The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2020

North Carolina Mason

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May/June 2020 The North Carolina Mason Page 10 From the Grand Historian NC Masonry survived 1918 flu outbreak CLAPP from page 9 Star was also a lesson in commu- nity. Everyone in Marion knew him. As we paraded up through town, everyone would smile and nod and laugh at us in the pony cart riding up Main Street. Everyone knew to whom we belonged. Like each of us, our pony had a personality, and he was smart. Now dad was an ex-Marine and could weave an intricate loop in Star's tether. So, Star never could undo his loops. But, that pony knew when his inch-thick hemp rope was rotting, and would start running and tugging until it snapped or he was able to gnaw through it. Untethered, with knot dangling from one end of the rope, Star galloped down the middle of Main Street, right on to Morgan Street, then back up Crawford Street, past dad's funeral home. Dad swears every time Star passed the funeral home he whinnied and launched into his second lap. We knew where the pony would end his running fit — in Mr. Cham- berlain's yard — and we would wait there for Star to trot into the yard and graze on Mr. Chamberlain's beautiful lawn. Every time, we'd bring him back home. We hoped no one would get hurt, nor anyone capture our pony from Mr. Chamberlain's yard before he realized it was there. So, what's the point of all this reminiscing? To reflect. To remember. To consider in the midst of the normal hustle and bustle that we have time to break loose every once in a while and whinny over the fence. We have time to call a neighbor and laugh. To nod and greet those we meet on the street. I see my neighbors picking up mail and groceries for our elderly residents. Letters being written to friends and family. Time is being taken to tell stories and share good times—even if it is virtually or from a distance. And, remember, these times are causing financial hardship—check on your brethren, inquire of their health and their well-being and keep watch over those who may need assistance, but won't ask for it. COVID-19 is serious business, but we can learn from serious busi- ness and reflect on our own teach- ings of friendship, of morality, and brotherly love — friendship and love we need to remember to share with all people. Most importantly, with ourselves. By Ludwik Wodka Grand Historian e coronavirus pandemic is not the first time Masonry confronted an outbreak of illness. Outbreaks of smallpox, tuber- culosis and yellow fever have hit North Carolina at various times since the 18th century, but the most deadly was the H1N1 influ- enza pandemic (commonly referred to as the "Spanish Flu") that broke out in the United States in the summer of 1918. at particularly deadly plague has been deemed the deadliest in all of recorded history, killing over 50 million people worldwide, or approximately 3 to 6 percent of the world's population at the time. More than 13,000 people died in North Carolina alone. At its peak, it ravaged the nation from about July to December 1918. In Char- lotte, a quarantine was declared for five weeks between early October and mid-November 1918. Public meetings and gatherings were cancelled – resulting in a gap in the minutes for most Masonic bodies during this time. e length of the gap in the activity of the Masonic bodies varied, but most seem to have suspended activity between October 1918 and January 1919. is also interrupted the work of the DDGMs and Grand Lecturers who had to cancel their lodge visits during this time. Many lodges made their buildings and resources available to assist their communities in coping with the disease. One notable example was in Asheville, where hospitals at the time were only admitting Caucasian patients. e Asheville Masons contacted the Red Cross and made their temple available to serve as a temporary hospital of the non- Caucasian patients in the area. e Oxford Orphanage was especially hard-hit during 1918. e Spanish Flu was only one of three epidemics they were to endure. An outbreak of pneumonia in January claimed the lives of three children, followed by whooping cough in July. In October, the Spanish flu stuck 250 children. is in turn led to 41 cases of pneumonia which took another four children. "By the mercy of God, the Baby Cottage escaped this epidemic," the Grand Lodge proceedings report. Many local women in Oxford attended to the sick children at the orphanage (as nurses were in short supply at the time), earning the gratitude and thanks of the staff and the Grand Lodge. e Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro managed to escape the ravages of the epidemic. When the quarantine was lifted, North Carolinians were eager to get back to life as normal. e Charlotte Scottish Rite, for example, hosted a reception for Masons in the city as well as those at Camp Greene on Nov. 15, 1918. Hundreds attended the event held at the Masonic Temple. Other Masonic bodies, perhaps more cautiously, did not report any activity until January and February 1919. As the end of the epidemic coincided with the end of the war, lodges enjoyed a surge of member- ship from the soldiers returning from Europe following the brief hiatus caused by the quarantine. History proves this to be true: We've been through this before. We've seen worse and have over- come it. Story on the Asheville Masonic Tem- ple's offer from the Asheville Citizen- Times (left). Above is an announce- ment from Surry County in 1918. Asheville Citizen-Times and Mount Air y News

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