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Donna Sharpe of British Columbia

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					     60                     Years of Beta Sigma Phi


D
        onna Sharpe of British Columbia
        Nu Master, Kamloops wrote to
        tell us about a very special anniver-
sary that their area is celebrating – 60 years
in Beta Sigma Phi.

She begins her story by telling us about
the town of Kamloops. “Sixty years ago, it
was a small town, although we had grown
in population from 6,000 to 9,000 after the
war. The Plaza Hotel was our largest, most
impressive building, and local lodges and
service clubs were growing in membership
but cultural organizations were sadly lack-
ing,” says Donna. “Kamloops was dusty,
windy and not very pretty. But to this com-
munity, a lady arrived to form a chapter of
Beta Sigma Phi.”

The visit to Kamloops came about when            Donna Sharpe, historian of British Co-
International received a letter from Jean        lumbia Nu Master, Kamloops.Donna
Stewart of Alpha chapter in Edinbor-             was a member of the first pledge class in
ough, Scotland, requesting a transfer.           Kamloops.
The letter stated that she and her mother
and sister would be residing in the town of
                                                 rority! But not so, Donna says, “I listened to
Blackpool and working in Kamloops. The
                                                 Paris talk about Beta Sigma Phi and what it
organizer, Paris Zentbar, arrived at the
                                                 could bring into our lives and decided this
Plaza, and seeing that Blackpool was fairly
                                                 was for me.”
close, she decided to travel there and then
locate Jean and her family. When she was
                                                 “It was a bumpy road to success. We
leaving the hotel, she stopped in the lobby
                                                 started the same month as the Canadian
at the newsstand to purchase a magazine,
                                                 Arthritis Society in Kamloops, so at our
and when the clerk passed her change, a
                                                 first meeting we stuffed envelopes for their
Beta Sigma Phi bracelet popped out from
                                                 campaign and spent many years working in
under her sleeve. Jean’s new job, it turned
                                                 close harmony with the patients as well as
out, was working at the hotel!
                                                 the fundraising,” says Donna. “Beta Sigma
                                                 Phi sent the first van into the interior of
The next day was down to business. After
                                                 British Columbia to call at the homes of
Paris monopolized the pay phone in the
                                                 patients and make things for them, such as
lobby setting up appointments, the news
                                                 raised toilet seats, extended comb handles
was out - there was a lady from the city who
                                                 and modalities for them to get from bed to
had come to Kamloops to set up a secret so-
                                                 wheelchair.”

10   April 2010 The Torch
in Kamloops, British Columbia



                                                                             The pledge
                                                                             class of Brit-
                                                                             ish Columbia
                                                                             Alpha, Kam-
                                                                             loops, Febru-
                                                                             ary17, 1949.
                                                                             Donna is in the
                                                                             back row, sec-
                                                                             ond from right.


                                                 “We have laughed and cried together, and
“We put on teas, bake sales, fashion shows       most of us in our chapter have been to-
and raffles. Our parties grew into large         gether for a very long time. One big laugh
affairs and for quite a few years our Christ-    was when we put a float in the first of July
mas Ball was the largest in the city. The        parade. It was a flatbed truck, decorated
table centers were made of driftwood which       with a large crest of black and yellow crepe
we picked up at a local lake and decorated       paper roses at the front and we sat on the
with Christmas ornaments and candles. It         float dressed in sheets draped like Greek
was such fun, imagine 250 people playing         togas. We wore foil head and arm bands.
musical chairs.”                                 The day was very hot and we went around
                                                 with white ring tan lines on us from the foil
“I found myself in charge of the bar at one      for the rest of the summer. But the payoff
Christmas party. In those days having            was when the float passed by where our
drinks served at a party meant obtaining a       president was standing.... the woman next
permit and only four ounces of spirits per       to her turned and said “Say, did you ever
person was allowed in the hall at a time,        hear anything more of that screwy Greek
the rest was stored in the trunk of my car.      outfit that started up in town?”
There was not a bartender available that
evening so I found a man who had served          Life in sorority is different now, I
at a pub in England. I borrowed a waiter’s       would not say better...just different.”
jacket from the hotel and we were in busi-
ness. We stocked the bar with rum, rye, gin
and one bottle of scotch for a certain doctor.   Thank you Donna, for those humor-
The gentleman turned out to be a very good       ous and heartfelt memories.
bartender, draining bottles under the table
and managed to sell 9 bottles of scotch.”
                                                                           April 2010 The Torch 11

				
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