September 14th, 2022

Diane Austin, George Winters, David Fessenden, Eric DiVirgilio, Webb, Chris Corey, Vicki and Jim Pope, Susan Laub, Marcia and Clarence Farwell and Gina Bent met at the BHS barn for our monthly meeting on the second Wednesday of the month. The public is always welcome.
BHS memberships, by the way, are based on the calendar year, so renewals are going to be due in January. Thank you. Reminders will be provided. A town-wide mailing to invite more membership support is contemplated.

Minutes were approved in a second. Chris, our treasurer, gave us a report on the status of our finances. Donations were recently received in honor of Edith Corey and from the Austin Family. Sponsorship funds of $900 from our 2023 calendar sponsors, each of whom are displayed on its pages, have been paid. The printing of 210 copies of the calendar cost us $914. We are hopeful that sales will enable us to make it a profit-making project. It is, in any event, a masterful celebration of the story of our town. Please note and express thanks to the businesses supporting our efforts to preserve and promote Brookline’s heritage. The calendars are once again for sale at the Town Clerk’s office. Thank you, Patti. Eric and Diane have spent hours at the transfer station and State Line plaza to make the calendar publicly available for purchase. Eric was also staked out at the Hollis Old Days celebration. Thank you, Eric and Diane, for your dedication.

Operational expenses, of course, continue, including an increased monthly electric bill and a phone bill for our smoke and motion alarm system. Our treasury presently stands at $23,105.45. Fixed yearly overhead (propane, electric, phone, insurance) has been in the range of $13,000. The public is reminded that, aside from preserving Brookline’s past from oblivion, we are a 501 C 3 charitable organization, so donations are tax deductible. Our next fund-raiser will be the Christmas tree sale. The treasurer’s report was approved.

We need a representative for the town’s Master Plan Committee. The Master Plan is a statutorily required plan upon which the town’s zoning and planning for the next decade or so will be predicated. Volunteers are sought by Town Hall to work on this important project. It is important that there be someone to advocate on behalf of historical considerations. A dropped pin was heard when it was asked if someone was willing to take this on. Webb, by default, will serve in the interim as the Planning Board’s contact.

Mark Fessenden, for the Brookline Fire Department, has been working to spruce up the BHS’s town hearse. Thanks to Eric for the coffee machine. And thanks to the work party for their weekly efforts, including lawn cutting, wood pecker harassment, janitorial work, meetinghouse replica work, sowing grass seed and spirted looping cogitation on the design and construction of an interior wall behind the barn doors. The study committee: Winters, Bent, Pope and Webb, will refer the matter to a special master (Eric) for resolution if a consensus is not arrived at shortly. One can only wonder how the drafters of the Constitution managed their undertaking. Pam Cole, a Florence Barnaby relative, has ordered 8 Calendars and they will be sent to her. A precious photo owned by Chris of the inside of the Railroad snack bar will be copied for our collection.

We were thrilled to receive the donation of a small 1800’s school book from a gentleman named McNiff of Damariscotta, Maine. Inside the cover is the signature of Joseph C. Shattuck, an ancestor of Mr. McNiff. Joseph Shattuck was the 4th child of William Gardner Shattuck and Harriet (Dyer) Shattuck of Brookline, grandson of Gardner and Silence (Dyer) Shattuck of Brookline. A farmer, Joseph Shattuck was born in town in 1846, served as a soldier in the Civil War, and married Eliza Gould of Brookline in 1867. Mr. and Mrs. Shattuck were the parents of 6 children.

Diane Austin’s first gathering of the provisionally named “Leo Austin, Jr. Memorial Cribbage Society” is scheduled for Thursday night, 9/15. The public was invited. As these minutes were scraped together several days later, it can be reported that the evening was a success and will be repeated. This non-player observer was fascinated to see how much joy is generated by a simple card game. The barn proved to be a great venue. Stay tuned.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 12, 7 PM, across Springvale Avenue from where the Brookline meetinghouse stood until the mysterious fire in 1915. New faces are enthusiastically welcome. Not that anything’s wrong with the usual faces. Snacks will be provided by Vicki, who has been know to provide brownies that brought grown men to their knees.