She Wore His Pin

At the end of the Spring semester in 1930, Jim finished his final exams and moved out of the fraternity house and into the Senate Apartment Hotel at the corner of Armour Boulevard and Troost Avenue in Kansas City.  He was beginning a summer job working with the Missouri State Highway Department.

May was a busy month for Mary.  A trip to St. Louis for the Fairmount Derby.  The end of the school year class picnic.  A flurry of bridal showers and bridge parties. Before Jim left town, she also made one last trip to Columbia with her friend Helen.  While she was there, she enrolled in classes for the Fall term and reacquainted herself with her sorority sisters at the Tri Delta house on Richmond Avenue.

When she returned home to Jefferson City, her relationship status changed.  She wore his pin.

Postmark Jefferson City, MO

May 28, 1930 10 PM

Wednesday

Dear Jim:
I hope you are getting along all right with your work.  It is really warm here this afternoon.  If you stay out in this long you will get a good suntan.

The breakfast was so nice this morning.  I hate to have to come down to toast and bacon in the morning.  We had strawberries first.  Fried chicken.  Gravy.  Baked Apple.  French fried potatoes.  Jelly and hot biscuits and coffee.

I weighed today and guess how much?  I am 98 pounds.  I’m so proud of myself.  I have gained 3 1/2 pounds in a month.

Helen and I went to the baseball game this afternoon.  It was very exciting and when we left Henry was ahead, that is his side was.

Mother went on a picnic so she came in all tired out today.  In fact we are all lazy.  It must be that we are getting old.

I wore my white dress and blue coat today.  It had your pin on it and several girls saw it and thought it was quite nice.  However they thought I had had it a long time.  Just wait until some Tri Delta sister gets a look at it.  Anyway they can’t collect until next fall.

I talked to Mrs. Lindsey today.  She said she wanted to see you so much.  She is very fond of your folks.

Jim-I surely wish you good luck and I’ll write more tomorrow.

Henry was sick last night.  So guess you did the right thing by going on the first train.  Helen was dead and I wasn’t feeling extra.  So guess it was best but I hated to see you leave.

Love, 

Mary

When a young man gives a young woman his fraternity pin, it is a sign of his affection and a symbol announcing that later they will become engaged.

Jim was a Lambda Chi Alpha.  This was his pin.  The pin she wore.

I happened to marry a Lambda Chi.  He was a member of the same chapter at the University of Missouri.  (He and Jim both served as treasurer of the chapter.) My husband never owned a pin.  So, I never wore his pin.  But before Jim died, he wanted to be sure that my husband had his pin.

Pinning may seem like an old fashioned tradition in the world of social media.  But it is still a romantic notion signifying a change in relationship status.  The biggest difference is that when Jim pinned Mary, he fastened a lasting connection that extends beyond the limits of a timeline.

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