Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shriners ban water except for bathing

The 1947 Project has spent the last year immersing itself in the history and lore of Los Angeles, circa 1947, digging up old newspaper articles and other historical documents to paint a picture of a very different time than that in which we now live.

Regarding a Shriners' Convention in L.A. that year:
Singing loud praises to Allah that strike a curious note in 2006, the special train of Shriners is flying across the Nevada desert brimming with Freemasons and their families pondering the ancient mystery: “What Makes the Wildcat Wild?”

The official communique from the Imperial Potentate reads:

“I send greetings and assurances that with the continued protection of Allah, the God of our Fathers and the Controller of our Destinies accompanied by a distinguished escort it will be my great pleasure to pitch the Imperial tent in the delightful Oasis of Al Malaikah Temple Sunday May 5.

“Word has been brought to me of the great welcome which the people of the Oasis of the Angels are preparing for us. My wise men have told me of the beauties of the sea, valley and mountain which will greet us at our pilgrimage’s end. The great Allah has so endorsed your Southland that our pathway will be bordered with trees and flowers of wondrous beauty.

“For this, all praise to Allah and for the festal days’ joy which are before us thanks to the faithful of the Southland.”

The Times notes that the Imperial Potentate has forbidden the use of water while crossing the desert, “consequently upon this edict comes the addition of two fully stocked commissary cars to the imperial train. Never in its history has Los Angeles had the opportunity of welcoming a more jovial party or one more interested in her feast of flowers than this one which is escorting its Imperial Potentate. When Owens River comes to Los Angeles, prohibition of water may be raised.”

The Imperial Potentate also warned all Shriners:

“Red fezzes of Shriners, visiting or home, are not good form in thirst parlors, shooting galleries, billiard parlors and other places to which the wearers would not take their wives, sisters or sweethearts. Potentate Flint has thrown out the hint that the little red top-piece should be taken by the nape of the neck by the man underneath upon entering such places and stowed away in a pocket or carried in hand.

“The suggestion of the potentate was quite generally observed last night. It was a common sight to see hatless men ranged in rows at drink troughs in various cases about the city, the red fez protruding from their pockets and dry red tongues hanging from their mouths.”

The Times reports that with the arrival of the first three groups of Shriners, the Aloha Temple of Honolulu, Islam Temple of San Francisco and Murat Temple of Indianapolis “the fizz of fezzes began to flow.”

Visiting Shriners received baskets of California fruit and a special presentation of what was described as the world’s largest orange, which weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces and was 17½ inches in circumference.

Even Chinatown is preparing to take part in the welcoming parade with a wagon of young Chinese children that The Times is careful to point out were all born in California.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi... note that the Shriners' convention was in 1907, not 1947. We wrapped up '47 and rolled the clock back 40 years.

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