Sorority Paddle

Behold the sweet manna the prodomme goddesses in heaven have chosen to rain down upon me!

I was at the used furniture store the other day, shopping for a bedside lamp and a gift for my mother’s birthday, when, what did I see hanging on the wall but this!

An authentic sorority paddle from 1956, engraved with the logos and official seals of my undergraduate university!

I couldn’t believe it!  It’s perfect!  It’s everything I ever wanted in a wooden torture instrument!  And it only cost me $20!

“It’s been hanging on the wall forever,” said the salesman, who seemed honestly confused by my delight and rapturous enthusiasm. “It came from an estate sale.  We found it in a box of random junk.”

“It’s not junk!” I hissed, as if someone had just insulted a prized family heirloom.

He pulled back, startled.  “Well, I’m glad you like it, Miss.”

I handed it to him, but before I released it into his hand, I said, “I’m going to keep shopping, but I want this paddle!  Under no circumstances are you to sell it to anyone else!  I’ll be done in 20 minutes.  Hide it in a drawer, so nobody else can see it!”

He looked increasingly alarmed and promised me that he would keep it safe for me until I was done shopping.

I was so happy that I came straight home and took a zillion photos of the thing.  Here are a few.  Sorry, I can only show you one side of the paddle…the side with the sorority crests and the writing, “CHRISTMAS FORMAL ’56.”  I can’t show the college seals for security reasons.

It’s so special that I almost don’t want to beat a boy with it.



christmas formal 56 1





11 thoughts on “Sorority Paddle”

    1. That would actually be a great costume, if it were immediately recognizable. What do you think? Full skirt, button-up blouse with a peter-pan collar, cardigan sweater, and lace-up oxford shoes?

      1. I was thinking of a tight sweater with a slightly pointy bra. If you google “1950s sweater girl” it will give you a lot of examples. But your version would work too! I think you would definitely want to include pearls – the photos I could dig up of sorority girls at that time all seemed to have them.

        1. The bullet bra, white blouse/tight angora sweater sorority chick would actually make a GREAT costume! I’d even go to a hairdresser to get my hair put in waves! lol cat-eye eyeliner!

          Unfortunately, there is not enough time for me to procure the outfit for Folsom Street Fair! But, I am saving this costume idea for Halloween, or next year!

          Thanks for reading

    1. Oh HELL no, I had nothing to do with Greek life at all, aside from a few parties where we all stood on the lawn drinking Coors Light from a keg out of red plastic cups (ahhh, the romance! the ambiance! In what universe outside of extended childhood/college and maybe CAMPING do ‘frat parties’ sound desirable?).

      As an educator, my experience with the Frat boys/Sorority chicks was mixed. Some were grade-grubbing strivers and some were appallingly, aggressively anti-intellectual. The anti-intellectuals fascinated me because I was under the impression that it was still fashionable, among the middle classes, to “be smart” and do well at school. On more than one occasion, I saw one of the brothers teasing another “for actually reading the book.” Blew my mind. But, some were great students.

      And that’s what they all had in common: overwhelmingly middle-class. Mostly upper middle-class. And reactionary. Charity events, but very little political/social activism of any sort. “Safe” stuff.

      ok gotta go to work. Thanks for reading!

    1. Letters are engraved! It IS in great shape, but, from what I understand, it was probably a memento or souvenir, and not actually used for beatings. The paddles at the Studio would have to be replaced because we wore them out, and they’d start to fracture.

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