PICTURED are founders and current members of the Couples and Singles Club, which presents the monthly bean supper at First Parish Congregational Church. From left are Colby and Rosalie Perkins, Lois Dennison, Patty Kennedy (behind), Jean Soule, Barbara Thompson and Brenda Skillin.

PICTURED are founders and current members of the Couples and Singles Club, which presents the monthly bean supper at First Parish Congregational Church. From left are Colby and Rosalie Perkins, Lois Dennison, Patty Kennedy (behind), Jean Soule, Barbara Thompson and Brenda Skillin.

FREEPORT

Back in the early 1950s, when the social lives of young couples centered around the church, those couples needed an occasional social outlet.

The husbands had returned from World War II, and those couples at First Parish Congregational Church were raising young children. Lois and Archie Dennison were one of those couples.

They called it the “Couples Club.”

“That was like our time out, when we all had small children,” Lois Dennison said. “There were quite a few young couples. We’d hire a baby-sitter, which was a luxury back then.”

The Couples Club started meeting over potluck suppers, then organized the Saturday night bean suppers, still held monthly at the Main Street church.

Dennison, 81, might be the only active charter member of what now is called “The Couples and Singles Club” — renamed to include singles once people began losing their spouses. Dennison, in fact, has been mourning the loss of Archie, who passed away on Sept. 13.

John Skillin, church president, said it was good to see Dennison return to the latest supper, which was held on Oct. 13.

“It was good for her,” Skillin said. “We got to talking to her. She thinks it was 1952 when they started those bean suppers.”

Skillin recalled that, in those days, many of those couples lived in apartment buildings on Depot Street.

“One of those men, Horace Libby, helped build the portable temporary Mulbury harbor dock system, developed by the British in World War II to facilitate rapid offloading of cargo onto the beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy.

“He helped float the concrete pieces in from England,” Skillin said.

Skillin’s wife, Brenda, says that Dennison is a treasured member of the church community.

“We love her dearly,” Brenda Skillin said. “Lois Dennison would do anything for anybody — mission group, bean suppers, she does it all.”

Dennison helps do the prep work on Friday nights, and makes peanut butter pies. Her friend, Beverly Tompson, makes lemon meringue.

Dennison is happy to be back in the mix.

“You have to kind of throw yourself back in there,” she said. “It’s a good social time. After the supper, we sit down and all have a meal together.”

A nice social outlet, still.

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