October 14, 2020

Our meetings are always open to the public. Those whom we were delighted to have join us were: Rogene and Del Porter, Bob Canada, Vicki and Jim Pope, Eric DiVirgilio, David Fessenden, George Winters, Clarence Farwell, Peter Webb.

The minutes of the last meeting were approved. We had no treasurer’s report this month. The Wednesday 9 to 12 work party continues to putter away at their heart’s content on the building. Thank you very much. Their recent efforts have focused on reglazing windows, and the difference in appearance is striking. There was discussion about the granite steps to the old kitchen for. The team, armed with pry bars, managed to move the beasts into a more symmetrical and level state. It was felt that, although the use of that doorway is minimal, a handrail should be installed. President Dave shared his thoughts on how to do so. Del inquired about whether another exterior landing, similar to the front door, was in the plans. The front deck was thanks to a Boy Scout project, and there is no present proposal for another project. The general consensus was that the limited use of the door may not justify the undertaking, but the group will think on it.

David noted the references in last month’s minutes to electrical work. He spoke to Brian Fessenden, a local licensed electrician who has generously assisted us over the years. Brian indicated that he will be able to fit us in on the first Wednesday in November. The group felt that the remaining work included the stove, lights in the basement utility room, an outlet in the wall of the utility room, outlets on the four walls of the interior of the main floor of the barn (for general use and especially to enable us to light the display cases), an outlet (Interior and exterior) between the garage doors in the basement, outlets on the house side of the basement. It was suggested that we consider an exterior light at the barn doors. It was noted that we have one more post lamp, and that the barn door side was thought to be where it should ultimately be located.

The well water filtration issue was again discussed, and Webb confessed that he hadn’t gotten around to speaking to Steve Whitcomb for his guidance. Testing was done in the past, but we need to find the report. The recollection was that the only issue was the sulfur smell. Jim recommended consideration of simple charcoal filtration. The matter will be brought forward at our next meeting.

The BFD’s hearse remains stationed where the BFD had placed it temporarily. The season strongly suggests that this placement may well prove to be long term.

Our Christmas trees will be delivered on Friday, 11/20, presumably at 7:30 AM. Once again, we will need sturdy volunteers to help us unload the truck at that time. The work party boys will assemble the tree frames on the Wednesday before. Tree prices will be adjusted as, despite selling out, our higher tree cost resulted in a smaller than usual profit. The group is grateful for the support of our loyal tree-buyers. Clarence brought a sample of a beautiful wreath which Sandra Messore is interested in selling at the tree sale, with 10% to the BHS. The group thought it a good idea, but noted with gratitude Butchie Wheeler’s long history of making and contributing wreaths for us to sell.

Dave asked whether there was interest in making and selling Brookline history-related note cards, and shared one from several decades ago which had a beautiful sketch of the Barnaby House done for us by Georgiana Tebbets. It was Georgiana who had painted the original Brookline Historical Society sign, recently redone by Diane Grzyb. George kindly offered to make some cards for use to review. The opinion was expressed that there should be some appropriate text on the back.The state of the BGS website (brooklinehistory.org) was discussed. George is in communication with Manuela and we need to renew the website name soon, and the hosting license next year. George offered to get that housekeeping done for us.Thank you.

Eric addressed the issue of the extensive digital files used in the writing of the recent town history. The records are an invaluable repository of data assembled at great effort by the authors and editor of the history. We also have the abundant material associated with our robust website, including many irreplaceable photos and recorded interviews with townspeople.The question is how we can save and store the information, given the volume and the ever-evolving technology. It was noted that the work to gather the material for the recent town history was made considerably more difficult by the lack of a collection of info of historical significance over the course of the 100 years since the prior town history. An animated discussion of the highest philosophical order ensued. Is there an interest in local history in today’s world? Does a high turn-over rate in our townspeople cause an indifference to local history? Are the long-haulers becoming fewer? Is it a generational or cultural thing? Might an increase in remotely connected employment foster more stability in our population and attachment to the local history? If an historical event happens in the woods and no one is listening, did it really happen? A motion to rename our organization the Brookline Philosophical Lyceum was not made, but in tribute to those who have preceded us and those who will follow us on this hallowed ground, Eric and George will look into the best options for the preservation and storage of this data.

Clarence is exerting maximum parental pressure to have the small storage shed moved. George wondered about the anticipated plaque for the Centennial poster generously restored and donated by Joyce Perry and her family (descendants of Morton Kline) and framed by Eric DiVirgilio. She had expressed an interest in providing one, but that hasn’t come to pass. Eric noted that the subject is included on the website, and might provide the necessary info. It was pointed out that the frame may not be wide enough for a plaque, but that a separately hung plaque would take care of furnishing a bit of the history of the remarkable artifact to interested viewers.

The Conservation Commission has offered to donate an antique wheeled rack. We have expressed our acceptance. For some a nostalgic curio, for others an implement of torture, we will place it on the lawn on the Springvale Avenue side.

The next meeting is 11/11. Peter will do the snacks, but they will be nothing like the amazing spread enjoyed at this meeting thanks to Vicki Pope.