My story begins in the spring of 1969 at Frostburg State College when I decided to pledge Alpha Xi Delta. It was a last minute decision as I was quite torn since I was participating in a theatre production which consumed a lot of time. However, I was drawn to the Sisters of Alpha Xi. At that time, it was the only national on our campus, and that turned out to be a definite plus for me.
After graduation, I returned to Baltimore and joined the Chesapeake Alumnae Association. The membership consisted mainly of Frostburg graduates from the Baltimore-Washington area and it was great to finally put names to faces of those Sisters who had graduated before I attended Frostburg.
Along came marriage and children. My roommate from Frostburg, also an Alpha Xi, continued to be one of my best friends for life and our families took vacations together. Then in 1984, my husband, Don, was transferred to Philadelphia and I found myself in West Chester PA with two small children and no network of friends or family. I decided to find an alumnae association. Back then there was no internet, no social media and you had to do things the old fashioned way. So I wrote a letter to Bev Rohrer, who lived in the Philadelphia area and I had met back in my Frostburg days when she came to our campus to do a chapter inspection. She gave me the date and address of the first fall meeting. Back then there was no GPS or map quest so I had to follow written directions that Bev gave me.
So, I entered a room full of women that I knew not a soul except for Bev and that became my new lifeline and network. I met several women who had children my age, and that began summers of rotating homes with our children for picnics and swimming. We got to see our families expand, our children grow up and get married and became grandmothers. We even had sorrows together as one of those children passed away.
In 2015, my husband Don retired, and in February of 2017 we achieved our dream of purchasing a vacation home in nearby Delaware. We were looking forward to sharing this with our grown children and four grandchildren. Less than 3 weeks later, my dear husband suddenly died.
I had great support from neighbors and my church, but my rock was my Alpha Xi Sisters. They were there for me through the whole funeral process, but more importantly, the time after. Somehow word got back to my college network and I received cards and notes from Sisters that I had not seen for many years. My Philadelphia group continued to contact me, inviting me to lunch or just stopping by. In my grief process, I somehow could not participate in any large social functions so I am not able to attend any alumnae meetings, but my Sisters never forgot me and continue to stay in touch.
I know that many young women graduate and look fondly back on their sorority days but place it as part of their past and move on to other things. My advice to them is to continue that bond. Sometimes you have to work at fitting it in to a busy life, but it is well worth it. You never know when a sister will need you, and more importantly, when you may need them. I am blessed to be part of this Sisterhood of women.
Written by Marta Beaner, '69 Frostburg State