Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.
Bed sheets and sandals
My dad was a member of the Masonic Lodge. He joined some time during the twenties, years before I was born. He lived in Mount Vernon, so that is the lodge he joined. He later moved back to Marysville, but he kept his membership in the Mt. Vernon Lodge until the day he died in the summer of 1958.
He never talked much about being a Mason. In fact, the only way I knew he belonged was the ring he wore on his right ring finger. It was a gold ring with a Masonic emblem and a single diamond.
Whenever I asked him something about being a Mason, his answers seemed a little evasive. Over time, I got the idea that it was some kind of secret organization, dedicated to doing good things. And it seemed to me as if the keyword was secret.
Now I’d like to fast-forward to some time around 1946. I was about 14 years old, and when I went to my phys-ed class in the school gymnasium on a Friday afternoon, I found some strange things going on.
There was a man carrying a bunch of garment bags into the gym. Another man was using whitewash, or something like that, to cover all the glass windowpanes in the doors at the gym’s front entrance.
A third man was using masking tape to cover the cracks between the two sets of double doors at the south end of the gym floor.
All of this seemed strange, but by the end of the day, I learned that there was some kind of secret Masonic meeting that was going to be held in the gym that night, and they wanted to make sure no “outsiders” saw what was going on. That’s all a bunch of 14-year-old boys needed to start planning a way to watch that meeting and find out what the secret was.
At the end of the day, one of the boys, I don’t know who, used his pocket knife to make about a 12-inch long cut through the tape that covered the cracks between the two sets of rear doors.
Then that night, after it was dark, there must have been eight or 10 of us who approached those doors very quietly to peek through the slits in the tape and into the gym.
We took turns looking inside. What we saw seemed very odd. In the center of the gym floor were three large chairs. They looked like the ones that were behind the altar in the Methodist Church. One was larger then the other two, and it looked almost like a throne … like the one that Pastor Kneisley sat in sometimes on Sunday morning.
But it wasn’t Pastor Kneisley in the chair. It was a man named Scott Creviston, who had an outdoor advertising business in Marysville. He was dressed differently than I had ever seen before. He usually wore a suit and tie, but it looked like he was wearing a bed sheet with a fancy sash around his waist … and sandals. He was sitting in the big chair, the one in the center.
There were also quite a few other men I had seen around town. I thought they were all old guys, but when you are 14, anyone over 40 is an “old guy.” They were all wearing bed sheets and sandals. But none of them had a fancy sash like Mr. Creviston.
Then it looked like they all started acting. One guy would stand and hold up a spear or a lance. Then someone else would come and bow before Mr. Creviston.
None of us boys had any idea what was going on, but we kept watching to see if we could find out what the big secret was. We took turns looking through the cuts in the masking tape, but we never did find out what they were trying to keep secret.
Then, without any warning, one of those old guys in a bed sheet and sandals came around the corner of the building. I think he must have been their security guard, or something like that. He yelled at us, and we all took off like the wind. We didn’t worry about him catching us, because it’s pretty hard for an old guy in a bed sheet and sandals to catch a 14-year-old boy in sneakers.
A couple weeks later, I told my dad about how we peeked through the slit in the masking tape, and I described what we saw. I thought maybe he could explain the whole thing to me. I don’t think he really wanted to talk about it, and I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was displeased with what we boys did.
So I never did really find out what the big secret was. I mean, why did those guys cover the windows and tape up the cracks between the doors? What was it they wanted to keep secret? A lot of us boys talked about it the next day, and we came to the conclusion that they probably just didn’t want anyone to know that they were a bunch of old guys, who really liked to walk around in bed sheets and sandals.
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