ANNUAL MEETING OF THE ISLAND POND HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC
1ST AUGUST 2021
WELCOME HOME. I KNEW YOU'D MAKE IT BACK!
Tears were shed Sunday 1st August when members of the Island Pond Historical Society regrouped inside the society's museum for their first annual meeting since 2019.
"Covid restrictions made it hard for out of state members to come home to Island Pond" said IPHS president Sharon Biron during her speech inside the society's museum. "But we planned for this day, we knew you'd come home. Even if you'd had to fight your way up I-91 and battle Hell and high water to get here I knew you'd make it back for this annual meeting!"
Echoing the president was IPHS member Bill Smith. "It's good to be home." he said, standing beside fellow members Gordon Lefebvre and his wife Rebecca who kicked off the meeting with '40 Nicknames of Island Pond" a poem by Mac McKenney. "The IPHS is our 'home'. Our ancestor's photos are displayed in this museum. Their military uniforms. All our memories. Nothing was going to stop me and my wife coming up from Massachusetts this year!"
"It's a relief seeing Bill and my cousin Dale and meeting all my friends again" agreed Tim Meehan. "2020 was a lonely year. I lost my mother and my wife Helen. My cat also passed away. This society stayed in touch with us, kept us together. Eric Dufour stepped right in and helped, too. Six hours driving from Connecticut and I'm here. It's worth it. Meeting fellow members Spencer Hill and Tom and Barbara Bresse - and new member Dan Valente who owns the old Coe farm is beautiful. I watched Joanne Watson, Dayna Martin, and April Hudson get presented with awards, and Mike Strait gave a speech about two businesses that opened up in Island Pond during lock-down. This meeting has been a beautiful experience for us members. I wasn't the only one with a tear in my eye. Even the memorial chairman James O'Gorman choked up. When he said 'Welcome Home' we knew he meant it, and we were moved."
Guest Speaker Mike Strait, chairman of Brighton select board, received applause after delivering a rousing speech on the town's economic recovery. IPHS treasurer Marilyn Maxwell told him. "We're pleased to present you with this plaque. Your hard work in Island Pond is appreciated." Attendees included IPHS Dandelion Wine judge Mrs. Paulette O'Bar, IPHS Dandelion Queen Vanessa Goulet, IPHS vice president and Knight of the Year Craig Goulet, Beverly May and Barbara Whitehill - the president and vice president of Morgan Historical Society, IPHS trustees Mike Clarke and Muriel O'Gorman, Bruce Martin, Jamie Dubois, Janice Fournier and daughter Kathy, Jim & Jean Percy who won the door prize, and Eli and Joanne Xenelis - owners of the historic Sen. Boylan home in Island Pond.
IPHS Goodwill Ambassador Eric Dufour and his husband Andrew Sawyer in California sent a telegram of greeting and a magnificent floral display. Members in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and in Canada and the United Kingdom who were unable to attend sent 'Best Wishes telegrams' that were read out for them. Sharon Biron said "Everyone at the meeting was touched to see their friends again. I heard a few sobs breaking out. And that was just from the men! Lots of people wiped away a few tears. It's been a tough year. A human connection - which people badly missed, is really needed. This winter, it will be bleak. We'll probably have a lock down again."
Youngest attendee at the meeting was Travis, aged 9, who came with his grandmother Sherry Johnson and her sons Bob and Shawn. "I won a YETI mug and a bottle of maple syrup in Craig's raffle. I'm definitely coming next year. Grammy's going to drive me!"
"I'm proud of all our members" said Sharon Biron. "All of them, no matter whether they were at the meeting or weren't able to attend. It was tough for them, but we hope they knew that they were always being thought of here at home. Those who couldn't make it to the meeting had their names read out, telegrams sent in by members were read out, too, even the cheeky one from Eric. The audience broke out laughing when they heard the contents! And we're going to double up on our efforts to keep in touch with members by creating a network of people who will each be responsible for writing to a dedicated group of members. This way, we will make sure no one gets missed out by accident. We're covering every angle. I'm pleased this meeting was a success. Moving our meetings back into our own premises is something we ought to have done years ago. However, we've done it now, we have the equipment, and will create an extension to serve as a lecture hall, For now, the works goes on. We have the Dandelion wine judging competition on Thanksgiving Eve and the Forest of Trees spectacular, plus we need to begin work immediately on the Winter newsletter which, like this meeting, will be dedicated to the late Pat Carbonneau. If any members would like their memories of Pat included in that issue then get writing to me now please!"