Brookfield notebook, Judy Matheson
All Around The Circle, a senior’s club based at the Sportsplex in Brookfield, continues to flourish as it has the past 35 years.
Jimmy LeFresne tells everyone about the history of the train station in Tatamagouche during the All Around the Circle senior citizens 2011 bus trip. The Brookfield-based group has been active for about 35 years. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The club was developed shortly after the facility opened in 1976.
Several of the senior members worked on the finishing touches of a large room designated as a social gathering area for the older citizens.
The group started small with many of the ladies coming together to do quilting. They soon became well known for their fine work as numerous beautiful quilts were created for family and friends. Soon they were making and selling quilts, which boosted the funds enabling them to keep improving their space. A large quilt with several faithful women stitching was a constant scene to be counted on in the 1980s and 1990s.
Playing cards, mostly 45s, was a popular activity as well.
Some of the founding members included Electa MacLennan, Ada Spidle, Edna Sutherland, Ada Fisher, Marg Sutherland, Tom and Flo Matheson, Marion and Cecil Smith, Leila Brenton, Freda Brenton, Gerry Burrows, Freda Sutherland, Amy Langille Mildred Moore, Ora Moore and Bob Banks, who played an instrumental role in getting government assistance for the seniors.
Edna Sutherland fondly remembers the Wednesday quilting days when members went in the morning, taking a lunch and stitching the entire day. Hundreds of double-size quilts were made and sold at rock bottom prices by today’s costs. Edna says she “enjoyed the good times of getting together with friends.”
Many changes have occurred over time. The room has been kept current with redecorating, the people are always changing and the activity doesn’t revolve around quilting, as it once did.
The leadership in the circle saw Electa MacLennan as the first president. Ada Spidle then held this post for several years, until failing health saw her hand the reins to Art Lindsay. Rev. Frank Locke stepped in when Lindsay’s health failed and Susan Stevenson followed Frank’s leadership. Stevenson, the youngest president to date, is capably assisted by newly elected vice-president Myrna Clark; secretary, Brenda Geddes; and Sharon O’Leary as treasurer.
Stevenson would like to see “the group become more involved in the community.” In this vein they have purchased a Christmas wreath from the garden club, which will be one of several adorning the village during the Christmas season.
Audrey MacDonald is in charge of rentals and the ‘Keeper of the Key.’
MacDonald and Stevenson agree that it is nice to see the circle expanding with some younger members. They would encourage anyone 55 years of age and up to get involved. Membership is a mere $2 a year, mostly for an official count to the Nova Scotia Senior’s Association.
MacDonald regularly rents the group’s space on Thursday nights to the ‘Good Time Fiddlers’ and once a month on Wednesdays to a fellowship group, with members from near and far that just want to get together.
Wednesday nights (except the third Wednesday, until Christmas) are card party nights with 45s and cribbage being enjoyed. Austin Ross and Ronnie Morrell make up the card committee. They give out prizes and on certain nights lunch is served. There is always room for others to come along.
The room is often rented at a reasonable rate for special birthday and anniversary parties.
Gloria and Charles Joyce are event co-ordinators for the group and encourage anyone to offer suggestions to them.
The senior’s meet the third Tuesday of the month for a luncheon, followed by musical entertainment and/or special speakers on relevant topics. In June, they hold a special catered dinner to mark the last meeting before a summer break and at Christmas a dinner to celebrate the season.
The yearly bus trip in the fall is a highlight for many and they always welcome others to join them to fill the bus. Trips of the past three years have been to: Tatamagouche, entertained by Jimmy LeFrense at the Train Station Inn and Cafe; Parrsboro; Advocate Harbour, with commentary by historian Conrad Byers; and this fall to Antigonish and Ballantyne Cove visiting the Blue Fin Tuna Interpretive Centre.
Although an ever-changing group, it has enjoyed continuity with the more seasoned members welcoming new blood and new ideas. Many new residents at the several senior apartment buildings in the village has helped boost the membership, making inroads to new friendships.
The fall bazaar and luncheon at Knox Church is on Saturday, Nov. 2. This is a new event which is replacing the popular UCW annual Christmas luncheon and bazaar. Plan to come at 11 a.m. to check out the fall look of special tables and stay for the lunch of Chicken à la King and delicious desserts. Cost is $7 and the sale continues until 1 p.m. The proceeds support the work of the UCW in Middle Stewiacke and Brookfield.
Judy Matheson is a lifelong Brookfield resident and dedicated volunteer with many community organizations. To have your community news appear in her column contact her by email at email@example.com