My father was a Mason. His father was a mason. His father’s father was a mason. My father was a proud active Mason his entire life. He even paid his father’s Mason back dues before he died so that his father would die in good standing with the lodge. I’m not sure why this was so important to him, but it was. I think it had something to Honor. When my father died he had begun going thru the “chairs” or working his way to Worshipful Master. You’re elected into a position and through time you work your way up to the head position. At the graveside he also had a Masonic service which was absolutely beautiful in its words and symbols. He had been working on that memory work and as the words were spoken I watched my Mom mouth the words along with the Masons who were conducting the ceremony. It brought her comfort I think.
At his urging my sister and I became members of the International Order of the Rainbow for girls. The Rainbow organization is a Masonic youth service organization. I don’t remember how old I was, but I think maybe 12. The Rainbow organization teaches a lot of things to young girls. Confidence, leadership, how to serve others, just to name a few. The installation of officers is a beautiful ceremony that I still remember.
I don’t think I’m giving any secrets away, because the installation ceremony is open to the public. There are seven bow stations in the middle of the room representing Love (red), Religion (orange), Nature (yellow), Immortality (green), Fidelity (blue), Patriotism (indigo), Service, (violet). During the ceremony streamers are pulled out to an alter and creates a beautiful colorful example of what the Rainbow Organization stands for. To this day when I hear the song “This is my Father’s World” I remember being nature and that yellow satin streamer flowing through my hands.
In addition to these service stations there are other positions you can be elected to. The Worthy Advisor who presides over meetings and plans activities during her term. There is a Worthy Associate Advisor who preside over the meetings if the Worthy Advisor isn’t present. In addition to these two main offices, there is also Faith, Hope, and Charity. There are also a few other positions.
I really enjoyed being a Rainbow Girl and often wonder what happened to some of the older girls that were part of the organization when I started. They were helpful, patient, and made me feel included. Some of them were Melissa Head, Pam Forrester, and Martha Hollis. When my Dad passed away in August of 1997, Mrs. Head along with about 10 young girls I didn’t know attended my Dad’s funeral. These were Rainbow girls. They were there to show their respect to my Dad and to my family. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Mrs. Head, but I really appreciated the effort she took to come to the funeral and to bring a group of girls to represent the Rainbow Organization.
As in the Masonic Lodge there is “secret work” that has to be memorized for each office. We only had one book with the stuff we needed to memorize. So we would meet at different ones homes to study our memory work. I remember this mainly as a time for snacks! But my Dad was very proud when I was installed as Worthy Advisor and was especially proud when I new all my memory work and didn’t need prompting from the Mother Advisor.
Sadly, I think membership has dwindled over the years. There is no longer even a Masonic Lodge in Riverside where I grew up. I still have a lot of my Rainbow stuff in a box. I have a cousin, whose daughter is involved in the Rainbow Girls. I sometimes wished I lived in town. I would like to go to meetings and see new girls having similar experiences to what I had. I still remember the secret handshake too and the secret word. I would tell you what that is, but then I would have to kill you.