June 14th, 2023

Much has been written recently about the physical and mental benefits of engagement with others. To that end, a gaggle of local miscreants dragged themselves away from their computer screens to meet for fellowship at the house that Barnaby built: Bob Canada, Duane Austin, Amy and David Fessenden, Vicki and Jim Pope, Eric Jensen, George Winters, Donna March, Gina Bent, Marcia Farwell, Chris Corey. Others, each and every one of whom would have been welcome, were missed.

The ritual of nit-picking the minutes from the previous meeting was skipped as the secretary seemed far too thin-skinned this evening. The treasurer came later to the meeting and gave us an excuse to not have to have to visit the financials. We continue to seek contributions for the Mark Fountain artwork that will be the background to the town cannon. Just short of $500 realized by the Vicki Poe and Diane Austin barn sale is going to that fund. The work is in progress and promises to be brilliant collection of classic Brookline scenes. Thank you to those who are helping to make it possible.

Cribbage continues, thanks to Diane Austin and George Winters. It’s small infusion of funds is appreciated. We are also pleased to have others become familiar with our meeting facility in the barn. There has been talk of contriving an occasion to try to get the town hall denizens in, some of whom might need a map.

Alex Razzaboni was this year’s recipient of the BHS Book Award. Congratulations to Alex. Amy and David Fessenden have made and installed curtains for under some of our display counters. Thank you. Gina’s flower boxes are providing some much-appreciated color. Thank you. Gina and Dan Bent also did a great deal of work to renovate the front landscaping at the Barnaby House. Dan removed the remnants of a stubborn stump with a backhoe, generally cleaned up and carefully placed the several hundred pound lye stone donated to the BHS by Walter Hemming. We are grateful to the Bents and to Walter.

Owen Dougherty donated a “Big Bear” ski area tee shirt for our ski hill collection. Thank you. The Wednesday work party recently were delighted to be paid a visit by Owen and his mother. By the way, we’ve framed the Brookline Station tee shirt that Annlouise Denehy donated. We will form a committee to fight over where to hang it.

The Town Planner, Michele Decoteau, asked for an advisory opinion for a street name in a proposed subdivision off Route 13. We agreed that Eric Jensen had our proxy to make the recommendation. It was noted that the cast iron watering trough, formerly in the middle of the intersection of Main Street and Steam Mill Hill Road and now on the town hall lawn, is in need of some love. The Wednesday morning social club/work party continues its years of maintenance/repair/improvement work. Fueled by coffee and Dunkin munchkins, they were recently seen cleaning, scraping and painting the outside of the Barnaby House windows. Ed and Alice Krom have donated a large bell and yoke mechanism bearing the name Nashville. Thank you. One is inspired by the thought of forming a Brookline Bellringer choir, with a specialty in patriotic tunes. Whether defense counsel will be required will have to be considered.

Next year’s Brookline Historical Society calendar is in the works. Gina and Eric DiVirgilio are diligently devoting time and talent to make it happen. Sponsors, businesses willing to support this project, have been kindly stepping up. We hate those sad faces when folks ask to buy a copy after they’re sold out, so keep an eye out and don’t delay. There is a rumor that Sean McCandless may make us a one-of-a-kind guitar out of 250th license plates to auction off for a fund-raiser.

The balance of the meeting was occupied by a discussion bemoaning the state of the Brookline Village Store, a local landmark. Its rich 200 year-or-so history includes Tuck & Stiles, AA Hall’s, Tarbell Hall, the local Grange Hall, The Brookline Village Store. Although beloved, its place in today’s world is a challenge. It has been closed and for sale for a number of years. Some NH general stores have been bought and managed by a non-profit to make them viable. Some have become coops. Some have been saved by an angel investor. Maybe mixed residential/commercial use is the way to save it? Straddling a stream and minimal parking are just some of its unique features. What a sad break with the past it would be to lose this fixture of the Brookline landscape.

Our next meeting is 7/12 at 7 PM at 17 Meetinghouse Road. All, members and non-members, are welcome. Webb will be the snack master.

BTW, if some outside cabal of crazies takes it upon themselves to disrupt normal business in the interest of making them feel important, we will be happy to provide them with a personalized tour of the nearby town pound.