Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brownie Troop; Gets Together for 50th Reunion

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brownie Troop; Gets Together for 50th Reunion

Article excerpt

Byline: Linda McDonald, River City News correspondent

Great big Brownie smiles abounded on a recent sunny Saturday afternoon in Avondale's Boone Park.

They were coming from members of Brownie Troop 318 of Stockton Elementary School in Ortega Forest, who were helping former members of Troop 22 of Fishweir Elementary School celebrate their 50th reunion.

It was hard to decide who had more energy: the 7-year-olds or the ones several decades their senior.

The women became friends as Brownies, and most of them remained in Jacksonville through high school. Now they've scattered to places like California, Maryland and Tennessee, but kept in touch throughout the years.

Possibly the most energetic person on hand at the reunion Sept. 27 was Suzanne Lanier, the driving force behind the event. Seven years ago, she planned a "Sweet 50" party for their 50th birthdays. The women enjoyed it so much they decided their 50th Brownie reunion was the perfect excuse to repeat it.

"We are blessed to have spiritual families who stayed in touch over the years," Lanier said. "That helped us keep track of each other, and the wonders of technology have made it even easier to maintain the friendships."

Lanier frequently saw Mary Jean (Middlebrooks) Morawetz and her mother, Sara Middlebrooks, who was the leader of Troop 22 and beloved by all, as was her co-leader, Helen Fryer. Middlebrooks died in March, and pansies in her memory decorated the tables at the luncheon.

Fryer attended the luncheon and reminisced with the women about Troop 22. On hand was the first aid kit the troop put together, rusty but still intact and complete with a snakebite kit.

The women were unanimous in their gratitude to Middlebrooks and Fryer. They described their leaders as devoted and smart women who could do just about anything, even manage 22 Brownies. They were wonderful role models, former members said, and the impact of what the pair taught the girls and showed them by example is evident 50 years later.

Many of the women held onto their Brownie and Girl Scout memorabilia, such as beanies, pins, rings and sashes that display the badges they earned. …

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