Scarborough 350: Diane and Jim Brown

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When Jim Brown first laid eyes on Diane Mitchell as students at Scarborough High School, he flipped for her — literally. “He was always doing back flips in the school hallways to impress me,” Diane says laughingly. “I just loved his impish character.”

Forty-six years of marriage later, Jim still makes Diane laugh. They were married the summer Diane graduated high school in the First Congregational Church of Scarborough, where she had been baptized at the age of 13. The church is Scarborough’s oldest, having been founded in 1728 and celebrating its 280th year. The Browns decided to create a replica of the church to serve as a float in Scarborough’s 350th anniversary parade on July 12th. Jim made use of a playhouse he built for his grandchildren five years ago and has fashioned a steeple for the top with a bell that rings. A pair of small benches they had in their home represents the pews. Four of their five grandchildren and several children from the church will ride on the float, dressed in choir robes, while Jim pulls it with his truck. After the parade, Diane and a group of women from the church will be selling 2400 homemade “Whoopie Pies” at the festival. “We hope to raise $5,000 to donate to the church to help have the roof repaired,” says Diane.

Jim and Diane have been doing their baking and building at their home off Spurwink Rd. It used to be the farmhouse her grandparents lived in when they raised lettuce, cabbage and squash on the land. Jim and Diane moved there after Jim’s four-year stint with the US Air Force, having been stationed in Washington state and Newfoundland. “I was so homesick being so far away,” says Diane. “It was great to get back to Scarborough.”

They fondly remember the town’s 300th anniversary in 1958. The celebration spanned a 10-day period. All the men in town were required to grow beards — they were known as “The Brotherhood of the Brush.” Still a high school student, Jim eagerly grew his first beard, which came in a rich auburn, like his mother’s hair. To his dismay, the basketball coach made him shave it off in order to keep playing on the team. “Diane won’t let me grow one this year,” he says with a wink. Diane’s grandfather, on the other hand, won third place for his authentic, old-time look. The Browns have been working as volunteers with the 350th Parade Committee, which is how I’ve come to know them. 

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