A Haunting Memory of Greek Life

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

It’s me, Rose, again. Ever since I’ve been haunting Bryant-Denny Stadium, I’ve had a lot of time to think. There are not many people here now in the stadium to observe. I can look down on Sorority Row though.

The TikToks about sorority recruitment, called RushTok, have probably begun. But I can’t look at the computer screens that my former fellow Tutwiler residents had anymore. Some of what I’d seen before was off the wall. The RushToks were centered around outfits and Rush results. There were also ones about what should be included in a “rush bag,” things like painkillers and deodorant. The ones about how to decorate their small living quarters from items probably purchased at Hobby Lobby were particularly funny. Some girls had large numbers of enthusiastic followers and had become “influencers.”

I’d haunted the Tutwiler residence hall since 1968 until the University demolished it in 2022 on July 4th. I’d returned to Tutwiler, for some inexplicable reason, after my Christmas Day suicide. I had virtually lived through its inhabitants and got most of my news through the campus newspaper The Crimson White.

What I’m seeing below on Colonial Drive is more of a bird’s eye view of the sororities than I’d had at Tutwiler. The Phi Mu’s, Kappa Gamma’s, Alpha Chi’s, Kappa Alpha’s and Alpha Omicron’s are flocking right below me. Many more houses are nearby. Many are no longer “houses” but resemble mansions that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. In the prelude to Rush many of the girls are wearing very short skirts. I guess the gym shorts that were worn to class in recent years aren’t posh enough for Rush?

I’m sure that many of the girls who’ll be going out for rush don’t know what they’re getting into. It seemed that the girls who I’d seen in Tutwiler who were Greeks had surrendered to a kind of herd mentality. I always thought it was appropriate that some of sororities actually had Farm Parties on pastureland on the outskirts of town.

One memory about Greek life haunts me. I guess it’s because when I first came here “social media” didn’t play such a big role in the lives of students. There was a story about how a vindictive sorority member had posted a “revenge porn” shot.

Sorority sisters were very territorial. Each house mixed with specific fraternities. Mixing is when one sorority goes over to one fraternity and basically has a closed party. Such parties are also referred to as “swaps.” When I first came to school such activities had been called “exchanges.” They’ve been called “switches” too.

One girl was said to have “crashed” such a swap. She was purportedly pretty drunk. She ended up screwing one of the fraternity members on top of a sink. The problem was that he had been a boyfriend of one of the girls who was in the sorority that was holding the swap. She had been discovered “in flagrante delicto” by the girlfriend who captured the act with her cellphone and posted it on social media. I can’t imagine how grossly embarrassing that must have been for the girl! She was only nineteen and would have that story hanging over her for the rest of her life.

I never pledged to a sorority of course. I really never fit in at the University — until after I died. Things seemed just too weird to me. Of course I’ve had decades to observe things since I died. Somehow I began to love the University in my afterlife at Tutwiler. I wouldn’t recommend blowing your brains out though, particularly in your parent’s bedroom on Christmas Day. Actually I didn’t know my Dad’s gun was loaded. Sometimes, as Forest Gump said, “Life is like a bunch of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”

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