When a Golden Years Club member met with Diane Pavinato, a representative of the U.S. Pipeline Inc., she explained the Golden Years Club’s need for a new club building, due to the deterioration of its current home, which was originally the old Pilcher building of early Brownstown days.
Pavinato was touched by the story and by the history of the Golden Years Club and what it, and the club building, has meant to the community in years past.
Many birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, family reunions and other types of milestones have been celebrated in the old building. It’s also been used for numerous community events. In its early days, the building had held professional boxing matches, and hosted professional actors and actresses starring in shows and plays.
Later, when the club bought the building – after a tornado destroyed their meeting place (Brownstown Civic Center) and they had tried various other rooms and buildings temporarily – it was often in the news as the club members made wonderful homemade apple butter in a large iron kettle over an open fire just outside the building.
The quality and taste was such that people began coming from other states to purchase it, even ordering it ahead. It was the most successful fundraiser ever held, and it continued for many years.
It was meaningful not only financially, but also because the venture was completed totally from scratch, from going to the orchard to pick the apples, to the washing, peeling, cutting and cooking, to washing and sterilizing the jars and lids.
Both men and women helped, and there was a great atmosphere of comaraderie as many in the community joined together.
Another bonus for the community was the tangy, spicy-sweet aroma of the cooking apples that filled the early autumn air over the whole village.
Sadly, many who made the apple butter are no longer with us or unable to do such labors, which at the time, were a labor of love.
But their willingness and camaraderie to support their club and their friendships have been examples to the present members, many of whom worked on those apple butter days and still treasure the memories.
The club still has fundraisers, such as the biscuit and sausage gravy breakfasts, homemade soup dinners and holiday bazaars.
But when it was realized that the old building was wearing out beyond affordable repair, the club was faced suddenly with a financial problem.
Following a recent potluck meal, U.S. Pipeline Inc. presented DeeDee Diveley, the Rev. Don Thomas (president of the club) and Donald Smail (treasurer) with a very generous check to apply toward their new building.
While they have also received generous donations from a precious, longtime friend of Brownstown, and the site for the new building was given to the club, the estimated cost of tearing down and removing the old house now occupying the lot, constructing a new building, paying utilities and creating a parking lot looms ahead.
And the club knew that it was going to have to plan fundraisers to continue the club and provide a safe environment for meetings and activities, and to still have a building to share with the community and individuals for their special events.
The club will salvage all it can from the old building to use in the new building, and it also plans to move the mural of Brownstown, painted and donated by the late Adrienne Harre, to the new building.
The Future looks Brighter
Thanks to the U.S. Pipeline Inc. and Diane Pavinato, who said that they realized their pipeline work and the pipeliners’ presence meant a lot of extra traffic and noise with the necessary big trucks, and they would like to do something to help make things right.
Pavinato said that “DeeDee just won her heart,” and the decision was made to help the club … and DeeDee Diveley, who cared enough about the Golden Years Club to share her concern with someone else who cared. Her big smile, when receiving the check, showed she already felt rewarded.