West Tisbury: Summer flowers


Daylilies and hydrangeas are the stars of Island gardens now. Orange tiger lilies symbolize New England summers and grow in ever-enlarging clumps, especially along roadsides and driveways. They are as ubiquitous and welcome as daffodils in the spring. I don’t remember seeing large plantings of hydrangeas until I moved to the Vineyard. They certainly flourish here, in all their glorious variations of blue, cream, white, and green, and seem quite at home wherever they are planted.

Blue Cullen mentioned yesterday that a pair of quail had appeared in her yard. They are friendly and certainly not scared of humans; Blue said they marched right up to her house, undaunted by people or cats. We reminisced about the paucity of quail. They used to be common up-Island. Whip-poor-wills woke us up in the mornings when Mike and I first moved into our house 32 years ago. Those ground-dwelling birds are rarely seen around here, although Mike mentioned that Tony and Doreen Rezendes have been plagued by an early-rising whip-poor-will in their yard across the street, and another one has allegedly been waking residents of Otis Bassett Lane.

I have had the pleasure of running into my colleague John Alley at several events last week. I always enjoy John and his knowledge of Island history. He had read my column about James Cagney and “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and told me that the summer before the movie was made, Mr. Cagney had rented a house and barn in Edgartown. The barn was where he rehearsed. John got the news from his older brothers, Albion and Jim, who reported seeing a long table set up in the barn for jumping up onto and dancing across. That must have been quite a sight.

We were both at Phyllis Meras’ for a celebration of the life of Mary Lu Hough. Mary Lu’s daughter, Mary Pat Hough-Greene, was co-hostess, and a wonderful group of West Tisbury friends was gathered in that pretty spot. It’s always fun to look at the old photographs and articles about the person who has died. Mary Pat had assembled some winners. Both of her parents were writers; they met while working at the Madison, Wis., Star News, which published articles they had written to announce their engagement. George’s was titled, “My Girl’s a Hellabaloo,” and Mary Lu’s was “George Can Scramble Eggs.” Both were charming stories, so much in the voices of George and Mary Lu as I remember them, and certainly descriptive. I was happy to meet Neil and Amy Greene, Mary Pat’s son and daughter-in-law, and their children, Harper and Georgia, whom I had heard so much about.

A note from Mary Pat: she is looking for a home for her mother’s cat, Danny, a beautiful gray and orange female with a sweet temperament. Sadly, Mary Pat’s cat sees Danny as an interloper who needs to be removed. Danny comes with the most glowing recommendations. If you are looking for an affectionate pet, please call Mary Pat at 508-693-0579.

Sundy Smith and Jon Previant had a house full of young men as guests over the Fourth of July holiday. Their grandson, Owen Smith, came from Iowa with friends Tyler Johnson and Michael Wu. They all voted the visit “a 10 out of 10.”

David Smith and his wife, Joan Apt, had their son and daughter-in-law, Alex and Kelli Smith, and Kelli’s parents staying with them for the holiday. A good time to be here with the parade, fireworks, and Woolcott and Leah Smith’s fabulous Day-Before-Fourth-of-July party.

John and Anna Alley had their daughter, Nicole, with her two eldest boys, Robbie and Henry, visiting from Fall River. The boys rode in the parade with John, who was representing the County Commissioners. He said the boys had a good time throwing necklaces and candy to the onlookers along the parade route, and eating a fair amount of candy themselves. Later, the family all went out to Linda Jean’s for dinner.

Jay and Celine Segel have been entertaining Celine’s parents, Jean-Louis and Eliane Gobaud, from Gond-Pontouvre, France. Visiting with family, playing music, eating lobsters and clam chowder, and kayaking in the great ponds have been high on the list of things to do. The Gobauds also have planned a trip to Quebec, looking forward to being among French speakers to remind them of home. They had only visited Quebec in the winter, so are eager to see Quebec City in nice weather.

Livy Nelson and Anna Brickman and their twin daughters, Lilly and Mira Brickman, came from Philadelphia to visit Art and Gay Nelson for the holiday. Bella Bennett joined them for an alfresco lunch at Rosewater in Edgartown.

The West Tisbury Mill Pond historic marker installation celebration was Sunday morning. A group of residents and well-wishers gathered on the lawn for speeches and poems and to admire the brass plaque, now installed for all to see. Suki de Braganca was mistress of ceremonies. I should have made careful notes, but I didn’t, so can only rely on my memory to report that Sean Conley, Skipper Manter, and David McCullough said a few words, and poems by Dan Waters and Dionis Riggs were read, I think by Victoria Nessen Kohlasch and her daughter, and by Beatrice Nessen. A painting of the Mill Pond by Max Decker and an old photograph by Edwin Lee Luce showed changes in the appearance of the pond over the years. Barbara and Bob Day were among the crowd, and it felt very special to see them out and partaking of town events. The Hog-Stompers played music for all to enjoy as everyone chatted and visited after the ceremony.

Welcome to Luna James Mayhew, Caroline and Daniel’s daughter, who was born on June 17. Luna is settling into life in West Tisbury. She has already attended her first Fourth of July fireworks down on the pond, which she slept through, and her first contradance.

Rez Williams will be exhibiting his new paintings at A Gallery in Oak Bluffs from July 14 to August 2. An artist’s reception for “Views From Another Island (Monhegan, Maine)” is Saturday evening, July 15, 5 to 7 pm.

There will be a potluck gathering at the Grange Hall this Saturday, July 15, to thank Joe Woodin for his service to our hospital. The party is from 4 to 6 pm.

The Federated Church is commemorating its 375th anniversary with a free concert at its Parish Hall in Edgartown. “For All the Saints” will be performed by the church choir, led by Peter Boak, on Monday, July 17, at 7 pm. On Friday, July 21, the church’s annual Evening of Music on the Lagoon fundraiser will take place at the home of Jim and Pam Butterick, 359 Barnes Road, Oak Bluffs. This year’s program is opera, provided by the Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theatre Singers.The price of admission is a donation to either the Federated Church Organ Fund or Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. For more information, email antispung@aol.com.

At the West Tisbury library this week:

The most special event will be a storytime with Martha’s Vineyard Sharks baseball players reading books about baseball at noon this Saturday, July 15. At 7 pm, come to the Sharks game. Kids under 18 can present their library cards for free admission. Both events are sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Library Association and the Sharks.

Peter Simon will talk about his latest book, “Martha’s Vineyard: To Everything There Is a Season,” Saturday afternoon at 4 pm at the library.

Monday, July 17, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop begins at 11:30 am; Monday Night Movies begin at 6:30 pm; a Summer STEM program for ages 8 to 12 to make a motorized top spinner with Legos begins at 7 pm.

A VNA public health and wellness nurse will be at the library Tuesday, July 18, noon to 1:30 pm, to check blood pressures and answer health questions. “After Beach Yoga” for kids ages 4 to 6 begins at 3:30 pm. At 7 pm, Tweed Roosevelt will lead a conversation with Mariam Raqib, founder of Afghanistan Samsortya Reforestation Projects.

Wednesday, July 19, “After Beach Yoga” for kids ages 7 to 10 begins at 3:30 pm. At 5 pm, Carol Rocamora will speak about the top 10 trends in on- and off-Broadway and London theater seasons past, and the upcoming season.

Thursday, July 20, “After Beach Yoga” for ages 11 to 17 begins at 3:30 pm. At 5 pm, Constance Messmer will talk about chakras, auras, and energy awareness.

You may have noticed the lack of my Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art sign hanging at the end of our driveway. No impatiens planted beneath it either. I am taking this summer off from the gallery. I will be doing other things, writing more, maybe having some free time to enjoy my husband and friends and fine weather. See you around.