Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull
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Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

The wind blew, and with no rain, everything is drier than one would expect after our snowy winter. Some days have been overcast, some perfect warm sunshine. But we really need rain.

If you drive down Edgartown Road, take a look at Harriet Bernstein’s yard (there’s a red hat on a post at the end of the driveway.) Her three spectacular Kwanzan cherry trees are in full bloom, completely spanning the front of her property. They make quite a sight from the road.

Many of you will remember Joan and Bill Lamont and their kids, who spent many summers here in their home on Charles Neck Way; Colorado East was what they called it. Sadly, they sold their house in the ’90s, and have only been back a few times. The latest was last Wednesday and Thursday. They had “the most perfect ferry ride,” according to Joan, and perfect days for riding their bikes around the Island. They were on the East Coast for their eldest grandson, Lamont Gross’s, graduation from Boston College, and took the extra days to visit the Island. We had dinner together here Wednesday night. It felt just like our many dinners when we were all just down the road from one another. Even to Mike getting called on his pager to a brush fire.

There have been so many fire calls lately for brush fires. The department is on high alert, as conditions are so terribly dry. Thankfully, all have been small and containable. Please, everyone, be extra careful. Our Island is like a tinderbox right now, and an out-of-control brush fire would be disastrous. Every town has had small fires called in.

Another note of caution: a reminder to leave your car windows all wide open and park in the shade if you have a dog in the car. Don’t leave him or her for any length of time, as cars can heat up terribly fast.

A note on the passing of Edie Baker’s beloved golden, Lily. (NOT from an overheated car; she had a charmed life with Edie.) Lily was adopted at age 3, and lived to almost 16. It was one of those serendipitous conversations where Mike and I were at our Sunday airport breakfast talking to Jane Hawkes and Alison McKinley about the dogs we had all recently rescued from various shelters. Edie was looking for a dog, and I mentioned a golden we had heard about. Lee Dubin made the arrangements, and Lily arrived in Edie’s life. I’m so glad it was a long and happy friendship.

On Saturday May 23 at 3 pm, the library will hold another Lego Club extravaganza.

Please join Tim Boland on Saturday, May 30, at 2:30 pm at the library for the final talk in his series. Tim will discuss the landscaping of the new library, and take participants on a tour of the grounds.

The library will be closed Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day. Please remember that the library is now closed on Sundays till mid-October, but will continue to host special events on Sundays.

There will be two free concerts this month at the West Tisbury library. On Friday, May 29, at 7 pm, the Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council will be offering “Music Presented in the Cause of Peace,” featuring music by Bach, Liszt, Schubert, and others performed by pianist Lisa Weiss, accompanied by soprano Stephanie Barnes and mezzo-soprano Martha Hudson, with Jesse Keller, dancer. On Sunday, May 31, at 4 pm, Sara Rosenthal and Julie Prazich will sponsor the first annual “Remembering the Rosenthals” concert, featuring Diane Katzenberg Braun and Music Street playing works by Beethoven, Ravel, Bartok, and others.

Both concerts are free and open to the public. Please call the library at 508-683-3366 to reserve a seat. Seating is limited.

Volume Two of a projected three-volume biography by local resident and author Paul Magid has arrived at our library. The Gray Fox: George Crook and the Indian Wars opens in 1866, when General Crook began his series of campaigns against the Paiutes, Apaches, Sioux, and Cheyennes. The first volume was George Crook: From Redwoods to Appomattox, if you want to start at the beginning.

Dane Boggs, author of Reiki Awakening, will be guest speaker at the Howes House this Friday evening, May 22, 7 to 9 pm. Sponsored by the Lyme Center of Martha’s Vineyard, he will discuss his personal victory over Lyme with the help of Rife and Reiki therapies. Rife machines will be available for demonstrations. His lecture, “A Path to Wellness: Fighting Lyme Disease,” is open to the public.

The Chilmark Women’s Symposium XXXV is this Saturday, May 23, from 9 to noon at the Chilmark Community Center. The topic is “Just When You Thought …” There are talks and small group conversations, and the best things to eat with coffee or tea. It’s free, but donations are much appreciated.

The Teen Library Club will meet at 4 pm on Wednesday, May 27, for a movie at the library. Popcorn will be served.

If you are interested in architecture and Island history, the Federated Church Meetinghouse has announced that it will be open to the public from 11 am to 1 pm daily from May 25 through Oct. 12. It’s a beautiful building on the corner of South Summer Street and Cooke Street in Edgartown. It was designed by Frederick Baylies Jr., also the designer and builder of the Baptist Church on School Street, now a private home, and the iconic Old Whaling Church on Main Street. Built in 1828, it was the fifth Meetinghouse of the First Congregational Church of Martha’s Vineyard. In 1925, the Baptist Church merged with the Congregational Church, forming what is now the Federated Church. This will be an opportunity to see and enjoy this building if you are not already familiar with it. For more information, visit the website federatedchurchmv.org, or call 508 627-4221.

A short column this week. My cousin Hannah Beecher and I are going off-Island to attend Bob Henry’s funeral service in Bethesda, Md., on Sunday afternoon. I wanted to get the column in before we leave on Saturday. Apologies to anyone who sent me news over the weekend.

I went off Island Sunday for Mother’s Day, to have lunch with my cousin Sally at Heritage in Falmouth. The boat over was crowded, and the lines for the boat coming home that afternoon were unbelievable. The Steamship Authority parking lot was filled with more people than I ever remember, and it’s only early May.

Complaining to my friend Joanne Scott this morning, she told me her story: Her daughter Tabor called her Saturday morning with a surprise request: “Meet me in Falmouth.” So she did. They spent a lovely day together, an early Mother’s Day outing. When Joanne got to Woods Hole to come home, she told me there were so many people that there was a standby area for walk-on passengers. Neither of us ever remember such a thing. And it’s only early May.

Ann Burt got an early Mother’s Day present — a shiny new green garden cart, so light she can “move it with just a finger.” Her daughter Prudy and son Percy were coming on Sunday for dinner and to help with the gardening chores. I know Ann does a lot herself, and her garden is resplendent with daffodils along the Tiasquam River that crosses the back of her yard, lovely boxwoods, the biggest contorted hazel I have ever seen, which Ann “whacks down” periodically, and the most perfect and productive vegetable garden fenced at the top of the hill.

The shadbush are gorgeous all around town, as are the pear trees at the cemetery and new leaves on maples. Edgartown Road looks particularly pretty with the Garden Club’s new plantings in the Triangle. They have settled in their first year, and extend the daffodil display from Brandy Brow down across the road. With the greening-up of shrubbery along the marsh and the Mill Pond, it is all fresh and beautiful.

Polly Hill Arboretum horticulturist and arborist Ian Jochems is offering a workshop this Saturday, May 16, 10 to noon. It’s called “The Finest Cut: Taking the Fear Out of Pruning.” He will cover different techniques, as well as tool maintenance, with demos and hands-on practice. Participants will take a tour to observe how plants in the arboretum’s collection have responded to their pruning program. Preregistration is required. The cost is $20, or $10 for PHA members.

Habitat for Humanity is having a sale of construction materials on Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm behind Carroll’s Trucking at 475 Edgartown Road. You may find just the right thing to finish your project. New and antique hardware, windows, cabinets, toilets, and tools will all be for sale. If you have materials to donate, or would like to volunteer to help out, call 508-696-4646, or email houses@habitatmv.org.

You can also get rid of stuff, farther down Edgartown Road, at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Spring Electronics Disposal Day. For fees from $2 to $30 (10 percent discount for a full carload), bring your old air conditioners, cell phones, computers, etc. between 9 am and 2 pm, and help support Community Services.

For fun, the Vineyard Montessori School second annual Flyin’ MV and Fly Me to the Moon is also this Saturday. Come to Katama Airport between 11 am and 2 pm for a flight around the Island. Then grownups are invited to an evening event at the Dunes from 7 to 10. Call Head of School Deborah Jernegan, 508-693-4090, for more information.

Then there’s the 2015 Bird-a-Thon to raise money for Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. They are looking for birders and sponsors for their two-day event, which starts at 6 pm on Friday, May 15, and runs through 6 pm on Saturday. Call Felix Neck at 508-627-4850 or visit massaudubon.org/birdathon to sign up to count or make a pledge.

Mary Wilson and Pitter Patter Puppets will perform at the West Tisbury library Saturday morning at 10:30 for 2- to 7-year-olds. It’s free. Afterward, from noon to 2 o’clock, Mary will lead a puppetry workshop for adults.

Paula Martin will be at the library at 3 pm, to talk about “Spring Cleaning and Organizing.”

The YMCA is the place for the 2015 After Prom Party for juniors and their dates this Saturday night. From 10 pm to 5 am, enjoy music with a DJ at poolside, good food, games, etc. For information, call Rachel Araujo, 774-310-0027, or Debbie DeBettencourt, 774-836-6448.

This Sunday, May 17, will be the last Sunday the library is open. Sunday hours will resume in mid-October.

West Tisbury painter and printmaker Marie-Louise Rouff will open her new studio/gallery this Saturday, May 16, between noon and 4 pm. You will see her sign on State Road across from Ghost Island Farm. Turn in, and you will see the gallery entrance on the right. The gallery will be open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4, and by appointment through the summer. Marie-Louise’s phone number is 508-693-2072, and her website is mlrouff.com.

Clare Boland, sophomore at Cornell University, was awarded the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize by the Department of English. The prize includes an award of $1,000. Clare is an English and Performance & Media Studies major. Her parents, Tim Boland and Laura Coit, are very proud.

I end with the sad news that Bob Henry died on Saturday at his home in Bethesda, Md. Bob was a well-known summer visitor, especially with the bridge players, golfers, and beachgoers he regularly spent his time with. Dinner parties with Bob and his wife, Dorothy Barthelmes, were special occasions, made extra-special by the host and hostess, with good conversation and good food. We who loved Bob had hoped he would have one more summer in the Slocum House.

 

 

 

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the library Sunday afternoon as Cindy Mitchell and Shannon Gregory Carbon spoke about Pat Gregory, father, library patron, town moderator, at the ceremony dedicating the lobby in his memory. David Stanwood played the piano as people milled around before the ceremony. It was standing room only. The library looked springlike and beautiful, filled with vases of daffodils decorating every surface.

Now we have lilacs to look forward to. Janice Haynes commented that she has never seen so many buds, and expects “a spectacular lilac year.” Not to rush the season, as we have weeks still to enjoy the daffodils. Magnolias and flowering cherries are gorgeous. The pear trees at the cemetery are showing huge colored buds ready to burst.

Another prediction comes from Tom Hodgson, who says asparagus and peas will be “especially good.” Tom and his wife, Christine Gault, had lunch recently with Christine’s mother, Mary Bell, Beth Kramer, and her mother, Joan Hopkins. The garden comment came up during this outing, as Tom told about spring’s progress at Wishetwurra Farm, one of the most resplendent and productive gardens in town.

Following the town meeting vote to identify properties for fire and emergency services, Kenny Mastromonaco is making signs for the fire department for $20 each. Map, lot, and street numbers will be displayed. Call Kenny at 508-693-6008.

Bobby Maciel has been in town, visiting from Maine. Besides spending time with his parents, Bob and Barbara, he has been a welcome presence at the fire departments, where he left many friends when he moved. Bobby has been active in his new department, as we knew he would be. Firefighting is in the Maciel blood.

Sue Hruby, Alice Early, and Elle Lash spent the weekend together in Boston attending the Annual Writers Muse and Marketplace Conference sponsored by the famous Grub Street Writers Organization. They all went to different workshops and meetings, covering everything from meeting prospective agents to learning about editing and rewriting manuscripts. Lots of good information. All three are longtime members of John Hough’s weekly writing group.

I finally met Hazel Waring, almost walking in her pink high-top sneakers, almost a year old. Hazel, her mom Diana, and grandmother Pat were at the library on Sunday.

Joanne Scott had to miss the library dedication, as her granddaughter’s second birthday party was scheduled for the exact same time. Bianca Mary Stafford was guest of honor at a birthday bash at the home of her parents, Ben and Katie. Grandparents Bob Stafford and Patience Sampson of Boston and Maine also attended. Joanne reports, “Lots of lovely balloons and children. The sun came out, and delicious cake was enjoyed by all.”

Bill and Betty Haynes were off-Island attending the graduation of their grandson, Nathaniel Haynes, from the New England Institute of Technology in Warwick, R.I. Bruce and Jennifer Haynes, Jessica Haynes, and Janice Haynes were there. Classmate and friend Jacob Oliver graduated, too. His parents, Jesse Oliver and Allison Barrett, were in the audience.

There are a lot of graduations coming up over the next few weekends. I hope proud parents and grandparents will call me with their stories for the column.

I do know that Janaye Rooney will graduate from UMass-Amherst next weekend with a B.A. in English. Her parents, Rich Rooney and Jan Paul, will be there, so note that Jan’s store, the Heath Hen, will be closed Friday and Saturday. When they get back, Jan has plans to celebrate her three years owning the store in its Woodside Village location. I’ll keep you posted.

Marsha Winsryg has returned from Zambia, where she made dolls with moms from the Mama Bakita School. Marsha took fabric and sewing supplies for the moms, and tempera paint to keep the kids busy. She returned with lots of new crafts for sale to help support the African charities she holds dear. You may contact Marsha at 508 693-4059 or aacdpafrica.org.

The Minnesingers’ annual Spring Concert will take place this weekend at the MVRHS Performing Arts Center. Concerts are Saturday, May 9, at 7 pm and Sunday, May 10, at 3 pm. There will be singing and dancing to music from “An American Songbook,” celebrating 90 years of the Oscars. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors, available from any member of the Minnesingers or at the door.

Living Local Harvest Festival has announced the dates for their event, Oct. 2 and 3. They are looking for volunteers, displays, and vendors. Food vendors need to sign up by May 15, so if you are interested check their Facebook page, their website livinglocalmv.org, or contact livinglocalvineyard@gmail.com.

A good time to do some spring cleaning, as MVCS Electronics Disposal Day is coming up next Saturday, May 16, 9 to 2, at Community Services. Get your old air conditioners, cell phones, computers, copiers, dehumidifiers, fax machines, laptops, printers, monitors, microwaves, ranges, refrigerators, scanners, stereo equipment, televisions, washers, dryers, and anything else you can think of. Fees are between $2 and $30, with a 10% discount on carloads. All proceeds benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

Artist of the Month at the West Tisbury library is Richard Limber. See his paintings in the Program Room and at the circulation desk. Paul Thurlow is guest musician at a concert this Friday, May 8, at 7 pm. Saturday, May 9, Tim Boland will talk about “Small Flowering Trees for Your Landscape,” a timely subject as everything is blooming right now. (Take a look at the pink cherry tree in the field at Polly Hill Arboretum, where Tim is the director and an amazing plantsman.) Wednesday afternoon, May 13, the Writers’ Residency Spring Reading Series convenes at 5 pm. There is also a Teen/Tween Movie at 4. (Free popcorn.) Nicole Cabot leads the Island Grown Story Hour on Thursday morning, May 14, at 10:30. The subject is “Seafood.” What could be better?

Daffodils are everywhere, blooming along roadsides and in gardens all across town. The Cooks’ lawn on Music Street is a carpet of blue chionodoxa. The star magnolia on the Olsens’ front lawn, several cornus mas, and the first forsythia make driving along State Road a visual treat. Then there are the alluring gardens and displays at the three garden centers.

Everybody seems to be raking and planting, so relieved to feel warm sunshine and see new growth. I will admit to having put on shorts already, but then that cool wind comes up, and I’m running upstairs for long pants and socks and a polar fleece jacket. We haven’t needed to start a fire these last nights.

The opening into the Great Pond is still maintaining. It’s nice to see folks out in boats, many oystering. Nice enough to be walking along the beach.

Marjory Potts spent last week in Washington, D.C., visiting her son Oliver and his family. She said the cherry trees are more spectacular than one can imagine from seeing them in the news. They are small, but thickly branched and flowered. Marjory and her grandchildren looked up, barely able to see the sky through the trees.

Linda Vadasz had a beautiful day for her birthday last week. The day was warm and sunny. Friends Elaine and Bill Farran were visiting from New York. Bill is an artist, who spoke at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center about his series of woodcuts, “Wooden Synagogues of Poland.” After Bill’s presentation, Linda was taken out to dinner with Gaston, the Farrans, Dan and Nancy Cabot, and Nicole and Ben Cabot and their daughters, Violet and Reed. Wishing you many happy returns, dear Linda.

Don’t forget that the continuation of our annual town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, April 28, 7 pm, at the West Tisbury School. We need a quorum to act on the remaining seven articles.

The town voted to dedicate the foyer of our library in honor of Pat Gregory, beloved West Tisbury teacher and moderator of years of town meetings. The dedication ceremony will be Sunday afternoon, May 3, at 3 o’clock.

Charles Terry, bass and guitar player and composer, will perform at the West Tisbury library this Friday, April 24, at 7 pm. “An able sideman, ready to drop everything and hit the road,” Mr. Terry has performed with Stan Strickland, the Steve Fox Quintet, Joe Keenan’s Touring Circus, the Offshore Cycle Band, and others.

Tim Boland, executive director at the Polly Hill Arboretum, will celebrate Arbor Day with a lecture at the West Tisbury library, “Trees Are the Answer! Cultivating Trees on Martha’s Vineyard.” He will talk about organic landscape practices, adaptable native plants, deer-resistant plants, and landscaping using environmentally informed landscape practices. He was responsible for much of the landscaping outside the library. The lecture is this Saturday, April 25, at 2:30 pm.

Susie Bowman and Fred Hotchkiss will speak at the library on Tuesday, April 28, 5 to 6 pm. Their program, “Horseshoe Crabs: A Story of Beach Trysts and Blue Bloods,” tells the lives and history of the horseshoe crab, illustrated with slides, and discusses opportunities for involvement in the Horseshoe Crab Citizens Science Survey Project. Ms. Bowman was a teacher and naturalist at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Mr. Hotchkiss is founding director of the Marine and Paleobiological Research Institute, whose mission is to inspire young people to pursue study of marine science and fossils.

Daniel Mayhew will facilitate an adult console game night at the library on Thursday, April 30, at 6 pm. He will have a wide variety of software titles, and hopes to broaden interest in the creative, as well as the competitive side, of video games.

Former West Tisbury poet laureate Fan Ogilvie and other Island poets laureate organized a workshop with students of the Charter School, Chilmark School, and the Regional High School to study the history of the Gay Head Lighthouse. Participants wrote poems and illustrated them. Their work was made into a book by the Tisbury Printer and presented at an authors’ party, where the young poets read their work. Each student was given a copy. Now you can buy one for yourself; copies are on sale at Bunch of Grapes. All proceeds will go to supporting the lighthouse’s upcoming move.

It has been a sad week for artists, as West Tisbury lost two very good ones.

Nick Thayer was an amazing and inspiring printmaker. He worked at Featherstone, where for many years he made monotypes every Thursday morning with Rob Hauck, Wendy Weldon, and Leslie Baker. Rob told me that they met this past Thursday and, though dispirited, they vowed to continue on. Sincere condolences to Nina and their family, and Nick’s many admirers.

Eleanor Rodegast was one of the early members of my art/crit group. She was a wonderful painter who was modest about her talents. She could paint the figure like no one else. And she had a good sense of humor besides, always good company when we got together to paint from a model or for our monthly critiques and dinners. We have all missed her since she moved off-Island, and note her passing. Condolences to her family and friends.

 

Hand set vintage type,

hand mixed oil inks,

hand printed on

19th ct. platen presses

in the barn by the garden

in West Tisbury

on Martha’s Vineyard Island

—Emma Young, letterpress printer

 

So Emma Young describes herself on her website. Emma designs and prints all sorts of visual gems, but none so special as her books of her own poetry. The latest is titled tomato skin DIAMOND: one dozen poems.

Ms. Young has just been named West Tisbury’s poet laureate. Her poems are as luscious as the manner of their presentation on thick paper that takes the inks and impressions of letters and art. Congratulations, Emma.

Island Poet Laureate Arnie Reisman will host a poetry reading at the West Tisbury library next Tuesday, April 21, at 4:30. After his reading, Island poets will be invited to read one of their poems at the open-mike event.

Next week is school vacation week, and the library has planned to set out a family craft every day between 11 and 4, and to show family movies every afternoon at 2. The schedule is:

Tuesday: Big Hero 6

Wednesday: Song of the Sea

Thursday: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Friday: The Boxtrolls

Movies are free, and so is the popcorn.

Saturday, April 18, there will be a performance by Vineyard Belly Dance & Revue at 1 o’clock at the library. The Lego Club will meet from 3 to 4:30.

Please note that the library will be closed on Sunday for spring cleaning and on Monday for Patriot’s Day.

A request from the Friends of the West Tisbury Library: Please hold on to your bags of books for the book sale until July 1, when they move from the sheds into the school gymnasium. The sheds are bursting full. This year’s Book Sale will take place July 31 to August 2.

The Vineyard Sinfonietta has planned a special concert next Friday evening, April 24, 6 to 7:30, at the Chilmark Church to honor flautist Edie Yoder, who is moving to an artists’ colony in Indiana to pursue her painting. The program will range from Mozart to Joplin. There will be time for a brief farewell to Edie and refreshments following the concert. The concert is free.

Valerie Sonnenthal will lead two workshops at the Howes House this Thursday, April 16, and April 30, 1 to 2:30. The first is Foot Fitness. The second is an Introduction to MELT Method. Cost is $25 each. Please call 508-693-2896 to reserve. You may also look at Valerie’s website, peakedhillstudio.com, for information about what she does and her private classes.

Sue Hruby, our representative to Cape Light Compact, wants to invite everyone to their upcoming Energy Efficiency Program. It will be held at the Edgartown Senior Center (the Anchors) on Tuesday, May 5, at 1 pm. Home energy assessments, rebates, and incentive programs will be discussed.

When I saw animal control officer Joannie Jenkinson the other day, my first question was about the condition of Rockette (the Mill Pond swan we formerly thought was Rocky). Rockette was hit by a car; she has had an accident-prone history. Last year she was seriously injured by a snapping turtle in the pond, and it was touch-and-go for quite awhile. All of our wildlife, farm animals, and pets are lucky to have Joannie looking out for them. Sadly,  Rockette died of her injuries. She died on the Island, where she lived her short life. Joannie tried her best to save her. May she rest in peace.

Don’t forget to vote today. The polls at the Public Safety Building are open till 8 pm.

Major League Baseball season opened last Monday, and I was pleased to see baseball players on the diamond across the street at the fire station, too. Pinkletinks are making a racket in the ponds at night. The first daffodils and myrtle flowers are blooming in my garden. I spent part of the weekend raking leaves and enjoying the sunshine. It’s lovely to have windows opened wide to the mild spring air.

The air feels softer when I open the door to let the dogs out first thing in the morning. It feels warmer, too. Maybe not so much on the thermometer, but in my bones. It beckons me to step outside, to resume my routine of walking around, coffee in hand, barefoot once it gets a little warmer, looking for the newest blossom or emerging leaf, assessing holes that need “something pink” or places where a bit of thinning is called for, a branch that needs to come down. A garden is a painting that’s never finished.

My favorite part, besides the plants that came as thinnings from friends, is the discovery of something special that has appeared unexpectedly across the yard from where I planted it. Of course, it’s a law of nature that a plant will thrive in the unplanned spot and probably die out immediately in the desired one, despite the most assiduous care. Humbling, if you want to be philosophical. Maybe just the way of nature, adapting or asserting itself to its best advantage.

Just in time for taxes, the library will have an IRS website drop-in help session. Bring your problem(s) and stop by on Monday evening, April 13, 6 to 8 pm. No tax advice, just help navigating the intricacies of website and forms.

Other special events at the library this week are a Twilight Concert with David Stanwood this Friday evening, April 10, at 7 pm. Saturday is Tartan Day, and will be celebrated between 2 and 4 pm. A Chess Club for Beginners will hold its first meeting Saturday morning between 10 am and noon. Sunday afternoon is a Community Poetry Reading at 3 pm. Writers Read Prose Workshop meets Monday evening at 7 pm.

Gloria Burkin is the library’s artist of the month for April. She is an oil painter of Island seascapes and landscapes, of light and color, of the places she walks her dog, of the places that, though secret, feel like the places we all know. They are our secrets, too. Come and have a look.

Don’t forget that, besides taxes being due on April 15, our town holds two events of civic importance. Our annual Town Meeting begins at 7 pm at the West Tisbury School on Tuesday, April 14. On Thursday, April 16, come to the Public Safety Building to vote. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm.

Paddy Moore asked me to tell everyone that the Healthy Aging Task Force has been working together for over a year and will have a warrant article at Town Meeting asking for funding for First Stop, their information and referral website: “The site is designed to provide comprehensive information to Island elders, their families and caregivers on and off the Island, and to service providers as well.” They worked with the Councils on Aging and other Island organizations so as not to duplicate services already provided. Please call Paddy Moore or Bea Phear for more information, or write them at: info@hatfmv.org.

Candy Schweder emailed to announce that she has joined the Simon Gallery in Vineyard Haven. She and her pottery will still be at the summer Artisans Shows at the Grange.

Hard to believe that Bob Carroll died last week. His daughter Sue was one of my first friends when I moved to Edgartown, so of course I met Mr. Carroll soon after. He was always “Mr. Carroll” to me, although not at all formal; it just began that way and remained so. All the stories reported in both newspapers and told at the gathering last Saturday at his beloved Harbor View Hotel made him sound larger than life, which he definitely was. But to me, he was always Sue’s dad, always very warm and kind and supportive to me when I was a new young woman starting a business in town. A long time ago. Mr. Carroll didn’t seem to age or change at all. When I saw him around town or at lunches at the Harbor View, he was as genial and welcoming as he always was. That is, himself. I am grateful to have known him all these years, grateful to still be Sue’s friend, and send my condolences his family and to all who will miss him. That means all of Edgartown and most of the rest of us.

Although I didn’t know Peggy Freydberg, I certainly knew of her, her books, her poetry, and her remarkable 107 years. My condolences to her family, friends, and admirers.

West Tisbury firemen have just been called for a brush fire down toward Long Point. I hope it turns out to be nothing and they are quickly called off. But it’s breezy out, easy for fire to spread out of control. I had better go over to the firehouse and get Nanuk out of Mike’s truck so she doesn’t have to sit there all afternoon. She might as well come home and rake leaves with Talley, Nelson, and me.

 

Newly-clipped bare branches when I left, but I was welcomed home by a bouquet of blooming forsythia and a hug from my husband. Talley and Nan ran out to the car to greet me. Edgardo swam to the side of his tank. Nelson climbed onto my lap and went to sleep, purring softly.

My thanks to Beth Kramer for filling in at a moment’s notice as I prepared to leave last Sunday. Skipper Manter delivered the news that my brother Mark was found dead in his apartment in Enfield, Conn., the day before. I never knew he was so sick; maybe he didn’t know either. His friends in Enfield told me he thought he had pneumonia.

He had so many friends. I loved their stories, their kindness to me, shared their tears for my brother.

He was a devoted patron of the Enfield Public Library, and volunteered there. Reading brought us closer together as we aged. Talking about our libraries, about books we were reading, favorite and disliked authors.

Everyone who knew Mark acknowledged his irascible personality, his conviction in his own rightness of how to do everything according to his own exacting standards. Our dad used to say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Mark lived by that motto, quoted it regularly, and held others to task when they regularly failed to live up to it. But sharing our love of books became a topic that avoided disagreements and gave us long, engaging conversations. They always ended with “I love you.” I am glad he knew.

A couple of things. Mark had planned carefully. He sent me updated information in letters every so often, where to find the title to his car, his lawyer’s name and phone number, where he left a list of friends to be notified, where he wanted to be buried. Unfortunately, he never gave me a key to his apartment. Everything I needed to find is in there, probably neatly arranged on his desk. But the keys to his apartment and car are now locked up at the Enfield Police Department. I have filled in the required form requesting they be released to me. Then I’ll make another trip to Enfield to get them, to be allowed into his apartment, to see what needs to be done. If he has a will, I don’t know; the lawyer’s copy doesn’t count. The bank couldn’t tell me about his account, even though I have the number. Another probate form filled out. The Post Office won’t forward his mail till probate says it’s OK. They may or may not hold it more than 10 days. I don’t know if he filed his income tax return. I could have gone into the apartment if he had given me my own key.

I have written this as something for all of us to attend to. Nothing is simple or straightforward, and Massachusetts law may be similar or different from Connecticut.

My other bit of advice is to always let the precious people in our lives know we love them. You just never know when or how, but life can change so quickly.

On to other things.

Mike and I were at Cronig’s yesterday. We ran into Ray Gale, who mentioned the toll this winter has taken on wildlife. Deer are numerous. Every variety of duck has appeared in abundance. But there are so many dead or emaciated, barely alive rabbits, small animals, and birds. I know lots of people who have been throwing out birdseed on top of every new snowfall. It will be interesting to see the aftermath of this harsh winter.

One of the things we bought for our supper was a bag of fresh spinach from North Tabor Farm. What a treat. It was delicious and so welcome to eat new greens of the season. I yearn for a greenhouse.

Very shocked and sad to read about the deaths of Andy Boass and Judy Mayhew. My love and condolences to Susie and Danny, their families and friends.

Passover and Easter occur together this weekend. I am reminded that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder. The Hebrew Center will host a community Seder this Saturday evening. It begins at 5:30 sharp, so people are asked to arrive early enough to get settled in their seats. There are still spaces available. Call the office for information and reservations: 508-693-0745.

There will be two services Easter Sunday morning at the West Tisbury Church. A traditional service and communion begins at 9 am at the church. At 11 am, come to the Ag Hall for a Community Easter Service. Child care and church school are provided for children ages 2 to 12. Following the service there will be coffee for grownups and an Easter egg hunt for kids. Call 508-693-2842 for more information.

Marsha Winsryg is teaching a shrine-making workshop at Featherstone next weekend, April 11 and 12. Call 508-693-1850 for information or to preregister.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation is hosting another in their Speakeasy Series at State Road Restaurant on Wednesday, April 8, 5:30 to 7 pm. The guest author is Geraldine Brooks, who will give a sneak preview of her latest novel, The Secret Chord, to be released in September. For reservations, call Carol Brush, 508-693-3489. Tickets are $35.00 and include hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments.

The Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund will sponsor a Kale Soup Throwdown at the P.A. Club on Sunday, April 19. If you have a special kale soup recipe and feel up to a challenge, call Debby Lobb Athearn at 508-693-9627 to enter. There are several categories, even including vegan and gluten-free.

April is National Poetry Month. There will be special events at our library, Pathways Projects Institute, Featherstone Center for the Arts, and Noepe Center for Literary Arts. Brooks Robards will be reading from On Island, our book of poems and paintings, at Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern next Tuesday evening, April 7.

It was nice to walk around our yard and find snowdrops and the earliest lavender crocuses. Sighting grass was brief, then snow-covered by Sunday morning, melted now again. Inside, those forsythia stems remind me that spring will come and, as Leslie Baker said to me yesterday, “That would make a painting.”

 

For a moment, maybe a day, we had no snow on the ground. It was muddy, still unpleasant to walk on, or in, but bare ground had appeared. Leslie Baker emailed that she had found snowdrops blooming in her yard. I had given her the snowdrops from my rapidly expanding plantings, which came to me from Al Mentzel and Louise Bessire. I looked at both their properties yesterday, but no snowdrops in evidence yet.

Al’s are now David and Colleen Burt’s snowdrops, that bloom with myrtle along Old County Road. Louise’s are, of course, beneath her euonymus hedge on Edgartown Road, followed by the palest lavender-blue crocuses soon to come.

So I went out looking for mine. I did find some, although most were still under unmelted snow. But my most exciting discovery was of eranthis, two different plantings, all blooming, that had come from a big clump given me by Ruth Kirchmeier last spring.

I don’t think I am different from any gardener; we all seem to share and treasure those shared gifts of plants, that become our own to be shared again. They all have stories. The beginnings of my pachysandra patch came from a friend in Ridgefield, soon after I moved to the Vineyard. Her name was Mildred Wohlforth. Look her up. She was a “sob sister” reporter back in the 1920s, wrote for New York World, New Yorker, partied and quipped with the Algonquin Round Table crowd. This column was late being written, as I went down memory lane reading online about Millie and her accomplishments. The articles don’t tell about her working in her garden right close onto Rockwell Road, stopping for conversations with passersby, or for tea in ancient cups at an ancient table in her ancient house, right up to her end in her 90s.

Please forgive my rambling. One of the things I find writing this column is how one thought or story leads to another. Garden gifts will surely appear again as a topic.

I met the most interesting woman this past week: Dr. Lisa Nagy, a specialist in emergency medicine and environmental medicine, and owner of Vineyard Personalized Medicine, which has recently relocated its offices to 24 Cournoyer Road in West Tisbury. Dr. Nagy was invited to Washington, D.C., to a Congressional roundtable of the Veterans’ Health Subcommittee to talk about toxic exposure and its effects on Gulf War veterans and children.

Again, it was tempting and easy to ramble, so I watched Ann Bassett’s interview of Dr. Nagy on MVTV, and read some of the information I found online. I suppose it only makes sense that mold and chemicals in our homes and environments could cause all sorts of things. You may wish to read about this yourself. lisanagy.com is her web site. Welcome to West Tisbury, Dr. Nagy.

It’s hard to believe that the new library opened a whole year ago. There will be a party to celebrate the event this coming Sunday afternoon, March 22, 1 to 3:30 pm. There will be live music, tiny cupcakes, good company, and lots of books.

If you read this column early enough, there is a program about vaccination this afternoon from 5 to 6 pm at the library. Dr. Julia Stunkel, Dr. Dana Guyer, and Marnie Toole, R.N., are the presenters.

The Lego Club meets at the library on Saturday afternoon, March 21, from 2:30 to 4:30. All ages are welcome. You may also make a paper bird at the library’s all-day craft table in the Children’s Room. There is a teen/tween craft set out in the Young Adult’s Room downstairs.

Jill Jupen’s Monday afternoon-discussion group, Six Contemporary Poets, continues this week, featuring poetry by Dobby Gibson. The group meets in the library’s Community Room from 4:30 to 6.

Next week, Laura Murphy, R.N., will lead a discussion of Dr. Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The program begins at 3 pm. Books are available at the circulation desk, so you can read it ahead of time.

Tara Whiting reminds us that our annual town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, April 14, 7 pm, at the West Tisbury School. The election follows on Thursday, April 16, 7 am to 8 pm, at the Public Safety Building.

March 12 is a group family birthday for Sylvia Thompson, her daughter Mary Rentschler, and Mary’s half-sister Hope. This year was extra-special, as while we were celebrating, Sylvia’s new grandniece was being born. Genevieve Sarah Kreutle is the daughter of Christine Rentschler and Joseph Kreutle. Excitement and congratulations. Sylvia loves babies, and we all look forward to her meeting and holding young Genevieve.

Mary hosted her mother’s party at Long Hill, where Sylvia has lived the past three years. Guests were Barbara Oberfest, Lynne Whiting, Elizabeth Sandland, Louise Sweet, and me. We had flowers, presents, laughter, lots of pictures, and a delicious lunch that ended with the best cheesecake ever. Lynne showed Sylvia pictures of her two grandchildren, Bea’s son Asa and Will’s daughter Prudence. Zima Flanders took a video to send to siblings unable to attend. Rick O’Gorman came for his regular Thursday-afternoon performance, and began by singing “Happy Birthday” to Sylvia. You are much loved, Sylvia.

I couldn’t believe when it started to snow late Sunday afternoon. Soon the world was again covered in a lacy white veil and the sky was almost invisible. Next week will be the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. I remain on the cusp of wanting to hold onto winter’s quietude and eagerness to get outside to begin planting, to feel sunshine and warmth on my skin, to watch the world turn green.

What a difference a week has made. Ten inches of snow last Thursday almost gone, as temperatures have warmed and everything is melting. Our rhododendrons have relaxed their leaves from the tightly-curled aspect they presented these past several weeks, conserving their energy against the cold. The sun is shining. Icicles are gone, and water is dripping off trees and our roof. There are even patches of bare grass visible in places.

The weather is supposed to continue mild through the week, so maybe some of the piles of snow and water-covered, icy walks will disappear. It really does feel warm outside. Robins are singing in our yard. I hate waking up in the dark, but it was nice to be outside around 6:30 last night driving home in daylight. So, I guess the inevitable spring will arrive, bringing this winter to an end, and soon I will be reporting on snowdrops, crocuses, forsythia, and cherry trees.

Life is already feeling somewhat more active. We seem to be getting invitations and talking with friends, going to movies. Just getting out of our moribund, close-by-the-fire winter lives. We had dinner with the Hayneses Friday evening. I went to Joanne Scott’s on Sunday for one of her ladies-only teas, then to see Still Alice in Vineyard Haven. All this after barely leaving West Tisbury since January.

Marie-Louise Rouff was invited to Joanne’s, and had to decline because she and her husband, Paul Levine, had invited Jenny Allen and Rob Hauck to lunch at their house. They all belong to John Hough’s writing group, so had lots to talk about. “Extremely lively” was Marie-Louise’s comment. A group of artists, actors, and writers is always interesting, and it was. Paul said, “There were stories all over the place.” And a good meal besides.

I ran into Kerry Saulnier at Cronig’s the other day. She had just returned from a skiing vacation in New Hampshire with her husband Mike and their boys, Eli and Jonah. Everyone “had a blast,” said Kerry. No one broke anything. Now the boys are back to school, and Mike is busy getting his greenhouses ready. Palm Sunday will be here before we know it; it’s early this year, March 29, and Heather Gardens will be open for the annual greenhouse tour.

It’s funny how even with the deepest snow on the ground, gardeners are dreaming of getting our hands in the soil and planting things. Just the mention of Palm Sunday made me think of rainbow displays of pansies, fragrant hyacinths and daffodils, new shrubs to find room for, the vegetable garden to plan.

Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard is hosting their Annual Farmer’s Brunch this Sunday, March 15, 9 to noon, at the Chilmark Community Center. There will be four speakers and exhibits on the theme “Negotiating the Complexity of GMOs — Sourcing Seeds, Feeds, & Foods.” There will surely be lots of garden talk, too, about the best varieties of seeds, which heirloom seeds have been saved, a sharing of information about everything. Plus a wonderful meal and good company. Tickets are available at slowfoodmarthasvineyard.org or at the door. $10 for members or $12 for nonmembers. You won’t go home hungry.

The Morses and Nagles have returned rested and tanned after a family vacation in Tortola. Chris said they had more adventures than usual, including ziplining in the jungle, surfing lessons, snorkeling, day sails, and lots of beach time. There was even an art event, where everyone painted either hibiscus flowers or a landscape, so they came home with seven paintings to display. The party included Chris and Sheila Morse and their daughters Katie, Juliet, and Andrea, and Robin and Kevin Nagle and their son Alex. Robin and Chris are back to their respective galleries, North Water and the Granary.

News from the library includes an artist’s reception this Sunday afternoon, March 15, for Max Skjoldebrand, from 3 pm to 5 pm. He is an architect and photographer of black and white images. This exhibition is of 10 years of photographs taken between December 2004 and December 2014; it’s titled “Lines, Light, Shadows, and Reflections.” There will be live piano music played by David Rhoderick. Refreshments, too.

Writer’s Read is a program where short original prose — fiction or nonfiction — is read and critiqued. Everyone is given six minutes. It will meet in the Program Room at the library on Monday, March 16, at 7 pm. You may sign up in advance at 508-693-4307, or take a chance and sign up on the day.

You can learn all about vaccines on Thursday, March 19, 5 pm to 6 pm, from Dr. Julia Stunkel, Dr. Dana Guyer, and Marnie Toole.

Start reading Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande to prepare for Laura Murphy’s book discussion at the end of the month.

One of my winter projects has been to go through “stuff,” a project I initiate every year with varying amounts of progress. Last week I tackled a bag that had been in a closet upstairs, probably set there in one of my last-minute clean-ups and immediately forgotten about. I found myself clipping and reading some old columns from 2006. It was like reading a diary of my life and the life of our town. Hard to believe I have been writing this column since 2004. Observations of the weather and the environment, births, deaths, marriages, parties, town meetings and events, walks with dogs, tea with friends. So many changes and so much remaining the same.

West Tisbury felt quieter than usual last week, between being snowed in again and school vacation. Even the Mill Pond was empty of its regular habitués.

Jamie, Spencer, Faith, and Wyatt Thigpen met friends from Texas and spend their week off at Disney World in Florida. They did “everything,” all wonderful, but the highlight was having a mama gorilla carry her new baby right to the window in front of them, as though presenting him for their inspection and approval. Jamie also said, “It was spectacular to be in warm weather,” surely echoing the sentiments of many who remained in the north. They ran into several fellow travelers from town, the LaPine, Marshand, and Clements families, also enjoying the sunshine, warmer temperatures, and all the Disney characters.

Brian and Kate Athearn took their boys, Hunter and Emmett, farther south, through the Everglades, then to Marathon Key and Key Largo. They had perfect weather, unbelievable meals, and kayak and snorkeling trips. Brian said that Kate was the consummate travel agent, arranging everything so that they “crammed a week-and-a-half vacation into five days.” They celebrated Kate’s birthday with a fabulous dinner and a tropical view.

The Athearns ran into Becca and Luke El-Deiry in Sombrero Reef. Together they went out on a snorkel charter, and dined on stone crab claws while overlooking reefs and blue water.

Some stalwarts chose city vacations closer to home. Brian, Beth, Sol, and Maia Donnelly decided to go to Boston, where they stayed right in the city and walked everywhere, took subways, visited the Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, the U.S.S. Constitution, and T.D. Garden for a Bruins game, the best and most exciting part of the trip. They were sitting in their front-row seats when Daniel Sedine saw them and did a few fancy moves with his stick, then tipped the puck right over the glass into Sol’s waiting hand. Another bit of flash, and over came a puck for Maia. What could beat that? The Bruins lost to the Canucks, disappointing, but you still support your team win or lose. And they did.

Nicole Cabot took Violet and Reed for a girls-only trip into Boston. They went to the Science Museum, the Aquarium, and enjoyed lots of walking around the city. Ben stayed home with the dog, the cat, and the chickens.

Bruce and Jennifer Haynes took Jessica and Lily to New York City for four busy days and nights. Besides staying in a hotel, always special, they walked around Times Square, went to Madame Tussaud’s, the M&Ms Store, with 20-foot-high bins packed floor to ceiling with M&Ms in all the colors of the rainbow. They saw the Rockettes practicing on stage at Radio City Music Hall. Lily found the T. rex at the Museum of Natural History, and Bruce said they saw “everything” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Some vacationers spent their holiday at the school, clearing up the mess after a burst sprinkler pipe sent water everywhere in the kindergarten wing. Thanks to Victoria Phillips and Susan Reidy, who spent their vacation preparing new classrooms for returning students. Susan’s and Jamie Thigpen’s class has moved to the Middle School reading room. Terry Mello’s and Victoria’s class is now in the school library.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation held a surprise party for retiring chairman Hunter Moorman, as Hunter handed the gavel to the new chairman, Max Skjoldebrand. Vice-Chair Lynne Whiting and Hunter will remain on the committee, just not as officers. The new vice-chairman is Susan Graham. Dan Waters wrote and read a poem in honor of Hunter; here it is.

A Farewell (and Thank You) to Hunter Moorman

For years the West Tisbury Library knew

That a major expansion was long overdue.

It had been far too small for a decade or two

And it needed a hero to save it — but who?

It would have to be somebody patient and smart,

Understanding of money but open of heart.

We might never procure such a person, we feared …

But then, by some miracle, Hunter appeared!

Was it hard to get Hunter aboard? Not at all!

When the Library beckoned, he answered our call.

Where another might hesitate, Hunter was steady.

Where some might be reticent, Hunter was ready.

He charmed every donor he nabbed by the collar,

And nickel by nickel — and dollar by dollar —

He ran that campaign like a Swiss Army tank

And the deutschmarks and rubles piled up in the bank!

Well, the rest of the story is famous because

Now the Library’s built and gets tons of applause

But of all the gazillions of words on display,

Not a single one’s poignant enough to convey

Just how grateful we are to this knight on a steed

Who came through in our Library’s hour of need!

And we wish him good luck, as he rides down the street

In his search for new windmills to fight and defeat!

 

For Hunter from his friends and colleagues at the West Tisbury Library.

We will never, ever forget you!

Thank you, Hunter and Lynne, for your leadership and boundless energy and enthusiasm. You encouraged so many to be part of your dream.

Jennifer Tseng, well-known for her poetry, has written her first novel. She has just received word that Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness will be released on May 26.

I end with the sad news that two town residents passed away last week, Noah Block and Will Monast. Condolences to their families and friends.