Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n18)
Broad Ripple History: MASONIC LIFE AT MUSTARD HALL IN THE 1940s (part 2) - By Sally Kellerhals
posted: Sept. 07, 2007
MASONIC LIFE AT MUSTARD HALL IN THE 1940s (part 2)
The Christmas parties for children were events I looked forward to all year. I never wanted to miss even one. That ballroom space was decorated to the ceiling for Christmas with a huge bright and beautiful tree and lights and other Christmas decor on the walls. You can imagine the noise as the children gathered for this very exciting evening. Santa Claus always made an appearance and handed out gifts to each child. There were refreshments and bags of candy for everyone, too, sometimes a magician or other kinds of entertainment, and we played games to fill the evening. The members of the Lodge seemed to spare no trouble or expense to make it a great evening for us. And I have proof that I attended for many a year - I have a picture of my oldest son David who was born in 1960 sitting, at the age of three months, in Santa's lap. I was very proud of him - Santa didn't scare him at all.
Every bit as good as the Christmas party was the big pitch-in held in the summer at Broad Ripple Park. I should be very glad that I didn't attend those as an adult because I could have made myself ill by eating too much of the luscious food brought by every dear lady who attended. As it was - and here we go again, should I apologize? They had a huge freezer full of ice cream sandwiches - no, children, not the kind with the chocolate cookie sides, REAL ice cream sandwiches with the waffle sides, frozen in dry ice and free for the taking. I always ate far more than my share. Whatever girl friend I was running around with was quickly introduced to the goodies in the freezer, and we helped ourselves every time we got a little room for another frozen treat. Many times the friend said she didn't even know that the treats were available so I was indeed spreading the news. We usually could eat as many as we wanted until, I guess, I might have enlightened too many kids, and the freezer became empty far too early.
But there were so many things to do - we rode the Merry-Go-Round, went swimming, looked at the canal, played all kinds of organized games where the winners got prizes, and like all healthy kids made our own fun running and chasing each other under the huge trees. I am sure the adults had a marvelous day, too. Again, when the Lodge put on an affair, they did it right.
When I was small/younger, I remember very clearly the people who were nice to me, the ones who smiled at me and spoke something friendly. The men and women we got to know through the Masonic Lodge were such great, big-hearted and truly kind people that I remember these years very fondly.
But one more story. My dad was Worshipful Master in 1959. Around that time I often needed a place to park when I drove myself to the library in my 1948 Chevrolet. I checked out the sign that hung on the side of the building by the parking lot, and it said NO PARKING EXCEPT FOR LODGE MEMBERS, or something close to that. So I didn't park there. But I mentioned it to my dad, and he said for me to go ahead and park there - it would be OK, and if anyone said anything to me, just tell them my name and who my dad was. Sure enough, I had parked there maybe twice when I was getting out of my car one day and a gentleman came around the front corner and ordered me to move. I told him the fore-mentioned information, and he sputtered a bit and said, "Well, that's OK." I don't think I need to apologize for that one. It surely helps to have connections.