Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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In the early 50''s, five ladies, Harriet Martin, Helen Evans, Florence Dickson, Etta Ballantyne and Marietta Dodds, all of whom were members of Naomi Chapter No. 11 at Neepawa, dreamed of having an Eastern Star Chapter in Brookdale. Due to their enthusiastic efforts, their dreams became a reality when on August 28th, 1953, Brookdale Chapter No. 55 was instituted in Brookdale by W.G.M. Sister Mary Owens and W.G.P. Brother Arthur Hopkins. Then on June 14th, 1954, this chapter was constituted by W.G.M. Sister Christine Piper and W.G.P. Brother Wm. Bradley. Officers of Naomi Chapter conferred the degrees the night of Institution on 27 petitioners, and these 27 names were enrolled on the Charter. Helen Evans was installed as Worthy Matron, Angus Lawrie as Worthy Patron, Harriet Martin and Wm. Dickson as Associates. By 1955 the membership had grown to 47. On this date of October 1985, we have lost 17 by death, and 16 have moved to distant locations and are unable to attend regularly.

During the years the members have found inspiration in the ceremony, joy in the fellowship, and pride in their contributions to worthy causes.

The chapter has responded whole heartedly to the call of the needy. Each year Star members have volunteered to canvass the area for the Children''s Aid and the March of Dimes. They have packed and mailed good used clothing to Dr.

Hitchmanova in Germany; Rev. Joshua Bensu in Malaysia; Dr. F. Murray and Beulah Bournes in Korea; and to Indian Missions in Canada. They have donated suitable items (i.e. jewellery, ties, purses, etc.) to the Mental Hospital in Brandon for use as prizes and gifts at Christmas. Perhaps dearest to their hearts are the times they helped members and neighbors by gifts of food and remembrances at the time of bereavement or illness.

For a number of years the chapter presented a bursary to a grade nine student; then when there was no high school, the donation went to the two choirs of Brookdale United Church, or to Neepawa or Carberry Hospitals. The chapter has made substantial donations to Cancer Research and the Heart Foundation, and to Estari which is Theological Education. Money was raised for these projects through dances, bake-sales, hobo teas, raffles, auctions and craft sales, and words cannot express the joy and satisfaction reaped from these efforts.

Exchanging visits with other chapters on Friendship nights, attending Official Visits of Grand Officers, attending Grand Chapter, and having others visit us have broadened interests and made many friendships.

Honour has been bestowed on our chapter by the appointment of some members to Grand Chapter. Helen Evans was Grand Martha in 1962; Helen Poole was Grand Organist in 1970; Harriet Martin was Grand Warder in 1979; Mona Nelson was Grand Page in 1980; Irene Vinthers was Grand Marshall in 1985. Several have had the pleasure of being Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of Manitoba: Marjorie Mikkelsen to the Grand Jurisdiction of British Columbia; Harriet Martin to the State of Indiana; Lottie McLeod to the State of Georgia; Jean Jardine to the State of Ohio; Ruth Lawrie to the State of Maine; Helen Evans to the State of Idaho; Jean McDonald to the State of West Virginia; Lila Stewart to the State of Connecticut; and Vera Hockin to the State of Maine.

Chapter members were not forgotten in merit awards. On the chapter''s 25th birthday Jean McDonald organized an impressive ceremony at which each charter member received a 25 year pin.

Other members received theirs as they reached that milestone. A first for Brookdale chapter was the occasion when Harriet Martin presented a 25 year pin to her daughter, Mrs. Mona Nelson, having initiated her 25 years previously.

Socially, members have enjoyed informal tea hours after each meeting and thoroughly relished the turkey dinner and exchange of gifts prior to the meeting each Christmas.

The chapter, though small, is still thriving with a membership of 43. Its motto has always been "Friendship within itself", "Loyalty to the Order", "Service to the Community" and "to the needs of the underprivileged". May the chapter continue to prosper in these worthy endeavors.


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