The Bubbles Speech
At the 46th Imperial Session in Portland, Oregon, Imperial Potentate W. Freeland Kendrick recommended the formation of the Shriners Home for Friendless, Orphaned and Crippled Children. The report, given on June 23, 1920, was not well received by those in the meeting.
That afternoon, Kendrick took the floor again and proposed building a hospital for children with disabilities and recommended that the funding come from an annual $2 per capita tax to fraternity members, and that it would be called Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children. Many Shriners expressed doubts about the practicality and the responsibility that comes with starting and running a children’s hospital. The prospects of the plan were fading when a Noble stood up to address the crowd.
That Noble was Forrest Adair of Yaarab Shriners in Atlanta. He addressed the concerns of the audience with an inspiring monologue that is referred to as the “Bubbles Speech.”
“I was lying in bed yesterday morning about four o’clock … and some poor fellow who had strayed from the rest of the band stood down there under the window for 25 minutes playing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles,” said Adair.
“I wondered if there were not a deep significance in the tune that he was playing for the Shriners … I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles. While having spent money for songs and spent money for bands, it is time for the Shriners to spend money for humanity… I want to see this thing started… Let us lay aside the soap and water and stop blowing bubbles and get down to brass tacks… Let us get rid of all the technical objections… And if there is a Shriner in North America who objects to having paid the $2 after he has seen the first child helped, I will give him a check back for it myself.”
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