A Kappa Tree with Many Branches

By Barbara Gerlinger Quilling, Miami (Ohio)/Wisconsin

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“Sisters Bonded Together Through These Years That Pass Away; We Are Kappas Forever and a Day”

The line from that song always reminds me of my family. We are at least 25 Kappas strong and our Kappa heritage goes back to 1890 at the University of Wisconsin chapter. Our family tree contains Kappas initiated at the University of Minnesota, Miami University, the University of Illinois, and Iowa State University, but most were initiated at Wisconsin. We are mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, daughters, cousins, nieces, with many Kappa stories spanning generations.

My grandmother Helen, whom I call Nana, was initiated in 1916. Her older sister and younger sister joined Kappa too.

As a child, I heard more about Kappa than anything else, and my Nana would sing the Kappa lullaby and “My Little Kappa Lady” to me, my sister, my cousins, and my children often. When I called to tell my family I pledged Kappa, I had no idea I was calling home to a huge party of my mother’s Kappa friends who were awaiting my call.

I’m the 19th Kappa on the family tree. I served as chapter Recruitment Chairman and President, and have served as President of the Milwaukee Alumnae Association. I have been active in the association since 1975 and have been to Kappa Conventions and Province Meetings. But the absolute BEST Kappa moments were when I pinned Nana’s badge on each of my daughters. Friendship, loyalty, sincerity are but a few of the words that apply. All 25 of us feel so lucky to have this bond.

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