Lynda Ciaschini and her mother Lillian, who is a Tri Psi, jointly won the Dorothy Cody Award for 2008. Lynda’s acceptance speech was so well received — and such an endorsement of our uniqueness embodied by Tri Psi — that we asked her if we could reproduce it here.
I would like to thank you for this honour. The fact that you gave the honour to my mother and I as a team, makes this honour especially significant to me for it means that my mother’s name and mine will be forever linked on the list of winners of the Dorothy Cody Awards.
Remember Dorothy Cody was both a Tri Delta and a Tri Psi.
When I went through formal recruitment, I was asked to join three different sororities. I was a legacy for one of these sororities. Not Tri Delta. I was impressed with Tri Delta because of its emphasis on scholarship and how kind the ladies were that I met there. However, I think the deciding factor was the fact that my mother could join a sorority as well, known as the Tri Psis.
Mother’s father had been ill when she was growing up, so mother had to start working part time at 12 years old in order to support her family. Mother was working full time when most people started grade 10. However, mom got her education by helping me study. I had an eidetic memory so I would read my notes to my mom without looking at them and Mom would read along with me. Mom proof read all my essays for school, up to and including law school.
Unbeknownst to everyone I had a learning disability that was not diagnosed until I was in my second year of legal practice. I am grossly far sighted in one eye and grossly near sighted in the other eye. I have no three-dimensional vision and no peripheral vision. My eyes do not stay on the line when I read. My handwriting is just about illegible.
It was Mom that made sure that teachers marked my exams in high school even though they were difficult to read. Who went with me to get my marks in second-year University so that I could get admitted into law school. It was Mom who went to the Law Society of Upper Canada in order to ensure that I could take my exams with everyone else and pay for them to get retyped so that the markers could mark them.
Mom took care of the office when I was on the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens and the other government, hospital, and charitable boards that I sat on. Mom drove me to and from the office and many of these board meetings. Without her help I couldn’t have done all the things that I have done.
My mom is a little frail now, so when she attends the Tri Psi meetings I go with her. Consequently, I have become reacquainted with our mothers, the wonderful Tri Psi sisters. They tirelessly, without complaint, assist the Tri Deltas with formal recruitment, attend the Tri Delta fund-raising functions, raise money for scholarship and gifts for the house. There is a joyful sense of sisterhood among the Tri Psis.
I would like to thank all the Tri Psis, as well as my own mother, for the service that they have rendered to the Tri Deltas over the years. I would like to thank those who are currently members of the Tri Psi, those Tri Psi who were members over the years and ensured the continuity of the Tri Delta chapters, and those Tri Psis who made my collegiate years so special. I can still remember emptying out the house and filling the car with dishes and food for formal recruitment.
I would urge all Tri Deltas to make sure that their mothers know about the Tri Psi sorority and the advantages of joining that sisterhood.
I know some Collegiates go to University and want to be independent. The Tri Psis encourage the development and independence of their daughters, and the memories that you will take with you for the rest of your life are well worth what you might incorrectly perceive as a little encroachment on your independence.
I know some of the mothers have careers or other time commitments that make joining the organization difficult. However, mothers can devote as little or as much time to the organization as they wish. These ladies are not judgemental and know the difficulty of juggling the demands of work and family.
If you are no longer a collegiate, remember Mrs. Lockhart, Michelle Lockhart Mercer’s mother, just recently joined the Tri Psis and it has been a few years since Michelle was a Collegiate.
And some Tri Deltas might be lucky enough to have a Tri Delta daughter and like Michelle Mercer and Judith Pownall, become a Tri Delta mother and a Tri Psi themselves.
I would wish that everyone could know the joy of saying to your Tri Delta sisters at Founder’s Day: “I’ll be back in a minute. I just want to go and say hello to my Mom.”
Lynda L. Ciaschini