The Thrill and Terror of Reunions: Alpha Omicron Pi
The best part of university, for me, was Alpha Omicron Pi, a *womens fraternity (that’s what we insisted on calling sororities at the Univeristy of Toronto). The education was first class, the downtown Toronto campus beautiful, but the friendships, social activities, business meetings and projects that made up my experience at AOII are what I valued most. I still use the skills I learned at AOII – how to run an effective meeting, organize big projects, attract new members, plan and host social events where everyone feels welcome and engaged – more than any business training I have taken since.
Which is why I decided to organize a minor reunion; dinner at a Toronto restaurant and invitations sent out via social media. A quick kudo to the wonders of social media as it was through Linked In, Facebook and contact lists that I was able to email 18 sisters and 14 of them showed up for dinner last night. (One was a husband, but the brave fellow definitely counts.). The out-of-towners from Calgary and Chicago were the first to repond affirmatively.
But there is something intrinsically scary about any kind of reunion. It is a recurring theme in our category romance novels, because it pulls at such visceral emotions. It seems like a good idea at the time, as we fondly recall the halcyon days of our youth (yes, we can get carried away in our thinking when refecting backwards with words like halcyon, carefree youth, friends forever) and then it’s the actual day and you worry if you will have anything to talk about or if you will rcecognize your university friends or worse if they don’t recognize you. It has been almost **30 years since I’d seen a few.
The evening was a great success. A couple of people were early so there were several of us in place at the start. And then for the next hour every ten minutes a new person would arrive. We had a private room at the back of the restaurant so everyone was able to make an entrance. Of those I had not seen in years it would take me 3 seconds to realize who they were and then in 30 seconds they looked just like they had when we hung out at the ***frat house.
This is us.
Much thanks as well to Boland’s Open Kitchen. Not only were the food and service excellent but their private room was ideal. They set up a large rectangular table and when the doors were closed the restaurant did not have to hear us but we could converse and move around. Thank you, Boland.
*There was some official reason as to why we called it a women’s fraternity having to do with the Greek definition of fraternity, but really, it was just pretentious and an attempt to differentiate us from the sorority stereotypes.
**This is how long ago our university days were: a group of us were at the opening of the Madison Avenue Pub. The first day. It was only the basement. It now spreads over 3 Annex houes. Buffalo wings were new. New.
***Okay, some habits are really hard to break.