Carol Carrick of West Tisbury died of a stroke on June 6 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Beside her was her longtime companion and partner Jack Burton. She was 78.
Carol Hatfield was born May 20, 1935, in Plainfield, N.J., and first lived in Union, N.J. Her parents were Chauncey and Elsa (Schweizer) Hatfield. Her father was a salesman for wire cables. Carol’s brother and only sibling Andrew was born seven years later. When Carol was two, the family moved to a modern subdivision of two-story homes in Queens Village in Queens, N.Y. There were many children there and Carol would talk of the games they played and performing plays such as Oklahoma (they had the music but didn’t know the story line).
Carol attended Jamaica High School in Queens, where she graduated in 1953. During summers Carol would stay with her grandmother on the Jersey Shore were she remembered walking on the boardwalk, buying a nickel ice cream, and catching crabs from a dinghy.
Carol attended Hofstra University with a partial academic scholarship. Her father had died when Carol was 21 and she helped support herself in college as a dental assistant. She was a member of Delta Chi Delta Sorority and on the Dean’s List. She graduated June 1957 with a BA cum laude in Advertising Art.
Carol began working for Coronet Magazine in the sales promotion department. There she met Donald Carrick, a landscape painter who supported himself by doing freelance commercial art. They married on March 26, 1965 in New York City and settled into an apartment in Greenwich Village. Soon Carol and Don were off (Carol’s first trip outside New Jersey-New York) to the Spanish Island of lbiza in the Mediterranean where Don had friends and he was asked to illustrate a book. Don painted and Carol often spoke of her enjoyment of the Island, its people and the food. After less than a year they returned to Greenwich Village. Here their first son, Christopher Hatfield, was born.
They were invited by friends to visit the Vineyard. Carol remembers being up-Island and waking up to mist on the grass and geese in the field. Carol asked if they could stay another day. They asked their friends to look for a house. They purchased a small two-story house on High Street in Edgartown and moved in. Their first friends on the street to introduce themselves were Norman and Norma Bridwell. Norman had begun the children’s book series “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
Don with help had begun building a cabin in Craftsbury in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The family would spend summers at their cabin in Vermont (while renting their home on the Vineyard) and the school year at their Edgartown home. Don had begun to be in demand to illustrate children’s books. Carol and Don became a team, she writing and he illustrating.
Their first book together was “The Old Barn” (1966), which was followed by several other nature books. Then followed books with her sons, Christopher and Paul as the subjects. She also wrote four novels, “Some Friend,” “What a Wimp,” “Stay Away From Simon,” and “Elephant in the Dark.” Her books were translated into Japanese, German, Italian, and Portuguese.
Don died in 1989.
With her son Paul as illustrator and Carol as writer they published “The Polar Bears are Hungry” (2002) and “Mothers Are Like That” (2000). In total Carol wrote some 50 books.
In 2002 Carol moved into a home she had built on Oak Knoll in West Tisbury.
Her son Chris lives in Mayflower, Arkansas, where he is a spiritual director. Her son Paul, a freelance illustrator and artist, lives in Boston.
In 1990 Carol and Jack Burton happened to both attend a contra dance at the West Tisbury Grange Hall and danced together. They had first known each other as parents having children of the same age in the Edgartown School. They began dating and soon a deep and joyful companionship began and continued. They would spend a month at her cabin in Vermont and for the last seven years at a home they purchased together in Gulfport, Florida, during the winter months. They selected Gulfport because of the many opportunities there for ballroom dancing, which they discovered they both enjoyed soon after they began dating. A little over 20 years ago they began a Ballroom Dance group at St. Andrew’s Church, Edgartown.
Their first vacation together was a month-long camping trip to the Southwest, touring the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Carol called it “Wok Camping” because meals were cooked in her wok on a Coleman gas stove. They slept in the back of Jack’s truck. Carol was most amazed by the Cliff Dwellings, such as Mesa Verde. They also traveled in Mexico, Canada, and abroad. Carol would say that her favorite and most interesting region was Cappadocia in Central Turkey.
Carol’s favorite dance was the waltz. She said she felt like she was floating across the floor. The song Carol and Jack chose as “their song” was “Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray.
Carol referred to the West Tisbury Library as her “second home.” Contributions in her memory may be made to the West Tisbury Free Public Library, 1042 State Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.