Whatsoever Things Are Zoom
Virginia Gamma: The Bond Grows Ever StrongerLike many of the Pi Phis reading this now, our group of sisters has stayed in touch for many years. Usually, we meet once a year in person but, we also text each other all the time. Each text is a hybrid of a support group meeting and a stand-up comedy set. Monica Johnson Deaver says, “We cover a myriad of topics from book and movie recommendations to fashion advice (no capris) to sharing of life’s ups and downs. But for me, it’s the constant banter and sometimes outright silliness that reminds me most of the ties that bind us together.”
Together we all lead very full lives. We’ve had big careers. Started our own businesses. Served on the front lines of healthcare during the pandemic. Given legal aid to the poor. Provided psychiatric counseling. Directed a nonprofit organization. Run a major corporation. Earned law degrees, MBAs and master’s in nursing. Worked on Capitol Hill. Received a doctorate and taught college English. And that’s just the beginning. We're spread out across the country. From New York City to Chicago and Texas to Virginia. We have children and grandchildren. We’re cancer survivors. One of us also traveled through Africa with Bono, but we’re not telling who.
Margee Krebs wrote me that “one of the things I value most is this group of unbelievably smart, talented, savvy women who not only serve as a support system but are a ‘think tank’ to turn to. They think deeply about many of the world’s issues and are actively working to change their corners of the world.”
“There’s common ground,” as Anne Kirk Gensheimer says, for all of us who “came into young adulthood as members of the same sorority in the idyllic setting of William and Mary’s campus. We grew up together and have so many common memories that are the foundation of these lifelong friendships.”
Our recent Zoom call was yet another chapter in our shared history. We lamented our inability to share at the very least a Cookie Shine together in person.
From top left: Lisa West Alpert, Melanie Morgan, Margee Krebs. Middle left: Luanne Spruill Gutermuth, Julie O’Neill Kloo, Monica Johnson Deaver, Bottom left: Anne Kirk Gensheimer, Judy Kavjian Owens, Lynne Helms Foreman
Our sister who lives outside Dallas, Melanie Morgan, wrote afterwards, “I love you all more now than I did in college, because now I know you as real people. You all are important to me, because you're my connection to college and who I used to be, and a wonderful part of who I am now.”
We continue to discover each other, support each other and laugh really hard together on an almost daily basis. Back in the 1980s, when we were memorizing facts about Pi Phi for our pledge tests, the real meaning of “promote friendship and develop women of intellect and integrity” may not have completely sunk in. But today, as Luanne Spruill Gutermuth says, “It’s truly a Pi Phi Symphony – smart, gifted, funny and caring women who have sustained me through tough times, celebrated happy milestones, provided wise counsel, made me laugh, made me think, and made me feel loved. I’m very thankful and look forward to decades of friendship ahead.”
Published August 6, 2020