Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

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

Hermine-HullWe had a sprinkling of rain Sunday night, fast and noisy during the night, leaving a mere quarter inch behind. Some relief for which our plants look grateful. It’s still now, with a heavy sky, the hazy, hot, and humid weather of midsummer. We have been spoiled by crisp, cool days when unexpected; now we will have the heat.

Cardinal flower is splendidly blooming along Whiting’s and the Mill Pond. It makes a pretty picture paired with bright chartreuse marsh grasses and dark purple shadows where it sits tucked into the shrubbery. White mallows are blooming now, and shockingly orange and yellow leaves have appeared among still-green woodlands. Aronia and early-turning maples are these first trees to show their autumn colors. Beach plums are ready for picking if you know a secret spot.

Several people have asked about Nelson lately. Coincidentally, I ran into Hal Garneau and Richard Knabel at Cronig’s the other evening. We all had gotten kittens about a year or so ago, all naughty and tearing into our lives. Literally. I’m happy to report that all kittens are now past their first birthdays and settling down to varying degrees. Hal and Dan’s three bad boys are no longer into everything, although they are still energetic, healthy cats who can cause some mischief on occasion. Richard and Jim’s Suzette barely bites at all. Mike and I, and our dogs, have survived Nelson’s first year. He still bites, but not with the vigor he used to show; it feels more gratuitous now: “Oh, this is just what I do. A little love bite.” He is a very handsome orange macho man and I adore him.

Look in this week’s New Yorker magazine for a cartoon by Paul Karasik. It’s a good one.

The Martha’s Vineyard Montessori School announces the hiring of a new Head Classroom Teacher. Her name is Tyrene Johnston. Everyone is excited about her arrival and looking forward to working with her this year. Welcome.

Massachusetts Primary Elections take place on Tuesday, September 9, at the Public Safety Building. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm. Don’t forget to vote. If you are not yet a registered voter in town, go up to see Town Clerk Tara Whiting during her office hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–1:30 pm.

The West Tisbury Library continues to host many programs for all members of the community. Songs and stories for infants to three-year-olds is called Mother Goose on the Loose every Monday morning at 10:30. Older pre-schoolers meet on Thursday mornings at 10:30. The special Island Grown Initiative storytime with Nicole Cabot is next Thursday morning, September 11. It’s all about tomatoes this month. Free all-day craft projects are set up in the Children’s Room every Saturday from 10:30 am–3 pm. Drop in.

Steve Maxner will be giving free guitar lessons at the library beginning September 15 at 5 pm. The program is supported by a grant from the Permanent Endowment For Martha’s Vineyard. Guitars will be provided. There is a $20 fee for materials. You may pre-register at the library.

Nine Women Artists: Fifteen Years is the exhibition in the library’s Program Room through the month of September. It is my art group. We have been meeting since 1998 for monthly critiques, problem solving, meals, and lots of art talk. We will have a reception at the library next Wednesday, September 10, at 5 pm. On Monday, September 15, we will be on hand to talk about our work, our group, to answer any and all questions. The talk begins at 5:30 pm. The nine of us are: Leslie Baker, Claire Chalfoun, Nancy Furino, Lyn Hinds, Hermine Hull, Ruth Kirchmeier, Jeanne Staples, Liz Taft, and Wendy Weldon. We promise you an interesting and spirited conversation, so please come.

September is a bittersweet month. The Derby begins. It’s not so crowded or busy. The weather is nice. School starts. Summer friends leave just as we begin to have time to spend with them. We reconnect with our year-round friends. Faces around town are more familiar, not strangers. There’s time for a nap (maybe) or to clean up the garden, to go outside and paint. It’s still busy, but closer to fall than to summer. A time to evaluate and to prepare. Time to catch your breath.

Hermine-HullThe 153rd Agricultural Fair begins Thursday, August 21, always the highlight of the summer. The fairgrounds will be filled with exhibits and people, some familiar and some new this year. Welcome to the four-day event that brings everyone to West Tisbury.

Mike and I had a friend over for dinner last night, an otherwise urbane New Yorker, who surprised us by his childlike enthusiasm for all the things he loves about living on the Island in the summer. “I love the Fair, I love Illumination Night, I love the fireworks.” This is the week it all happens, the culmination of planning and anticipation. Enjoy it all.

Valerie Sonnenthal sent me a link to fabulous photographs taken by a visitor from England, Charles Saumarez Smith. The gardens, flowers, and produce are gorgeous, all taken on a visit with Bob Skydell at Fiddlehead Farm. Best was the two gentlemen posing in an America Gothic tableau, complete with pitchfork.The link Bob has also announced the publication of his first ever newsletter, The Fiddlehead Farmer, available at the farm stand.

If you take any time off from fair-going, the West Tisbury Library has things happening this week. Jennifer Tseng and Susan Choi will read from their new books this Saturday, August 23, at 4 pm. Jennifer, one of the faces at the Circulation Desk, is an accomplished poet. She is now writing her first novel, “Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness.” The book will be released next June. It tells the story of a librarian “who’s up to no good.” Sounds intriguing.

Susan Choi is the author of four novels. Her first, “The Foreign Student,” won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, “American Woman,”was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. “A Person of Interest” was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her most recent novel, “My Education,”received a 2014 Lammy Award.

The last Monday Night Movie of August begins at 6:30 in the library’s program room. The movie and popcorn are free. A video collaboration by Fanny Howe and Maceo Senna, “Outremer,”is the first film, based on a poem of the same name by Fanny Howe. She will read from her new book of poems, “Second Childhood.”Chapters 1 and 2 of P.S. Beirut by Michael Shamberg is the second documentary.

Honor Moore will read and answer questions about her books on Thursday, August 28, at 5 pm. She is the author of a biography, “The White Blackbird, A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent,”a memoir, “The Bishop’s Daughter,”and three collections of poetry.

Martha Hubbell will teach a Cornhusk Doll workshop for kids aged nine and up at the Library on Wednesday, August 27, 11 to 1.

At 4:30 that afternoon is the Friends of the West Tisbury Library annual meeting. Everyone is welcome to come, learn about the organization, express your opinions and thoughts, and enjoy always-delicious refreshments.

The Library is looking for volunteers for a newly-formed Library Art Committee. Beth Kramer describes it as follows: “The objective of this committee will be to create a diverse collection, of high artistic merit, that will engage the public, complement the Library facility and elevate the library’s contribution to the community.” Contact Beth if you are interested. or 508-693-3366.

There are always people standing in front of the library reading the bricks along our walk. If you would like one, or more, of your own, contact Wendy Nierenberg of the West Tisbury Library Foundation at 508-693-0800 or ask at the library. Bricks are $150 each.

Pam Thors of the Community Preservation Committee wants to invite town residents to a public forum at the Howes House next Wednesday, August 27, 7–8 pm. There is $740,000 available, so come and offer your ideas for projects.

Brooks Robards and I are reading from our book of poems and paintings, “On Island,”at the Aquinnah Town Hall, across from the library, at 5:30 on Thursday, August 28.

I have finally walked on the beach, the first time this summer. I always wonder where the time goes. There were years when Ellen Weiss, Brooks Robards, Mary Beth Norton, Talley and I met every Tuesday morning to walk and look at birds and waves, to talk about our days and our projects, to feel sun and water.

It was a beautiful morning, just the kind of perfect beach day one dreams of in the middle of February. Will we do it again? Maybe after the Fair. Maybe after a group of houseguests leaves or after an appointment off Island. It’s so easy to be busy with other things.

Mary Beth has become an avid bird-watcher. She gave a wonderful lesson about migration as we watched sanderlings peck away at the sand, eating to gain weight for their journey. She explained about osprey, too, the variations in migration of adult or juvenile osprey. There is Rob Bierregaard’s website called OspreyTrax, that tracks osprey and tells their stories, all images made available with GPS devices, sent daily to your inbox. A winter’s occupation.

Hermine-HullEvery year I dig out clumps of phlox from my garden, swearing to eradicate it forever. Somehow it reemerges the next spring as rampant as ever. Ever hopeful, or forgetful, I let it remain, thin it, then watch it descend into the mildewed mess it tends to become. This year it is beautiful. Hardly any mildew. Nothing but sweetly fragrant balls of pink and white flowers. With the scent of the last Casa Blanca lilies, it makes walking to and from the house a delicious experience.

Condolences to the Colligan family. Ed Colligan died last weekend. He was always cheerful, funny, and helpful when I met him years ago when Mike and I were building our house and needed appliances. Colligan Appliances was the place to go. I have heard so many stories about his kindness, nice things he did for no recognition or recompense, only that he was a truly nice man.

Everyone in town is getting ready for the Fair. Driving by the Ag Hall grounds, there are rides and tents, the fire department’s hamburger booth already going up, a bustle of activity. Eleanor Neubert called with a reminder that entry forms are due no later than 5 pm Monday, August 18. There is an entry box on the porch and the Ag Hall office is open between 9 am and 12 noon. Getting your forms in earlier is appreciated. Plan to deliver your exhibits on Wednesday, August 20, between 12 noon and 5 pm. This year’s Fair begins a week from today, Thursday, August 21.

Eleanor mentioned that this is the 20 year for the Fair at the new Ag Hall and fairgrounds. Hard to believe.

The art for this year’s Fair poster is a portrait of a horse named Sunny painted some years ago by Omar Rayyan. Sunny died this past winter. He was owned by Bruce Marchard. It’s a fitting tribute and a good story that makes this a very special poster.

Island Theater Workshop’s production of Peter Pan, directed by Kevin Ryan, is a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living. There will be one show this Friday evening, August 15, at 7:30, at the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under, available online The Center For Living is a great Island organization that runs the Supportive Day Program, a medical taxi, provides emergency food, and runs support groups and educational programs for families dealing with Alzheimer’s. For more information, call 508-939-9440 or 508-737-8550.

This Saturday, August 16, is the West Tisbury Church Peach Festival, from 12 noon to 4 pm. Tents and chairs will be set out on the lawn making a comfortable spot to enjoy fresh peaches, peach smoothies, peach shortcake, peach ice cream. There will also be pies, cobblers, and, new this year, peach chutney to take home. One lucky person will win the raffle and go home with a White Lady peach tree.

The Granary Gallery will host a reception this Sunday, August 18, 5–7 pm, for artists Jeanne Staples, Ross Coppelman, and Bob Avakian.

The West Tisbury Library has canceled Mother Goose on the Loose this coming Monday, August 18. It seems that Nelia Decker has flown the coop, but will return next week.

The Monday Night Movie, “Chere Louise,” begins at 6:30 pm. It is the first installment in a trilogy of documentaries by French filmmaker Brigitte Cornand about the legendary artist Louise Bourgeois. Free movie and free popcorn.

You can also bring a blanket and a flashlight to learn about the constellations. Lenny Schoenfeld will talk about stargazing Monday nights at 9:30, August 18 and 25, behind the library.

There is still time to sign up for Mathea Morais writing/reading workshop for kids aged 9 to 14. It begins Monday, August 18, and runs through the 21st. Sessions last from 10:30 to 12 noon. Pencils, paper, books, and snacks will all be provided by the library. You may sign up for one day or more. Sign up at the circulation desk. It’s all free.

Time to sign up, too, for Laura Edelman’s yoga classes at 10:30 at the library. Monday, August 18, for teens; Wednesday, August 20, for kids aged 4 to 8.

Sam Low will read from his book “Hawaiki Rising – Hokule’a, Nainoa Thompson, and the Hawaiian Renaissance” on Wednesday, August 20, 5 to 6 pm, in the library’s program room.

Democratic and Republican party primaries are scheduled for Tuesday, September 9. Town Clerk Tara Whiting has absentee ballots in her office. If you plan to be off Island, you may vote by absentee ballot up to the day before the election. The Public Safety Building will be set up for Primary Day voting between 7 am and 8 pm. Stop by Town Hall or call Tara weekdays, 8:30 to 1:30, at 508-696-0148 with any questions.

I’m sitting and writing in my quiet studio. I have held my last opening for this year. Our houseguests have left, our last for the summer. At least that’s the plan. I’m looking forward to having my husband back after the Fair, after the hamburgers are all cooked, the booth cleaned and taken down, stored away. Fair week is the climax of the summer season. Illumination Night and fireworks happen that week, too. Then, the Island will slowly empty of summer visitors, the air will crisp and clear, and time will begin to feel like my own again.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullFlowers everywhere. August is the best time of summer gardens, arms full of flowers for bouquets around the house, baskets of produce for dinner. Squash and tomatoes and raspberries and beans to eat right in the garden. I can’t pick them fast enough.

Summer friends are arriving as fast as the summer’s produce. Dorothy Barthelmes and Bob Henry arrived for their six weeks at the Joshua Slocum House. Dorothy’s daughter Buffy Webber is here with them. Their first guests, Rick Trevino and Larz Pearson, have sent a case of wine ahead; they arrive next Monday for a week.

Michael and Linda Dzuba appeared at our house Thursday afternoon with their black lab, Mimi, a special friend of our dogs, Talley and Nan. We had the three of them chasing each other in circles around the yard, barking, full of energy.

Pat Ternes will come on Friday with her daughters, Liz Zeiss and Cathy Ternes, for the opening of an exhibition of watercolors and oils by her late husband, Bill Ternes, well-known painter and workshop teacher for many summers here. Bill died in February, so this show is my tribute to a dear friend and mentor. As with all of us artists, he has left behind a studio full of paintings. Hopefully, everyone will come and we will sell lots of them to those who remember Bill and those who discover his work at this exhibition. It will be at my gallery, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, this Sunday, August 10, 4 to 7 pm. Please park behind the Fire House and walk across the road; there is limited parking at the gallery for anyone who can’t walk any distance.

I love the summer traditions all these visits perpetuate, the looking forward to special meals and outings that have to be just as they always are. The Book Sale with Bob and Dorothy, our first dinner of pork tenderloin, potato salad, and corn, the amazing feast Larz and Rick will prepare, ladies nights out, just Dorothy and me, while Bob plays bridge and Mike works on the hamburger booth for the Fair. Michael and Linda will come for dinner tonight, lobster, which Mike hates, so we do it on a Monday when he’s at the firehouse; Mike’s famous hamburgers for their anniversary dinner on August 10. Pat is a wonderful cook who spoils us when she comes to visit. There are special breakfasts with Julie Kimball, firemen’s hamburgers at the Fair, lunches or dinners on my porch when Mark Reisman returns from a trip with off-Island treats, beach walks with Brooks Robards, Ellen Weiss, and Mary Beth Norton, movie nights with Chari Isaacs, seeing everyone at the Farmers’ Market.

I went to the Friends of the Library’s Book Sale this morning and came home with two boxes and a shopping bag filled with books. Since I have been writing more, my choices comprise volumes of poetry and essays, plus some mysteries and children’s books I couldn’t resist.

While there, I had an interesting conversation with Tom Thatcher about West Tisbury Library history I didn’t know. Tom was on the first Library Board of Trustees and had spearheaded the transformation of the second floor of the Music Street library into the first children’s room. It had been a museum filled with stuffed birds and memorabilia, rarely visited. The librarian of the day was Lena McNeil. Tom helped clean out the space, put in lighting and heat, brought in shelves and books. I remember it as a cheerful room with red-painted bookcases when I arrived in town in 1985. Ann Fielder and Gay Nelson were the children’s librarians. I don’t imagine it had changed much from the time of Tom’s renovation.

The library remains the place to go the year-round. Here is the schedule for this coming week: Poets Justen Ahren and Amira Thoron are reading Thursday, August 7, at 5:30 pm. This Saturday, August 9, there is a rocket-making workshop from 11 am to 1 pm, and a frozen Tisberry Yogurt Social at 4 pm with music by The Vineyard Sound. Mother Goose on the Loose story times for infants to three-year-olds meets on Monday mornings at 10:30 am. Mac Pro Paul Levy continues his drop-in help for those with Mac problems on Mondays from 11 am to 1 pm. The Monday Night Movie is Marcia Rock’s “Surrender Tango”the screening and tango demo beginning at 6:30, with dancing afterwards. On Wednesday, August 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm, Debbie Yapp will give a workshop for fifth and sixth graders on identifying, collecting, pressing, and creating art from botanicals found on Martha’s Vineyard. Yoga for Kids four to eight years old will be led by Laura Edelman at 10:30. Nicole Cabot will read and sing about melons in a special Island Grown Harvest Story Hour for kids on Thursday morning, August 14, at 10:30 am. Sue Guiney will read from her latest novel, “Out of the Ruins” on Thursday evening. Paintings, collages, and original prints by Elizabeth Langer are on display throughout August in the Program Room. Pre-register for Mathea Morais’s writing/reading workshop for ages 9 to 14 that will be held the week of August 18-21, 10:30 am–12 noon; snacks, books, paper, and pencils will be provided. All programs are free.

Tuesdays at Twilight, a concert series sponsored by the West Tisbury Library Foundation, will host Spotlight on Youth, a concert showcasing the Vineyard’s best new talent on August 12. The concert begins at 7:30 at the Grange Hall.

You may have noticed a photograph of a familiar-looking cat in a familiar-looking setting in Sunday’s Boston Globe. Jan Van Riper’s Prince, from Lynn Christoffers’s “Cats of Martha’s Vineyard,”appeared in an article about Vineyard books. Suzan Bellancampi’s “Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature” and “Morning Glory’s Farm Food; Stories From the Fields, Recipes From the Kitchen” by Gabrielle Redner were also mentioned.

Domingo Pagan will open his studio at 121 Waldron Bottom Road this Saturday, August 9, from noon-4 pm. He calls his show Flowers and Other Colors.

Allen Whiting has new paintings hung at his Davis House Gallery, open Thursdays-Sundays, 1–6 pm.

North Water Street Gallery opens a show tonight, Thursday, August 7, 5–7 pm, of work by Wendy Weldon, Carrie Gustafson, and Jim Holland.

On Sunday evening, 5–7 pm, the Field Gallery opens their new show of paintings by Craig Mooney and Traeger Di Pietro.

I attended the fabulous print show at Featherstone Sunday evening. Having been a privileged observer of Leslie Baker’s weekly sessions at the print studio (I’m on her way home, so she stops for coffee and to show me her latest monotypes) I have had my interest in monotypes rekindled. They are a combination of painting and printmaking, where the artist paints on a plate, then runs it through a press, transferring the image onto dampened paper. It only produces one impression, hence a monotype. They were called The Painterly Print in a show at the Metropolitan Museum back in the 1970s. Rembrandt, Degas, and Whistler were early masters. The show at Featherstone features some worthy continuers of this artistic tradition.

Hermine-HullThe hazy, hot, humid days of summer are with us now. Occasional rains and thunderstorms, otherwise heavy gray skies. Foliage is heavy, too, dark unrelievedly green. The dogs and Nelson seem to sleep all day, worn out by having to hold themselves up against all this weightiness. They leave circles of golden fur wherever they have lain.

The sign for the Fair has appeared in front of the Ag Hall. Only three weeks away. Still plenty of time to plan your exhibits, get your art framed, pick out vases and plates with which to display bouquets and perfect vegetables, save your pennies for rides and games.

Meanwhile, summer continues at its hectic pace. There are more events than one can possibly attend or remember, and the thought of braving traffic is daunting. So I am grateful for all the things right here in town. Traffic and parking remain a challenge, but less so than trying to get anywhere down Island. I remember when I first moved here people saying, “I never go to Edgartown/Vineyard Haven/Oak Bluffs in the summer.” It struck me as odd; it wasn’t such a distance. But over 30 years living up Island I have become one of those people, too, relentlessly insular within my own domain. Or demesne, so deliciously medieval sounding.

I attended John Hough’s reading from his latest, “Little Bighorn,” at the West Tisbury Library. It was interesting to hear an author read his own prose and talk about the research and excitement that went into writing his novel. John will do it again at the Chilmark Library later in August, if you missed this one.

The Author Lecture Series continues at the Chilmark Community Center. A Tribute to Sheldon Hackney begins at 7:30 tonight, Thursday, July 31. Andre Dubus III will read from his book of four intertwined novellas, “Dirty Love,” on Sunday, August 3. Ron Suskind is the presenter next Thursday, August 7, telling the story of his autistic son in “Life, Animated.” Programs at 7:30. Tickets at

The biggest summer event for many of us is The Friends of the West Tisbury Library’s Annual Book Sale. This year it runs from August 1 to 4. Come to the West Tisbury School gymnasium between 9 am and 3 pm to fill your bags and help support our library. Books are half-price on the 3rd and free on Monday, August 4. Donations are always welcome, of course.

If you have always wanted to make your own hula hoop, your opportunity is this Saturday, August 2, 11 am–1 pm. Michael Black will teach a workshop for kids ages 5 and up at the West Tisbury Library. There will be no drop-in craft that day.

West Tisbury documentary filmmakers Robert and Marjory Potts start off the library’s August series of films by Island filmmakers this Monday, August 4. Their “Lives in Art: Robert Henry and Selina Trieff” begins at 6:30 pm. Many of you will know Bob Henry and Selina Trieff and their family, longtime Vineyard residents and articulate describers of their art-making processes and devotion to making art within all the rest of the daily stuff we call “life.” The second documentary shown will be “Making Music: The Emerson Quartet,” a group has performed on the Island since their formation in 1976, many times as headliners of the summer Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concerts.

There will be an artists’ reception Friday evening, August 1, 6–8 pm, at Shaw Cramer Gallery — a bittersweet evening because Nancy Cramer has announced that she will close the gallery at the end of this season. Twenty years is a long time to be running a gallery full-time. Nancy has done it beautifully and with a professionalism that is unmarred. Although we will all miss her gallery, it’s hard to begrudge her the opportunity to spend more time in her studio weaving tapestries and sewing, creating the hangings, pillows, and “art-to-wear” garments that are her passion. For now, let’s continue to celebrate the Shaw Cramer Gallery.

Ken Vincent will give a painting demonstration at North Water Gallery this Saturday, August 2, beginning at 11 am. New work will also be on display at the gallery. For fellow painters, it is always interesting to see how someone else works, what they choose to focus on, how they design their painting’s surface, mix their colors. Interesting for non-artists, too. Ken sees the Island in a unique and stylized way, so his demo should be particularly informative.

Featherstone Printmakers open an exhibition this Sunday, August 3, 4-6 pm, in the Virginia Weston Besse Gallery. Work by West Tisbury artists Leslie Baker, Ruth Kirchmeier, and Nick Thayer is included.

Everyone is raving about Kara Taylor’s new show that opened last Sunday. It’s called “Hull” and features paintings of boats, abstracted and well-designed, giving the viewer a new and personal perspective on a familiar subject.

The Granary Gallery will host an opening this Sunday, August 3, for three very different painters: Mary Sipp-Green, Scott Terry, and Kib Bramhall. I mean “very different” in style and technique from one another. They are all landscape painters. Their opening is from 5 to 7 pm.

Also on Sunday, Cindy Kallett will perform at the Grange Hall at 7:30 pm. She will be joined by Grey Larsen, Ellen Epstein, and Michael Cicone, all for the benefit of Felix Neck Fern & Feather Camp Scholarship Fund. It’s close to the heart for Cindy, a former Fern & Feather Camp counselor and Felix Neck naturalist. Tickets are available online or at the door. Call 508-627-4850 for more information.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation’s Tuesdays at Twilight concert series continues this Tuesday, August 5, at the Grange Hall with Dana Edelman and His Slammin’ Band.

Poet Laureate Justen Ahren and Amira Thoron will read a selection of their poems at the library next Thursday, August 7, at 5:30 pm.

Leslie Prosterman’s second poetry workshop, Transition, will meet in the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Library this Sunday, August 3, from 10 to noon.

In the summer mind-rush, I forgot to wish Isabella Larsen a Happy Birthday last week. Her birthday is July 24. So is Stephanie DaRosa’s and so is my husband Mike’s. Belatedly, I hope you all celebrated and had a great day.

Hermine-HullWe have finally had some hot, humid days before returning to the clear, dry, breezy weather that has been a gift this summer. I could be spoiled by it not getting too hot and raining often enough not to have to water every day. It’s beginning to feel like Camelot.

We have lost one of our iconic Vineyard gentlemen. Condolences to Simone, Leo, and Josepha for the loss of their dad, Donald DeSorcy. He was quite a guy, always with a smile and a sparkle in his eyes, a very nice man. Over the past few days, I have heard one story after another of his thoughtfulness, his care for his craft, his good humor. Surely there will be more at his funeral service and over the weeks to come.

One of the things I do love about summer is the annual appearance of visitors I have gotten to know. Seb and Emily Keegan are English friends of Henry and Hugh Bassett. They all came to visit on Sunday afternoon with their parents, Jan Keegan, Sarah Wasserman, and Brian Bassett, guests of Bob and Susan Wasserman. I have enjoyed hearing about the kids’ winter adventures and all their plans for their time on the Island. Among the big interests is working on the Friends of the Library’s Annual Book Sale, coming up the first weekend in August. Henry reports there will be a very rich selection of art books this year; he has carried lots of bags to that section.

Just a reminder that the book sale always needs bags with handles, so if you have extra Cronig’s bags please drop them off at the school or the library. Nelia still needs 1 and 2 liter plastic soda bottles for a craft project at the library.

The Polly Hill Arboretum has a wonderful-sounding installation called A Walk Through Imagination. Bill O’Callahan’s sculptures and storyteller Robin Tuck lead one through the landscape with their tale of a girl who finds her way with the help of a flock of butterflies. It remains through August 15. Admission is $5, free to PHA members. It will be great fun to go with Linda Hearn and her granddaughter Morgan Caruso, as we plan to do. Bill O’Callahan’s sculptures are so whimsical. I can’t wait for this outing.

West Tisbury artist Sheila Fane is busy making and exhibiting her original prints and handmade paper sculptures. She opens a one-person show this weekend at the Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown that runs from July 26 to August 1, with an opening reception this Sunday, July 27, from 5 to 7 pm. Sheila is also showing work at West Tisbury’s new Artspace on State Road, exhibiting and teaching at Featherstone, and getting ready for the Ag Fair, where she manages and installs Children’s Art.

The Author Lecture Series continues at the Chilmark Community Center with two programs this week. This Sunday, July 27, The Beekman Boys will discuss “The 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook” at 7:30 pm. The Beekman Boys are former advertising executives who have become goat farmers and television hosts of a program on the Cooking Channel. Thursday, July 31, there will be a tribute to historian and Southern scholar Sheldon Hackney, who died last year. Charlayne Hunter-Gault will moderate a discussion by many of the writers who contributed to “Dixie Redux,” a collection of essays honoring him. A reception follows the discussion. Tickets are available at or at the Community Center Monday through Friday, 9 to noon.

A gentle misty rain is falling outside my window, dripping silently off the porch’s edge. Whatever combination of elements and care and just plain serendipity has made my garden more beautiful this year than I can ever remember. Part of it is luck, that the deer who ate every daylily bud the past couple of years have left it alone. Maybe their pruning sent vigor back to the roots, which have responded with a display worthy of a gardening magazine spread.

My garden is off of our kitchen, laid out as an old-fashioned Colonial square inside a fence, beds inside with bisecting walks, four squares in the middle. The daylilies fill the fence-lining beds. They make a composition of colors and shapes, much like a painting or a woven tapestry. Yellow Mary Todd daylilies weave throughout like the warp that holds the tapestry onto the loom. Paler and darker yellows, bright gold, pink, salmon, orange, red, soft peach are the weft colors, punctuating and enhancing the overall in-fill of their green leaves. Inside the squares are herbs, and rudbeckia that has self-sown and flourished. I suppose it’s a rather untidy display, not like the careful straight beds of a true Colonial garden. Once the daylilies are finished blooming and the rudbeckia gets cut back, it will need something new planted in if there is to be any color for the next months until boltonia and asters take over and the rudbeckia and roses rebloom. For now, I am amazed by its beauty and enjoy the meditative morning chore of dead-heading the daylilies’ spent blooms.

The cygnets are swimming on the Mill Pond, still fuzzy gray, but growing bigger every day. Tomatoes are ripening, new potatoes, onions, garlic, peas, and beans all in abundance. I have been picking raspberries to mix in Mermaid Farm yogurt, a perfect summer lunch. Daylilies are at their peak, a different palette of colors every morning. Water is warming up for good swimming. The opening into the Great Pond has been newly cut.

On the negative side have been so many fire alarms, car accidents, water rescues. Our firemen, rescue personnel, and EMTs have been so busy. Mike was out three times during the other night, actually only twice, as the middle call came in before he got home from the first. Not just Mike, but he’s the only fireman who wakes me up in the night.

We have all been awaiting the birth of Bea Whiting and Patrick Ruel’s baby. It’s a boy. Asa Allen Ruel was born July 10 at 4:19 pm. He is a healthy 8 pounds 10 ounces, and 19 inches tall. Grandparents are Lynne and Allen Whiting of West Tisbury, Barbara and John Armstrong of Menemsha, and Bill and Angela Ruel of Old Lyme, Conn. His great-grandparents are Jim and Roberta Morgan of Menemsha and Bill and Kay Ruel of Portsmouth, N.H. With much love and wishes for the best life ahead for Asa and his lovely family.

Ellen Sturgis, clerk of the Riparian Owners of Tisbury Great Pond, reminds members of the annual meeting Saturday, July 26, 10 am, at the Howes House. Email Ellen at with any questions.

My opening Sunday was a lot of work and a lot of fun. My studio has never been so clean. Leslie, Ruth, and I make a stimulating artistic and visual combination, compatible and interesting together — as we are as friends. We were thrilled with everyone who came, but especially four princesses from different parts of the island: a regal Princess Reed (of Cabot Castle) in a turquoise tulle gown and flip flops, a comfortable West Tisbury-style princess; Mya O’Neill and her mom, Queen Linsey Lee, in matching burgundy brocade. Kaya Oslyn was in perfect Vineyard casual, escorted by three strong yeoman guards — Jeff and Sam Bryant and Marshall Pratt. Claire Chalfoun brought her visiting granddaughter, Ashly Freeman, who cast magic spells on our golden retriever, Nanuk, belly-rubbing her into total bliss.

Paul Karasik stopped on his way home from the opening of the show he curated at Featherstone. The Art of the Cartoon will be up through July 30.

A new show is opening at the A Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Stella Waitzkin, a longtime West Tisbury resident who died in 2003, is getting new attention nationally and on the Island. An exhibition of her drawings and sculpture opens on Saturday, July 19, 5-7 pm. Professor Charles Russell and Anna Carringer will speak about her work at the gallery on Wednesday, July 23, at 6 pm.

The West Tisbury Church’s Annual Blueberry Festival is this Saturday, July 19. Tables and chairs will be set up on the lawn from 12 noon to 4 pm, or inside if it rains. Blueberry smoothies, blueberry sundaes, blueberry pies and scones, blueberry jam, even blueberry lemonade will be served, with a raffle for a blueberry bush donated by Vineyard Gardens.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation will host a dedication ceremony this Sunday evening, July 20, at 6:30. The Program Room will be dedicated to Rosalee and David McCullough, who will be on hand to say a few words. Other rooms and gardens will also be dedicated in this ceremony, which is open to the public.

The All Island Art Show is coming up on Monday, August 4. Interested artists should look at their website,, or “for information the old-fashioned way,” call Ellie or Harvey Beth at 508-693-0371.

I walked over to the library this evening to look at the new gardens that had been going in all day. Oak Leaf Nursery did the planting, with help from Laura Coit, who designed the garden along the walkway. Many of the plants were propagated or grown from seed by Laura’s husband, Tim Boland, and the staff of the Polly Hill Arboretum. The plan called for many native species, including two beetlebung trees that will eventually provide shade for the parking lot. Beach plum, winterberry, highbush blueberry, butterfly weed, asters, goldenrod, and grasses are among the plants chosen. Cheryl Doble and Lil Province designed the beds on either side of the library entrance with benches and a stewartia tree, ferns, oak leaf hydrangeas, and lots of shade-loving perennials. By the end of the summer it will look like those gardens have always been there.

While there, I ran into Amma O’Gorman, who told me she had just turned six on July 8. Amma is Jamie and Rick O’Gorman’s daughter. A belated “Happy Birthday” to you.

Birthday good wishes to Hannah Hoff, daughter of Amy and Billy. Hannah turned nine on July 13.

Children’s librarian Nelia Decker needs 1 and 2 liter plastic bottles for a craft project. Please drop them off in the Children’s Room if you have some to spare. Thanks.

The library’s Monday Night Movies are Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for families and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for teenagers. Both begin at 6:30. Popcorn and attendance are free.

Emma Young will teach a two-day book making workshop for teens on July 22 and 24, 10:30–12:30. She will introduce students to a variety of forms. Pre-register at the circulation desk or online: The class is free.

Instead of the usual Saturday drop-in craft at the library this week, a special family craft is planned. Make paper airplanes with Bruce Riseborough between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm this Saturday, July 19.

Linda Hearn spent last weekend in South Carolina with her son Mark and his family attending the wedding of Mark and Renee Hearn’s niece, Kristina Smith, to Nick Woods. The ceremony took place at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. Both of Mark and Renee’s children, Devon and Blake, were in the wedding party. Between wedding festivities, they were able to do a little sightseeing, including visiting the State House.

Leslie Prosterman is leading two workshops on sacred and secular poetic transformation. Poets and non-poets are invited to discuss/write/read/explore. The first session, using the Book of Ruth as a departure point, is Sunday, July 20, 10 am to 12 noon, at the MV Hebrew Center library. Call 508-693-0745 to sign up.

We are due for some much-needed rain. It’s overcast now, the air heavy. John Hough’s new book, “Little Bighorn,” is in my hands and it’s a perfect morning for a lazy read on my porch.

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.