In Your Community: Study Club makes changes at September meeting

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

With the burned rubble from the fire that destroyed the Rohler Rink, in the background, the Brownsdale Study Club held its monthly meeting on Sept. 16. The occasion was hosted by President Rena Perrigo.  All five of the current members responded to roll call by answering the question, “What has been your most memorable autumn trip?”  Responses included family reunions in La Crosse, a trip to the Sock Sale in Osage, Iowa, and a tour of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

Rena led the group with the Collect and called for a reading of the minutes from both the July and the August meetings (due to a special outing in August the minutes from the July meeting were not read).  Therese Manggaard suggested only one correction to the minutes from July, and that was the change in location for lunch in August from the Old Mill to Perkins, due to the Old Mill not being open for lunch at this time.  With that correction, the minutes were approved, as was the treasurer’s report.

With no other old business, the meeting moved on to new business.  Members had been assigned to read through the by-laws of the organization prior to the September meeting.  The by-laws were last revised in September 2017, and with a much reduced number of members, it was suggested that changes may want to be made to reflect how the organization looks today.

The motto of the Brownsdale Study Club will remain “Fellowship Among Friends.”  Its purpose will continue to be to present topics of educational, historical or current interest.  Topics may also include issues pertaining to the seasons of the year.  Only the Main Topic will be shared each month.  In place of the outside reading, members will be treated to a review of minutes from a past meeting of years ago.  This will be given each month by the vice president / historian.

Election of officers was continued in August. The new fiscal year will begin in October.  Membership will be capped at 12, with each member hosting one month during the year.  The expectation will be that the club will meet the third Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m.  Whoever is hosting will provide a light lunch following the meeting.

It is requested that members notify the hostess if they are unable to attend the meeting.  If a member cannot hostess due to an unforeseen difficulty, that member is requested to attempt to exchange with another member, or make arrangements with the President to change the date.

Every meeting will be opened with the Collect and read in unison. The protocol of the meeting will follow with the reading of the minutes from the previous month followed by treasurer’s report, roll call, collection of dues, old business, new business, announcements and adjournment.  The main topic and the historical review will occur outside of the Business meeting.  Monthly dues will remain the same and will be collected even from months when the group does not meet.

As the treasury will permit, a monetary donation, voted on by the members, will be presented to a charity or a worthy cause, sometime during the fiscal year.

Offices for the organization will include a president, vice president/historian, and secretary/treasurer.  Voting will be by secret ballot and completed separately for each office.  In the event the secretary is unable to be present for a meeting, the president will appoint another member to take notes. Out-going officers are to assist with the preparation of new program booklets to be distributed in September.

In the event that a member is no longer able to continue as a member, a card of gratitude and good will, signed by all the other members will be given to that individual or to loved ones in case of a death.  In addition, a suggestion of a special outing — not connected with the monthly meetings — will continue to be  exercised each year and suggested and voted on by the organization.

Following the review of the by-laws and the changes that will be instituted, election of new officers for 2021-2022 were made.  President will be Shelley Vogel, vice president/historian will be Fern Paschke, and secretary/treasurer will be Therese Manggaard.

For announcements, it was suggested that the October meeting could be held at Primrose Senior Living in Austin so that member emeritus, Mary Gallaher, could attend. Fern will contact Primrose to learn what their regulations are, currently, for visitors, and contact the other members.

With that, Rena called for adjournment and the motion was made by Therese and seconded by Fern.  Everyone was in agreement.

The main topic for the month was given by Therese and she chose to highlight the legacy of the roller skating rink in town—a landmark that is no more. Generations of adults and children enjoyed the fun activity of skating with friends and families beginning in 1955. The small town of Brownsdale could boast that the 270 ft. length of the skating rink was the largest in a 5-state area.  The popular gathering spot attracted people from numerous surrounding communities on a regular basis, and others came for the experience of skating on a rink that was so large.  The memories will remain with those who had the pleasure of being a part of a piece of local history.

The final outside reading was presented by Shelley and she had 13 points to share about Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery was once the plantation home of George Custis, who was not only the father-in-law of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America, but also the adopted son of our very first president, George Washington. As the Civil War was proclaimed, Robert and Mary Custis Lee abandoned their estate and it was quickly seized by the Union to protect the nation’s capital.  Some other interesting facts that have emerged included racial segregation until 1948 when Harry Truman desegregated the military.  To date, 400,000 have been buried at Arlington. This includes two presidents, William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy.  Other notables include boxer and army veteran Joe Louis and veteran and actor Lee Marvin, a former marine. A memorial to popular musician and bandleader Glenn Miller can also be found at Arlington since his status is still listed as MIA.

Inside the Tomb of the Unknown rests the remains of a soldier from both World Wars, the Korean War, and, until 1998, a soldier from the Vietnam War.  DNA testing of the remains identified that soldier as Air Force First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie, and at the request of his family, his remains were returned to his hometown in Missouri.  In addition, two memorials are dedicated to the seven astronauts lost in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and to the seven astronauts lost in the Columbia disaster in 2003.

Everyone enjoyed great conversation over chocolate cake served by Rena.