Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Wahabi Shriners and a Colossal Hippodrome

All photos from Don Jackson Collection/Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library

"The Brookhaven Shrine Club sponsored an International Hippodrome Circus. Dr. J R Markett and his family are shown in some of the photos. No date is noted." -- Library caption.

My best guess:  This is 1959, since September 26 fell on a Saturday that year.  The other clue: the little girl's fez says Ben Hur, and that epic film remake was due to be released in November of 1959.  Surely the movie hype was going strong at the time.  In addition, it appears that the pick-up truck in the photo is a 1959 Ford.

Dr. John Ralph Markette is the shorter man in the glasses in the first photo.  The woman in the clown outfit is most likely his second wife Dollie and the little girl, Cindy Markette. Help with identities of the other two men is appreciated.

On a personal note: When I was a small child, the Shriners satin outfits, sabers, curly-toed shoes and fez hats used to terrify me during the annual Christmas parade.  I would cling to my father and I would search for Meredith Wood, father of my friend Marybeth.  Only when I spotted him would my inner calm return for I knew he would protect me from the others should one or more lose their heads and go slashing into the crowd with those scary sabers.  

I never realized the Shriners' connection to Freemasonry until I got much, much older and started researching these wild and crazy guys who do good work with the Shriners Children's Hospital.  I guess now I can forgive them for scaring me. 

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