The week of Aunt Louise's birthday saw an abundance of birthday cakes, candles and very off-key singing. I think the above was at the Olive Garden.
(Kathy, Chelsea and Jerry)
One day these cousins took us to Lucille's for a really good birthday lunch and more bad singing.
Chelsea (the cutie in the middle in the above picture) raises chickens and she gifted me with a dozen of the most colorful eggs. What a treat and all the eggs are completely organic while laid with great care from contented, free-range hens.
The festivities finally came to an end so Aunt Louise, Suzanne and I took a ride to Weatherford for the day. The above 'castle' has been a landmark in the town for many years and when Suzanne learned that Aunt Louise had never been inside, she arranged for a tour of what is known as Pythian's Castle.
The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization and secret society, founded in Washington D.C. in 1864.
The order has over 2,000 lodges (or castles) in the U.S. and around the world, with a total membership of over 50,000.
A number of U.S. Presidents, vice presidents, financiers and even Louis Armstrong have all been members of the Pythian's.
The Texas Grand Lodge of the Knights of Pythias considered building a home for dependent widows and children as early as 1886. In 1897 the Grand Lodge Convention started a fund to establish such a home.
(Each chapter seems to find another way to show benevolence. The one in Weatherford opened in 1909 and chose to house widows and children left dependent from the various wars. For years it provided schooling for the children but now the resident children attend local schools.)
The order provides for "worthy Pythians in distress" and has given aid to victims of national or sectional disasters. It runs camps for underprivileged youth and homes for aged members. It has sponsored scholarship funds, blood drives, highway safety programs, and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation.
The cornerstone for the massive main building was laid in Weatherford, Tx in 1907.
The building exhibits Moorish influences and contains 52 rooms.
The first floor housed the girl's dormitory, a dining room, and the kitchen; while the second floor served as the boys dormitory and contained an auditorium.
This antique fan was unusual.
Additional dormitory facilities were built later and are joined to the main building by arched walkways.
This was the library and I could have spent hours here. The books were old and worn, many were the originals with a whole series of "Bobbsy Twins", "Nancy Drew Mysteries", dozens of the classics and even the first 'adult' book I ever read, "Lydia Bailey".
There are now 11 children in residence here with a large staff to care for them.
The castle is no longer a 'mystery' for the three of us and we sure enjoyed the tour.
For the many children who have grown up here I suspect it has been an adventure to grow up in a castle. Many have stayed and continued on as staff, including the lovely young lady that gave us this tour.