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An 83-year-old Mizzou Sigma Alpha Epsilon alum recently received a heart-warming surprise: A pledge class lighter he lost over 64 years ago as a college student.
From The Missourian:
The lighter was in mint condition, displaying the Sigma Alpha Epsilon coat of arms. The name “Mike Lawler” and “U. of Missouri ‘54” are engraved on the other side.
The lighter was discovered by Rick Ribeiro when he was cleaning out a cigar box he inherited from his father.
“We were gonna put it out in a yard sale,” Ribeiro said. “I saw his name on it, so I said, ‘Let me see if this gentleman is still alive.’”
Lawler was alive, and very surprised to see his lighter again. Even more than that, somehow it had traveled all the way to New Hampshire. The guy who found it contacted the Mizzou alumni association and got the little keepsake back to its rightful owner. Gives me hope for all the random crap I’ve had just straight up disappear in the frat house.
What fraternity men of today ought to take note of, though, is that Lawler’s pledge lighter is a fascinating glimpse into another, long-gone era, and not just because SAE doesn’t technically “have” pledges anymore.
Smoking was commonplace when he attended MU, and his fraternity lighter was used mostly for his duties as a pledge member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon: If a brother needed a light, Lawler would come running, lighter in hand.
Sweet Jesus. Times have definitely changed. Can you imagine a fraternity in 2016 getting caught requiring pledges to light up brothers’ cigarettes? We’d be crucified for promoting lung cancer culture or something like that.
What would happen if we brought this kind of thing back? Pledgeship is supposed to teach humility, dedication, and perseverance. There’s an honor and dignity to service when everyone puts in their dues together. Additionally, you as a member feel much more committed to your house if you’ve had to make some sacrifices to earn the right to wear those letters.
I’m not saying we go dust off the old school, really hardcore hazing or anything. Nobody denies that some traditions belong in the past. But we could easily re-establish a firm pledge/member hierarchy and require some reasonable, dutiful service to the house as a part of pledgeship again.
Or heck, to appease the progressive crowd, make them do a crap ton of forced community service or something instead. Maybe they can wait on the homeless. I’m open to ideas.
Enjoy that lighter, Mike. Try to keep it some place safe this time..
[via The Missourian]
Image via Twitter/@SAEMizzou