Journey from Missouri had ups and downs
Published 4:00 pm Sunday, December 11, 2022
How’d you get where you are now? Christmas humble, thankful.
I’m largely in Oxford, Ole Miss since 1988, because of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau, MO.
Fraternities, sororities often get a bum rap, but this Pike fraternity saved my life, met forever brothers, dated several wonderful Tri-Delta’s, an Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, and tough pledge ship sailed me through Army basic training, Vietnam, and to my forever home – Oxford and Ole Miss.
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Daddy died weeks before my freshman year at SEMO. I was devastated and almost flunked out, but with God’s guidance, I persevered (Gert tough), and finally made grades at the end of my sophomore year.
Suddenly all fraternities rushed me. I wasn’t going to submit to that, but attended parties, drank free booze, and enjoyed being coddled. The Pikes were swell, and had a great campus reputation. After much prayer I pledged.
As expected, the pledge ship was pure hazing ignored by administration, but I met life-long brothers, and many had it worse than me. We were obligated as pledges to capture an active and go on a walkout to another Pike chapter and university.
One Friday in 1967, after much planning, we snatched one and jammed in a fleet of rickety cars, drove four hours to Oxford and the Ole Miss Pike house, where I would later become their chapter adviser.
We were warmly welcomed by our Ole Miss Pike brothers led by an attractive sorority co-ed.
After consuming red cups of keg beer, this awesome lady led us in song around their grand piano.
The rest of the weekend was a red-cup blur, but I loved Oxford and Ole Miss. Flash forward. I graduated SEMO summer 1968, and was dating a beautiful Tri-Delta named Melinda when Uncle Sam yanked this potential lifemate from me, amd thrust me into Army’s basic training. Then it was AIT, Vietnam (July 1969 – Aug. 1970), and Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA to finish it.
SEMO for my first master’s degree then life: marriage, three wonderful sons, divorce, renaissance of jobs, SEMO second master’s, and six years in Student Development Center. I wanted a Ph.D. in Counseling from and SEC school and chose Ole Miss in 1988.
On campus for 15 years with Ole Miss Pikes, and received the Ph.D. on my birthday, May 10, 1997. I was hooded by my all-time hero, Chancellor Robert Khayat, and best of all, I’m still here.
Then to NMRC as psychologist for six years, met an oOccupational therapist Scottish lass, dated, was engaged, and with physical issues retired in 2010. The engagement was broken and I began attending St. John’s daily Mass. I have more responsibilities at church and volunteer 30 hours a week,
A new pastor arrived in May, and I made a little progress on my many projects. I was increasingly burned out, and for the first time since April 2011 didn’t attend daily Mass since Nov. 28.
During this time, I felt my body unwind, my old self return, and projects resumed. So, trust God, let go, step back, and heal. Or, step back and let God get you from SEMO to forever home Ole Miss.
Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on campus, received his Ph.D. in counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.