Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull
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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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It feels impossible to be writing May 1 already. Didn’t April just start? The wind has been so cold I was wearing my down jacket working outside on Sunday. Still, it’s been a week of magnolias resplendent. And forsythia. Our Island spring may be chilly, but it is still beautiful and so very welcome. Peas are coming up. Onions. Greens of all manner. The soil feels warm. The color green in all its variations. If only the wind would die down.

I feel eager to start exploring my favorite painting spots, to pack up my gear and a sandwich and head out to paint somewhere, to admire the landscape unfolding around me. Or just to capture the woods softening, coloring up outside my windows. Driving by the Mill Pond yesterday I observed the still-rusty-orange skirt of shrubbery in the distance and the pale chartreuse of willow flowers following the tight catkins, a painterly combination.

I ran into Elaine and Dan Pace at Vineyard Gardens last week. Elaine told me about “watching” her son, Ryan, who ran his 21st Boston Marathon the day before. She and Dan were able to follow his progress on their computer with some sort of tracking program. Amazing. There was a brief glitch when all seemed to disappear, but it fortunately turned out to be their computer and not any disruption of the race or Ryan’s stopping. He completed the race in just over three hours. Well done.

If you know Jay Segal, he is quite the Renaissance man, capable in many disciplines. Besides being the man about whom most everyone I know says, “He saved my feet,” he is a designer of gait-correcting orthotics, a writer about body mechanics, a gardener of note, a writer of children’s books, and a writer/player/singer of songs. Wearing the latter hat, he told me about his latest coup, selling three songs to Viacom for MTV’s “Catfish” Season 3. You can hear instrumental versions 1 and 2 of “Hello,” and “Leaving,” both from his CD, “Extended Family.” Jay and his musical partners, Rick Bausman and Mark Cohen, are very excited and proud, justifiably so. “S’wonderful,” as George Gershwin wrote.

Wendy Weldon is exhibiting at the Chilmark Library this month, May 3–22, acrylics on canvas and mounted monotypes. Her work is an exploration of color and shape, manipulated and abstracted, of barns and Chilmark’s stone walls, of birds, animals, the world around her and us. More of her work can be seen at North Water Gallery and on her website:

The Granary Gallery, although open the year-round, has been setting out ever-more enticing objects on their lawn and outdoor walls, signaling a new, springtime art energy. All of the local galleries seem to be on the path towards opening up and presenting new work. Allen and Lynne Whiting have bright red tulips and their sign announcing the Davis House Gallery. The Field Gallery will open soon. So will Kara Taylor. So will I. Nancy Shaw Cramer already has expanded hours and lots of new offerings; she will be open every day but Monday beginning May 1.

At the West Tisbury Library, Julia Mitchell’s tapestries will remain on display through the summer.

A Tween/Teen Advisory Group meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 5, at 3:30 pm. Librarians are looking for input and help to select new books, movies, and plan events for your age group, so come and speak up.

Also on Monday, May 5, at 7 pm, the Graphic Novel Book Club begins, led by Carolina Cooney. The book is available at the library’s circulation desk.

Weekly storytimes are reconvening in the new Children’s Room, beginning Thursday, May 8. Guest reader Nicole Cabot of Island Grown Schools will read and lead songs for young children. Mother Goose on the Loose for infants to three year olds resumes on Monday, May 5. Both story-times begin at 10:30 am.

The library is partnering with the Martha’s Vineyard Writers’ Residency on a new program called “Writers on Wednesdays.” Two readings are planned, May 7 and 14, 5 to 6 pm. The current group includes published novelists, poets, non-fiction writers, and short-story writers. All will be reading excerpts from their latest works. The residency program gives writers two to six weeks in a private hotel in Edgartown, nine writers at a time. There are two residencies — April 1 through May 15, and September 15 through October 31. What a fabulous sounding program. Time away to completely focus on one’s work, the company of fellow writers, rooms and dinners accounted for. I wish there was one for painters.

The wind seems to be picking up again. I hope we won’t need a fire again tonight.

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Hermine-HullIt has been sunny and beautiful all week. A bit chilly with the wind, but nice. Energizing to be outside. A good thing, as outside chores abound. Mike and I were talking over breakfast Sunday morning about all the trim needing painting, seedlings to get into the ground, unplanted shrubs wintered over from last year that need to be planted. That’s not even thinking of new projects. We spent most of the rest of the day working around the property, a nice day together, and came inside tired but having accomplished at least some of our list.

Earlier on there was radio check for Mike, then I met him across the street at the station to visit with friends and watch the kids chase Easter eggs in the field behind the firehouse. It is always a nice event presided over by the biggest Easter bunny I have ever seen. Everyone went home with plenty of treats and toys to show for their efforts.

Then we took the dogs down for a walk on the beach to look at the newly-cut opening into the Great Pond. The last opening, only a few weeks ago, filled in almost immediately and had to be cut again. We saw jellyfish washed up all along the pond’s shore. The highlight for me was watching an egret in the inland pond and an osprey soaring overhead.

The Mill Pond has been stocked with trout and it’s been nice to see kids and grown-ups fishing there.

Sue Silk sent me an email about the old police station building, now empty and needing a new function. Sue is a member of the committee charged with gathering information to be presented to the selectmen for their decision. Bea Phear is chairperson and Scott Young is the remaining member. They held their first meeting with the abutters last week and came up with two possibilities, but want to open the process to all town residents. The building is structurally sound. It does have some limitations: it’s in the Historic District and the Village Residential District, has limited septic capability with the tank on abutting property with an easement, and limited parking. The building had been West Tisbury’s original one-room schoolhouse, then became town hall. Everyone has seen Stan Murphy’s iconic portrait of selectmen Everett Whiting, John Alley, and Allen Look standing on the stone steps leading into the then West Tisbury town office. So please give this some thought and share your ideas with Bea, Sue, or Scott, or leave them on the town website by May 15. The committee meets next at town hall on May 23 at 4 o’clock. Please come and participate.

The two possibilities discussed were returning the building to its original educational use with a program focusing on teaching children about our natural environment, or offering it at minimal rent to Island nonprofits needing office space. The idea is that several nonprofits could share the building. The committee requests that people express an opinion on these two possibilities, as well as making proposals of their own.

The Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living is hosting an impressive list of speakers at an Alzheimer’s Forum and panel discussion this Friday, April 25, 9:30 am to 12 noon, at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. Headline speaker is Dr. John Zeisel, author of “I’m Still Here,” and founder/director of Hearthstone residential facilities for Alzheimer’s care. He and Suzanne Faith, Clinical Director of Hope Dementia and Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod, the second featured speaker, have been my go-to experts for support and information as I learn about Alzheimer’s. Rounding out the program are two Island experts, Nancy Langman, formerly of Island Counseling and a Hospice Bereavement Counselor, and Eileen Murphy, Supportive Day Program Supervisor. It promises to be an informative and inspiring morning, and a good place to network. The program is free and all are welcome. Please pre-register at 508-939-9440.

There will be a teen/tween craft program in the young adult room at the West Tisbury Library this Saturday, April 26, from 11 am to 3 pm. All are invited to make tissue paper flowers, a good way to celebrate spring.

The Chilmark Women’s Symposium will meet Saturday morning at the Chilmark Community Center for their annual spring program. The subject is “Dreams.” There will be speakers, small discussion groups, and refreshments. The event is free, but donations are always welcome. Call Bonnie George for more information at 508-645-3214.

Jennifer Fragosa will be teaching a class for American Red Cross Life Saving Certification at the Mansion House pool beginning May 1. The class is approximately 31 hours and students must be 15 years old or older. Cost is $350. Call to register, 508-693-2200. Or look online at

West Tisbury resident Glenn DeBlase and Chilmarker Tim Carroll have completed Boat Crew qualifications with the USCG Auxiliary. Their group is part of the Woods Hole flotilla, training with both Menemsha and Woods Hole active duty Coast Guard stations. The course focuses on boating safety education and issuing decals for boats that have their full complement of safety equipment on board. The auxiliary also conducts safety patrols during the boating season and renders aid to boaters in distress, augments active duty Coast Guard members by providing radio watch standers, cooks, and other resources. Congratulations to you both.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullAs I write this I am feeling absolutely jaunty. Mike and I have finished and mailed in our taxes two days ahead of the April 15 deadline. A first for us. We are usually struggling sleepily into the night of April 14, papers everywhere across our dining room table, wondering where some critical piece of documentation has disappeared to. Not this year. It may be a small step, two days early, but maybe next year we will get it done even earlier. At this rate, by the time we are 80 we may even send them in in March.

It has been a beautiful week. Although the wind has been chilly, it is warm in the sun. I have been enjoying my morning coffee outside, wearing shorts and a tee-shirt already. We had a garter snake sunning himself in the backyard yesterday. Pinkletinks are noisily proclaiming themselves in the ponds. Bob and Bobette have returned to the Mill Pond, preparing for the arrival of their cygnets. Daffodils are blooming everywhere along with carpets of blue chionodoxa and scilla. Epimediums and violets are coming up. The pear trees at the cemetery have huge buds ready to burst. Everyone in town seems cheerful, as the temperate weather provides a welcome break from cold and snow, and the hot, humid days ahead.

A reminder to check for ticks They are out.

Sunday evening Mike and I were invited to an early seder at Linda and Gaston Vadasz’s winter rental house. We have celebrated Passover with the Cabots for several years and a poignant part of the evening is when Nicole comments on how much she misses her parents. So it was wonderful to be sitting around their table this year with Linda and Gaston presiding over the seder, beaming at their granddaughters, telling stories about their years in Hungary. Next year we will be sitting around the table in their new, year-round dining room, in the apartment they are building onto Ben and Nicole’s house. Something very special to look forward to.

It was also Palm Sunday, so lots of gardeners were out at the three garden centers in town — Heather Gardens, Vineyard Gardens, and Middletown Nursery. All were decked out with lots of spring bulbs and pansies, early perennials, and gifts for all their visitors.

Next week will be Easter. The West Tisbury Church has planned a Tenebrae service and communion this Thursday evening at 7:30. “This service concludes in darkness and silence as we remember the story of Jesus’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion.” There will be a sunrise service at 5:30 Easter Sunday morning at Ann Nelson’s. Directions: turn onto Littlefield Lane across from the Polly Hill Arboretum, bear left on Edson Forest Lane, follow the road as it bends to the right. At 10 am there will be an Easter service with the Sunday School, held at the Ag Hall, and followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. Everyone is welcome to attend all of these holiday services.

The West Tisbury Library has planned a Spring Egg Hunt at the library on Saturday, April 19, beginning at 10 am SHARP (librarian’s emphasis.) There will be eggs filled with jelly beans hidden around the library, so come and explore. There will be no crafts this Saturday and the library will be closed on Sunday.

Carolina Cooney will be leading a Graphic Novel Book Club at the library beginning Monday, May 5, at 7 pm. The first book, “Watchmen,” written by Allan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, is available at the circulation desk. Sign up and pick up your copy of the book to prepare for the May meeting. Carolina is an online instructor of History of Comics at The Academy of Art University and a frequent exhibitor at San Diego Comic-Con International. Her husband is comic artist Dan Cooney. They live in town with their two young sons and Carolina’s grandmother, Jean Wexler.

Congratulations to everyone who won re-election in our recent town election last week, also to Maria McFarland, newly-elected to serve on the Board of Assessors.

I want to tell Katie Carroll how much I have enjoyed her column these past years. She is a wonderful writer, hand-picked by my dear friend Jackie Sexton when Jackie retired from writing the Chilmark column. Jackie felt that Katie was well-positioned to know what was happening in Chilmark and would tell her town’s stories with affection and care. She has done so more than admirably. I will miss her weekly columns, her observations of the seasons passing, her accounts of the events of her fellow residents as well as visitors. Thank you, Katie.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullNature is pretty miraculous. After the past winter that seemed so long, cold, snowy, icy, long, my first blooming daffodils opened up this morning, right on schedule. Mike, the dogs, and I were driving home from our walk and saw bright yellow daffodils blooming along the south-facing wall of Linda Alley’s house, so I went right out in my yard to look around as soon as we got home. There they were, appearing like magic. Nothing yesterday. Flowers today.

April is National Poetry Month and there are events on the Island celebrating that most evocative art. An exhibition of poetry-inspired art opened at Featherstone yesterday. It combines poems and artwork by members of the Martha’s Vineyard Poets’ Collective in one room with the larger room displaying work in different media and the poems that inspired each artist. There is a surprising variety including stained glass, handmade books, collage, drawing, as well as paintings ranging from traditional to whimsical fantasy. The show runs through April 23.

A Semi-Annual West Tisbury Library Community Poetry Reading will be held at the library this Sunday afternoon, April 13, at 3:30. All are welcome to bring a favorite poem to read, one you have written or one by a poet of your choice. Or just come to listen and enjoy the company of other poetry enthusiasts. This reading is in honor of Jonathan Revere, who always enjoyed these gatherings. The library wishes to thank the Bunch of Grapes for hosting these events during our construction.

Artists Leslie Baker, Nick Thayer, and Wendy Weldon traveled to the Fitchburg Art Museum on Sunday to the opening of “On the Edge,” a juried show for members of the Monotype Guild of New England. All three, who have printed together weekly for years, were among a select group of printmakers whose work was chosen. All are masters of the monotype, an original print of which only a single impression is made from a plate drawn or painted on by the artist. The plate is neither carved nor etched, the image transferred to dampened paper by the pressure of the press. It has been called “the painterly print,” combining qualities of both, unique.

If you enjoy the Chilmark Women’s Symposium, put April 26 on your calendar. The 33rd meeting has as its subject “Dreams” and will meet from 9 am to 12 noon at the Chilmark Community Center.

Sunday afternoon, April 13, the Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living will host their first fundraiser of 2014, showing the film “Away From Her” at the Film Center. Doors open at 4 o’clock for a reception, then the film, followed by a question-and-answer period led by Karen Achille, Eileen Murphy, Leslie Clapp, and Mary Holmes. All are well-known island experts in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The event is part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month on the Vineyard. Tickets are $25 at the door, $20 for Film Society members.

A Forum on Emergency Preparedness will be held at 1:30 pm on Monday, April 14, at the Tisbury Senior Center. Speakers are: Chris Cini, Emergency Management Co-ordinator; Beth Toomey, who will talk about her experience working in Falmouth shelters during Hurricane Sandy; Jim Klingensmith describing how to accommodate pets; and Chuck Cotnor, who will give information about preparing a bag with emergency supplies. Call 508-696-4205 for more information.

Closer to home, Marsha Winsryg will talk about her recent trip to Zambia at the West Tisbury Library at 5 pm on April 14. Marsha has been actively helping support women’s and children’s charities in Africa, raising money by selling crafts she collects on her trips. She will be joined by Rick Bausman and Jane Norton to share photos, video, and stories about a new model for cross-cultural exchange. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Polly Hill Arboretum is looking for volunteers to help maintain the grounds and lend a hand around the property. Anyone interested is invited to “join us on the first Thursday of every month April through October, 9 to noon.” Call ahead so they know how many folks to expect, 508-693-9426. Wear comfortable work clothes and bring your own gloves. Tools are provided.

Enid Haller of the Lyme Center of Martha’s Vineyard wants to let people know about a conference on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, this May 3 and 4. You may call the Lyme Center for more information, 508-693-1846.

Some weeks I have lots to say, some weeks not so much. The weather is reliable, the changing of seasons, the passing of time, the rituals that make up a year in our community lives. I think of this column as my weekly letter to you. Newsy or philosophical, an observation of a small detail or some momentous event, it is meant to represent us in this time. Birds and blooms and houseguests arrive and disappear. Dogs go for daily walks and do silly things. New kittens discover the world in their first year. Music, art, food, politics, firemen, kindergartners, events and people large and small. If something noteworthy happens to you that you wish to share, please let me know. And thanks for reading.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine here.

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Hermine-HullI had a cold last week and slept through most of the storm. I saw some snow wind-blown across our bedroom windows, but otherwise missed it and it was melted away by the time I went outside and off the property. There are some big limbs down, notably in the triangle by Brandy Brow. Overall, we seem to have gotten through just fine with no loss of power, no accidents, no flooding, no trees blocking roads.

There is a new sign at the Public Safety Building. Police Department, Fire Station No. Two and Tri-Town Ambulance share the facility as they were meant to, following the completion of the new police station that looks from the outside as though it had always been there.

Immediately as you enter, the main area is visible through interior fenestration, lots of glass that makes the building and its occupants feel accessible right from the onset. There is parking behind the building and a discreet entrance to a private interview room for people needing their privacy.

Administrative assistant Haddon Blair gave Mike and me the tour this morning. Earlier, he had filed a request for materials, pleased at how easy things are to find, especially without crawling around on his hands and knees to find them. They are already remarkably well organized for having just moved in.

Every officer has his own cubicle with a desk and space to keep his own open cases right to hand and laptops that go from desk to patrol car. There are file cabinets and storage closets galore, all neatly arranged, with room to spare for now. Years of reports, evidence for pending cases, extra equipment, log books, training materials, lockers, bunks for emergency overnights — there is a place for everything. ACO Joannie Jenkinson has her own office upstairs. There is a high-tech computer room and a conference room that also serves for ongoing training classes. Planning for the future, there is a separate locker room and bathroom for female officers.

The color scheme is a deep cobalt blue and values of gray. Very attractive and professional, about as nice as a police department could be. Still, I have to admit a nostalgia for the old station with Chief George Manter’s acid green entryway and its view of the pond, the smallness of the station and the town’s troubles, a different time.

You will all have a chance to see at least some of it when we vote next Thursday.

Next Tuesday, April 8 is our annual town meeting. It begins at 7 pm at the West Tisbury School. Polls open for the town election on Thursday, April 10, noon to 8 pm, at the Public Safety Building.

Maria McFarland will be a write-in candidate for the Board of Assessors. She has worked in town hall for both the Personnel Board and the Conservation Commission. There is no candidate on the ballot.

The ballot is pretty uncontroversial this year. No contested races for any office. There is one ballot question, “Shall the town vote to have its elected treasurer become an appointed treasurer of the town?” Our current treasurer is Kathy Logue, who has held the position more than ably for 11 years. This ballot vote is the second part of the process, as the town meeting floor vote passed last fall.

The Friends of the Vineyard Haven Library have chosen John Hough Jr. as the recipient of Honoring a Vineyard Author, for 2014. Former honorees were David McCullough, Ward Just, and Jules Feiffer. John will speak at the library in July about his new book, “Little Bighorn.” I realized I hadn’t yet read his last book, “Seen the Glory,” and so picked it up and haven’t been able to put it down. It is a fast moving, well told tale about three young Vineyard recruits to the Union Army, a perfect companion as I’m nursing my cold. I recommend it and can’t wait till “Little Bighorn” comes out in June.

April has been designated “Awareness Month for Alzheimer’s on the Vineyard,” and a collaboration by the Supportive Day Program, Windemere, Martha’s Vineyard Museum, and Featherstone have produced an impressive list of events. On April 7, at Windemere, Mary Holmes and Nancy Cabot begin “Art & Memory,” a five-week program of art making and art looking for people with memory loss. Suzanne Faith of Hope Dementia will be at the Tisbury Senior Center at 1 pm on April 8 for the first CARES (Compassionate Alzheimer’s Respite Education Support) group. Suzanne, Eileen Murphy, and Leslie Clapp will be on hand. It will continue to meet on the second Tuesday every month. There will be a fundraiser at the Film Center on April 13, a reception at 4 pm, before the movie, “Away From Her” with Julie Christie as a woman with Alzheimer’s, followed by a Q&A discussion led by Karen Achille. A dementia conference is planned for April 25. Alzheimer’s care and education are very important to me, so I am grateful we have these resources available for our whole community. More to follow.