Recent Questions

I’ve been getting a few questions and comments about some of my blog posts so I thought I’d try to shed some light on a few things. Most of this can be figured out by reading the whole blog and applying complex logic, and deductive reasoning. But I’ll make it more “accessible.”

First off, I have an announcement to make. If you haven’t already heard, as of Friday 3/19/2010, I am a Freemason. There is more to be done before I am a Master Mason with full rights and privileges and all that, but I have entered the brotherhood.

Why did I become a freemason? Well, about 56 years ago when I was less than 2 years old, I spent a couple months in the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children in Portland Oregon. I went back nine more times. These visits were evenly spread throughout my childhood and my last “discharge” was shortly before my 16th birthday.  The visits lasted for an average of three months and I was an in-patient for 2 ½ year’s total. I spent more time in the hospital than many people who were drafted into the military.

So what does this have to do with becoming a freemason? Kids ask questions and at some point during my Shriner experience I heard that in order to become a Shriner you first needed to belong to specific other fraternal organizations. The first on the list is the freemasons, also called masons.

One day when I was about 20 years old I was at Powell’s bookstore and I saw a book about freemasonry on the shelf.  I didn’t buy it. But I kept seeing that book in my mind … sitting there on that shelf … at the bookstore.  That book and a few others about masonry eventually made their way to my growing library of books.  I was fascinated with the background, history, legends, and myths about the masons.

I can’t say I ever decided to become a mason. I just had this growing awareness that when the time was right … I would be … and now I am.

A little more background on my Shriner kid experience is probably in order. I’m told that today kids are in and out in a week or two. When I was a Shriner kid they seemed to like a three or four month stay. A friend of mine needed lots of surgeries but didn’t get started when he was young, so he was in there for 3 ½ years straight. When I showed a friend one of the Shriner kid stories I’d written he was expecting inspirational stories about long battles with medical procedures. He got done reading it and said something like “You were just kids being kids!” Exactly right. It was more like a boarding school experience. We had school, birthday parties, Christmas, boy scouts, and sang hymns on Sunday. We complained about some of the meals and gave rave reviews to some of the others. We complained about some of the nurses and fantasized about others. You could have visitors on Sunday afternoon from 2:00pm till 3:30 … sharp … “VISITING HOURS ARE OVER”  was something I remember being announced in a loud cranky voice during my younger visits.

But we managed to enjoy ourselves and I have many great memories and had some fun while we were at it. Some of our fun was at the expense of the nurses, but boys will be boys

That’s enough for now. As always, comments and questions are encouraged.


3 Responses to “Recent Questions”

  1. Shari Bigalk Says:

    Hi Harry,
    I appreciate your blog very much. I also appreciate the work the Shriners do. At times I think most people just think of them as the guys in the parades with the funny hats without ever really considering what they stand for. Many years ago I was priviledged to have two foster kids from the Philippines who were severely burned. I spent a great deal of time at the Shriners Burn Institute in Galveston, TX learning burn care and then many months at home with these girls. It left a lasting impression in my mind to say the least. But the care I saw given to the kids and their parents at that facility are indelibly etched in my mind. Thank you. Shari

  2. Ben Witten Says:

    Hey Harry,

    You became a Mason on my 5th wedding anniversary! I’m pretty sure I missed that meeting 🙂

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