West Tisbury


Old buildings are a passion of mine. The development and styles of architecture, the changing patterns of how we design, build, use our structures, how they contribute to our visual landscape — all interesting. So, I look forward to this Saturday evening’s lecture at the West Tisbury Church. Jonathan Scott, professor at Castleton State College in Vermont, will speak about his research and show slides of the earliest houses and meeting houses in West Tisbury and Chilmark. The program begins at 6 pm. The $15 entry includes a buffet of hearty appetizers before Mr. Scott’s program, then coffee, and warm apple crisp with ice cream for dessert. It all sounds wonderful.

A correction of misinformation from last week’s column. When I spoke with my mother-in-law, Bobby, she corrected me that the Hulls bought the Slocum House in 1943, not “late 1920s or early 1930s” as I had written.

Dana Terrill and his wife, Kimberly Marooney, are here, staying with Dana’s cousin, Hannah Beecher, at the Slocum House. Hannah had flown out to California to be with Rose and her family at the end of Rose’s illness. She wanted to be buried here in West Tisbury, so Dana is here making plans for her interment and a memorial service. It has been nice to be together as we mourn Rose. They all had dinner Saturday night with Jared Hull and Sue Hruby. Tuesday night, Mike and I are invited.

The Living Local Harvest Festival and the Antique Engine Show will be held at the Ag Hall this Saturday, October 5. There are exhibits, vendors, information on a variety of subjects, and wonderful local food. Best of all are George Hartman’s displays of early steam engines and toys. It’s great fun and you are sure to see everyone you know. Hope for a pleasant sunny day.

Louise Bessire sent me photographs of her daughter-in-law, Dr. Aimee Bessire speaking at the opening dedication ceremonies of Ntulya Primary School. She shared the podium with President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania. Together, they planted a tree, unveiled the cornerstone of the new building, and Pres. Kikwete cut a ribbon across the entry to one of the classrooms. Aimee spoke on behalf of Africa Schoolhouse. Lovely to see the faces of children and families excited by their new schoolhouse.

Enjoy dinner out next Thursday, October 10, and support the Vineyard Montessori School. Flatbread Pizza will donate a portion of the proceeds to the school.

Mother Goose on the Loose story hours begin at 10:30 am at the Oak Bluffs Library October 3 and 17, and at the Vineyard Haven Library October 10 and 24. Nelia Decker and Amy Hough read to children up to age three and their families.

Bruce Haynes called me Saturday evening to ask if Porter was inside and accounted for. He wasn’t. He was the kitten a kind woman moved to the side of the road in front of the fire station. He must have chased something, heedlessly, into the road. He looked asleep there, peaceful, unmarked, his own perfect self. I carried him home, wishing him back to life, to open his eyes, to meow and jump out of my arms as if he was playing a hilarious practical joke, to run down the driveway towards dinnertime.

Death is part of life. I know that. It was just a year ago that our 16-year-old cat, Grace, died, and Porter seemed to be waiting for me at the animal shelter. He jumped into my lap as he jumped into life, racing after his feathers-at-the-end-of-a-string toys, sleeping in the wing chair in my studio or between Mike and me in bed at night, purring into our ears. He ran the household right from the start. I keep thinking I see him out of the corner of my eye. If there is any comfort at all, it is that he had the most perfect year of life that any kitten could have. I worried as he became a cocksure teenage boy of a cat, full of confidence and immortality. I had never seen him go up the driveway before. I thought he always stayed in the trees where he was safe.

My thanks to Bruce for calling, and to the “kind woman” whoever she is. My thanks to Leslie Baker, who loved him from the start as much as I did, and who gave him his first taste of cat toy mania. We watched her Iphone pictures of Porter together, jumping and playing, as we held him and cried together Saturday night. He was the best kitten and, although I know I will love another, I will always remember my sparkling boy as he burned brightly through this year and silently fell to the ground, a meteor shower cloaked in black fur with a handle-bar moustache.

He is in a pretty spot in our pet graveyard under the rhododendron hedge. Some day, Talley will lie next to him, as they loved each other in life. I’ll go out later to look for something special to plant on his grave.