December 14th, 2022

This meeting was honored by the company of 13 attendees: Vicki and Jim Pope, Mark Fountain, Diane Austin, Chris Corey, David Fessenden, Peter Webb, Linsey Fusco, Alyse Fusco, Hunter Ardehali, Kurtis Fusco, Gina Bent, Mark Cedras. We were pleased to have David back after his recent indisposition. Bob Canada’s absence was regretted, and we joined in the wishing him a prompt and complete recovery.

The minute taker was justly taken to task by a task taker for some erroneous dates. Luckily, the readers have come to take the secretary’s handiwork with a grain of salt, so the misinformation was apparently of no consequence. My apologies. The minutes were approved as accurate, not including their various inaccuracies.

Chris reported on the financial affairs of the BHS. We received some final calendar proceeds (sold out). Payments from 2 anonymous (for the moment) sponsors are delinquent. The Christmas tree sales were darn impressive, thanks to loyal customers and hard-working volunteers. Some harder than others, but worthy of note were Brian Fessenden, Mark Fessenden, Gina Bent, the Pope duo, George Winters, Annette Quimby. The Lions Club cookie decorating with kids was a wonderful addition. Thank you. The President’s participation was somewhat lacking, so the list of helpers may be incomplete. Anyway, but for 6 trees out of 115, we sold out after 2 weekends. The remaining half dozen found homes the third weekend, thanks largely to the charms of Mark Fessenden. The Christmas tree sale resulted in a net profit of $3,801.00. Fifty dollars came in last month from cribbage. $170 in donations was gratefully received. The BHS treasury, after last month’s payments for phone, electric and propane ($2.099/gallon), presently stands at $29,074.72. The treasurer’s report was approved.

Mark and Peter reported on their trip to the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, MA, for the treatment of the 1895 Brookline and Pepperell Railroad poster donated by Mark. The NEDCC quoted $780 to treat and properly frame the item. The decision was made to have them only spray it to deacidification for $125.00, and to have framing done locally, in accordance with written guidelines provided by the NEDCC. Mark has generously offered to pay for the deacidification. Another trip to Andover will be made to retrieve the piece after treatment. Diane reported on another successful cribbage session. Cribbage will continue in January, the first and third Thursday, 5:30 to 8:30 PM.

It was with immense pleasure that the group learned that we have a new Boston Post Cane recipient. Rogene Porter, 97, has consented to accept the cane at the next monthly meeting of the BHS on Wednesday, January 12 at 7 PM. For the records, Rogene Reynolds Porter was born August 20, 1925, in Leominster. She was the oldest of 3 boys and girls. In 1939, she moved to Brookline with her parents, Neil and Esther Reynolds. One of her early schoolmates was named Delbert Porter. Rogene and Del were engaged when Del came home from bootcamp and were married when he returned from the war. Rogene and Del were married for 76 years until Del’s passing in 2021. The honoree continues to reside in the home that she and Del bought in 1951. The public is welcome. It is hoped that some attendees might come with a tale or two to share. In any event it will be a fine time to honor a very special Brookliner.

Mark Fountain and Mark Cedras each spoke to the group on their separate visions for the wall behind the town cannon. Professional artists, they both brought conceptual samples of their artistry. At the outset it was made clear that the project will not proceed until the necessary funding has been raised for this specific purpose. The assembled were impressed with both proposals and will have to decide how to proceed at our next monthly meeting. We were delighted to see such talent and enthusiasm for the cause of Brookline history.

Chris Corey again donated a number of precious Brookline artifacts to the BHS from her continuing deaccessioning of some of the family’s collection. There were many items, including a matchbook from a bygone Brookline Restaurant on Rote 13 known as “the Wishing Well,” but of note was a photo from the first third of the 1900’s or so of a group of grammar school students in front of the school. The images are clear, but the amazing thing is that the name of every student is written on the back. There aughta be a law.

The meeting concluded with an exciting presentation by Kurtis Fusco of Brookline and Hunter Ardehali of Hollis. The two found a shallow 6 foot wide circular depression on private property in Brookline. Long story short, with the property owner’s permission, they discovered and excavated a massive stone-lined well filled with all sorts of artifacts from 100+ years ago. The well was dry and for years had apparently served as a convenient receptacle long before the days of our transfer station. In a presentation in the Spring to the public, the two will tell their tale, show their videos and photos, display the treasures they’ve retrieved and describe the research they have done to know the story of their finds. It is a great story with hands-on connection to life in town a century ago.

The meeting was adjourned and the group descended without mercy onto Vick Pope’s refreshments. Snacks next meeting (1/12) will be a group effort. Any treats will be a welcome addition to the occasion honoring Rogene Porter.