I attended my Masonic lodge tonight for the second time in nine years. I didn’t recognize anyone, but one person remembered me. If he had not, an examination committee would have been formed to verify my membership, and I would have been hard-pressed to answer their questions. I remember the distress signal that is supposed to bring all Masons within sight or hearing to my aid, but I couldn’t have so much as named the titles of the various officers or pointed to their stations in the lodge. I would have probably been admitted anyway since I am on the membership roll, but my embarrassment would have been considerable.
The lodge I attended tonight swallowed up the lodge I originally joined, nearly all of its members being dead. That lodge was initially composed of railroad workers just as other Masonic lodges were composed of members of other trades or professions. By the time I came along, few of the railroad men were living.
I was made secretary after my predecessor died, served for a year, and rarely attended lodge after that. I joined the Odd Fellows first, so the Masons just never felt right. My experience was like that of a kid who is taken out of the only school he has ever known and enrolled in another. The fact that the two lodges are similar only made my discomfiture worse.