Aug 29, 2005

The story behind Kecoughtan's last flap patch

The last Lodge flap issued by Kecoughtan Lodge has an interesting and colorful history. Recently I was able to converse via email with the designer of this patch and learn details about its heritage that add to its unique nature in the gallery of Kecoughtan Lodge's emblems.

Paul Kerstendiecks was an adult volunteer who previously designed three activity patches for the Lodge, the 1994 Winter Fellowship (see original design artwork here), the 1994 Spring Ordeal, and the 1994 Christmas Banquet. He was approached by Trading Post Advisor Dr. Ron Godby to design an anniversary patch for the Lodge to celebrate its 45 years of service.

Dr. Godby's singular design stipulation was that the patch not include the 3 ships that were prominently featured on the standard Lodge flap. These ships had come to be derisively referred to as "the slave ships" by some members of the Lodge who resented the change that was mandated by the Council Executive in August of 1988 from the original flap design that included confederate flags.

Paul recalls:
"It was to be an anniversary flap, and to incorporate something neutral as the "slave ships" were not liked by everyone in the Council/Lodge. Dr. Godby was trying to be sensitive to the entire Lodge with this concept. I had much artistic liberty to take it from there, his guidance was no ships though."

As you can see from the original design document, Paul included painstaking details that even included thread direction instructions to create the "starburst" effect in the green background and ensuring the spherical appearance of the acorns. Dr. Godby sent Paul a thank you letter with three of the flaps in March of 1996, writing "I've heard many comments that it was the prettiest flap ever issued and most appropriate for the final issue."

Remarkably, though, the patch was never designed as a "death flap." New York collector Bill Mulrenin defined this term in a post to the TSPA Patch Vine web site in 1996:
"A 'death' flap or patch is the final issue of a merging lodge specifically issued to commemorate the ending (death) of the lodge. They normally have the 'birth' and 'death' dates of the lodge on them. A tombstone as it were."

Paul explains that he didn't know of the upcoming merger, though more senior members of the Lodge probably did and says:
"I didn't intend the symbology. I wish I could say I had the knowledge and foresight, but I was simply expanding on the acorns, and making the patch balance out. When you look at it you can see focal points, and balance, follow-through ... artsy stuff."

With it's forest green background and simple design of oak leaves and acorns, the last flap patch of Kecoughtan Lodge stands in stark contrast to its predecessors, and serves as a fitting tribute to the Lodge's 45 years of cheerful service to the Virginia Peninsula. It's average value of 42.46 in the price guide makes the S38 final flap issue from Kecoughtan Lodge an affordable and essential part of a Kecoughtan Lodge emblems collection.

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