlin, a member from Moore, OK, wrote: "We all need a VISION, an idea to strive for. We must constantly seek insight to recognize the best in our sisters and in ourselves. In so doing, we open new pathways of understanding and endeavor."

Lillian Hermann, International Director in January - 1939, wrote: "To be aware not only of everyday practical life but to let our awareness include our perception of the unseen, to eliminate fear of the unknown, and to cultivate faith in the unmanifest, — these should be our incentives for the attainment of perfect VISION."

Alexander and Michael best define VISION. "Four, five, six..." They stood there counting the colors of the rainbow overhead. My grandma says not everybody can see rainbows," Alexander said. "She says only people with 'VISION' can see them." "What is VISION?" Michael asked. "It’s like pretending, except the things you see become real so other people can see them too."

What is "Yellow" to a little child? In her book, HAILSTONES AND HALIBUT BONES author Mary O’Neil wrote:

"Yellow is the color of the sun
The feeling of fun
A duck’s bill
A canary bird
And a daffodil
Yellow’s sweet corn
Ripe oats
Hummingbirds’ little throats
Summer squash and Chinese silk
The cream on top of Jersey milk
Dandelions and Daisy hearts
Custard pies and lemon tarts.
Yellow blinks on summer nights
In the off-and-on of firefly lights.
Yellow’s a topaz,
A candle flame
Felicity’s a yellow name.
Yellow’s mimosa,
And I guess,
Yellow’s the color of...

To us as Beta Sigma Phis, the yellow flame of VISION is a subtle color in our process of growth. A flame we carry within our hearts, it is not just seeing with 20/20, but perceiving — seeing beyond what is; understanding, knowing without proof. We highlight our friends with VISION when we know what they meant, not what they said; when we know how great is their love, though not spoken. To us as Beta Sigma Phis, our most special and beautiful tradition is yellow. Our yellow rose of Friendship!

We can afford to be bolder as we cultivate our friendships by highlighting with the yellow of VISION. With VISION we can say "This is my life! I’m living it now. I am growing and I am not afraid!"

With skill, grace and... "such clearness of VISION," each of us can and will transmute the dust -- into stardust!


  • Jack Ross’ article, "The Yellow of the Flame" in the March, 1963 issue of The Torch
  • Lillian Hermann essay entitled, "Look Wider!"” in the January, 1939 issue of The Torch
  • Cathy McLaughlin of Xi Gamma Eta Chapter in Moore, OK. Excerpts from "What Beta Sigma Phi Means To Me" September, 1980 issue of The Torch
  • Mary O’Neil, author of "Hailstones and Halibut Bones"
  • Alexander and Michael


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