HISTORY OF THE CLUB
On a Thursday afternoon, just before Christmas vacation in December 1943, Fred Ostergren, Tom Butler and Ike Canty were sitting in a deserted Coaches’ Room at the Arlington High School discussing Jim Flynn’s idea of organizing a Boosters’ Club. The idea held so much appeal that Osty and Butler picked up Flynn and went to Town Clerk Jim Golden’s office to further pursue the thought.
As a result of this gathering, a meeting was scheduled for the next evening at Tom Butler’s home. Present were Ostergren, Butler, Flynn, Canty and Pinky Lowe. As the idea gathered momentum, it was decided at this get-together that a few more recruits were needed to help formulate plans for the Club. At a meeting the following Friday, Sonny Beaudet, Archie Bullock, Doc Campobasso, Lenny Collins, Buzz Coolidge, Bill Coveney, Babe Cummings, Lou Doctoroff, Paul Frazer, Jimmy Golden, Bill Lowder, James W. McAvoy, Roy V. McCormack, Harry O’Reilly, Bill Regan, Joe Roper and Dan Tierney joined the group.
A final meeting of these visionaries was held that second Friday after Christmas at which time it was decided to go ahead with the organization of the Club. Each member was asked to bring 3 to 5 friends to the next meeting (friends who were carefully screened and approved by the Committee). Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1944, at the former Gustie’s Restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue, near Porter Square, was selected as the date and meeting place of the first office Club get-together.
At this meeting the Club name was adopted, Touchdown Club of Arlington, and at that time Jim McAvoy was selected first President of the Touchdown Club of Arlington. However, due to an illness he was experiencing, and not realizing the seriousness, he suggested that Jim Flynn be the first President of the Touchdown Club of Arlington, with Jim as his Vice President and that Jim would take over the presidency the following year. This never came to be as Jim McAvoy passed away shortly thereafter and so Jim Flynn was the first and only President to hold two consecutive terms from 1944 to 1946. In years past, we had members of the Club serve in certain positions in the Officer’s category for a great number of years, for instance George Fusco was Recording Secretary for six consecutive years and received a plaque as a reward for the outstanding work done in this regard. While the meeting was in progress, the now famous Valentine’s Day blizzard had developed and many of those present couldn’t get home that night. Many stayed at Gustie’s all night long. This was the stormy beginning of what is now considered one of the most successful and unique Clubs of its kind in the country.
The purpose of the Club was to promote the physical and social welfare of the youth of the Town and also to promote the good fellowship and sociability among the members of this organization.
They met once a month and having no hall, they gathered for dinner and entertainment at Fantasia’s in Cambridge, and over the years have had entertainers and speakers from all walks of life.
The membership was set at 100 Regular members, 25 Honorary members and 25 Life members and was open to any male resident of the Town of Arlington.
One of the solid reasons for the success of the Club is that a Regular member must attend at least seven of the regular meetings and Honorary members must attend at least three.
Fred V. Ostergren, outstanding Arlington High School athletic coach and one of the first Charter members was the first member of Touchdown to pass away on July 4, 1945. It was then decided as a prime purpose of the Club and as a memorial to Fred V. Ostergren, that the Fred V. Ostergren Awards-Trophy night would be instituted. Our annual May banquet for the outstanding athlete-scholar, male and female of Arlington High School was initiated and has been in effect since 1946. George “Brud” Faulkner was the first male recipient and Carole Fraser was the first female recipient of the outstanding award. As indicated, Fred died in 1945 and never did live to appreciate the activities that have gone on in these great many years and seeing his dream prosper. With the Awards night being made a permanent part of Touchdown and the primary promulgation of the Club also came other events such as an annual outing. Also, in 1963, under the leadership of George Matheson, President 1962-1963, the annual Ladies Night was instituted, chaired by Russ Thomas and ably assisted by George Fitzgibbon and Sam Femia. This proved so successful that it too became a long time part of the fraternal social activity of the Touchdown Club of Arlington.
In 1981, during the regime of President William A. Carey, Jr. the Associate member category (25) was approved by the Members of the Club and incorporated into the Club’s By-Laws. At present, the Club meets at the Sons of Italy Hall, 19 Prentiss Road, Arlington and has a catered meal and great speakers.
The Club was instituted in 1944 and has continued on these great many years. At this writing, many past members have gone on to their rewards and the memories of all are very much in the thoughts of those who are in the same Club. The list of Past Presidents covers a wide field, and about all facets of our Town life have been represented as have the present members.