Rho Lambda Newsletter
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THE DEKE MOTTO
Recently, with nothing better to do, some of us debated the use of “In the Bonds” vs “Kerothen” as a brotherly expression. Personally, I prefer Kerothen. It’s Greek, classy, and classic. “In the bonds” sounds a little too handcuffed, so I blackballed it.
Surprisingly, a perfect translation of Kerothen philoi aei, wasn’t easy to find. I located a translator, Elpida Mavraki, who specializes in Ancient Greek, and her response was this:
“Filoi” (Φίλοι) means “friends” (also in modern greek), “aei” (ἀεί) means “forever” (in ancient greek), and “kerothen” (κηρόθεν) means “from the heart” (in ancient greek. In modern Greek we don’t know or say this word).
More precisely, “κηρ” is the ancient greek word meaning “heart” (became “καρδιά” in modern greek somehow) (it also produced the Latin word for “heart,” which is “cor” and that’s how you get “courage,” for example).
In ancient greek when you add the suffix “-othen” (“-οθεν”) it makes it an adverb that shows movement, and more specifically, the origin of movement (literally where something comes from). So, “Kerothen” (“κηρόθεν”) literally describes something that originates “from the heart.”
That makes the sentence become “From the heart friends, forever.” It means that they are friends that truly love one another and it is not a superficial friendship. It comes from the heart (honest feeling) and it will last forever, like being brothers.
From The ΔKE ΡΛ Literary Association
Kerothen, Bob Tierno, Chairman of the Board
ΡΛ Brother of the Month – BILL ISEMINGER
It’s 1974, and earnest anthropology students are having a blast on a summer dig supervised by an honest-to-God archeologist. Mr. Iseminger has an Anthropology degree from OU and a masters degree from Southern Illinois University.
He’s skilled at sleuthing out, and carefully excavating, 10 centimeters at a time, the prime sites at Cahokia Mounds, the first and oldest city in America. You can find Bill, an OU Deke, center front, in the top photo.
He’s living the dream he’s had since seventh grade. Family visits of the Isemingers from Arlington, Virginia to see Bill’s grandparents and artifact-hunting uncle Wendell, in Heyworth, Illinois, had whetted a desire to understand the artifacts they’d found, and to deduce their meaning. Now he’s a real archeologist, and he’ll run his own digs for many years to come. Life is good.
Like most of us born in the 40’s, he started out as a gunslinger, complete with hat, chaps and lariat. A few years later, in a fedora, he celebrated Easter with Mom and Dad, cooly channelling Frank Sinatra. After high school, a mixup of his transcripts sent him to OU instead of the University of Kentucky, and that’s where we all met Bill.
Like me, Bill pledged mid year, had to wait a semester for initiation, gave credit to Larry Wade for getting his grades up, and lived in that room at the foot of the stairs to the third floor. I remember a cooling-off conversation we had there about that thing that happens prior to someone pinning a Deke badge to one’s shirt. I was glad they’d picked him for my Big Brother.
Bill laughed about a pledge prank, a fun-filled, fist-swinging kidnapping of member Harry Raleigh, and how it went off the rails, with Harry escaping, the cops, and talking a nice policeman out of kidnapping charges.
I’m guessing Bill, as he explained his view of things to the nice policeman, had determined what his audience needed to hear to better understand the evidence he’d extracted from a shrewd examination of the facts. Isn’t that what college is for? Acquiring life skills one might need later?
Bill met Gloria and her daughter, Shelly, in ’73, and they married in ’79. Gloria became Bill’s lifelong partner and friend, as his devotion deepened to unearthing the meaning of the Cahokia civilization. His “Cahokia Mounds: America’s First City,” is a chronicle of his decades-long sifting of the civilization’s artifacts. It isn’t a treatise exactly. It’s a story:
“One dark morning several years ago, I was startled out of my sleep by the pounding rhythm of “My Sharona” on my clock radio. It was the morning of the spring equinox, and I had to get ready to head down to the reconstructed Woodhenge presentation to the usual gathering of “sun watchers”.
“As I approached the Cahokia site, wispy mist hung at ground level and the mounds emerged through it. I remember thinking that I hoped the moon would not be fully set before the sun rose, as that would be an impressive sight: the opposition of the sun and moon, male and female, day and night, east and west, the underworld and the upper world. I realized I was thinking about the basic concepts of the Mississippian world. I also wondered how their leaders and priests would have explained such phenomenon to the populace.”
See what I mean? Bill’s resume is 9 pages of accomplishments, presentations and awards. At the end of his career, he’d helped decipher much of Cahokia, becoming that honored wise man, well-versed, who’s always searching for the best way to illuminate a gripping story of America’s early civilization.
Excuse me while I embarrass the humble Bill Iseminger even more: Homer’s “The Iliad,” and Virgil’s “The Aeneid” are ageless because they’re stories of civilizations. We bestow timeless honors on those few storytellers who can spellbind us.
Bill’s decades of absorbing Cahokia gave him the chops to be a “public archeologist,” as he calls it. There’s another name for a man who dedicates his life to one thing, then shares what he sees with us. A seer.
Proof? This photo of Bill and Gloria on that night in 2018, when the Illinois State Historical Society awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award. See the statue of Lincoln and the portrait of Washington? They are America’s Aeneas and Achilles. The way I see it, and the Great State of Illinois agrees, Brother Iseminger, like Virgil and Homer, tells the story of our civilization with award-winning power and wisdom. Way to go, Big Brother.
One last thing: let’s drink to the new OU Quarterback, Dillon Gabriel, and to his conviction that he and our new O.C., Jeff Lebby, are a “perfect fit.”
Leave a comment if you wish, or contact us here. Keep an eye out for April’s Newsletter and Happy Ides!
The ΡΛ Commo Crew