Following is a letter from an ex-fiancee' and ruminations on past and present states of mind. The present herein referred to is actually 2007, when I first wrote about this, and the sciatica is long gone. Cured, I do truly believe, by a mule-back ride halfway down the Grand Canyon and back. But that belief may, in itself, corroborate my daughter's summation:
12 October 1962. He responds to a letter of mine about the attempt of some women to form a sorority on the Carthage College campus. I barely remember this, but it is important in trying to figure out where my head was at the time. Indeed, where it still is.
I believe some women wanted to form a sorority - there were none, although there were three fraternities. The fiancee' seems to think it improbable: "No shit now. Did they really think one might be formed?" I'm not certain how to read this, all these years later. Is it a "silly woman" statement? An anti-Greek statement? (But he was a member of the "coolest" frat on campus - the "Squires" - they had a Greek name, but I don't remember it. I may have mentioned that I had a "pinning ceremony," and it remains the crowning moment of my Carthage College career!)
However, there was a big to-do about it, since many of the women proposing it were the "popular" clique, and there were many other women, probably nascent feminists, proto-civil rights participants, and sparkles in the eye of yet to be formed environmentalists, who were against the sororities and the class structure which they embodied and preserved.
I confused everyone by two actions, which I now believe came directly from my Ayn Randian logical positivism (was that it?) and which was, perhaps, the only action I ever took which embodied those ideals.
1. I wrote a letter to the school newspaper supporting the sororities, citing freedom and the rights of people to organize in which ever way they found comfortable for themselves. This is a far cry from Bread and Roses, I know, but I think I was asserting similar principles.
2. As a consequence of the letter, I was invited to join the new sorority (a position I would not otherwise have been offered). I turned it down, believing it would lessen the impact of my position if I benefited from it.
In retrospect, I think I was pretty fucked up.
My daughter was over here yesterday. I told her about my adventures with sciatica, and my visits to both chiropractor and acupuncturist. "I feel like I've let them down," I told her. "I think they believe they can fix me and I'm disappointing them."
"You're fucked up, Mom," she told me. "It's the other way around."