It is said that youth is wasted on the young. However, there are many ways and means to retain ones vitality and vigor as one ripens. Some of the “nouveaux youth group” meaning those in the “sixty-is-the-new-forty” age bracket attempt to remake their lifestyle and rethink their dining practices. This is usually spurred on by a health scare. For a small number though, and we all recognize them in our midst, youth has never left them. They seem forever young. Individuals who seem never to lose the energy, vitality and infectious good humour associated with youth. Combine these human traits with wisdom, discretion and good fellowship and you have qualities with which one feels comfortable.. People like these are often good role models, someone a young person would be inspired to emulate.
Over forty years ago my best friend and I, as teenagers, were invited to be guests at get-togethers hosted by various Estonian Fraternal Organizations in Toronto. The idea behind those social gatherings was for University bound young freshmen to mingle with the older members with the possibility of eventually being recruited and then initiated into fraternal life. Once the Organization accepted new members the new pledge followed the appropriate initiation procedures usually lasting two academic semesters. After fulfilling all of the rudimentary preparations he was finally inducted into the Fraternity as a lifelong academic brother.
Estonian Fraternities (and Sororities) have been active in our Exiled Estonian Community abroad for over fifty years. The fostering and nurturing of these academic organizations assured their existence whilst they and their activities were outlawed and banned under the Soviet rule in occupied Estonia.
The draw to certain frats was that they really knew how to party…to others loyalty to family traditions! My best friend and I were drawn to a particular fraternity known as Korporatsioon Fraternitas Estica (C!F!E!). Our motivation to join was because we felt we had common interests, beliefs and shared the ideals with the C!F!E! members. I will also admit, however, because they knew how to party… but within limits.
Having associated with many very well respected community leaders in C!F!E! and having grown old together, I hadn’t noticed the obvious. Our salad days were beginning to mature. They are none the less still vital and steadfast brothers with bursts of youthful glee and rhetorical repartee. Over the years C!F!E! membership in Toronto has grown and waned. But through it all the true spirit of friendship and brotherhood still makes us young in spirit and energized in deeds.
Ever since the resurgence of academic organizations in Estonia starting from about 1989, hundreds of young students join in Tartu every semester preserving and nurturing Fraternities as youthful and vital organizations.
In May 2007, C!F!E! will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding in Tartu as the first Estonian Fraternity to be established there. Unlike elsewhere, the Centennial Festivities in Estonia are being organized entirely by Tartu University students.
About a dozen of us from Toronto will go to Tartu to try and re-live our own bygone youth and experience that of today’s.. My best friend passed away almost a lifetime ago in the prime of his youth. At frat meetings I still carry the memory of him in my mind. That memory will always endure as forever young. Jüri, I will take the memory of you along with us to Tartu… to share.
We have now entrusted C!F!E! into the hands of our youthful Tartu members so that they as well as we, are and will remain in C!F!E! at 100 and beyond…forever young!
Vivat crescat floreat korporatsioon Fraternitas Estica nostra alma mater et juventas in aeternum!
vil! AVO KITTASK
C!F!E! at 100… forever young! (43)