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Around The Grange
The 1873 Degrees: Thank you for the opportunity

By Clifford and Trevor Gervais, Ekonk Community Grange No. 89

  AUGUST 6, 2013 --

Incredible, impressive, educational, fun:  these are just a few words to describe our experience as part of the National Grange’s first ever conferral of the degrees as they were first done by the Founders (on the farm of Oliver Hudson Kelley) in Elk River, Minnesota!

This was our first ever airplane ride and our first ever seeing of the “old style” Grange degrees.  We met kids from as far away as Oregon and California and what did we have in common:  love of Grange and its history!

Four teams conferred the eight degrees.  Yes, eight!  In the beginning, the men and the women were given different degrees.  In the beginning, the degrees were conferred in farm fields!  In the beginning, the men only had to over real obstacles in the field!  Our team (Northeast), did the original “opening” ceremonies and conferred the First Degree, first for men and second for women.  We wore matching costumes.  Our shirts and vests had wooden buttons; our “pants” snaps and flaps and more snaps and flaps - no zippers - it took several minutes to figure out how to get them on.  Our Mom said, “You’d better use the bathroom first, you’ll never get these off in a hurry!”

Grandma Gray went with us and was a real trooper.  We stood on the bank of the Mississippi River and went to the Mall of America.  The mall was very cool and was 7 acres big.  We loved the Swiss Army Knife Store.  We went through the Sea Life Aquarium and saw sharks, sea turtles, octopus and more- walking under them and next to them!  The mall even has a HUGE roller coaster!  This is the biggest mall in the United States!

We tried new foods and saw new things.  It was a real adventure.  We thank the State Grange for their donation and were proud to represent Connecticut at such a great event!  

Clifford and Trevor Gervais

Ekonk Community Grange No. 89


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