July 13th, 2022

This fine evening (second Wednesday each and every month at 7 PM, 17 Meetinghouse Hill Road) we were pleased to have the company of George Winters, Peter Cook, Gina Bent, Bob Canada, Clarence and Marcia Farwell, Diane Austin, Jim Pope, Chris Corey, Peter Webb. The public is always welcome. We understand that Vicki Pope was not feeling well. Everyone joined in the hope that she will feel better soon.

We discussed the unanticipated bill we received dated 4/13/22, for 4+ years of work and materials. The creditor had for 5+ years provided periodic services and materials. The BHS’s understanding and belief was that that it was his donation. In over 5 years the creditor had never issued a bill. But there was some further work we wanted completed, so the BHS voted to pay the creditor for that remaining work. The minutes of our 9/9/20 meeting provided that “[the creditor] has been exceedingly generous over the years in his donation to the BHS of work and materials. The assembled felt that [the creditor] should be fairly paid to enable him to attend to the work that remains.” The creditor was emailed a copy of those minutes at that time. The BHS has accordingly decided to pay for the creditor’s billed services rendered since 9/9/20. Payment was previously made to the creditor for his billed 4 years of materials costs.

The Wednesday work party continues its weekly gratuitous services. The lawn was mowed to a desiccated stubble of even height. The parking area was edged in the blazing sun. Once again, the crew was grateful for Clarence’s presence and assistance. Future projects include cleaning the outside of the Barnaby House windows, particularly the panes smudged by glazing compounded fingers; and design and execution of an upgrade of the barn doors on the Springvale Avenue side before winter. There is a rumor of a new woodpecker hole, but we decided for the moment to deem that fake news.

Discussion included a frequent lament that the BHS resources are not taken advantage of by our schools. Field trip tours or video presentations could be a way to educate the children about local history. Ditto re Scouts and Camp Tevya. In this regard we were pleased to learn of an inquiry by Paige Rowan, an HB High School Senior, regarding volunteer opportunities for the Honor Society students and others. The minute-taker has written her back, eager and hopeful that joint endeavors can be devised. Think of the person power in the school population and the benefits of a more robust school/town interrelationship.

Brookline’s 4th of July parade, a self-funded and true community project, was a great success. Many folks help make it happen: Legion, Lions, Rotary, Town Band, Brookline Air Force, Brookline Fire and Police Departments, Ben Senter and others, but one has the distinct impression that the Popes, Vicki and Jim, are at the heart of it. Brookline is lucky to have them. Thank you, you two.

On a more solemn note, however, we need to note the passing of Jim’s large-scale replica of the erstwhile Brookline Meetinghouse, a proud and ancient structure that stood at the peak of Meetinghouse Hill until 1915. The carefully crafted replica, so big that when it was complete it was realized that it couldn’t fit through a door, was part of a float in the parade. And float it did, too much. Gravity, centrifugal force and wind conspired to repeat the effect of the mysterious fire in 1915 that lost us this town landmark. Perhaps you are familiar with the myth of the Phoenix?

Gina has been her usual hard-working promoter of the BHS calendar, getting local businesses to realize that the 200+ calendars in local homes let people know that they aren’t only supported by the community, they also support the community. Gina is also using her persuasive skills to secure hydroseeding services for us. Gina, thank you also for taking care of things when the security alarm was recently triggered. You owe her, Mark. It was reported that the Daniel Webster historical facility in Franklin was recently burglarized. Luckily our motion-detecting alarm system, like some of our beloved members, is hyper-sensitive. Peter is to see to getting a light in the alarm closet to make arming and disarming easier.

David Fessenden wasn’t able to make the meeting, so that was Webb’s excuse for not getting to the Treasure’s report until this deep into the meeting. Thank you, Chris. We enjoyed another month of solvency. We received a generous donation from Rodney and Maureen Lockwood, long-term supporters of the BHS. A new lifetime member signed up. We sold one new engraved brick to grace our walkway. We talked about a town-wide mailing to encourage supporters and memberships. Webb will look into the cost of and drafting a letter.

Chris delivered two treasures being donated by Annlouise Denehy: an early tintype photograph of the horse-drawn Pierce hearse and an old document setting out the bylaws of the Brookline NH Civic Association.
The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, a National Park Service designated region consisting of 45 MA and NH towns, including Brookline, has begun a Revolutionary War initiative among the towns. Stories and artifacts from the towns will be inventoried and promoted. The participation of Brookline is solicited. Go to freedomsway.org for more information. The Farwell’s donated a large collection of Brookline-related newspaper clippings from 40+ years ago. Remember newspapers? Thank you. They need to be added to our folio archives for preservation, summary and searchable indexing. A project for someone.

Recent developments in Croydon, NH give rise to an issue we neglected to discuss. Perhaps the BHS should reach out to people in other states who have the love for local history? We could tell them what a great state this is and encourage them to move here to make it a Mecca for the antiquarian-minded. Town meeting would then be full of voters sympathetic to our values and priorities, and we historical societies would be able to have our way. Inviting outside interlopers with an agenda might seem suspect, but integrity ain’t what it used to be. It’s about the ends. One apparently doesn’t have to bother much anymore to fret about the means.

Be that as it may, our next meeting is Wednesday at 7 PM on August 10. Chris and Diane will jointly come up with some edibles. Have a good month.