Last Tuesday at Rotary, I presented a program about the projects the club has done over the years to inform some of the newer members who might not know. It was also my turn to do a “Getting to know ourselves” question and answer.
I had a quick answer to “What would you do if you had unlimited funds” That was an easy one. I’d start a foundation and fund causes I believe in. Unlimited funds are not in my future, but I can still fund causes I believe in. Giving Tuesday is tomorrow. Instead of large amounts with lots of zeros, my contributions will be small but heartfelt.
The Circle of Sisterhood (www.circleofsisterhood.org)will be one of the first donations I make. The Circle of Sisterhood’s mission is to “leverage the collective influence of sorority women to raise financial resources for entities around the world that are removing educational barriers for girls and women facing poverty and oppression.”
On Friday, I binge watched the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. It was like visiting an old friend, and starting where we last left off. There was a big void with the death of the Gilmore patriarch, Richard Gilmore. He was so aptly played by Edward Herrmann, a Phi Kappa Psi, who died on December 31, 2014 (see http://wp.me/s20I1i-2015).
I adore Kelly Bishop who plays Emily Gilmore, the matriarch. She originated the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line, a show I saw first on Broadway in the late 1970s. She won a Tony for that role. She was also “Baby” Houseman’s mother in Dirty Dancing.
One of her scenes reminded me of another question I answered at the Rotary meeting. “Tell us something no one knows about you.” I mentioned that I was the daughter of an immigrant and for all intents and purposes, I am a first generation American. I will never be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Emily Gilmore’s DAR membership plays prominently in one of the seasonal episodes. The scene is a funny one, but just as I cringe when a fraternity “ritual” is enacted on the big and small screen, this was an inaccurate portrayal of the DAR.
In the scene, a trophy wife, the third or fourth of a Connecticut tycoon, is being grilled by a tribunal of matrons in Chanel suits. The applicant is questioned on a number of topics, regarding her qualifications for membership in Emily Gilmore’s chapter of the DAR. None of the questions had anything to do with the way women can become members of the DAR. Any woman “18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership” in the DAR, according to the website. A husband’s lineage had nothing to do with his wife’s eligibility for membership. Membership is dependent on the ancestor and connection to the Revolutionary War.
The president of the DAR chapter here in town is an acquaintance of mine. The last time I ran into her at the grocery store, she had on her muck boots because she runs an organic farm and had just come from working in the gardens. I checked the Illinois chapter website and there are DAR chapters throughout the state in large and very small towns. Just as cinematic portrayals of fraternity life are far from true, so goes this depiction of the DAR. As much as I enjoyed the scene as it related to Emily Gilmore’s behavior, I couldn’t help but be disappointed at the way the DAR was portrayed.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory.