The only things typical about this year’s 143rd annual Elder Brethren picnic were the sunny early fall weather and the excellent chowder. Otherwise, 2020’s event was completely different from the 142 prior.
Due to the pandemic, 2020’s picnic was held as a “Grab and Go” event with the members driving to the Amaral Bailey Legion to pick up their chowder on September 12th. The “kitchen crew” put together a delicious bagged lunch which included two bowls of chowder, a slice of pie, cheese and crackers, and fruit cup. This year’s picnic was funded by the Board of the Elder Brethren, bolstered by many generous donations from the Elder Brethren themselves.
Of the 64 Elderlies who registered online, 61 picked up their lunch on Saturday. The numbers included five elderlies in their 90’s, thirteen in their 80’s, seventeen in their 70’s, twenty in their 60’s and nine in their 50’s.
One of the more somber portions of each year’s meeting is the announcement of the names of the Elder Brethren who have passed on during the prior year. This year’s list is noted here and includes: Dale Spencer, Robert Neville, Theodore Brown, Samuel Ina, George Herbster, Mark Donelan, Lloyd Wilson, Desider Conger, Phil Gauthier, Vincent Terrill, Robert Hardwick, Stephen Gillis Jr, Frank Saco, and Harry Zeltzer.
Announced during the online Webinar on Thursday September 10, there were four runners-up in the race for the Boston Post Cane: George Nickless at 90, Russ Aldrich at 94, Bill Canty at 95, and Arthur Secher at 95. Taking the Boston Post Cane home for the second year in a row was Gordon MacDougall at 97. On the other end of the spectrum, Chief Todd Fitzgerald was the youngster this year.
Also announced during the Webinar was the Slade Eaton Citizen Award for outstanding citizenship. Previously only awarded to an individual, the Slade Eaton this year was awarded to the Citizens of Manchester-by-the-Sea in recognition of their efforts to help each other during the pandemic. Typical activities included checking on neighbors, delivering groceries, and picking up prescriptions just to name a few. The trophy was handed to Selectmen Chair Eli Boling and is hoped to be exhibited in Town Hall for the next year.
Our speaker who joined us during the webinar was Nick Grewal, speaking about his experience in the 2019 Peking to Paris Rally in a 1940 Packard. Nick is the founder and CEO of ePropelled, a company that is the leading expert in magnetic engineering innovations that dramatically improve electric motor and generator efficiency for propulsion systems in many industries. Nick is a philanthropist and auto collector. Among his collection are cars like the Lotus Climax 18 that Sterling Moss drove to a win at the Monaco Grand Prix and the 1964 Lotus 32 that Jim Clark drove to win the 1964 Formula 2 Championship.
Nick relayed how his two-person team drove the 9,317 mile route from Beijing (Peking) to Paris in 36 days. It took teams months to complete the Rally when it was first contested in 1909. Nick’s 1940 Packard was extensively strengthened and modified to be able to survive the route that included areas without defined roads. Of the several stories relayed, Nick noted his surprise at being passed by one of his tires on a downhill stretch when the wheel failed. With each problem with the Packard, the team was able to enlist the help of local mechanics to patch their car back together. Nick noted that while high performance racing may be a young person’s pursuit, rallies (including extreme ones like Peking to Paris) are well suited to Elder Brethren. Our thanks to Nick for a most entertaining session. The webinar was recorded and the link will be shared when available.
I’m sure all will join in acknowledging the efforts of the Board of the Elder Brethren in holding a most unusual and enjoyable event in 2020. President Mike Chapman; Vice President Joe Willwerth; Secretary Jessie James; Treasurer David Slade; and Board Members Tim Brown, Paul Clark, Todd Crane, Sean Daly, Jeff Gilson, Bruce Heisey, Tom Kehoe, Tim Logue, Tim Mahoney, Bob Ryan and Bill Scott.