Yesterday, I drove from southern Illinois to the middle of Iowa. I passed the towns that make up the early history of Pi Beta Phi and P.E.O, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Pella, Indianola, and many more. Every now and then I’d be tempted to exit and drive through another town, but I had an appointment set up so I knew I didn’t have the time.
A few months ago, a Pi Phi who is also a P.E.O. contacted me about a 90-year-old Pi Phi and P.E.O. double sister who had some items which might be better suited in the Pi Phi archives. I knew I’d be making the trip to Des Moines in late July and it just seemed easier to see the items in person. The three of us had a lovely visit and I will be dropping a box of items at the Pi Phi archives on my way home.
As I put the box in the back seat, it reminded me that here are items out there that will likely end up meeting an unfortunate end. They will disappear unless someone sees their value and makes arrangements to donate them where they will serve a purpose, tell a story, and show the young men and women who join GLOs today that the world was a different place 50, 75, and 100 years ago. These items from the past can help teach the newest members that the organization does not revolve around them, that they are but one little link in a very long chain of members, that it is their duty and responsibility to leave the organization a bit better than they found it. That under no circumstances are they to sully the name of the organization or have a hand in its demise.
This thought always goes through my mind when I pass Lorado Taft’s Alma Mater statue on the University of Illinois campus. The inscription on the statue reads “To thy happy children of the future those of the past send greetings.” Sometimes those greetings are conveyed through the items given a safe home to be used and studied.