When Royal Neighbors agent, Derrick Monson, Grand Prairie, Texas, met with Virginia Edmister of Fort Worth, Texas, the name Royal Neighbors brought back memories. Virginia’s grandmother was a charter member of Chapter 10501, Bear Creek, Missouri, and spent many years enjoying her membership.
“My grandmother, Stella Ray, was the sweetest person I’ve ever known,” says Virginia. Stella and her husband lived on a farm and raised six children. Stella milked the cows, collected eggs, pulled their water up from a well, made the family’s clothes and washed them in rain barrel water, raised and sold turkeys to pay for school shoes, and made two loaves of bread and two pies every day. “It must have been like heaven for my grandmother to leave home and meet with the ladies of Royal Neighbors,” shares Virginia.
The chapter was chartered on May 10, 1929, and the members met in the second floor of a grocery store owned by Virginia’s great uncle. “The Royal Neighbors lodge and the church were the places where all the socializing occurred,” says Virginia.
Stella is shown in the picture above at a Bear Creek Chapter gathering. Being part of Royal Neighbors was a family affair. Also shown in the picture are Virginia’s great-great aunts, Effie Jackson and Laurinda Morgan, and three great aunts, Zula, Sadie, and Lula Price. According to the Cedar County Historical Society, the picture dates back to the early 1930s.
Whether members of Royal Neighbors gather to meet in a grocery store, in a member’s living room, or at a fund-raiser for a local library, they continue to share a passion for the camaraderie of friends who are making a difference.