[Square & Compasses]    

Letter of the month: May 2008

Date: Sun 01 Jun 2008 12:25:30 -0400
From: Kae Talbert <kaet@everestkc.net>
To: A Page About Freemasonry <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Masonry Question


My maternal grandfather was a mason. Both my parents have died and I have some of his things. One is an apron which he signed upon acquiring his 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree (1914). Another is a pin or tie tac that I have not cleaned yet. But it seems to look like the symbol on many of the websites. The last and most curious is a gold colored spoon that has the 5 point star with a 50 in the middle. There are things in the points of the stars but they are too small for my eyes and I haven't a magnifying glass.

I am hoping you can give some history and the significance of these. I never met my grandfather and my mother did not want to talk about the masons. All she would say was it was a "secret society".

Thank you

Kae Talbert

Message-ID: <20080601131529.ts33f5e9juhw0gss@webmail.mit.edu>
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2008 13:15:29 -0400
From: A Page About Freemasonry <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
To: Kae Talbert <kaet@everestkc.net>
Subject: Re: Masonry Question

Dear Ms Talbert,

The apron was probably his "lambskin or white leather apron" which is presented to every Mason at his initiation. It recalls the leather aprons worn by working stone-masons of mediaeval times, and its white color, like the white lamb, is a symbol of purity, or good character, the pre-requisite of anyone who wishes to become a Mason. The usual custom at a Mason's death is for the family to give the apron to the funeral home, so that the deceased brother can be buried wearing his apron, but unless he tells his family, they won't know, and they will be left, as you are, wondering what to do with the apron.

I wish that every brother would tell his family about this custom as soon as received his apron, and would leave a reminder about it in his papers.

Next, regarding the 5-point-star on a "spoon" — does the star look like the picture I have attached? That is the emblem of the Order of the Eastern Star, a related organization for women relatives of Masons. You can find out more about them online. The "spoon" I suspect might be a slipper? The slipper is sometimes used as a symbol on pins for wives and widows of Masons. The pin is probably a combined Masonry-OES pin, which could indicate that he and your grandmother were in the Eastern Star. If it is indeed a spoon, then I have no guesses. Perhaps you could send me a photo?

The "50" probably indicates some kind of 50th anniversary — either the 50th anniversary of his lodge, or of the Eastern Star chapter, or his (or her) 50 year anniversary of membership in the organization.

If you knew the name of his lodge or their Eastern Star chapter, you might be able to contact them for some information. The name of his lodge might be written, along with the dates, under the flap ("lap") of the apron.

I hope you have browsed around enough in my website, and the others it links to, to know that Masonry is not a "secret society".


-- Gary L. Dryfoos
   A Page About Freemasonry
   now at http://MasonryPage.org/

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