"She was born in West Tisbury, and she died in West Tisbury." So did Bea Whiting describe the death of Jane Newhall last week.
Miss Newhall was a familiar figure in town. Sturdy denim skirt, sneakers, and blouse made up her uniform, practical and unpretentious as she was, working clothes. Miss Newhall started the library booksale with a set of shelves on the porch of the Grange Hall. She was the spirit and driver of the Ag Fair for most of her life. It's sad to think that this year's 150th Fair will come and go without her.
Ozzie Fischer died last week, too, another larger-than-life Island presence. My husband keeps telling me that we and our friends are becoming the older generation. So far, we just seem like us, hardly iconic, probably the same way they saw themselves. I hope we deliver as generously as they did.
The most interesting young couple came into my gallery last weekend. We got talking and they turned out to be the daughter and son-in-law of Kathy Tackabury. "Of course I know your mother," I said. Nico Flannery-Pitcher and David Pitcher were here house-sitting while Kathy and Wayne attended a Kazakh aul (a Kazakh heritage camp) in New Hampshire with their daughter, Diana.
We were sitting on our porch Sunday afternoon with Michael and Linda Dzuba, my second wave of visiting cousins from Philadelphia, when a car with Maryland license plates came down the driveway. It was Dorothy Barthelmes, just off the boat and on her way to the Slocum House for six blissful weeks that will seem way too short. Dorothy was my Aunt Janice's dear friend and has, over the years, become mine. I look forward to introducing Dorothy and her husband, Bob Henry, to Sandy and Jim Turner, fellow croquet fanatics.
Have you ever wondered about the history of our cemetery? Liz Villard will lead two Graveyard Tours in West Tisbury on August 9 and 23. Meet at Deadman's Curve at 7 pm. Reservations are required, so call 508-627-8619.
I can't believe I am writing about August events already. The sign for the Fair just went up outside the Ag Hall. That's the end of summer.
Paul Karasik is Artist of the Month at the West Tisbury Library. I was grateful for an opportunity to visit with Paul's wife, Marsha Winsryg, while she hung the show. Paul is really funny. Stop by the library to laugh at his cartoons and hear him talk about his work at a reception this Friday, August 5, at 4 pm.
Saturday afternoon, Joseph Sebarenzi, author of "God Sleeps in Rwanda," will speak at the Howes House. "Forgiveness of the Unforgivable: A Talk on Rwanda" begins at 5 pm. Mr. Sebarenzi was President of the Rwandan Parliament before and during the genocidal slaughter of Tutsis by Hutus. Please call 774-310-1131 or go on www.acemv.org for more information.
Sunday afternoon, August 7, is the Martha's Vineyard Book Festival at the Chilmark Community Center, from 11 am to 5 pm. West Tisbury authors Geraldine Brooks and Ward Just are among the 25 authors featured during the day-long event.
Sue Costello wants to remind parents to sign their kids up for cheerleading practice. Boys and girls, grades 6 to 8, are eligible. Call Sue at 508-627-9568.
Monday Night's Special Kids Movie at the West Tisbury Library will be "My Neighbor Totora." It begins at 7 pm.
Earlier on Monday, Mathea Morais begins a week-long Readers and Writing Workshop for kids 8 to 12 years old. Classes are from 10 to noon at the library. Call for more information, 508-693-3366.
Come to the Grange for a Twilight Concert with Mister G this Tuesday evening, August 9, at 6 pm. The concert series benefits the West Tisbury Library Foundation.
I am embarrassed to announce that Ruth Kirchmeier and I are cancelling our planned reception for the second (and final) time this summer. It was supposed to be this Sunday afternoon. I fell a couple of weeks ago and screwed up my knee, so have been barely hobbling around, let alone finishing paintings, cleaning my studio, planning a party, or anything else. So plan on next year, with a grand opening and lots of new work.
On the bright side, I have been enjoying this unexpected bit of mid-summer leisure. My new loveseat is just the place to lounge, leg on a pillow, ice bags refreshed at the needed intervals, a good book, looking over my garden from the porch. Definitely a silver lining to this cloud.