One of the things we found in the latest carton of stuff we got from my mother’s house when Rachel and Luanna cleaned it out was the congratulations card from her family for when she was named to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honorary society at Smith College. The symbol of Phi Beta Kappa is the Phi Beta Kappa Key, once something useful — a key to wind a pocket watch with. Even when she became a member in 1939 that was obsolete, but since it was still the symbol, it makes sense that the congratulations were in the form of five cutout cardbord key shapes with a message from each member of her family.
Here’s what they say:
A very small, faint voice insisted all this time that you’ll make it and when the news came, it was like the fulfillment of some precious hope.
We hope that these keys open the various locks to your hearts desire. We’re awf’ly proud of you.
Your loving Dad.
Dearest Joanie, If you are walking on air over the marvellous good fortune of earning your Phi Beta Kappa Key, we to are thrilled beyond words! Never did we expect anything like this to happen to a Korach! May great success be yours always.
It is very annoying to have a sister who always makes you work. In high school you had to start something we had to live up to and now you have to get this slight honor. Of course, we realize that practically every girl in school gets the same thing. Honestly, though we were just as excited as you must have been, and you know that it is only on great occasions that I write at all. All I can say is “That’s my sister”!!!!
Your worshipping brother Malc.
Many ,many congratulations on your swell job but it’s going to be mighty hard on your little sister. Already people are holding you up to me as a good example and asking me if I’ll ever do as well. I sadly shake my head and say it is impossible. I also thank my lucky stars that I am going to study only art. But all fooling aside I’m really very, very proud of my big sister.
The best of everything to you – Mim
And, if you’re counting we’re only up to four so far. The fifth is a dog’s pawprint in blue ink, “Queenie, her mark!”