What's the story about the red socks?
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the line officers of the five lodges in the 7th Masonic District shared a close bond and were very supportive of one another. It was customary for groups from different lodges to spontaneously attend each other's meetings as a gesture of solidarity. The officers collaborated closely as both close friends and brothers.
This environment fostered numerous enduring friendships, which naturally led to playful teasing among the companions. Against this backdrop, in the early 1980s, R.W. Bob Horton, a Past Master of St. Alban's #6, was appointed as the District Deputy Grand Master for the Seventh District. Bob was an instantly likable individual, displaying a genuine love for the craft and a delightful sense of humor.
After completing all installations and commencing the cycle of visitations, W.B. George Thibault, a Past Master of St. Andrews #39 & Grand Master of Ceremonies, was known for his sincerity as a Mason but also for his mischievous nature. Wishing to make the visitation to R.W. Bob's Home Lodge extraordinary, he secretly requested all attending officers to wear white socks, without informing R.W. Bob of this plan.
Amidst conversations that evening, it was revealed that R.W. Bob, unbeknownst to many, was diabetic and could not wear colored fabric against his skin due to the risk of allergic reactions. It was mentioned that R.W. Bob had taken a pair of black socks, removed the foot part, and placed the elastic part over a pair of white socks to adhere to the formal protocol for his tuxedo attire. At a predetermined signal, the entire suite of officers crossed their legs and raised their pant legs, revealing their white socks. Witnessing this spectacle, R.W. Bob removed his black socks and defiantly cast them to the floor, vowing never to be ashamed of wearing white socks.
This incident marked the inception of a distinctive tradition among the officers of the seventh district, a means of recognition and camaraderie. Anticipating that others would follow suit as R.W. Bob ascended the ranks, W.B. Dr. Cy Allen, the current master of St. John's #1 Newport, who had a connection to the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island, Bishop Frederick Belden, made an observation. Bishop Belden, also a member of his lodge, always wore red socks, so W.B. Dr. Cy Allen declared that if the Bishop could wear red socks, he could too. From that day forward, red socks became the preferred choice within the Seventh District.
To this day, the wearing of red socks symbolizes the spirit of the "Old Seventh" and the warmth and brotherhood that permeate the district.
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