Thinking About “The Magazine Came Today” by Barbie Tootle

Yesterday’s mail had copies of The Beta Theta Pi  and The Sig Ep Journal.  I usually stop everything and read The Arrow of Pi Beta Phi on the day it arrives. Even if I don’t have the time to read it, I will quickly turn the pages to see what’s in it. I feel the same way about the fraternity magazines of my husband and sons. I read those, too.

In bringing in the mail, I thought of something Barbie Tootle wrote more than 25 years ago. It appeared in the Winter 1987 Arrow of Pi Beta Phi. The article was about Barbie winning the College Fraternity Editors Association’s Evin Varner award. I remember reading it when it was first published and I came across it a week or two ago as I was searching for something else. It quickly came to mind as I turned the pages of The Beta Theta Pi which was brimming with historical information. 

Coincidentally, Barbie is one of the speakers at Pi Phi’s Alumnae Leadership Seminar this coming weekend. Barbie, along with Sarah Ruth “Sis” Mullis, shared Pi Beta Phi’s 1965 Amy Burnham Onken Award. The award is given to an exceptional graduating member. How wonderful that the powers in the know decided to have co-winners that year. Both women have been devoted to Pi Phi since the day they each pledged the organization.

Barbie, a former national president of the Association of Fraternity Advisors, was the organization’s first female to have that job. She has been an active member of many organizations including the Order of Omega.

This short essay was alongside The Arrow article. Barbie wrote it and used it in her remarks to the College Fraternity Editor’s Association after the award was presented. I thank Barbie for giving me permission to use it here.

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The Magazine Came Today

The magazine came today,
in the pile of bills, occupant, and
You May Already Be A Winner!
Here’s my fraternity magazine.
I’ll browse through it before dinner.
The actives look so young.
For that matter, so does Grand Council.
I don’t remember anyone on council being pregnant
     when I was in school. They had blue hair.
Now it’s the students who have blue hair.
Thank heavens none of these members do.
-Oops, I spoke too soon. Blue spiked hair.
Why would the editor print that picture!
Figures. They were a weird chapter when I was in school.
Actives with their arms draped over one another’s shoulders
     in every candid.
Looks like they cropped out the beer cup in her hand.
Did we look like that?
     Well, there were those pictures at Greek Week,
     and Fiji Island. Ah, some party!
     I’ll have to dig those old pictures out.
We did look a lot like these women … even to the bermuda
A class reunion. They sure look old.
Class of ’63!
Only two years older than me.
Well, on second thought, they don’t look that old.
     We should plan a reunion soon.
     It would be great to see everyone.
Eating disorders,
theft in the house,
alcohol and drug problems –
I’m glad I’m not 20 now.
It was simpler then.
     How come it didn’t feel simple when I was there?
I can’t believe they allow them to wear their letter on
     their behinds!
I wonder if formal favors are as tacky as when I was in
Boxer shorts with Greek letters?
I must be getting old.
All this charity activity is reassuring to see.
Looks like they are having fun to me.
Why do the editors persist in using chapter names instead
     of school names?
I’ve long since forgotten –
If I ever knew-
Which is Oklahoma Beta
and California Nu.
There sure isn’t much in here about my chapter.
Why don’t they send things in?
I guess we didn’t think it was that important back then either.
But it is now.
Women athletes-that’s new.
Plenty of cheerleaders, too.
Beauty queens, Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa.
Looks like they are still OK.
     Funny, I can see my sisters on every page.
     Those were fun times.
After dinner, my nostalgic mood is remarked upon by my husband.
“You’ve talked of our college days all through dinner.
What brought this on?”
“Oh, nothing. I was just thinking about good friends .
By the way, the magazine came today.”
Barbara Oliver Tootle, "Barbie" to most about everyone, receives the 1987 Panhellenic Woman of the Year Award from Pi Beta Phi Grand President, Jean Wirths Scott. As a collegiate member of the Pi Beta Phi chapter at the Ohio State University, Barbie was a co-winner of Pi Phi's highest individual award. She and future Grand President of Pi Beta Phi, Sarah Ruth "Sis" Mullis, shared the 1965 Amy Burnham Onken Award.

Barbara Oliver Tootle, “Barbie” to most about everyone, receives the 1987 Panhellenic Woman of the Year Award from Pi Beta Phi NPC Delegate and Past Grand President, Jean Scott.

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