As World War II-era adults die off, Baby Boomers approach retirement, and we Gen-Xers start to approach early middle age, I’m inclined to ask about something that has always seemed (to me) to be the purvey of old men. That is, fraternal organizations (like the Masons, the Elks, the Shriners, etc.).
First of all, those old 50’s and 60’s TV shows that I grew up watching reruns of continually referenced men going to “the lodge.” Fred Flinstone was always trouncing off the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo; Ralph Kramden had his; etc.
I have never seen a reference to a men’s (or women’s) fraternal organization in any modern TV show, save one. That one was Everybody Loves Raymond, and on the ELR episode, the whole plot was about how Frank’s lodge was populated with old & dying men and how they could use some new blood.
Furthermore, I’ve never known a member of any such fraternity who wasn’t an old (or middle-aged) man. My wife’s grandfather, a Mason, is pushing 80. Her uncle, who is officially a Mason but who hasn’t seen the inside of a lode in 10 years, is 45. And let’s not forget the Shriners, who ride by in parades every year and who all appear to be at least 70.
So, yeah, is membership in fraternal organizations (excluding college frats, naturally) a thing of the past? Are the Masons, the Elks, the Moose, etc. all in danger of going out of business (so to speak) as their members assume room temperature?