Well, it looked like an almost impossible task, but the crews building the sidewalks and resurfacing the roadways downtown have finished, and what a great job they did. From the new and attractive SSA ticket office all the way to the bulkhead in front of the Wesley Hotel, the town is brand-new. Now that there are no more of those ugly orange barrels or tapes blocking your way, you can easily swing into Jim’s or stroll into Scoops right next door, where those of you who missed Kati’s sandwiches can find her working to dish up delicious concoctions and non-stop conversation. You can line up under green trees while waiting to go into the movie theatre or Giordanno’s and easily maneuver our pedestrian-friendly downtown. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this possible.
During my childhood on the Island during World War II, life was very different. I remember walking into town with my mother — no car, because you needed ration stamps to buy gas so only used a car if you had one, which we didn’t, for emergencies. We would have to wait in a long line to buy butter, if it was available, coffee, shoes, and many other items that ration stamps were required for. Bananas and bacon were a luxury. No lights could show after dark; the air raid warning siren would frequently sound and the steamers that carried us to and from the Island were painted a battleship grey instead of white in hopes of making it difficult for them to be spotted by the enemy. The fact that we no longer have to live this way is due to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives to keep the freedoms we enjoy today. So this weekend please honor those who died in service to our country by attending Memorial Day services before you partake of the pleasures of the holiday that we are now free to observe.At 7:30 am in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven your help is requested to assist in raising the flags for the avenue of flags, and in taking them down that day at 3 pm. The parade will lead off from American Legion Hall at 9:30 am and proceed to the cemetery for the ceremonies. Participants are invited back to Legion Hall for refreshments afterwards. Please take time to thank all the people who work so hard so that our veterans are remembered forever.Just a reminder that the 17th Annual Oak Bluffs Memorial Road Race will take place on Sunday, May 30, to benefit Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The 5K Walk & 5K Race start at 11 am, preceded by the 1 Mile Fun Run at 10:30 am.On Thursday June 3, from 6 until 7:45 the special movie presentation at the Oak Bluffs Library is the inspirational movie about Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s national rugby team. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.The Oak Bluffs 6th grade held their annual DARE graduation. Principal Laury Binney opened the ceremony with many words of praise for the DARE program, thanking the health teacher Kathy Perrotta and Captain Ogden and the sheriff’s department for such strong support.A reminder from the school that with warm weather having arrived, many children are choosing to ride their bikes to school, so wear bike helmets please.Every Thursday morning, middle school teaching assistant Doug Brush leads a running group at the school. It starts at 7:40 am on the soccer field and it is open to all 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-graders.Hundreds of seedlings ready to plant, along with furniture, glass, and things you just can’t live without will be on sale at the Chilmark Community Church yard and plant sale this Saturday, May 29, from 9 am to 1 pm. You will find bargains aplenty at this sale at 9 Menemsha Crossroad.Andrew Welch, son of Chris “Bobcat Man” Welch and stepson of Amy Billings, recently made a quick visit to his Island family to say goodbye because he is moving to Australia. Andrew is a recently graduated paramedic and decided to “stretch his wings” with friend Cody to have an adventure before he settles down. The family will miss him, and they hope he won’t like it there so much that he stays! He managed to see everyone except Jaime Lynn who is just finishing up her first year at Roger Williams University.The Friends of Oak Bluffs board of directors have teamed up with the board of the new Martha’s Vineyard Animal Shelter and are planning an exciting fundraiser for this summer. The two non-profits are sponsoring a concert for July 3, at the Performing Arts Center at the high school, featuring the Ramsey Lewis Trio, the ever-popular jazz group. More information will be coming soon or you can contact Duncan and Anne Ross, Renee Balter, Nancy Billings, Priscilla Sylvia, Susie Wallo, or Judy Williamson.A new venture for the American Legion in Vineyard Haven is their lobster roll and chowder sale on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 pm .We send birthday smiles to Mia Rebello on June 2 and Bert Combra on June 4.Enjoy your week.Peace