Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Masonic Ring I Wear!

The Masonic Ring I wear looks like most Masonic Rings with a square and compass, but it has special meaning to me!

It is the family history behind the ring that means so much! If only it could talk, it might tell the following story. I was originally worn by Perry Oliver Liming, but I am not for sure how or when Perry started wearing me. I do know that Perry was born in Milford, Ohio on April 18, 1880 and later moved with his family to Maroa, Illinois. On June 6, 1916, Perry was elected to take the degrees of masonry at Maroa Lodge #454 in Maroa, Illinois. He was initiated on July 27, 1916, Passed to the Fellowcraft Degree on September 26, 1916, and raised to the Sublime degree of a Master Mason on October 31, 1916. From November 13th – 15th, 1918 Perry went through the Consistory Classes at Bloomington, Illinois.

In 1919 Perry married Catherine Thayer who was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. They gave birth to their only son, Julian Thayer Liming (also known as J.T.) on May 3, 1920 in Maroa, IL. In about 5 – 6 years Perry and Catherine were divorced and J.T. went with his mother to live in Taylorville, IL with her mother Mary Thayer. Sometime later when J.T. was older he went to live with his father who then resided in Decatur, IL and attended and graduated from high school. After high school he went back to Taylorville to work. He later met Ila Ethridge from Taylorville, IL and they were married on February 2, 1940. On January 26, 1941 they gave birth to Julian Ann Liming (aka Julie Austin, my mother-In-Law). J.T. was working as an electrician at the construction project for an addition to the St. Vincent’s Hospital where he fell from a scaffold and broke his neck. After recovering from his neck injury, he went to work as an electrician for Montgomery Wards repairing refrigerators and other appliances. He and his family moved around a lot, until 1947 when they moved to Argenta, IL on his father’s family farm so Julie could start attending school. On December 2, 1947, J.T. was elected to take the degrees of masonry at Maroa Lodge #454 in Maroa, Illinois. He was initiated on December 30, 1947, Passed to the Fellowcraft Degree on April 28, 1948, and raised to the Sublime degree of a Master Mason on December 12, 1950. After J.T. was raised to Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, I was passed from Perry’s finger to J.T.’s finger. I can remember the look on Julie’s eye when she saw the ring. Perry would be wearing a big shiny ring (thought to be his ring from the Consistory) that really impressed Julie (a girl of young age) whose family was considered poor. Perry would come over to J.T.’s house and eat supper with the family before Perry and J.T. would go to the lodge meetings.

About this time J.T. started working for the Illinois Central Rail Road in Clinton, IL. I can remember J.T. coaching several newly admitted brothers to the fraternity. He would climb up into the warm locomotive engine at lunch time and sit there with the new brother practicing their proficiency work.

In 1955, after J.T.’s father Perry passed away, J.T. inherited his father’s farms. They moved to Maroa, IL and into a house which had electricity. Shortly afterwards, Gene Craig, J.T. and Julie helped build a new room onto the house, where they added an indoor bathroom. This was the first time the family had an indoor bathroom. J.T. also took a second job working for the Maroa Police Department to help buy food and clothing for the family.

It was not until after J.T. retired from the railroad, that he started wearing me on his finger on a regular basis. Also after his retirement from the Rail Road, J.T. became Chief of Police for Maroa and later started his own detective business, Liming Detective Agency. He named Julie Austin (his daughter), President and he was the only stock holder. He wore me proudly on a daily basis until his death on April 8, 2001.

Bob Darling, became a Master Mason in Maroa Lodge #454 on January 9, 1988 where his Father-In-Law Larry Austin (current Master of Maroa Lodge #454 raised him to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason). At the time of his raising, J.T. was present and it was a proud moment as his Grandson by marriage became a Master Mason. He had married Larry and Julie Austin’s daughter Kathy, on December 21, 1979. He was a Grand Lodge District Representative with the Grand Lodge of MN and on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Illinois he presented J.T. with his 50 year membership pin with the fraternity prior to his death. I can remember J.T. wearing me proudly. I even made the trip with J.T. to Minnesota when Bob was installed as the Master of North Star Lodge #23 and took part in the installation ceremony.

Bob and Kathy Darling had a son Matthew Robert who was born on January 28, 1982. In January of 2000, Matthew Robert Darling was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason at North Star Lodge #23 in St. Cloud, MN. I (the ring) was carried proudly by Larry Austin, who gave me to Matthew on behalf of Ila Liming (J.T.’s wife/widow) to be worn proudly to show everyone he was a mason. Unfortunately, I was too small to fit on any of Matt’s finger and remained in a ring box in one of Matt’s dresser drawers at Bob and Kathy’s house. The dresser was moved from one house to another when Bob and Kathy moved from Sartell, MN to Becker, MN in 2003.

In the summer of 2010, Bob and Kathy’s house was being burglarized and the thief took me out of the drawer with intention of stealing me. I just wish I could tell someone who he/she was, but I must have gotten to them, since they put me down on the computer desk while they were stealing the camera used to Skype family members. I know J.T. was with me in spirit and the thief walked off and forgot me. When Bob and Kathy returned home from the weekend trip, Bob found me by the computer when he couldn't’t figure out why he was having trouble skyping a family member. I sent the spirit of J.T. to let him know the camera was gone and I was safe and sound. I started sending messages through J.T.’s spirit to Bob. Bob asked his son Matt if he could wear me, J.T.’s ring that was given to him on behalf of his Grandfather, Larry Austin. Matt told his dad that he could wear me, the ring. Bob finally realized my dream to be worn proudly again, and show the world what I stand for: Truth, Relief, and Brotherly Love.

So it is with great pride and honor that Bob wear his grandfather J.T.’s ring! May the Grand Architect be with you in all of your applications to the deity?