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Our Beloved Mr. Borden passed away yesterday, December 18, 2012.  Gone, but never forgotten.  #92 and August 4th will never be the same without you, old friend.

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“I have a great sympathy for Abby Borden, she had a tough job of trying to mother those two stepdaughters,” says Shelley Dziedzic, scriptwriter for the annual re-enactments.  In younger years Shelley took on the role of Miss Lizzie, which was “very difficult as so many people come with differing expectations of Lizzie.” Since 2008, the character of the slain Mrs. Borden has been a silent one, with the deceased Mrs. Borden prone on the floor upstairs. 

“I think it is important to have visitors to the house on this day see what Bridget Sullivan the maid, and neighbor Addie Churchill saw on August 4, 1892.  It is chilling to bring to life that black and white photo we all have seen of Abby Borden dead on the floor by the bed.  To see it in 3-D and in color adds another dimension.  Most people are shocked and silent when they enter the room, their eyes going up on the wall to the crime scene photo in black and white of the same scene. This could happen today.”

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Since 2007, the body of the other victim, Andrew Borden, has been carefully covered with a blood-stained sheet as he lay on the famous black sofa.

“We tried many things to capture the horror of Andrew Borden’s face- from prosthetic wounds to blood soaked eye patches but I think leaving it to the imagination of the guests by not showing everything works best.  Their inner vision of what is under the sheet is far more horrifying than anything we could create with make-up.”

Mostly Dziedzic wants people to know that the re-enactment is done with respect for the victims, and a true attempt to bring to life an historic event.

“I am always dismayed when I read a comment in the local papers or on the Internet that our group is glorifying a tragedy, or they say is a little wacky and gruesome.  I think historic re-enactors such as one finds at Gettysburg, Sturbridge, Plymouth, or Mystic Seaport or any number of places do a great service in presenting history in a visual way which will prompt people to want to learn more about what happened so long ago.”

Her dream is to one day have enough actors to take on the role of all the characters who had a part on that August morning- and to do so in real time.

“I think there just might be some real revelations if we could do it.”

Barbara Borden Morrissey as Emma and JoAnne Giovino as Mrs. Churchill

George Burns had his Gracie, Lucy had Ethel, Abbot had Costello, and the P.E.P. has been blessed with the dynamic duo of Barbara and JoAnne, proof  that great things often come in pairs.  The gals have been best pals for over two decades and have been frequent visitors over the years to the Lizzie Borden B&B, with both being regular guests every August 4th since the house was opened.  In years gone by, Barbara’s mother, Mrs. Lucy Borden, a decendant of Lizzie’s great uncle Cook Borden, was a regular August 4th guest at the house.  “Jo Jo and BoBo” are the leavening which makes any skit “rise” and after years playing various Borden case characters, their familiarity with the case makes for brilliant on -the- spot ad libbing which is always a crowd pleaser.  Their combined high energy and grasp of the Victorian era, as well as an instant rapport with the audience bring out the best in any cast.  Every performance is as fresh as the first, and every year an anticipation of what new twists the pair will bring.  “Lady Barbara” and JoAnne are both enthusiastic members of the Second Street Irregulars and dedicated Mutton Eaters whose annual desserts at meetings are always a revelation!  If the “Game is Afoot”, you can be sure these gals will be first out the door, dressed to the nines and leading the pack with all the fire usually attributed to redheads !

Recently, in an interview, Barbara had this to say about herself:

“No I have never done any acting unless you consider being a town meeting member for 24+years counts.  I was born in Fall River at St. Anne’s Hospital. My regular job is grandmother,wife and friend,and I love my job. I love to read mysteries (especially about Lizzie); gardening,travel and politics fascinate me. I do believe the only person with the opportunity and motivation was Lizzie.She and Emma had the most to gain,in fact the only ones who would gain anything if Mrs.B was gone. I think that is one reason why my family never talked about her, our family black sheep.”

JoAnne as Mrs. Churchill with “Dr. Dolan”, Ted Gregoire.

A few words from Mrs. Churchill herself-

“Anyhow….. I was born in Lynn,Ma. A big city similar to FR. It was know as the shoe capital and had several shoe factories. It was quite the city in the 50’s. Unfortunately, as FR it has taken a down turn. I saw it happening once big malls were developed. Downtown disappeared!
 
I graduated from Salem State College with a degree in elementary education. Right after graduation , I married  and moved to Dedam and then Saugus where I was a permanent substitute teacher. What a job…yuck! I have two daughters, Katelyn and Leslie Anne. Later my husband and I owned and operated our own business. He did the work and I spent the money. He is now retired. I went to Woodstock in 1969….groovy man. I was one of the few who actually bought a three day ticket. I went with my two best friends at the time. I have some great memories. as a matter of fact, My husband and I last year were up around that way and I had him stop at the site. of course it has changed but in my eye it was 1969. I shed a couple of tears.
 
I moved to Billerica and met Barbara 25 years ago and have been best friends like sisters really ever since. We have a great time no matter what we do but Lizzie is by far one of our most cherished things. I am  the chairman of the Billerica Conservation Commission . We review and condition development that impacts wetlands, floodplain, rivers etc. I was recognized by the premier state organization of conservation commissions, The Massachsetts Association of Conservation commissions and was named Conservation Commissioner of the year a few years ago. Also I was awarded an environmental award for my volunteerism and achievements from the federal goverment in 2003. I love to read, especially mysteries. Thanks to the Mutton Eaters, I have discovered Sherlock Holmes.I have a wild imagination (dressing little sheep in period costume!) and I never want to grow up.”

Ladies, take a bow!

After the 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial was but a memory, six people who had met at the event decided to form an armchair sleuth society which would meet about every 8 weeks.  Dubbed The Second Street Irregulars in homage to the Sherlockian society, the group would soon form the core of the Pear Essentials Productions troupe, an amateur band of would-be thesbians dedicated to bringing the Borden story to life.  The original six would grow over the years, and so did their projects and creative endeavors- from singing costumed quartets to large cast productions at the Second Street house on August 4th.  We live what we love.

Lambie Winner 2009 Best Actor Joe Radza as John Morse

Cast 2009

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