Town Column : West Tisbury
Leslie Baker and I were admiring Elaine Pace's gardens earlier this evening. When I asked Elaine about her iris, she replied, "There's a story there." The story turned out to be that she had admired the spectacular display of iris that Mary Grasing planted across her stonewall in front of Groomingdale's. One day last year, Mary presented Elaine with several clumps of her iris, the beginning of the iris bed at Dan and Elaine's.
That tapped into a conversation Leslie and I had recently. Walking through our gardens, we are surrounded by our friendships. Leslie has a stand of tall white Siberian iris I gave her several years ago. I have an ever-increasing planting of Caesar's Brother from Leslie. My Solomon's Seal came from Eleanor Waldron, pale yellow primroses from Sue Silva, red and pink ones from Ruth Kirchmeier, a beech tree and a now-huge patch of epimediums from Jean Wexler. The lilacs, fragrant beside our porch came from my in-laws when we built our house. The pink lily of the valley beneath the lilac came from Marilyn Swift. The scent of them commingling is the pleasure of entering or leaving our house.
"Thank you" this Memorial Day weekend to Brian Athearn and his sons - Brian, Hunter, and Emmett - who have placed new flags on the graves of all of West Tisbury's veterans.
The fourth edition of Jean Wexler and Louise Tate King's "Martha's Vineyard Cookbook" has been published and should appear in Island bookstores within the week. It includes a new section of Brazilian and African-American recipes. Jean was assisted by neighbor, friend, colleague, and good cook, Linda McGuire. Also, Louise Tate King's daughter, Hilary King Flye, came from California to spend the last month here helping get the cookbook ready to go to press. The Martha's Vineyard Cookbook is one of the most used and well worn in my collection. I can't wait to get a copy of the new one.
Sue Hruby invited me to accompany her on an important trip last Monday. We traveled to Winchendon to pick up her 16-week-old Abyssinian kitten. It took all my self-control not to come home with a kitten, as they were unbelievably cute, frisking around the breeder's living room. Rosie is the name of the moment, after Sue tried out several alternatives including Ruby Hruby, Bean, and Pearl dot cat. She has settled in to life on Tiasquam Road. Last night, Mike and I had dinner at Sue's; at one point I had three cats on my lap - 18-year-old Scooter, five-year-old Willow, and the kitten. I thought I would have to refer to her as "nameless," but so far, Rosie seems to be it.
The occasion for the dinner invitation from Sue was the weekend visit of Steve and Margaret Somerstein from Brooklyn, N.Y. We all enjoyed lots of conversation and good food, especially the Polish kielbasa and horseradish Margaret brought from New York.
Henry Bassett, his father, Brian, and grandfather, Bob Wasserman, were all breakfasting together at the airport Sunday morning, leaving the ladies to sleep in at home. Henry was enjoying his holiday weekend at the Wassermans, and already making plans for his up-coming summer vacation here. Henry is a tireless and enthusiastic volunteer for the Friends of the Library's Annual Book Sale.
Ruth Kirchmeier stopped by the gallery to show off her new woodcuts to her houseguests, old friends Ozzie and Mary Nagler from Columbia, S.C. The Naglers reminisced about meeting Ruth in New York in the 1970s and I enjoyed hearing their stories about early years of their long friendship, and the Naglers' years of living abroad. Mary became a world-famous dancer, studying in Andalusia, Burma, Cambodia, and India before returning to New York, where she studied modern dance with Martha Graham and taught dance herself. Ozzie was an architect, urban designer, and flamenco guitarist. Especially interesting was their perspective on the modern history of the Far East, especially Burma, where they lived for several years.
Congratulations and belated best wishes go to Ralph and Alvida Jones, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on May 22 with a small gathering of friends at their home. Their daughter and son-in-law, Deb and Paul Pearce, came from Marquette, Mich., to spend the weekend. Their son, Duncan, and his daughter, Katie, arrive on Friday from San Francisco.
Katie Ann Mayhew has been chosen as one of 20 finalists from over 200 applicants, to audition for the Boston Pops. All auditions are free and open to the public. Round one is on Monday, June 2, at 12 noon. Finalists will take turns rehearsing with their piano accompanists throughout the afternoon. The main event will take place at Symphony Hall at 8 pm that same night. Keith Lockhart and members of the Pops orchestra will be there. We will all be thinking of you, Katie, and sending supportive thoughts for you at your audition.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Polly Hill Arboretum, there will be a meeting with Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Weaver, a lovely and knowledgeable person to spend a morning with. Beginning at 10 am today, Nancy, Executive Director Tim Boland, and other members of the Arboretum staff will discuss ways you can become involved and help out. Please call Nancy at 508-693-9425.
The Arboretum is hosting two lectures on safer practices for growing and maintaining a lawn. Paul Tukey will lead the discussions. The first is on Friday, May 30, at 4:30 pm, and is for professional landscapers. The second is on Saturday morning, May 31, at 10:30. There is a $10 fee for either one.
Also on Saturday at 11 am, Vineyard Gardens will host a lecture/workshop on "Unusual Annuals and Vines."
"Happy Birthday" to my friend and "big sister," Lynn Marvin Dingfelder on May 28.
Joanne Scott just stopped by to deliver a gift of banana bread she had baked. We walked around the yard together. I realized how beautiful my place is. When all I can see are the weeds, plants needing to go in or be moved, and work to be done, it is helpful to look at the garden afresh and see instead my achievements. Joanne reminded me to "live in the moment. That is all you can do." Thank you, dear friend.
P.S. My sharp-eyed husband commented about a photograph on the front page of last week's Martha's Vineyard Times. The caption read, "Majorettes step lively, followed by war veterans, in a Memorial Day march past Vineyard Haven's Capawock Theatre on Main Street in the 1940s." Mike noticed a '56 Ford parked in the background.