Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

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

Hermine-HullHurricane Andrew came and went, called a tropical storm as it arrived on the Vineyard, but for most of us it was just a rainstorm. I haven’t heard of anything more than twigs and leaves down. We did get much-needed rain, a couple of inches. It was a good afternoon to read a book or take a nap. Not the expected Fourth of July celebration, but just fine. Outdoor celebrations of our nation’s independence resumed on the fifth, and proceeded as planned. The whole holiday weekend has been gorgeous.

I have to begin this column with condolences for everyone involved in the accident on State Road last week. Great sadness for the loss of a much too young man, concern for everyone at Grey Barn, especially Jonathan and his passengers. A tragic accident. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

Saturday afternoon was Blue Cullen’s tea party for her visiting college friend, Debbie Hill, from Cincinnati. The afternoon couldn’t have been more perfect, clear and sunny. Tables were set out in Blue’s garden, decorated with abundant bouquets, colorful tablecloths, and china teacups and dessert plates she has collected forever. Cathy Walthers served the most beautiful and delicious tea sandwiches, scones, fruit tarts, chocolate pots de crème, and raspberries on puffs of meringue. All of us ladies, longtime and new friends of Blue and each other, enjoyed every indulgence and being together, as well as meeting Debbie and welcoming her to the Vineyard, her first time here. Blue passed around notepaper and a pen for all of our suggestions for what Debbie “had to do” while here. It will be fun to find out which ones she chose. I hope your visit is wonderful and we will see you again, Debbie. You couldn’t have been more welcome.

I hope everyone saw Paul Karasik’s op-ed page cartoon in last week’s Vineyard Gazette. I had written earlier about his fishing expedition with Nelson and Jeff Bryant. It became a cartoon, as proposed, a perfect representation of the men and the outing. I can hear both of them in their voices, and their faces and gestures are just right. Bravo.

A plug for Phil Da Rosa’s Martha’s Vineyard Sound event this Saturday, July 12, 3 to 10 pm, at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. It is the launch for his project, Martha’s Vineyard Collaborative, to “facilitate collaboration between Island civic organizations, local government, schools, businesses, non-profits, and individuals, to accomplish projects Islanders want and need.” Phil is a native, as are his parents, Candy and Dennis DaRosa. I applaud his dream and urge everyone to support his efforts. Besides, Phil is a terrific musician and the day promises to be filled with music, food, and bonhomie. Bring a blanket or a beach chair. Tickets are available at

Lots going on at the library. Regular programs include the story hours: Mother Goose on the Loose for infants to 3-year-olds every Monday morning at 10:30; Storytime for pre-schoolers on Thursday mornings at 10:30. This Thursday, special guest Nicole Cabot of Island Grown Schools will regale children with stories, songs, and tastes of Cucumbers, The Vegetable of the Month. The Monday Night Movies on July 14 are The Secret Garden for families, and The Book Thief for teens. Both begin at 6:30. The movies are free and so is the popcorn. There’s also ongoing help for Mac computer users every Monday between 11 am and 1 pm.

This Saturday, July 12, Mike Black is leading a special workshop, Bubble Making. Sounds like fun. It’s for all ages and is from 11 am to 1 pm.

Also that night, put on your dancing shoes and step to the Ag Hall for a Farmers and Friends Contra Dance and Dessert Potluck. The music is by West Tisbury’s Flying Elbows. John Freeman is the caller. Doors open at 7 pm — $5 cover charge — and all are welcome.

Leaf Printing as Art, next Wednesday, July 16, 10:30 am to 12 noon, is a program for third to fifth graders. Debbie Yapp will lead the workshop. Learn to identify leaves and make art using crayon rubbings, printing with paint, or coming up with a technique of your own. The program is free.

Next Thursday, July 17, there is a free poetry workshop for teens. Jennifer Tseng, author of “The Man with my Face” and newly-published “Red Flower, White Flower,” has designed the workshop, called The Ecstatic World. “In this workshop, we will think, listen, and write,” is Jennifer’s description.”Our simple job will be to accept what the ecstatic world has to offer. Please pass the word on to your young friends.”

Please sign up for the above programs at the library circulation desk or online at

John Hough’s new book, “Little Bighorn,” is out and making the rounds of our family. Sue and Jared have read it. Mike and I are waiting for our turn. Reviews are great. John will read from it later this month at the West Tisbury Library.

Gallery openings in town this Sunday: David Witbeck and Jessica Pisano, both painters, and glass artist David Geiger at the Field Gallery, 5 to 7 pm.

Ruth Kirchmeier’s woodcuts, oil paintings by Leslie Baker and Hermine Hull at Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, 4 to 7 pm. Brooks Robards will be with us to sign copies of our new book of Brooks’s poetry and my paintings, “On Island.” Please park across the street behind the Fire Station and walk down the driveway. Limited parking at the gallery for anyone who has trouble walking.

A request. This is the time of year when our roadsides get littered with trash that blows out of vehicles or is dropped by careless pedestrians. Please pick it up. The orange daylilies are beyond beautiful this year. They deserve to be appreciated without trash at their feet. Thanks.

Hermine-HullWhat a string of glorious, perfect days. Thursday’s rain, one whole inch at our house, was such a relief to the waiting earth and to gardeners already tired of dragging hoses around trying to keep plants alive. I know we still need rain, but I am glad for the sunshine, moderate temperatures, and no humidity. It’s been perfect summer weather.

I noticed that the kousa dogwood seedlings I planted at least 20 years ago are now covered with creamy blossoms, trees that shimmer above our rooftops. Roe Belain just gave me some of her seedlings, descendants from the trees at Polly Hill’s. I have always wished I had room to plant an allee like the one at the arboretum, but the trees will sometime in the future make a pretty display and I like that mine have all come from friends’ gardens, making them very special to me.

Mari Harman stopped by Saturday on her way home from the Farmers’ Market. She has just arrived for the summer and couldn’t wait another minute to see Nanuk. Fortunately, I was able to find Mike at Cottle’s and he came right home, bringing Nan for the desired reunion. Nan has definitely become Mike’s dog, but she always has kisses and affection for Mari, her former owner who misses having a dog. Meanwhile, Talley was the recipient of Mari’s petting, while waiting for Mike and Nanuk to get here.

Mari doesn’t drive anymore, so it was a doubly nice visit to reconnect with Elise Thomas, Mari’s designated driver. Elise and Tom, longtime West Tisbury residents, moved to Maine several years ago. She has been helping Mari for the past three years. Tommy will be here soon for the summer. He was the owner of Indian Hill Equipment and a volunteer fireman. Elise ran a preschool on their property on State Road. Now the property is owned by Trippy Barnes. Good to have them back for awhile.

Jan Paul emailed me with her latest great idea. Her drop-in knitting/quilting group that meets at the Heath Hen on Tuesday evenings is moving to the beach by the drawbridge in Vineyard Haven. Wouldn’t it be pleasant sitting out on the beach, watching boats in the harbor, working on a project, surrounded by people who share your interests? Bring your dinner if you like. The group meets at 5:30 pm through the summer.

The West Tisbury School is renovating their playground and Jenn Doyle is coordinating the committee in charge. She is looking for folks in town who are interested in helping with the project. She needs committee members, designers, landscapers, and pure brawn. Are you interested? Can you help? Call Jenn at 508-693-6878 or Samantha Look at 774-563-8871.

The Martha’s Vineyard Library Association’s kick-off to the summer reading program is this Saturday, July 5, at the Ag Hall. Doors open at 10:30; the program begins at 11. Bill Ross is a very funny entertainer who can juggle almost anything. Face-painting is part of the event, too, all for $4 entry. Babes in arms are free. Enjoy the program, then come to the library and sign up for the summer reading program. This year’s slogan is “Fizz, Boom, Read.”

Paul Karasik will be guest artist at the West Tisbury Church’s Sunday morning service. He will draw cartoons to illustrate the week’s scripture reading as it is being read. July is the month the church focuses on the arts.

In Paul’s other life on staff of the Martha’s Vineyard Charter School, he told me about the school’s construction project over this summer. The groundbreaking for two new science labs begins this week with a ceremony and then heavy equipment. The school received a $200,000 grant for new science lab equipment from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

I hope everyone reads all the town columns. There is often something relevant to West Tisbury even though technically about events in another town. Two weeks ago, there was a letter in the Times about the Chilmark softball team missing Howard Wall playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his bagpipes to begin the games. Valerie Sonnenthal’s Chilmark column last week updated the story, reporting that Tony Peak has assumed that duty, much appreciated by the players and fans. No one will ever replace Howard, but it’s nice to know that his tradition is being carried on.

A bit of news about a project that has been an ongoing part of my life for the past two years. Brooks Robards — poet, reviewer, writer, and dear friend — and I have just published a book together. It’s called On Island: Poems and Paintings of Martha’s Vineyard. Thirty-five poems and 35 paintings. Sam Hiser was our photographer. Steve and Peggy Zablotney took our raw material and turned it into a beautifully designed 9 x 6 inch volume. Our first event, a talk and book signing, will be this Sunday, July 6, at Shaw Cramer Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven where we will be from 4 to 6 pm. There will be books for perusal and sale, and paintings of course. Homemade cookies are free.

Our next reading/signing will be at our own West Tisbury Library. I wanted very much for West Tisbury to be first. Brooks and I will talk on Tuesday afternoon, July 8, at 5 pm.

Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield will be at the Howes House weekly discussion group this Tuesday, July 8, from 9:30 to 11 am, talking about their new book, Martha’s Vineyard in World War II.

On Wednesday, July 9, Christa Fischer will lead a needle felting workshop at the library, 3:30–5:30 pm, for kids age 10 and up. Anyone who has seen Christa’s amazing felted animals and dolls will want to give it a try. She is a wonderful teacher. Please pre-register at the circulation desk or online at

Monday Night Movies are back at the library. New time is 6:30. There will be family movies upstairs in the program room and special movies for teens downstairs in the young adult room. Movies are free and so is the popcorn.

Kay Mayhew reported in her Tisbury column last week that all over the country bells will be rung for four minutes at 2 pm on July 4, a few moments between parades and cookouts to stop and remember the significance of the day. Enjoy your weekend.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullWest Tisbury was in the news everywhere I looked last week. Thursday’s New York Times Home section had an article about a store in Los Angeles. The paintings in the accompanying photograph looked so familiar; they were by Allen Whiting. Then on Saturday, Tony Horwitz had an op-ed in the Times.

Chief Manny Estrella was featured in a Martha’s Vineyard Times article about the new brush truck at Station 1, with reminiscences about the history of the fire department. Both local papers had articles about Ruth Epstein’s show at Featherstone. I saw it Sunday and it’s impressive. So was the black and white photography show, also at Featherstone, curated by our own Sam Hiser.

A monotype by Leslie Baker adorns the cover of the new Arts & Ideas Magazine just out. Included within are articles by or about Leslie, Kib Bramhall, Alison Shaw, Perry Garfinkel, Kate Feiffer, Ward Just, Emma Young, Laurene Krasny Brown, David White, Laura Roosevelt, Jennifer Tseng, Eleanor Stanwood, and Laura Wainwright. Hope I didn’t miss anyone.

It’s been a perfect week of sunny days and cool nights. No humidity. A light breeze. None of the usual hot, hot, hot and drippingly humid summer weather I dread. We desperately need rain. Still, everything looks green and abundant. Roses are everywhere, their fragrance scenting the warm air as I sit out on our porch for my morning coffee.

Events at the Grange Hall are in full swing. The Farmers’ Market is on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 am to 12 noon. The Antique Show is every Friday, 9 am to 3 pm. The Artisans’ Fair is on Thursdays and Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm.

I was glad to catch up with Cynthia Walsh this week. She had been in Italy for her granddaughter Bowen’s graduation from the International High School of Florence, and time with the family: Cynthia’s daughter Katherine Walsh, her husband Bruce Fernie, and their daughters Bowen and Avery. While there, Avery was baptized at her request in Saint James Episcopal Church in Florence. Avery loves being surrounded by people who speak both English and Italian. Saint James is an American church where services are in English. Although Italian was Avery’s first language, she is comfortably bi-lingual. Cynthia had a great time.

Now that she is home, she has a house full of guests. Her sister Diana Cotter is here, also “another Cynthia Walsh,” Cynthia’s niece, with her husband Mike Walsh, and their two sons, Ryan and James, all from San Diego. We ended our visit too quickly, as Cynthia was heading home to round everyone up to head for Vineyard Haven and a family dinner with sister Jaime Hamlin and her husband, Paul Lazes.

Monday Night Movies are returning to the West Tisbury Library beginning in July. There is something new this summer; movies for teens will be shown in the Teen Room downstairs, while the rest of the family watches upstairs in the Program Room.

Besides the movies, on-going library programs include Mother Goose on the Loose, a music and story time for infants to three-year olds every Monday at 10:30. Thursday morning’s storytime for pre-schoolers also begins at 10:30. Carolina Cooney’s Graphic Book Club meets on Mondays at 7 pm. Drop-in crafts are set out between 11 am and 3 pm on Saturdays for children and tweens/teens. This week: wind socks. And there’s a new drop-in service for patrons with Mac problems. Mondays beginning in July, “Mac Pro” Paul Levy will be on hand to help between 11 am and 1 pm.

The kick-off for the Summer Reading Program will be at the Ag Hall on July 5. The performer is Bill Ross. Doors open at 10:30 for the 11 am performance. Admission is $4. Babes in arms are free.

Library Friend and friend Hallie Mentzel visited last week from New York City. It was great to have her back in West Tisbury. The highlight of her visit was a tour of the new library, which she loved. Hallie had been on the library board for many years and the dream of a larger space has been of long-standing. Linda Hearn and I took her out for breakfast at the Plane View, another of her favorite places. We all hope she will be back again later in the summer.

Friends of Pat Brown are reminded that tomorrow, Friday, June 27, there will be a celebration of her life held at 11 am at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Edgartown, followed by a reception in the Baylies Room of the Whaling Church. Pat was a lifelong resident of Edgartown and nurse at all the Island schools. “She touched so many lives,” said her friend Judy Bruguiere, who has organized the event. Judy asks that people bring stories and photographs with them to share.

ACE MV and the Yoga Barn are extending the popular stretch and meditation class, “Relaxed Body, Open Mind, Deep Rest,” led by Martha Abbot. Classes meet on Wednesdays at 11 am. I am especially mentioning this, as it sounds like an hour’s delicious respite in a hectic summer week.

My husband, Mike, has been my travelling news-gatherer and reporter of late. Last weekend he went up to Aquinnah to see the hot rods and classic cars, returning home with descriptions of everything that caught his eye and all the guys he saw up there. This weekend it was his visit to see the Charles W. Morgan in Vineyard Haven harbor. Bill and Betty Haynes were there, too, and they took the tour together and had a great time. I plan to go as soon as I send in my column.

Hermine-HullSaturday was a perfect day for Caroline Mayhew and Daniel Johnson’s wedding by the pond behind her grandparents’ house. Surrounded by family from both sides, Island friends of long standing, and new friends from the lives they have made together, they spoke their vows and placed their own rings on their fingers, a stated symbol of free will in making their commitment to each other. Tom Hodgson performed the ceremony. Caroline’s sister, Lucy, played the guitar and sang with her Aunt Deborah. Deborah and Betsey, mother of the bride, spoke. Grandmother Shirley sat in the first chair and I felt Johnny there as well, watching over his family with pride and happiness. Aunt Sarah took photographs. Jack was the  coordinator of everything and proudest father ever. Afterward, back at Jack and Betsey’s, there was the best potluck, music and laughter, and a special Southern Punch Betsey made and doled out with warnings of its potency. It was all as perfect as the day, and I wish Daniel and Caroline every happiness in their life together. And much love.

At the other end of the spectrum, all the best and happiest wishes to Mike and Cathy Minkiewicz, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 30. They attended the wedding of Anna Christensen and Dan LaRossa on May 31, bringing back memories of their own wedding in Montreal, Canada, according to Cathy. Later they shared a dinner at the Outermost Inn with friends. Plans remain for a week in August with their children, four grandchildren, and three dogs. May your celebrations continue and your life together.

This coming weekend is a big one for the Epstein-Littlefield family. Lisa and Ivory will be the proud parents as their daughter, Leah, becomes a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday morning. She will participate in the service with Rabbi Caryn Broitman and be called to read from the Torah for the first time, then lead the congregation in a discussion of her Torah portion.

Leah has been collecting “new and gently-used” children’s books for her Bat Mitzvah project. They will be distributed by literacy organizations to kids in hospitals and shelters. It’s not too late to participate; there are collection boxes at the West Tisbury Library and the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center lobby.

Since there will be lots of family here for Leah’s Bat Mitzvah weekend, Lisa has also organized a special tribute to her mother, Ruth Epstein, an art exhibition opening on Sunday afternoon in The Pebble Gallery at Featherstone. Ruth will turn 89 this year. She has always been an artist. A retrospective of her work, “A Creative Life,” will showcase Ruth’s work as a weaver, doll-maker, sculptor, and collagist. The opening begins at 4 pm and the show will remain on display until June 29, noon to 4 pm daily.

Happy Belated Birthday wishes to Jean Wexler, last Thursday, June 12, and to Hallie Mentzel on June 13. Laura Kimball will celebrate her birthday on June 20.

Lots going on at the West Tisbury Library this week. Regular storytimes for infants to three year-olds are on Mondays at 10:30, and for pre-schoolers Thursday mornings at 10:30. Craft projects are set out during the day on Saturdays between 11 and 3. This week’s family craft is sponge printing.

Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield will introduce their new book, “Martha’s Vineyard in World War II,” at a program of stories, photographs, and memories next Tuesday, June 24, at the library. Oral historian Linsey Lee plans to join them. There will be time for questions and comments, as well as signed books for sale at $20 each. The program begins at 5 pm.

The library is partnering with the West Tisbury Church for a two-night program by Padre Spencer Reece. On Wednesday, June 25, Padre Reece will lead a poetry-driven service beginning at 5 pm. The following evening at 5:30, he will read from his new book of poems, “The Road to Emmaus,” at the library. Both programs are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The Antique Show and Sale begins this Friday at the Grange Hall, 9 am-3 pm. It will run each Friday, through early fall .

Congratulations to all the graduates in town, both high school and college.

Father’s Day makes me think of my own father, a man I loved and wish I had known better. He died when I was 14. There wasn’t time for me to know him as an adult, so to me he remains the man I idolized as a child. I remember his elegance, his 1950s manners, his kindness to all, his cigars, his strong arms, and the love and pride and encouragement he showed for his only daughter. My drawings and paintings were taped to the glass doors of tall cabinets behind the counter in our store, Smith Pharmacy. He called it Hermine’s Art Gallery; somehow he knew my future. I think of him when I sweep off the bricks in front of my studio every morning, the kind of chore he dutifully maintained, when I plant pansies in the spring, when I eat sweet corn and lobsters and jelly donuts in the summer, observe the High Holidays and rake piles of leaves every fall, and make magical Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year celebrations to brighten the winter. We stayed up all night together watching election returns the night John Kennedy was elected president. We sat together in temple at a service mourning his assassination, only a few months before my father himself died of a heart attack at 61. His memory is a sweetness forever in my heart.

The landscape has become overwhelmingly green, seemingly overnight. A much-needed rain brought leaves out and at least a foot of grass. I miss the structure of tree trunks and branches that always intrigues me looking out at our woods. Now it is a heavy mass of green, the early freshness already lost, darkening towards summer.

If you passed Rez Williams’s and Lucy Mitchell’s house the last Saturday in May and wondered about the tent and the cars and the flowers and the guests elegantly dressed on the lawn, it was the wedding day of Anna Christensen and Daniel LaRossa. About 110 guests attended, from as far afield as South Africa. Anna is the daughter of Julia Mitchell and John Christensen. She graduated from Berkeley Law School earlier in May. Her new husband is an architect, working for a San Francisco firm that specializes in library design. Now they are moving to Philadelphia to begin the next chapter of their life together. Wishes for much happiness to you both.

I had a happy visit from Linda Hearn, newly returned from the trip she and her eldest granddaughter, Emily Collins, took to London and Paris. I loved hearing about their adventures and descriptions of London, a city I lived in and loved, and Paris, that I have only dreamed of from paintings and photographs. I had given Linda a list of places before she left. It was fun to hear about her and Emily at the Victoria and Albert Museum, walking through Green Park and Kensington Park, seeing the Queen driving down the Mall on her way to present new banners to her Household Cavalry, the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, and an unexpected sighting of Marilyn and Warren Hollinshead at Heathrow Airport. They had less time in Paris, but filled it as full as possible. Linda said she never walked as much and may never do so again, but they had a wonderful time together. Now I am glad to have my friend returned home.

Ben and Paddy Moore have just come back from Vermont. Ben told me about his visit with his cousin and Yale college roommate, Kim Cheney, and his wife Barbara. Paddy was off part of the time teaching Mediation and Negotiation, part of a course on Conflict Transformation Across Cultures at World Learning in Brattleboro. She rejoined Ben in time for both of them to meet Ben’s new namesake, Ben Cheney.

Happy Birthday wishes to Bea Amaral, who turns 89 this Saturday, June 14. Ms. Amaral is a marvel of energy and many capabilities; she still runs Bea’s Fabric Shop, works at our town elections, travels, keeps up with friends and family. Enjoy your day.

Bill Haynes has a birthday on the same day. I always remember Flag Day, June 14. Happy Birthday, Bill.

One more birthday that is special to me. My dear Leslie Baker, friend and art-adventurer, celebrates her day on June 17. Plans for a day painting together somewhere beautiful and lobster rolls for lunch.

If you are reading this in time, two events today at the West Tisbury Library. The children’s storytime at 10:30 is all about strawberries. Nicole Cabot will read and sing songs and make a strawberry treat. At 5 o’clock, come to hear Susie Middleton talk about her life at Green Island Farm. She will demonstrate a special recipe or two from her latest book, “Fresh From the Farm.”

The library’s Saturday craft will be clothespin magnets. Materials are out all day, so drop in and make a gift for Father’s Day, or for yourself.

Poet Jill Jupen’s two-session workshop, The Sight and Sound of Line Breaks, will meet on Tuesday, June 17, and Thursday, June 19, 3–5 pm at the library. Register at the circulation desk for one or both days.

Paul Karasik will be teaching two graphic novel workshops this summer in Vermont, “perfect for aspiring cartoonists looking for a jumpstart,” as he describes them. Look on his website: At home, Paul is working on his next op-ed page cartoon for the Vineyard Gazette. Ruth Kirchmeier told me that he asked to accompany Nelson and Jeff Bryant on a fishing expedition, thinking it would make a good subject. They went Saturday evening, didn’t catch anything, but had a good time, and Paul gathered his required images and information. Now to translate it into a work of art.

Sam Hiser will be guest curator for an exhibition of black and white photography at Featherstone beginning June 22. Photographers are invited to submit up to three images.

You may have noticed new plantings at the triangle at the foot of Brandy Brow. The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club has begun the project as a thank-you gift to the town for preservation money for a new roof on the Old Mill. Garden Club President Maryann Doleszar said they have plans for more to come. The Garden Club will host their first yard sale at the Old Mill this Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.

ACE MV has posted a three-part video, “How to Prevent, Recognize, Diagnose, and Treat Tick-Borne Illnesses” on their website homepage, You may also find it on MVTV.

Our golden retriever, Nanuk, is testing the limits of Paw-Proof screens on our doors. Mike returned home one afternoon to find Nan out in the yard and our screen door with an empty bottom half. This is the third or fourth screen she had gone through. I wonder if we should notify the makers of Paw-Proof? Maybe Nan could make our fortune as a screen tester.

The first of our fiery orange poppies opened this morning. The dark purple Siberian iris “Caesar’s Brother” and dainty white matricaria that I let reseed itself all over the garden are still tight buds. They usually bloom together making a hot-colored spectacle, barely cooled down by the matricaria. Chartreuse-flowering alchemilla mollis is not far behind.

Marjory Potts sent me an email about the showing of her and Robert’s film, “You May Call Her Madam Secretary” that will be shown this Sunday evening, 7:30 pm, at the Hebrew Center. Part of the email was a description of “My first June bouquet – the best.” She wrote, “I picked a beautiful bunch of white Siberian irises last night – they were from YOU years ago….I mixed them with some stunningly purple Viola Klose salvias and Guernsey Cream clematis from Polly Hill.” Marjory always has bouquets around her house and across her tables, a gift I admire and try to emulate. Fresh flowers in the house make me happy. Going outside and picking them from my own garden makes me happier still.

Back to the film. Marjory wrote, “I so want people to see this film – we have brought it back because we are struck about how different our country would be now if there was a Frances Perkins in Washington: in Congress, in the Cabinet and especially in the White House. Not because she was a woman, but because she had such a strong moral conscience that the purpose of a public servant was to better the lives of ordinary people. And she did just that as she had such a huge influence on FDR. Can you imagine if that were the guiding light of public office today? And virtually no one under sixty (if that) knows who she was…so we wish more younger people would see this film — perhaps get inspired. One other thing…the wonderful period strumming music that is background to the film was composed and played by West Tisbury’s Jeff Bryant and Peter Huntington.”

An observant reader called to alert me to a mistake in last week’s column. I had written the date for Pat Brown’s memorial celebration as July 27. The correct date is June 27.

When I saw Joel Weintraub recently, he told me he was going back to teaching at the West Tisbury School after a false retirement or two. Joel taught science at West Tisbury for many years, retired eight years ago, un-retired for six years when he taught in Providence, R.I. Now he begins again on September 1, his 46th year of teaching. “Lucky I went into a job I really like 46 years ago,” he said.

In the course of the conversation, Joel asked about my niece, Charlotte Hull, a former student of his. I gave him a bit of a synopsis of her past few years and agreed to pass along his regards when I spoke with her next. I did, and this is the response I got. “Joel was awesome! That’s great that he’s gone back to teaching, he was wonderful. Tell him I said hello if you hear from him again.”

You have only two more days to participate in “Share Your Bounty; Buy One and Give One,” at the Vineyard Haven Cronig’s and Edgartown Stop & Shop. The program is sponsored by Mass in Motion, a program of the Dukes County Health Council, the Vineyard Committee on Hunger, and Slow Food MV. As the name implies, the goal is to buy something for yourself and donate a second item to an Islander in need of a helping hand. The program’s goal is to supplement the basics given out at the Food Pantry and to encourage healthy donation choices.

Our own Jennifer Tseng will be reading from her new book of poetry, “Red Rose, White Rose,” at a special event at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts, 104 Main Street, Edgartown, this Saturday, June 7, 6-8 pm. Please RSVP to

The library has some special programs up-coming. Local chef, author, and farmer Susie Middleton will speak about her latest book, “Fresh From the Farm,” and do a cooking demonstration next Tuesday, June 12, from 5 to 6 pm.

Earlier in the day, Nicole Cabot will lead a special Island Grown Storytime all about strawberries. It begins at 10:30 am in the Children’s Room.

A two-part poetry workshop led by Jill Jupin is planned for Tuesday, June 17, and Thursday, June 19, at the library. Both sessions meet from 3 to 5 pm. “The Sight and Sound of Line Breaks” is the subject to be explored. Participants are encouraged to bring in work for revision. Please pre-register at the circulation desk.

My yellow lab, Talley, is 11 years old today, June 2. I look at her slower gait and whitened face and still see the dainty puppy waiting for me at the then MSPCA. She has been the love of my life ever since. (Joannie Jenkinson will remind me that I said the same thing about Cala, the lab before Talley, and the series of cats, labs, and golden retrievers that Mike and I have adopted and loved over the years.) But Talley is truly The One. Happy birthday, Sweetness.

A late item just in: Lisa Bassett and Herb Moody were married Sunday at his home in Christiantown. They stood together under under an enormous old oak tree surrounded by a circle of  blooming rhododendrons, making it a magical setting. There were just 25 in attendance, close friends and family.

Lisa and Herb have been friends for over 25 years, which Lisa says it makes it all the better. Her wedding ring is a gift from her new mother-in-law, Maria Moody, that had been her mother’s. Maria and Ann Bassett, Lisa’s mother, are a pair of very proud and happy moms.

The bride announced she will keep her maiden name; she said those who know her will agree she is moody enough already.

It has been a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. We need rain, but it has held off for holiday cookouts and beach walks. Our woods are fully leafed-out now, still new-green, that fleeting combination of soft colors before turning solid, hot, summer-unrelieved and dark. I can’t tear my eyes away, saving it all up for paintings.

Brian Athearn and his sons have once again placed flags on all the veterans’ graves in the town’s cemeteries for Memorial Day. Thank you for honoring their memories and service.

The lambs at Whiting’s are now out in the pasture along State Road. They are grazing along the pond at Flat Point, too. I haven’t driven up Middle Road recently, but I suppose Mermaid Farm offers similar amusement to passersby. Watching the lambs frolicking is a jolly sight and makes running errands a bit more interesting.

I felt very happy to see Ellie Hanjian in church Sunday with her brother and parents. Ellie has returned home sooner than expected, making a miraculous recovery from the car accident that injured her and the Redington-Whitaker family at the beginning of May.

Judy Bruguiere is planning a celebration for the life of her best friend, Pat Brown, this July 27, which would have been Pat’s birthday. She is asking people who knew Pat to please share photographs and stories to make a memory board for display at the celebration. Jenny Marlin is helping collect these mementos. Please contact her at or send to P.O. Box 1311, Edgartown 02539.

A reminder about some of the on-going programs for kids at our West Tisbury Library. Every Monday morning at 10:30 is Mother Goose on the Loose, an interactive storytime for newborns to three-year-olds. Storytimes for pre-schoolers are every Thursday morning at 10:30. A special story and event happens every second Thursday when Nicole Cabot of Island Grown Initiative features a different food each month. On Saturdays there are drop-in crafts for kids and teens/tweens. Materials are set out from 11 to 3 in the Children’s Room and the Young Adult Room.

Carolina Cooney’s Graphic Novel Book Club will meet at the library on Monday, June 2, at 7 pm. The book for discussion is “Epileptic” by David B., a biography of growing up with an epileptic brother.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life begins at 9 am Saturday, May 31, and runs through 9 am Sunday, June 1. This year’s theme is Celebrations. Teams, volunteers, and cancer survivors are all encouraged to participate at the event, which takes place at the MVRHS track. For more information look online at’s Vineyard MA or on Facebook at Relay For Life Martha’s Vineyard.

The Charles W. Morgan is expected to dock in Vineyard Haven Harbor this June 21-24. In preparation, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has an exhibition about the Morgan and the Vineyard during whaling days. Eric Jay Dolin, author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, will speak at the Federated Church on Tuesday, June 3, at 5:30 pm.

West Tisbury documentary producers, Robert and Marjory Potts, made a wonderful film called You May Call Her Madam Secretary, about Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, who served from 1933 to 1945. Besides being the first woman cabinet secretary, she served under President Franklin Roosevelt at an exciting time in our history, and was responsible for designing and implementing many of the New Deal programs we revere. If you have never seen this film, or if you can’t wait to see it again, it will be shown at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center next Sunday, June 8, at 7:30. Admission is $5.

Yesterday’s New York Times had an op-ed piece by Thomas L. Friedman titled Memorial Day 2050. It discussed climate change and suggested ways to engage us all in preserving a future for following generations. Many of his proposals were ideas we on the Vineyard have already considered and many have already been implemented. West Tisbury became a Green Community by town meeting vote a few years ago. We are uniquely placed, as an island, to address conservation of resources and self-sufficiency, many of the strategies for what Mr. Friedman calls “resiliency.” Another reason to feel lucky for this place we live in.

“There is a veil over this town and this Island.” That is how a friend described the loss of Pat Gregory. I asked if I could use her quote. It seemed a perfect description.

Skipper Manter made the announcement at the beginning of the Public Safety Building open house on Saturday afternoon. It has dominated all conversation, all thought. Chief Rossi said he would have cancelled the open house had he known in time, but I was glad we were all together, and I felt that Pat would have wanted his town together as we so often were when he stood at the podium leading us through our town meetings.

Whatever we learn about what happened to Pat in that park in California, it will never make sense. He was a truly good guy. He was a part of so many of our lives and the life of West Tisbury. My heart goes out to Dorothy, their children and grandchildren, their many friends, to our town, and to our Island.

There will be a memorial gathering at Abel’s Hill Cemetery to remember Penn Kimball, who died last November. Julie, Laura, Lisa, and John invite us all to join them at 4 o’clock on Monday, May 26, to tell stories and reminisce about our longtime Chilmark friend.

The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club will hold their annual sale this Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, 9 am to 2 pm, at the Old Mill.

The Polly Hill Arboretum begins Saturday morning with a walk for early-birds at 9 am, followed by their plant sale from 10 am to 2 pm. Walking the Arboretum is a good way to learn about unfamiliar plants and their requirements.

All the galleries will be hung with artists’ new work, ready for the summer. Allen and Lynne Whiting will open The Davis House Gallery this Saturday, May 24, 1 to 6 pm. The gallery will remain open on Saturdays and by appointment through June.

Kara Taylor will open her gallery at the former Stan Murphy Gallery on South Road. Look for her sign, her plantings, and her array of paintings.

The Granary Gallery is open year-round. The Field Gallery is open now, with paintings on the walls and sculptures dancing in the field outside.

I will open Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art this Saturday with woodcuts by Ruth Kirchmeier, my oil paintings, and I welcome Leslie Baker, who is showing a selection of small landscapes, many done when we painted together on our outings to favorite spots around the Island. My gallery will be open Thursdays through Sundays through the summer, 11 am to 5 pm.

The Family Planning Benefit Art Show opens at the Ag Hall with a preview party Thursday evening, 6 to 8 pm, $50 per person. Free admission Friday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Ted and Sue Powell came from Canton to spend Mother’s Day with Ted’s mom, Rosalie Powell. Jim called Rosalie from Utah and sent her a corsage to celebrate the day.

Karen Colaneri has returned from “a wonderful family trip to Richmond, Virginia,” where her niece, Abby Goethals, graduated cum laude from the University of Richmond with a degree in Leadership Studies. The family was hosted by Karen’s brother and sister-in-law, Al and Marion (BB) Goethals. Abby’s parents, Sam and Edie Goethals, her brother, Matt, her sister and brother-in-law, Lauren and Joe Merry, with their two-month-old son, Liam, all attended the graduation and festivities. Abby’s grandparents Rip and Clara Grossman came from Scottsdale, Arizona. Also, her aunt and uncle, Mary Goethals and Corky Poster, from Tucson. Abby was surprised when her Uncle Al, a professor at The Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond, ascended the podium to present her with her diploma. Congratulations, Abby.

Island Montessori has planned fundraising events for next Saturday, May 31. Flyin’ MV starts the day from 11 am to 2 pm at the Katama Airfield with flights for $5/person. Grownups can attend a special evening at The Field Club, Fly Me to the Moon, which will include dancing, cocktails, small plates, and an auction from 5 to 7 pm, $30/person. For more information, look on the website:, call or email Deborah Jernegan at 508-693-4090 or

The West Tisbury Library is looking for volunteers to paint the Alley’s playhouse. Anyone interested, please call Doug Ruskin at 508-687-9301. We also welcome two new part-time circulation assistants, Ann Quigley and Olivia Larsen.

Our historical buildings are a gift, so I was interested to learn from Herb Ward that the Federated Church plans to open for tours from 1 to 3 pm every afternoon, May 26 to August 31. The tours are free; no appointment needed. Hosts will be available to answer questions and share some of the history of this beautiful 1828 building.

The Supportive Day Program benefit bike ride scheduled for Saturday, May 24, has been cancelled.

I am typing this column on a MacBook laptop that Pat Gregory sold me several years ago. We were sitting at a desk downstairs at EduComp, discussing the relative merits of different models. Pat, fascinated by his gadgets and their possibilities, was taken aback at my lack of interest. “I just need something to write my column on, maybe do email or look at something online.” He told me all I needed was the smallest, least expensive model, which I bought. Pat seemed amused throughout the transaction, and unfailingly polite, as was his way. We talked about dogs and beach walks. He and Dorothy were dog-sitting for Shannon’s black lab. Whenever I saw Pat in the years since, he often laughed about my lack of computer curiosity and I always reassured him that he had sold me just the right one.

Hermine-HullI hope everyone in town will come to the open house at the Public Safety Building this Saturday, May 17, from 4 to 7 pm. The open house will be hosted jointly by the Fire Department, Police Department, and Tri-Town EMTs. It will be an opportunity to tour the facilities, check out the equipment, see many of your neighbors, as well as get to know our town’s emergency personnel. The West Tisbury Firemen’s Association will serve hamburgers and hot dogs. So stop by. The Public Safety Building is at 454 State Road, across from Cronig’s and Conroy’s. You will see the sign, lots of cars, big fire trucks, and maybe balloons.

It’s actually hot outside in the sun as I am writing this column from my porch. I had breakfast out here this morning, the first of the season. Everything looks green and flowering and more beautiful than I ever remember. Maple trees are leafed out. The opening flowers of my dogwoods appear to float above the landscape. The earliest rhododendrons, PJM and Catawbiense Album, are beginning to bloom, a carpet of myrtle and violets and ajuga at their feet. I am ignoring the dandelions and ground ivy.

Driving up the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, I was surprised at how green everything is. It always seems to happen in an instant, no matter how vigilant I am. One day everything is just a haze of color, an impression of a possibility, then it’s fully leafed out and overwhelmingly, brilliantly green.

Katherine Long has had her mother, Katherine, and her sister, Mary Ruth Flores, here for a visit. Mary Ruth caught the Island obsession with seeing a snowy owl, and spent a good part of her trip checking out other people’s sightings online and following their advice as to where to go. She finally did see her owl. As Katherine commented, “Now her life is complete.” Besides that, the three of them spent time with Island friends, did lots of cooking, worked on sewing/quilting/knitting projects together, and played with and admired Purl and Twig, Katherine’s cats. And saw a snowy owl.

Lynne Whiting has returned home from “a rather extraordinary trip” visiting her family in Utah. She met her newest great-nephew, Oliver Patrick McGuinn, her sister Lori’s first grandchild. Lynne’s mother, Mary Erickson, got to hold him and pose for photographs with all four generations, and to sit for lots of family photographs with Lynne and her siblings. Lynne had gone out to finish up a memory book she and her mother had been making together. They were together when Mary died on May 4. Condolences to Lynne, Allen, and their family.

Students from the MVRHS Women’s Studies class have researched and curated an exhibition at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. “Women and Crime: Victims and Perpetrators” will open with a reception on Monday, May 19, from 5 to 7 pm. Covering the period from 1790 to 1840, archives in the museum’s collection were cross-referenced with sheriff’s department and court records to tell the stories that make up the exhibition. Come see what they discovered.

Drop-in Saturday crafts at the West Tisbury Library this week are out all day from 11 to 3, free to all comers. Materials for making bug prints will be set out in the Children’s Room. Teens and tweens can design their own crystal magnets in the Young Adult’s Room.

Laughter Yoga begins at the library with classes for adults on Monday, May 19, at 5:30 pm. The class for kids ages 5 to 7 and their parents begins this Thursday, May 22, at 4 pm. Laughter Yoga was created by a doctor in India. It combines gentle movements and stretches, deep yogic breathing, with child-like playfulness. Emily Sims will lead both classes.

It’s already feeling dry, with no good rain in sight, hoses spread from one end of the yard to distant new plantings beyond. I am enchanted by the daily changes that are a hallmark of the spring season. I keep driving past Harriet Bernstein’s house waiting for her enormous cherry trees to burst into bloom; they must cover a hundred feet across the front of her property and make a spectacular show. Look up the driveway marked with a red hat on a post when you travel along the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. It’s just about across from New Lane and the Cleaveland House, set back from the road. When they blossom, you can’t miss it.

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There are four baby goats at Flat Point Farm, born over the past two weekends. Emily Fischer was full of news when I saw her the other evening. This year’s lambs are growing and a studio is going up on the property for Emily’s goat milk soap-making business and for her mother, Christa’s, felting projects. Christa has been doing workshops at the library and at Featherstone for several years now. Her felted creations are magical. Brava to both Fischer women and to the continued life and growth on the farm.

Emily’s other surprising news was that her eldest son, Milo, will be starting kindergarten this fall. It all happens so quickly, babies being born and growing up, having their own babies. I seem to ruminate about all sorts of things these days like my perspective on life in my town, having lived long enough to have a perspective.

Besides watching children grow, I have the perspective of watching the landscape around me. My weeping cherry tree was barely a whip when I planted it. Now it is a waterfall of long pink-flowered branches sweeping the ground, about 15 feet high. Ruth Kirchmeier came for a garden visit last week, remembering us wedging that tree into the car on one of our many plant-buying expeditions. Everything seems to have a story, to bring up memories, perspective. That’s one of the pleasures of gardening, remembering the friend who gave you a thinning of something that is now a huge patch, or the plan you had when you planted it. Whether that plan was adhered to or not, whether another plant proved more vigorous than the one you intended to feature, the height and width of mature plantings instead of the tiny specimens originally planted. I plant things farther apart now.

My friend Leslie Baker, ever the optimist, commented recently that the cool weather has made our spring flowers last much longer. We have had daffodils blooming for over a month now, the earliest ones still looking good, barely beginning to turn brown at the edges of their petals.

I am glad that Catherine Hoffman had a chance to see her daffodils bloom this one last time before she died last week. Catherine’s daffodils, diverse and abundant, have been one of the highlights of my drives along State Road for as long as I can remember. That and her golden chain tree, one of the few I have ever seen, that will bloom soon. She was a lovely person, an artist and a musician. My condolences to her family and all who knew her.

A reminder about Leah Littlefield’s Bat Mitzvah project. I mentioned before that she is collecting children’s books, new and gently-used, for a shelter in Boston. She has placed a second collection box at the West Tisbury Library, so you no longer have to drive to the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven to leave donations for her project. Her Bat Mitzvah will take place on June 21, so you still have time to contribute books for her.

The Friends of the West Tisbury Library need lots of Cronig’s bags with handles for sorting and storing books in preparation for their Annual Book Sale. If you have some to spare, please leave them at the sheds at the West Tisbury School. Books for the sale may be left there, too, but the Friends ask that large donations be held until they move into the school gym after July 7. This year’s sale runs from August 1 to 4.

The Library Foundation’s Speakeasy Series resumes next Wednesday evening, May 14, with authors Ward Just and Paul Schneider the featured guests at State Road Restaurant. Hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 7 pm for $30 per person. The West Tisbury Library Foundation Inc. was incorporated “to promote and advocate for the expansion, improvement, maintenance and support of the West Tisbury Free Public Library.” The Speakeasy Series has been one of their most popular fundraisers.

Emily Sims Solarazza will lead two yoga classes at the library. Laughing Yoga for Adults begins Monday, May 19, at 5:30 pm. Laughing Yoga for Kids will meet on Thursdays at 4 pm, beginning May 22.

The library’s Saturday drop-in crafts have expanded with the new space. Family crafts will be set up in the Children’s Room from 11 to 3. Teen/Tween projects will be out during the same hours in the Young Adult’s Room downstairs. Crafts are free and open to the public.

Martha’s Vineyard Museum Chief Curator Bonnie Stacy has a new book, “Martha’s Vineyard,” featuring over two hundred photographs and stories about the history of our island. She will talk about the book and show images from it in the Museum Library on Tuesday, May 13, at 5:30 pm.

The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group fundraiser, Evening Under the Stars, will be held at Farm Neck on Thursday, May 15, 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Enjoy a buffet dinner, drinks, dessert, and dancing to music by Mike Benjamin. The $100 donation goes entirely to help Island cancer patients and their families with various costs of their treatment.

Someone noted recently that I haven’t mentioned Nelson in a while. He is now an eight-month old macho male cat. He has learned how to use the cat flap, so he comes and goes with more independence. He has become an excellent killer of mice, moles, and voles, encouraging me as the gardening season progresses. He is still very affectionate and he still bites, but he is a wonderful cat. I am totally smitten with my guy.

The West Tisbury column for May 1 was inadvertently omitted from the print edition of The Times. It was posted online and is still available there at the above link. – Ed.

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