Why I Became A Mason, Walter W. Young, PDDGM, Grand Provost.


I was born in the Piedmont section of North Carolina in the middle of World War II. There was very little industry in the small town I grew up in and most families raised Tobacco as their only money crop. They were all sharecroppers, which meant the farm owner provided the land and a small tenant house for the sharecropper and his family to live in, and the sharecropper provided all the labor. In the fall of the year, they would split the profits from the sale of the tobacco.

When I was two years old, my father succumbed to cancer, leaving my Mother, who was in her middle thirties, with six children to feed and clothe without the safety net we know today. Luckily for us, my father was a Mason and left many Masonic friends in the small community in which I grew up. One such friend, Brother Jack Hall, owned a Service Station and took care of my Mother’s automobile while she tried valiantly to provide for her young brood. In my early years, she worked in a cotton mill while we raised tobacco, but by fifth grade, she tried her hand at door to door selling. I, being the youngest, and without a sitter, traveled with my mother as she sold Stanley Home Products to all the homemakers within a fifty-mile radius of our home. If we had car trouble of any kind, Mother knew all she had to do was get a message to Brother Jack Hall, and he would come find us, and bail us out of our circumstance. I have never forgotten the security blanket he provided for us. In the Fall of the year, we would take our tobacco to market and the money from the sale of our only cash crop would put shoes on our feet and clothes on our back. I remember when we took our tobacco to market, one of Dad’s Masonic friends would always look after Mother’s baskets of tobacco and make sure she was not cheated as the auctioneer snaked his way down the long lines of stacked tobacco. With the money we got from the sale of the tobacco, we would always go to the local clothing store to purchase school clothes for the coming year. I found it strange that the owner of the store always gave mymother a discount. I found out later in life, he was an old Masonic friend of my father. You cannot imagine the impact this had on a young widow with nowhere else to turn, and a young child growing up in such abject poverty.

As a young man, I found myself very protective of women in general, but especially young single mothers. One in particular was a maid for one of my customers. She would always call me to cut her grass, fix her washing machine, or unstop a sink. Children of all ages steal their way into my heart. My children and grandchildren have always been the focus of my life. This early Masonic experience made me a better father, son, and husband. After joining the Fraternity, I found that there is a special bond among us that transcends religion, financial status, titles, or stature in the community. We can disagree in Lodge, sometimes heatedly, but at the end of the evening as we leave the sanctity of the temple, we are still friends and Brothers. This is what the Fraternity teaches. This is how we are supposed to live our lives, looking after each other, sharing in a Brother’s joy, and standing beside him to comfort him in his sorrow. If you have ever been to a Masonic funeral then you have witnessed this Brotherly love and affection as we pay our last tribute of respect to our departing Brother. You saw first hand the care and comfort we extend to
the widow in her hour of grief.

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