Several weeks ago, I received a voice mail message from Marcia Rigel, a charter member of Delta Mu/Rhode Island. She wanted to pass along her badge, but she also wanted to find out who had originally owned it, as there was no name on the back. Her story about how she received the badge, as well as the information that I was able to locate about the original owner, was a fascinating one. Further research indicates that Marcia received Agnes’ badge as the member with the highest scholarship in the first three years of college.
I asked Marcia if she would be willing to share her story as we celebrate NPC’s International Badge Day today. This is what she wrote.
This is a love story of a man for his young wife who died at 33 years old, and a love story of this young lady who loved being a Theta. The story starts on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1889 when Agnes Denike was born. She grew up and went to Barnard College where she was initiated in 1909 and graduated in 1911. Agnes married Joseph Norris Murray in 1914. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1922 at 33 years old. Agnes must have told her dear Joseph of her love for Theta. He kept her Theta badge until 1965 when he gave it to me.
I am not sure why I was the fortunate one to receive Agnes’ badge. A new chapter Delta Mu was being started at the University of Rhode Island. I remember that we had Theta alumnae helpings us start the new chapter. Maybe, one of them knew Agnes or her husband. I felt fortunate to receive Agnes’ badge. I never met Mr. Murray, but we corresponded with letters in those days. He wrote lovely letters on his Joseph Norris Murray stationary. I wrote to him about my graduation from University of Rhode Island, my move to California, receiving my master’s degree, marrying and having 2 daughters.
Now 50 years later, I saved the Kappa Alpha Theta badge and my last letter from Mr. Murray that he wrote on March 1, 1969. I had written to him about having my first daughter Marla. He wrote back in one of his lovely letters and included a poem in his letter.
Made of our days and years
It always is growing and changing
As each new birthday appears
And so in this beautiful garden
Brightened by sunshine above
May you go through the years and gather
Its blossoms of joy and Love.
My Theta badge is 106 years old. It has lots of happy memories. I am passing it back to Kappa Alpha Theta. When I think back on my last 50 years, I think the importance of life is to learn from a good education, helping others, and being a good person.
Marcia A. Rigel
Delta Mu/Rhode Island