Bethel #59 was the “newest” of the four Salem Bethels, and the one all three of my sisters and I belonged to. They had lots of traditions…they were really bad at drill team, but they were the EXPERTS at Scrapbook. Oh yes, we were a tenacious bunch of nerds…measuring borders to perfection, typing reports, etc. They were works of art! We always had a choir—in fact, in my day, we usually supplied the Musicians for all the Bethels in Salem. Between me and the Drake sisters (although Martha Drake did belong to Bethel #43), we covered all four Bethels with music at all times. Bethel #59 and Bethel #43 had a joint installation when Martha and Marjorie Drake were Honored Queen at the same time. Now that was quite a feat, as all our chairs were filled for both Bethels.
We had two Rainbow assemblies and two DeMolay chapters. The DeMolay always put on a show at our Installations, and I have many fond memories of dances, after parties, and more dances. It wasn’t an installation unless you had an after party! Yes, these parties went on usually until 2 in the morning! Always well chaperoned and well behaved (within limits), it was quite the social set!
There used to be an event up in Portland called the “Sir Knight’s Ball” for all the Portland Bethels to crown their new Sir Knight. Well, we decided to do the same thing in Salem, and we hosted a big Sir Knight’s Ball. What a treat that was! I still have pictures from that somewhere. We usually had professional photographers at the big balls like that.
Everyone had Installation traditions. At Bethel #59, we had this BIG red heart on a chain that would get locked around the neck of the new PHQ, and she had to dance with everyone to find the key! Mine was served to me after the after party…on a plate with parsley at Vip’s restaurant! What a riot! We also had a potty chair that we gave to the Marshal. Everyone signed it when they were Marshal. It was quite the rage.
From snow trips to beach trips, we did it all. Bethel #59 always traveled A LOT. Mr. Cooper wouldn’t have it any other way! We were always visiting Bethels, and usually we had to hang out on the sidelines because they had enough officers on the floor. It was a rare treat to dress down for a Bethel meeting as a visitor! Except Musician, that is….someone always needed one of those.
I’ve probably played for almost every Bethel in Oregon, and many DeMolay and Rainbow installations as well. We had meetings in Salem just to determine who could have their installation when! Bethel #35, #43 and #48 all met at the Scottish Rite, and #59 was our at the Salem Masonic Temple. When I first went to a Bethel #59 meeting, though, they were meeting at the big Temple in downtown Salem that was later turned into offices. That was a magnificent space…but they did take the furniture to Salem Masonic, and it’s still there today, I presume.