Anyone who grew up in West Tisbury or who has lived here for more than five minutes knew about Marjorie Manter Rogers and Pond View Farm. It was "the best part of my life," one former barn rat of a certain age described it, as we walked together after the graveside service for Marjorie on Monday morning. Generations of kids learned to ride and to care for their animals under her tutelage. They learned other things, too. Responsibility for their animals and for themselves, stewardship and respect for the natural world. Friendships and romances were established then, many of which endure today.
I had always heard stories from Mike and many of his friends about their days at Pond View. It was one of the first places he showed me when we began dating. It was nice to hear more and to see the old photographs at the Ag Hall, where everyone gathered after the service. I had never known the young Margie Manter, sitting straight-backed on her horse, or lounging on the beach in a bathing suit. The woman I knew was about the age I am now when I met her. She was married to Harold Rogers by then, her hair gray, her eyes sharp and interested in all around her. We worked together at the polls on Election Days, and she helped me with artwork and reminiscences when Debbie Athearn and I curated the Art Show for West Tisbury's Centennial celebration. I loved visiting her at her farm on Indian Hill Road, with its ducks and weeping cherry tree, geese and flower gardens, and Margie surrounded by cats and kittens following her as she walked or climbing over her lap and shoulders whenever she sat. Her wave from behind the wheel of her bright blue truck always cheered me. If my memories are so vivid, I can only imagine the influence she had on those who had known her forever. Condolences to you all.
A historical aside. Among the photographs at the Ag Hall was one of Marjorie in front of the old Coast Guard building as it was being moved to Menemsha. Tom Colligan told me the story of the building, condemned on its original site on Cuttyhunk, being moved by barge, where it got stuck in the channel going into the harbor. The solution was to blow it up, but fortunately it came loose, and was moved to its site and awaiting foundation. Harry Athearn tried to read the date on a car in the picture, but none of us have eyes good enough for such small details anymore.
Mike and I had our anniversary breakfast with Glenn and Linda Hearn. They had just returned from Rockport, where they spent Christmas with their daughter, Susan, son-in-law Tim Collins, and grandchildren Emily, Jessica, and Shawn.
Having Louise Bessire here over the holidays was a treat. Even though she went to Portland for Christmas with her sons and their families, even though she was busy over New Year's with guests Edie Smith and Arthur and Roberta Walmsley continuing their 50-plus-year-old tradition, even though she had other things keeping her busy during her visit, I still love knowing she is just up the road from me.
From my friend Martha Fleishman I learned to love airedales. Martha's Isabella, or Izz'l as we called her, was a wonderful dog. They are rare on the Island, so whenever I see Greg Orcutt, I always have to ask about his and Mary's dog, Dinah. Greg's news the other day is that their daughter, Beth, had just left the Island after visiting for the holidays with her new airedale puppy, Beatrice.
Polly Hill Arboretum has scheduled some interesting events this week. If you are reading this in time, come tonight, Thursday, January 10, from 6:30 to 8:30, to learn to identify stars in the winter sky. The nights have been so clear lately, and the stars so bright, it has looked like a planetarium overhead. Barbara Caseau will talk about the paths of the sun, moon, planets, and stars, and will share some celestial lore. Bring a flashlight. Binoculars or a telescope if you have one. Hot chocolate will be served. The "cloud date" is January 17. On Saturday, January 12, there will be a winter walk from 10 to 11 am. Winter is a great time to appreciate the structure of the gardens, the barks and architecture of deciduous trees, the conifers and fruits that provide winter color. Both events are free.
Don't forget that the library still has story times for infants and young children. You can check the website, www.westtisburylibrary.org or ask at the library for times and places.
The Sunday service at the West Tisbury Church included a ritual blessing of the home, or church in this case, celebrating Epiphany. The prayer asks that the home be filled with kindness, hospitality, and care. What a lovely thought. Watching from her father's arms, was a new congregant, three-month old Kazmira, daughter of Farley and Daryl Pedler of Chilmark.
The West Tisbury Rescue Squad and Dive Team spent part of Saturday night and Sunday morning on the Great Pond responding to a call about a boat with something floating nearby. No person or disaster was discovered, but the crew got a good workout with their rescue boat and gear, and an opportunity to try out the shellfish boat. Chilmark provided mutual aid. Thanks, guys.
This week a January thaw is predicted. Enjoy the sunshine, warmer temperatures, and bit of extra time to plant the daffodil bulbs still in a bag in your shed.