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Fidelity Lodge #113 F&AM

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Bateman Memorial Fund 1923 (cont)

Then came another and a greater depression. Mortgages on Masonic temples were foreclosed. Similar disasters overtook other organizations. But not so with Fidelity, for on March 6, 1932, during the blackest days of the depression, the N. Maple Avenue lot was free and clear of debt. In 1945 the Village of Ridgewood offered to buy this lot for the purpose of establishing a memorial park. There being no possibility that Fidelity could build a temple for years to come, it was voted on August 10, 1945, that the lot be sold for $11,000, this being the sum of the original purchase cost plus all taxes and assessments. The Lodge then instructed the trustees to invest this money in Government bonds and to start immediately upon a quest for new quarters for Fidelity or means of enlarging the facilities of the present quarters.

The depression of 1932 had the effect of lessening the degree work afforded a welcome opportunity for other diversions. Early in this period the Masters vied with each other in planning programs for the social hour following the meetings. The highlights of this period are not spectacular but rather the record of the achievements of an untroubled fraternity endeavoring to carry out in practice all those principles upon which it's foundation is based.

During the period of World War II, the lodge room was one place where Masons could assemble without violating the blackout regulations. Meetings were well attended. The social hours were a relief from worries, restrictions and labors of wartime living. One by one the younger officers and brethren were called to service. Twenty-three members of Fidelity Lodge served in the war in various ranks. All survived V-J Day and no casualties were reported. By 1944 these soldiers and sailors were scattered all over the world. It was then that Fidelity appointed a War Service Committee, of which W. Bro. Eugene Colbeth was chairman. A war service mite box was set out each lodge night. With the funds raised, contact was maintained with the service men. Birthday cards signed by members were sent to them and gifts at Christmas. A monthly newsletter titled "Timely Topics from P.O. Box 382" was sent to each brother in service. In 1945 W. Bro. Charles Dewhurst became chairman of the war service committee and, in addition to the program inaugurated in 1944, he installed a bulletin board in the lobby of the lodge hall with a sizable map of the world on which name pins showed the location of Fidelity's service men far and near. This bulletin board also carried addresses of the men, and frequently their letters were placed here for all to read. W. Bro. Dewhurst also encouraged the brethren to write to them men in service. As these brothers returned to Ridgewood on furlough or for good, W. Bro. Dewhurst interviewed them and bid them welcome and made them feel at home in their lodge.

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