Just after the 4th of July, I received the following message in my inbox: Michelle Laurie, our assistant librarian since July 2006, and a regular visitor since 1997, died in Wayland from multiple brain tumors, on Friday afternoon, July 1, just a year after she first became ill. She was surrounded by family and had been regaled by visitors and messages from all over the country in the weeks just previous to her death. She considered this town her home, so there will be a gathering here in her memory in September.
I knew this was coming, that her treatment had not been effective, and that recently things had taken a turn for the worse, but it was hard to read it and know that it was true, that Michelle was no longer with us. Michelle always seemed delighted to see anyone who walked through the library door, and I think her immense curiosity gave her the capacity to talk to anyone. She was genuinely interested in all the townspeople of Aquinnah, and she always remembered what you had been going through the last time she saw you. I felt like I did not have many conversations with Michelle, I had one that just had some long breaks in between speaking. I did not realize until I got this email how much I had been missing her and how much I held out hope that she would get better, and one day I would walk into the library and she would be there behind the desk and we would just pick up where we left off. My heart goes out to her family and to all of us who have lost one of our champions.
Notes of condolence can be mailed to her husband at Phil Robinson, 10 Conway Street, Roslindale, MA 02131 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to her parents, Shirley and Iain Laurie, and her brother, Steve, at 624 75th Ave. N.W., Calgary, Alberta T2K0P9, CANADA.
Community Baptist Church of Gay Head and First Baptist Church of Vineyard Haven will both be getting and sharing a new minister; to celebrate, they are having an Installation Service for their new pastor, the Rev. Ellen P. Tatreau on Sunday, July 17, at 3 pm at the First Baptist Church on the corner of Spring and William Streets in Vineyard Haven. The Rev. June R. Davis Cooper, Executive Director of Boston City Mission Society, will be preaching. The service will be followed by a reception in the parish house. For more information, please call the church office at 508-693-1539.
The next town blood pressure clinic will be today at the town offices from 1 to 2 pm.
This weekend at the Aquinnah Cultural Center there will be a Zuni fetish show and sale, Friday and Saturday, July 15-16, from 11 am to 4 pm. Come and purchase these spirited, hand-carved precious stone animal pieces for yourself or as gifts.
There are two speaker programs sponsored by the library next week. The first is on Tuesday, July 19, at 5 pm when Philip Weinstein, English professor at Swarthmore College and a seasonal resident of Aquinnah, will deliver a talk called "Faulkner Stumbles into Fame."
The second — on Thursday, July 21, also at 5 pm — is called "Vineyard Zen: Texture & Tradition," by Alan Brigish and Susan Klein. Author Klein and photographer Brigish, creators of the best-selling book, will present a new video showcasing photographs from their book, "Martha's Vineyard & Now & Zen," and additional images of the Vineyard. A discussion will follow the presentation. Both programs will be held at the Old Town Hall and refreshments will be served.
There will be a memorial service for Dorothy Barker on Sunday, July 17, at 1pm at the Congregational Church in West Tisbury. Dorothy lived in Aquinnah for many years. She died on February 21 at the age of 100. Dorothy's family looks forward to seeing her friends at the service.There will be a reception afterwards in the Parish Hall.
Happy Birthday to Tobias Vanderhoop (July 15) and to Jed Smith (July 18).
There will be an open meeting/reception of the Friends of the Aquinnah Public Library on the deck of the library on Saturday, July 23, from 2 to 4 pm, everyone is welcome to attend and refreshments will be served.
After getting my beach sticker a week and a half ago I finally got to Philbin this weekend and it was so wonderful. There were so many friends around and it felt like we were all on vacation together, although for many of us it was just a day off before continuing on with the hectic pace of summer work. It was a beautiful day, the water refreshing but not cold. It's days like this that make me grateful for living in a place where a vacation is just around the corner. Even if it's just for a day or even a few hours.