Thursday, July 14, 2011

From The Secretary's Table . . .

This picture really creeps out my wife . . .
As I said earlier in the week, I've gotten a little run down doing double duty between my real job, and being a writer.  I've decided to take a little break from writing books, and focus for a awhile on being a better husband and father, and getting back to the basics in my lodge.  In the process I hope to find a little of that inspiration again I found in the beginning that got me writing book after book after book . . .

Well, I had a really good time last night at my montly lodge meeting.  I served as Secretary of my lodge for the first time.  In fact, I've been having a really good time for the last month digging through the dusty records of our lodge.

For a history buff, there might not be a better job in a Masonic lodge than that of Secretary.  Not only are you the keeper of the ancient records, you are the recorder of the new ones.  I've been digging through our records for a month.  We have detailed records of our lodge that go back to 1877.  I've found many lost historical treasurers within our archives. 

Most people probably wouldn't realize this, but Masonic Lodges are often repositories for community history.  I've found all kinds of interesting things (well, interesting to me anyway).  Birth announcements, newspaper articles, photographs, committee reports, meeting minutes . . .  I'm sure I'll tell you more about some of that later.  But I'll tell you about one thing I found that I found particularly interesting, and I was able to save.

I'm not sure where this print came from originally.  I found it sitting with a stack of stuff behind our Secretary's desk.  We merged with another lodge a couple years ago.  It might have come from there or it might have come from one of the lodges that merged with them years earlier. 

I have no idea, but I found this print, in an old wood frame.  And it was a mess.  You could hardly see the picture from decades of dirt and grime on the frame and glass.  I took it home, thinking if I cleaned the frame and the glass we might be able to display it again.

Well that helped, but the print was damaged too.  It had gotten wet at some point.  It was water-stained, and it was badly warped.  So I ironed it out, scanned it, and went to work on it in photoshop.  I was able to remove the waterstains, and the worst of the tears and blemishes on the print too.  I improved the print sparingly--I wasn't trying to restore it to new condition, I wanted to maintain that aged appearance.  I was trying to just fix the damage that made it unsuitable for display.

I think I did pretty well.  I reprinted it on photo paper, reframed it in the orignal frame with the original behind it, and it looks amazing.  This is an artist representation of the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Washington D.C. from the 1920s.  It's probably not that rare--I'd imagine there are a lot of these out there. 

My guess is, somebody probably visited the memorial and brought this print back to their lodge for display back when the memorial was still new.  I'm going to make some copies for the members of our lodge to enjoy.  I have one hanging in my office.  If you want one, let me know.  I'd be happy to send you the JPEG, and you can print one out for yourself.  You can do with it what you will.  It's a beautiful piece of artwork from our past.  A little treasure I found in the dusty and musty archives of my lodge--and I hope to see it hanging again soon.

~TEC

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