Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

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

I am reminded every day how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place, how I return again and again to the same landscapes and appreciate them anew every time. When Mike and I took Talley and Nanuk out to walk this morning, besides being windblown down the path to the beach, I saw dark shapes of violet-gray shrubbery and grasses faded to a pale yellow, barely lighter than the sand along the path and along the beach. The dark shapes joined together, making long horizontals, a sort of structure for a painting in my mind.

It looked like it might snow, as it has all week, a bit every day, a dusting. Then it’s gone, except in the coldest pockets on the north side of our house. As I bring in wheelbarrows full of firewood, I look up, still waiting for a real snowfall to come.

It’s certainly been cold enough. And windy. Even in our woods, the trees bend and shiver.

Good weather for projects at home, then getting out to the library to listen to jazz next Sunday, Jan. 25. Pianist Jeremy Berlin and guitarist Eric T. Johnson will begin playing at 4 pm. They have been playing and performing together for 15 years as the Berlin/Johnson Duo. They will play a selection of jazz standards, original compositions, and maybe a few surprises.

On Monday evening at 7 pm, the library will host their first “Writers Read” evening. Community members are invited to read a short original prose piece, either fiction or nonfiction. Each reader is allotted six minutes to read. They may ask for a critique after the reading. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. You may sign up in advance or on the day of the program. Please call 508-693-4307.

Laura Edelman is a teacher at the West Tisbury School and a certified children’s yoga instructor. She has designed a series of four yoga classes for tweens and teens that will begin next Saturday, Jan. 31, at the West Tisbury library. Tweens will meet from 10:15 am to 11 am. Teens meet from 11:15 am to noon. The series is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Please preregister at the library, as classes are limited to eight participants. 508-693-3366 or

The Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living and the YMCA have teamed up to begin the Thursday Club at the Y for individuals with early to moderate memory issues and their care partners. Beginning next Thursday, Jan. 29, the group will meet from 10 am to noon for socializing, information, and networking. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will join them one Thursday every month to present a program related to the museum’s collection or a current exhibition. For more information, please call Leslie Clapp at the MV Center For Living, 508-939-9440, or Ray Whitiker at the Y, 508-693-1676. This is a very exciting collaboration, and I hope people will eagerly take advantage of it.

The 2015 town census arrived in the mail, along with forms for our dog licenses. Ours are all filled out and ready with the check to return to Town Hall tomorrow morning. I hope our dogs get good low numbers this year. Don’t forget to check over your census form and get it back to Tara Whiting at Town Hall. You could be removed from the voting list if you don’t return the form.

My first amaryllis is blooming, a bright orange-red beauty called Monaco. Big buds are showing on several others. I love amaryllis. They make such a show and, if they are a gift, I have the fun of waiting to find out what they will look like. The mystery is half of the enjoyment. It’s pretty amazing when you think about all the energy and potential stored in a relatively small bulb.

A skim of ice coated the ponds, the surrounding grass, and shrubbery. Rhododendron leaves shriveled against the cold. Temperatures plummeted to near zero, then soared to almost forty degrees with rain that flooded walkways and roads. The sky remained a cold gray.

Tom Hodgson reported seeing the first snowdrops blooming along Music Street. I have looked under Louise Bessire’s hedge and in the myrtle along the south-facing wall of our house, but haven’t even seen green tips poking out of the ground yet.

Patti Linn will celebrate her birthday on Monday, January 19. She hadn’t made definite plans when I saw her last week, but was anticipating the day with pleasure. Happy Birthday, Patti.

A painting of Dr. Steven W. Atwood hanging in the Atwood Library at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia.
Leslie Baker painted this portrait of Dr. Steven W. Atwood, which hangs in the Atwood Library at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia.

My cousins, Mal and Harriet Gran, recently visited the Steven W. Atwood Library and Information Commons at the University Of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, where they live. I have been after them to go and tell me all about it, especially since last May when a portrait of Steve painted by Leslie Baker was hung with great ceremony.

Mal and Harriet spend part of every summer here and are familiar with Leslie’s work, but with life and holidays it has taken them awhile to get to the library. I watched the portrait progress in Leslie’s studio, so was interested to see photographs of it in its place of pride. It looks beautiful. Steve has been a great supporter of his alma mater. His most recent gift was a collection of historical veterinary textbooks, now housed in a bookcase across from his portrait. For anyone who doesn’t know, Steve is Dr. Atwood of Animal Health Care in West Tisbury, a great vet and a great friend.

I received a fortuitous email this week from Kim D’Arcy, a professional organizer and owner of Organize MV. She has scheduled two workshops on consecutive Wednesdays to celebrate National Get Organized Month 2015. The first is on January 21: A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place. The second is on January 28: Paper Places and Spaces. Both begin at 6 pm and are at the Montessori School, 286 Main Street, Vineyard Haven. Cost is $20 for each. If you, as I, despair of having an organized desk or basement, this sounds like just the thing. There is a website:, a facebook page, and a telephone number: 508 726-3133.

Jamie Alley will host a series of Monday Night Movies at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. $5 cash only at the door. The show begins at 7:30 pm. “Nightmare Alley” will be shown January 19 and “Night of the Iguana” on January 26.

Sad news that Francis Chinard, a longtime summer resident of Tiasquam Road, passed away last Monday, January 5. “A changing of the guard,” as the Chinard’s had recently sold their house. My condolences to Jo and to their friends and family.

I ran into Rosalie Powell earlier and asked for details about her upcoming Traditional Rug Hooking class that begins on Tuesday, January 20 and runs on successive Tuesdays through February 17. The class is a collaboration between ACE MV and Featherstone Center for the Arts. It will be held in Rosalie’s studio on Old Courthouse Road.

In other Powell family news, Rosalie’s son Jim was here over the holidays and spent part of his time clearing trees and brush at the old Mayhew Farm on Lambert’s Cove. Brian Athearn, Bruce Marchand, and Mike Jacobs are grazing sheep and horses there, helping to reclaim the older pastures from invasive autumn olives and improving habitat for farming and wildlife. While here, Jim counted nine bluebirds at his watering trough, and heard owls hooting at night. He encourages others in town to consider using sheep and pasturing animals to keep invasive, non-native species from overgrowing the meadows and stone walls that are so much a part of our scenic heritage. Jim has returned to his teaching job at Utah Valley University.

Ted and Susan Powell were here from Canton, visiting Rosalie and Jim, their daughter Shannon and her husband, Dan Larsen, and granddaughters Natalie and Isabella.

Pierce and Bernice Kirby welcomed their son, Pierce Kirby III, here from Austria. Grandson Mike Diaz, Jr., was here from Hollywood, and granddaughter Christina Diaz Simmons and her husband Wade Simmons came from San Francisco. Christina has recently passed the Massachusetts Bar exam.

ACE MV walk-in registration for winter classes is Friday. January 16, 5 to 6:30 pm, at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Calling all artists. The Vineyard Museum and Featherstone have planned a second Island Faces Competition for this summer. Portraits may be of yourself, a summer or year-’round resident. June 1, 2015 is the submission deadline. Please contact Anna Carringer at the museum for more information email

Dan Waters is giving a personal tour of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s current exhibitions this afternoon, Thursday, January 15, 3 to 4 pm. They are Nancy Luce: Madonna of the Hens; Sea Change: Martha’s Vineyard in the 1960s; Enchanted Isle: The Story of Martha’s Vineyard; and Cats and Dogs.

The West Tisbury Library and Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School are collecting “gently-used” jeans, part of a national campaign to help provide blue jeans for homeless youth. You have till February 3 to drop off your donations at either the Charter School or the Young Adult Room at the library. Take a look at the website:

Rob Myers is hosting a night of live music at the West Tisbury Library this Friday, January 16, 7 to 9:30 pm. He will perform with his band, Jellybone Rivers and the Maniac of the Heart, featuring his band mates from The Daytrippers, Brian Weiland and Doug Brush. Anthony Esposito and Adam Howell will also perform. The concert is free and all are welcome.

While at the library, take a look at Phyllis Dunn’s photographs in the Program Room.

I remembered to write 2015 the first time!

The wind is roaring outside my windows, the sky is gray, and it’s cold. The weather reports say temperatures won’t get above freezing most of the week. We may finally get some snow. I am looking forward to winter, the iconic New England weather of my childhood. Was it really so, or just my imagination?

Several years ago I saw a photograph in the Ridgefield Press of snow piled up along Main Street, higher than my head, or so it seemed. Just as I remembered it. There was a high bank along one section of Main Street, so that snow plowed along there really did reach amazing heights. It was a visual trick, but plowed snow along the sides of the roads piled up, especially after several storms. Snowsuits and skating, shoveling with my dad, snowmen, school canceled, sledding down our long driveway, then warming up with hot chocolate inside by a fire. I’m sure it was so.

Hopefully, below-freezing temperatures will minimize the winter moths that seem like snow itself in my car’s headlights if I’m driving home at night. And the ticks. There is a new tick disease, a virus, so not vulnerable to antibiotics. It caused rapid organ failure in a farmer in Bourbon County, Kan. It has been named Bourbon Virus. I hope it doesn’t establish itself here. Insects seem so much more resilient than we humans; they evolve to resist everything we try to deter them.

I have to thank and commend Whit Griswold for his many years as my copy editor at the Times. Whit has retired. Well-earned. You will be missed.

Community suppers have begun their winter schedule. It is possible to “eat out” every day of the week, to join friends for good food and companionship, to meet new and interesting people. Here is the schedule:

Sunday is the only lunchtime meal. It is lasagna, served from 12:30 to 2 o’clock at the Federated Church in Edgartown.

Monday — the Old Whaling Church, Edgartown. 5:30 pm.

Tuesday — Chilmark Community Church. 5:30 pm.

Wednesday — our own West Tisbury Church. 5:30 pm. Please use the entrance on Music Street.

Thursday — Saint Augustine’s Church, Vineyard Haven. 5 pm.

Friday — Grace Church, Vineyard Haven. 5 pm.

Saturday — Trinity Parish House, Oak Bluffs. 5:30 pm.

Fan Ogilvie, one of our former poet laureates, is leading a poetry discussion series at the West Tisbury library. “Metaphor and Other Tropes” is the subject on Jan. 13. On Jan. 20, “Emotions and Intellection”;  “Just Words” on Jan. 27. Discussion begins at 2 pm, and the group will be limited to eight participants. Please sign up at the circulation desk, 508-693-3366, or online at

Benjamin Higgins will perform a piano concert at the library this Friday, Jan. 9, at 4 pm. Beth is making cookies, an added inducement, so please plan to come.

The Lego Club continues to meet at the library this Saturday, Jan. 10, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Mike and I invited some friends to help us celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Day. It was wonderful to be with so many of the people who have made our life richer than we could have imagined all those years ago.

We also invited Junior and Salissa DeOlivera, the new owners of Mike’s Aunt Janice’s house, our new neighbors. They came with their children, Noah, Owen, and Gabriel (the girls, Emily and Rafaela, stayed home) and their incredibly cute puppy, 9-month old BooBoo, who stole the show. He and our Talley and Nanuk frolicked and entertained everyone, despite the size and age differences. BooBoo is a tiny Chihuahua cross, and ours are 60- and 70-plus-pound retrievers.

Everyone commented on Nelson’s exemplary manners. He is a very sociable cat, loves to be in the midst of any gathering, and spent a good two hours sleeping and purring contentedly on Megan Mendenhall’s lap. I was teased about all the things I write in this column about his terrible behavior. As I often tell, he was perfect at the party, the best-behaved cat one could imagine. But as soon as everyone left, he came into the kitchen, leaped up, and gave me a good hard bite to remind me that I am the person he loves most in the world.

Now is the lovely aftermath of Christmas, when everything is done and we can enjoy the decorations and presents in peace. And there is a whole new year to anticipate.

Somehow last week’s column was online correctly, but in the newspaper was a reprint of the week before. Please bear with me as I repeat some of the news from last week.

The big event was the birth of Prudence Ruya Whiting on December 20. She is Will and Ozge’s first child, the second grandchild this year for Lynne and Allen Whiting. Lynne emailed on their way home from Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, where Prudence was born at 7:21 pm, “Weighing in at a respectable 8 lb. 11.7 oz….everyone’s thrilled to say the least! Cousin Asa will get to meet her sometime soon we hope!” What a Merry Christmas gift for all the Whiting family.

Barbara Day came home in time for Christmas after several weeks at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Nice to have Barbara at home with Bob and enjoying visits from all their friends.

Margaret Gallagher, one of the organizers of West Tisbury’s town party, called last week to ask me to clear up a misconception about the party. She said some folks in town think it’s paid for out of our town budget. It isn’t. Each of the selectmen contribute one third of the cost. In addition, Skipper donates two turkeys from his farm. Volunteers cook, decorate the Ag Hall, set up and clean up. We bring the rest, a good West Tisbury potluck. Margaret asked me to especially thank David Merry, who brought 400 oysters this year, and the Dunkls, whose music is always a special part of the event. She asked that anyone who has any further questions to please call her at 508-696-9686.

I was sad to see that Norman Bridwell had died. He and Norma were among the first people I met when I moved to the Vineyard, and I always enjoyed seeing them whenever we were together. And, of course, I adored Clifford. My condolences to Norma, Emily, Tim, and their families.

One of the highlights of this holiday season was my “getting in the mood for Christmas” visit with Ruth Kirchmeier and going together to see Jeff and Sam Bryant’s Christmas village. It takes up most of their sunporch, a magical display of buildings and figures, landscaped with town centers and woods, populated with carolers, ice skaters, hunters, animals and birds, fishermen, and regular folk going about their business, all under a blanket of newly-fallen snow. They have collected the pieces since Sam was a child. The annual arrangement and re-arrangement of the structures and scenes, ever growing, is part of their pre-holiday ritual. Of course, it must be lingered over and savored, inch by inch, every piece admired, every tableau discussed. It is the most wonderful thing I have ever seen, and never fails to cheer me, and send me home eager to unpack my much smaller collection of houses and figures and begin arranging them across our windowsills and dining room table. Such pleasures from such a small thing.

Susan and Sherm Goldstein are celebrating a special anniversary. They bought the Mansion House in 1985, beginning their career as innkeepers. Their children, Josh Goldstein and Nili Beth Morgan, grew up with the inn and are now part of its management. They celebrate with special “Island rates” in the month of January for residents to spend the night and enjoy all the amenities. A “staycation,” Susie calls it. Look on their website or call the inn, 508-693-2200, if you are interested.

Arts, Education, and Social Justice is a course with college credits from Fitchburg State University offered by ACE MV. Lynn Ditchfield and Susan Klein will lead the class discussions about how the arts impact social justice. There are some scholarships available. Their website and phone number is 508-693-9222.

A bit of summer mid-winter is available this Sunday, January 4, when Grace Church will sell their famous lobster rolls and slices of pie from 12 noon to 2 pm. Call 508-693-0332 for information or advance orders. Lobster rolls are $17.

Diane Wall stopped by last week and we were reminiscing about hot fudge sundaes at Alley’s, a regular winter Wednesday night event during Charlie and Teena Parton’s tenure. Ice cream flavors were vanilla or peppermint, Charlie’s favorite. It was a wonderful gathering place to meet your friends, trade news, and what better treat than a hot fudge sundae? Besides the Partons, Diane worked at Alley’s then, and so did Betsey Mayhew and Judy Mayhew. Lenny Baker always showed up if he was in town. It was quite a jolly occasion, breaking up the dark early evenings. Fun to remember.

Editor’s note: due to a production error, the Times printed the December 18 West Tisbury column in the December 24 newspaper. The correct column was published online and can be found at:

Well, we’re getting there. Cookies are getting baked. Gifts are mostly wrapped and mailed. Mike cut a tree in our woods and set it up this afternoon. I put the lights on and sat in the living room, beginning to feel that sense of peace and happiness that eventually comes by Christmas Eve.

I took a break and went to the concert at the West Tisbury Church this afternoon. It was wonderful. The choir sounded so beautiful, singing a combination of familiar carols and some I had never heard before.

Driving home afterward, I admired the decorations around town, then drove down our own driveway to see colored lights on the tree outside my studio, white lights across our porch and candle lights in the windows. I realize that the lights and the music are the parts of Christmas I like the best, decorating the tree with a combination of ornaments from our childhood and ones collected during our life together. Watching It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Carol. Listening to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Going to church on Christmas Eve. The same quiet traditions every year. I hope it snows.

We have had a baby born in West Tisbury. Lynne emailed me on her way home, “The Whiting family got an early Christmas when Prudence Ruya Whiting arrived yesterday (December 20) at 7:21 pm at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Weighing in at a respectable 8 lb. 11.7 oz. Willie and his wife, Ozge, couldn’t be happier! We are on our way home now from visiting them. She was due December 30; everyone’s thrilled to say the least! Cousin Asa will get to meet her sometime soon we hope!” Wonderful news for all of the Whiting family. Two grandchildren for Allen and Lynne this year. Welcome, dear Prudence.

Another cheery piece of news — Barbara Day will be home for Christmas. I saw her at the hospital last week where she has been for the past six weeks. She looks great and is ready to be home. We were at the tree lighting ceremony in the hospital lobby Wednesday afternoon, singing carols, and admiring the Tree of Lights.

Pauletta and Bob Evans were on the Island to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with their daughter Susie Middleton, her partner Roy Riley, and Roy’s daughter Libby. Sadly, they returned to Delaware before Katherine Long’s solstice party, which they would have enjoyed attending.

Margaret Gallagher, one of the organizers of the Town Party, called me last week to ask me to clear up a misconception about the party. She said some folks in town think that it’s paid for out of our town budget. It isn’t. Each of the selectmen contribute one third of the cost. In addition, Skipper donates two turkeys from his farm. Volunteers cook, decorate the Ag Hall, set up and clean up. We bring the rest, a good West Tisbury potluck. Margaret asked me to especially thank David Merry, who brought 400 oysters this year, and the Dunkls, whose music is always a special part of the event. She asked that anyone who has any further questions to please call her at 508-696-9686.

Don’t forget the Annual Christmas Pageant begins at 5 pm at the Ag Hall on Christmas Eve. The 10 o’clock service will be held at the West Tisbury Church.

The Lego Club meets this Saturday, December 27, at the West Tisbury Library from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. On Sunday afternoon, December 28, at 2 pm, the Spirit of the Vineyard Award ceremony honoring John Early will be held at the library.

I made a mistake in last week’s column. There will be another Winter Farmers’ Market this Saturday, December 27, 10-1, at the Ag Hall.

I was sad to see that Norman Bridwell died. He and Norma were among the first people I met when I moved to the Vineyard, and I always enjoyed seeing them whenever we saw each other. And, of course, I adored Clifford. My condolences to Norma, Emily, and Tim and their families.

If you still need a gift and want something over-the-top great, sign up for one of Marsha Winsryg’s tours of Florence. She is planning two in March and two in October, all to benefit the charity that is her heart, the African Artists Community Development Project. Details next week. Meanwhile, call Marsha for information: 508-693-4059.

Wishing everyone the Merriest Christmas and Peace on Earth from Mike and me, Talley, Nanuk, Nelson, and Edgardo.

The sky was so clear when I took the dogs out tonight. Stars sparkled. Even from inside with the lights turned off, they punctuated the night sky, making pictures outside our windows.

The holiday season continues with a Christmas Concert at the West Tisbury Church this Sunday afternoon, December 21, at 3:30 pm. The program includes a prelude and carols sung by the church choir with guest performers led by Director of Music and organist David Rhoderick and guest conductor Phil Dietterich. A reception follows the concert. Tickets are $15, free for students. The doors open at 3 pm.

On Christmas Eve, the Church’s Annual Christmas Pageant will begin at 5 pm at the Ag Hall. The story of the Nativity is re-created and re-told by candlelight. Music is by the Joyful Noise Choir, made up of children from all over the island, directed by Brian Weiland. There is plenty of parking in the Ag Hall field. Do plan to come early.

The 10 pm candlelight service will be held at the Church.

Happy belated birthday good wishes to Jessica Haynes, who celebrated on 12/12 with a weekend of parties, and to my fellow-columnist from West Tisbury, John Alley, whose birthday was December 4.

Don’t forget the book talk and music this afternoon at the library from 4:30 to 6, Tom Dresser and Jerry Muskin and the Long Point 5. On Saturday afternoon, December 20, there will be an artist’s reception for Billy Hoff from 4 to 5 pm. Billy’s paintings are on display in the Program Room through the month of December.

Congratulations to John Early, recipient of the 2014 Spirit of the Vineyard Award from Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The award ceremony will be Sunday, December 28, 2 pm, at the West Tisbury Library. I cannot begin to list all of John’s accomplishments and contributions to West Tisbury and the island. He was well-known as one of our selectmen for many years, an assistant chief on our fire department, an EMT, a member of more committees than I can count. Come to the library to hear more and to congratulate John in person.

Please keep an eye out for a seemingly stray cat, named Alyssa, who is gray with beige markings, notably a beige spot near one eye. Alyssa has been missing from her home with David and Bonnie Steere on State Road near the West Tisbury cemetery. She is very shy and will probably be skittish and fearful. She was a feral kitty who was learning to be affectionate with Bonnie and David. She is much loved and missed. Please call them or Joannie Jenkinson if you see her.

Candy Shweder has an exhibition and sale of her pottery at the Santander Bank in Chilmark through December 26. She also sells seconds in her studio. Call her at 508-560-0324.

The Winter Farmers’ Market continues at the Ag Hall this Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm.

Some sad news from Long Island City: Ann Leggett died the morning of December 12. Ann was a well-known painter both on Island and off, a classical painter of polished brushstrokes in this age of loose, interpretive mark-making. She was proud of her Art Student’s League training, where she studied with Frank Mason, and she exhibited regularly. On the Island, Ann showed her work at the Granary Gallery when it was owned by Brandy and Bruce, then at my gallery for many years. Ann never missed the Ag Fair; she was here this past summer.

When I met Ann, her parents Stan and Barbara Leggett, still lived in the Greek Revival house on Edgartown Road across from Old County. Barbara was a sculptor and shared her studio space in the barn behind their house with Ann when she came from New York for the summer. They had wonderful parties in that barn, filled with art and artists and sparkling conversation. Fittingly, they sold the house to artists Rez Williams and Lucy Mitchell, who now have their studios in the barn.

I walk around my house, looking at years of Ann’s paintings I have collected and loved. I remember her sitting at my dining room table with a still life set up on a rainy day, a cigarette dangling from her lips, intent on her work, then stopping to show it off.

Ann had her passions. She painted scenes around the Island, many with recognizable people posed carrying a mattress or walking horses across a barnyard or sitting on Alley’s porch. She also painted wherever she traveled, always from life. Mexico, Libya, Italy, Japan. She drew and painted, never photographed, immersing herself in the life and language and culture that interested her.

She was active at the United Nations, active in politics, active in life. It’s difficult to imagine her not living it, not waving her hands and talking in her articulate, enunciated, energetic way. It’s impossible to imagine her not painting.

It’s hard not to be in the holiday spirit. The West Tisbury Church Fair was Saturday, filled with friends and greenery, cookies and gift possibilities. Sunday afternoon I was at West Tisbury Fire Station 2 awaiting Santa’s arrival. Luke Sudarsky picked Santa up in Engine 734 and delivered him to a waiting sleigh and a line of children and families that stretched around the entire station. Beth Kaeka and Kenny Mastromonaco handed out fire hats, toys, and candy canes as Luke Sudarsky and Joe Uva handed kids down from Santa’s lap. Brynn Schaffner took photgraphs. It was totally festive.

There are lots of new babies in town, lots of young kids, all with their lists for Santa. I saw Reed, Miles, Oscar, Jean, Xander, Jen, Dominic, Vincent, Quin, Will, Olsen, Ellis, Gus, Roark, Nathan, Azor, two Christophers, Nova, Evan, Roan, Vincenzo, Isabella, Nellie, Derek, and Suzanne. I apologize if I missed anyone.

A nice tradition for many families was seeing Santa, then going to get their tree on the way home. Middletown and Vineyard Gardens were both decked out in lights with lots of trees and wreaths and garlands. Cider and cookies, too.

I will admit to climbing up on Santa’s lap myself every year to ask for something special. (I do wait till after all the children have gone first.) My wish is always for world peace. Sadly, neither Santa nor I have been able to accomplish much there. As Santa and I were busy bemoaning our lack of progress on world peace, I forgot to give him my list for this year. Just in case he reads my column: a cashmere bathrobe and closet doors.

Leslie Baker, Ruth Kirchmeier, Claire Chalfoun, and I went to the Island Chorus Concert Sunday afternoon at the Whaling Church. Both the music and the setting were glorious. I hadn’t seen Margot Datz’s murals yet; she did an awesome, as in awe-inspiring, job. Then we went to Liz Taft and Nancy Gilfoy’s for our art group’s Christmas dinner, always a special gathering, part of our Christmas tradition. The drive home was filled with holiday decorations and lights brightening the night.

Our West Tisbury town party is Thursday night at the Ag Hall from 5 to 8 o’clock. Please come. Bring a finger food to share, a hearty appetite, and your holiday goodwill toward all. The hall is always beautifully decorated, a roaring fire going, and everyone in town will be there.

Then comes Katherine Long’s famous Solstice party from noon to nine this Sunday, December 14. Katherine’s mother, Katherine Long Sr. as I always call her, and Katherine’s sister Mary Ruth will be here, and many familiar members from the Vogl side of the family. Katherine is busy cooking and trying to keep her cats in order. It will be wonderful, as it always is. The food is a potluck, so bring your best offering, some wine, and your good selves. Everyone is invited, but please, no dogs.

Don’t forget that Red Stocking is going on this week. It has moved from Grace Church to St. Augustine’s. Also, don’t forget the Island Food Pantry. There are donation boxes here in town at the library and Cronig’s.

Hanukkah begins on Tuesday, December 16, at sunset. I have to polish my menorah in preparation, to be ready to light candles for eight nights and to attend the Hanukkah service at the Hebrew Center Friday night at 5:30. It’s a very beautiful service, by the candlelight of all the menorahs everyone brings with them. Then potato latkes afterward for dinner.

Eric Johnson and Sam Graber-Hahn will perform guitar and violin duos at the West Tisbury Library Sunday afternoon, December 14, 4 to 5 pm. “From Bach to the Beatles,” the announcement says.

The library’s Lego Club meets this afternoon, Thursday, December 11, 4–5:30 pm. Martha Hubbell has a special crafting workshop planned for kids 9 and up; come to the library next Wednesday, December 17, at 4 pm, to make pipe cleaner animals. Please pre-register at the circulation desk or by calling 508-693-3366.

Tom Dresser and Jerry Muskin have written a new book, Music on Martha’s Vineyard. They will be at the library to talk about it next Thursday, December 18, at 4:30 pm. There will be live music, too, by the Long Point 5. Books will be for sale and signing for $20 a copy. The event is free and all are welcome.

Patricia Cliggott continues to open her Indian Hill Road home for the Lovingkindness Sale on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 to 4, through Christmas. Island-made gifts and art are available and part of the proceeds goes to charity.

The Winter Farmers’ Market continues at the Ag Hall every Saturday through December. Hours are 10 am to 1 pm.

Valerie Sonnenthal has a schedule of classes planned through the winter at her Peaked Hill Studio. Call or email for more information: 508-645-9692 or

ACE MV has also put together their winter class list and descriptions. Look at their website:

Joe Sollitto called this morning to talk to Mike. I said, “He’s out bringing in wood for the stove.” We started talking about the joys of wood stoves, their warm heat, as well as the amount of work they take, reminiscing about trips to the State Forest or other sites around the Island to cut down trees, then all the splitting and stacking once those logs got home. Joe told me a story about Hollis Smith making an iconic comment, oft repeated, “You get warm twice. Cutting and splitting it, then sitting by it.” True, and nicely so. Despite the work and the mess, I am devoted to our wood stove and hope we never have to give it up.

I love driving home after dark this time of year. I love the trees wrapped in white or colored lights and electric candles in all the windows, interiors like still life paintings. The tree at Haynes Point is always my welcome home. Bob Hennessey did an extra-special job decorating it this year, more lights marking the passage of time as it grows taller and wider, more perfectly shaped. Anticipation feels festive and the decorations raise my spirits, brightening the early nights.

I was driving home from Vineyard Haven after a party for Nancy Cramer, who closed her gallery Sunday at 6 pm after 20 years. Leslie Baker organized gallery artists to arrive at 3:30 with wine and hors d’oeuvres and dancing music. Although we will miss the gallery, we are all excited to see Nancy back to her studio creating art, as she needs to do. Brava, Nancy, for 20 years well done, and here’s to the next 20 and whatever adventures await.

It was a busy weekend in all ways. Guests, meals, parties, concerts, and sales of every kind. The Antique Show was wonderful; I came home with a splendid Roseville dog bowl that makes me smile every time I look at it — heavy, simply designed and colored, perfect for doing its job — much prettier than the old metal bowl we used before. The Artisans’ Show was filled with new and familiar craftsmen and lots of shoppers, West Tisbury’s more refined version of Black Friday.

It was fun to see lots of visitors and family members home for Thanksgiving, and to hear everyone’s stories of their celebrations.

Shirley, Deborah, Jack and Betsey Mayhew went to the Harbor View Hotel, for the first time deciding not to cook this year. Shirley said it was wonderful, everyone enjoyed the meal, the setting, and simply going out for a change.

Stuart Hersh was home from Boston to spend the holiday weekend with his parents, Stan and Tammy.

George and Andrea Hartman had Andrea’s daughters, Nina and Ellen, here with their families.

Lynn Christoffers and her friend Carmine went to Fanny Howe’s for dinner with Jennifer Tseng, Maceo Senna, and their daughter, Xing.

The Fielder clan gathered at David and Libby Fielder’s home, 31 for Thanksgiving dinner. Ralph and Alvida Jones, Ann Fielder, Cynthia Riggs and Howard Attebery, and three younger generations of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Kathy and Sam Stevenson had a house full of children and grandchildren, luckily all arriving before the impending storm late Wednesday.

We were lucky to avoid the weather that snarled traffic and delayed flights. My brothers in Connecticut all had snow. Mike and I enjoyed a lovely beach walk along the great pond with our dogs, then went to Sue Hruby’s for a splendid dinner with Sue and Jared, Bobby, Cecily, and Daniel, Xiaoshi, and Sunday Hull, who drove down from Somerville.

Hannah Maxner has returned to the Vineyard, to Netherfield Farm, where she will teach dressage and hunter/jumper riders of all ages and levels. There is an indoor ring for winter classes and the farm remains open for training and boarding. For more information, call Hannah at 508-566-5235.

Holiday parties begin with the West Tisbury Library hosting town residents this afternoon, Thursday, December 4, 4:30 to 6. Library staff promises “snacks, music, and merry-making.”

Shirley Mayhew will be at the library on Saturday afternoon, December 6, at 4, to talk about her new book, Looking Back: My Long Life on Martha’s Vineyard, a book of essays. I have been reading it all weekend, enjoying the stories of Shirley and Johnny’s courtship, raising three children, fishing, teaching, living her Island life, embracing the world around her.

While at the library, take a look at Billy Hoff’s paintings on display in the Program Room. Billy is December’s artist of the month. There will be an artist’s reception next Saturday, December 13, at 4 pm.

The West Tisbury Church began Advent season and will continue with three Wednesday Evensong services at 5:30. This week is “Longing and Preparing.” December 10 is “Waiting and Hoping” and December 17 is “Healing and Transforming.” The Annual Christmas Faire is planned for this Saturday, December 6, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. There will be wreaths and centerpieces, gifts and baked goods, all we look forward to at this event. Coffee and hot chocolate will be served and there will be a raffle for “an incredible Christmas gift basket.”

Santa will be at West Tisbury Fire Station 2 this Sunday, December 7, from 1 to 3 o’clock. Bring your list. There will be cookies and fire trucks and lots of people you know. And Santa. Yay.

The Federated Church presents seventy-five hand-decorated wreaths at their Annual Festival of Wreaths on Thursday, December 4, 5 to 7 pm. Admission is $10 and includes beverages and hors d’oeuvres.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is hosting representatives from Skinner’s, Inc. at Appraisal Day this Saturday, December 6, 9 am to 3 pm. Cost is $15 per item or $40 for three items. Call Jessica Johnson at 508-627-4441, ext. 117 to reserve a time. The museum is also looking for donations of jewelry for their upcoming sale on December 13.

The West Tisbury School Class of 2017 will be at Middletown Nursery all weekend selling Christmas trees and baked goods to raise money for their ski trip. Hours are: Friday, December 5, 4 to 7 pm; Saturday, December 6, 12 noon to 7 pm; Sunday, December 7, 12 noon to 4 pm.

Parks and Recreation begins their Winter Recreation Program this Saturday, December 6, 9 to 12 noon, at the West Tisbury School. Programs are planned in sports, art, and theater. Call Peggy Stone for more information, 508-696-0147.

Don’t forget that the Winter Farmers’ Market continues for four more Saturdays at the Ag Hall. Hours are 10 am to 1 pm.

I just read the best quote on Nicole Cabot’s Facebook page. It’s from a story about her daughter Reed’s preschool class at First Light Child Development Center which has grown potatoes to donate for Thanksgiving dinners through the Family to Family Program. Their teacher Elizabeth Bonifacio said, “When we donate we tell them we are giving to friends we don’t know yet.” It seems like the perfect way to begin a column for Thanksgiving.

Everyone I know is bustling around, planning for holiday meals and holiday guests. The Winter Farmers’ Market and all the farm stands are filled with an abundance of possibilities. We are lucky to still have the most gorgeous, healthy, organic, locally grown food available to us.

Before I go on, I acknowledge that the holiday season can be difficult for many of us. There are memories that can be happy or sad, of loved ones no longer with us, of the stresses of too much to do in too little time or with too little money. Surely more than I have mentioned. I suppose as we get older, the holidays become a mixed blessing. Having said that, everyone I saw and spoke with this past week seemed to be excited and making plans.

Suzanne and Rich Hammond are looking forward to having three of their kids home from Boston and Amherst. Suzanne described herself as “giddy,” and we laughed about how excited she was anticipating their arrival. I know their dinner will be wonderful. Suzanne is a great cook, famous for having shared her corn pudding recipe that I am asked to reprint every year in this column. It’s easily doubled for potlucks. Here it is:

2 eggs, beaten

1 16-ounce can cream style corn

1 16-ounce can corn kernels, drained

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 cup sour cream

1 9-ounce box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix everything together and turn into a baking dish. Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes till set in the center.

Rosalie Powell is doing the honors this Thanksgiving for her family. Dan and Shannon Larsen will be there with their daughters, Natalie and Isabella. The girls have already helped their great-grandmother decorate the table and the house; Rosalie said they did a beautiful job. Ted and Sue Powell will come from Canton, and an assortment of Island friends will join them around the table. Rosalie said everyone brings part of the meal, incorporating new traditions and new foods into the family’s holiday.

I have read about the iconic “turducken,” a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, but have never met anyone who has done it. It is the centerpiece of Greg and Tam Blaine’s holiday table. Tam began it, then taught Greg how to debone the fowl, and artistically arrange one inside the next. Their Thanksgiving begins early, as everything needs to be prepared and brined for three days before roasting it Thanksgiving morning. Then a crowd of friends arrives for the meal, which reminds Greg of his childhood Thanksgivings, when his grandparents’ house had so many people that the kids had their own table set in the kitchen.

Nelson Bryant and Ruth Kirchmeier are expecting Ruth’s sisters Susie and Eva and their families, her son Eli and his fiancee Natalie from Colorado, and Jeffrey and Sam Bryant from next door. Thanksgiving has become a family tradition of meals at different houses throughout the week the family congregates on the Island.

Sandy Moore has been here visiting with his siblings Ben, Gay, and Martha. He has to head back home to Providence before Thanksgiving to help his wife, Mary, decorate for Christmas at her store, Simple Pleasures.

The Vadasz/Cabot family Thanksgiving will be extra special this year, as friends and relatives arrive not only for one meal together, but for a whole weekend of worship and celebration as Violet Cabot’s Bat Mitzvah is this Saturday morning at the Hebrew Center. Linda and Nicole have been cooking and planning for weeks. Violet, of course, has been preparing with Rabbi Broitman for many years. Her birthday is on Sunday, November 30. Much to celebrate together.

During our conversation, Linda Vadasz mentioned the creamed onions and chestnuts she always makes for Thanksgiving that no one else eats but her. It reminded me of Hull family dinners at Mike’s Aunt Janice’s, the creamed onions no one else ate, but that she dutifully prepared.

This is a bittersweet holiday for me, as Janice’s house has been sold and a new family will be moving in. I haven’t met them yet, but look forward to it, and hope they will be happy in their new home. It will be nice to have a young family there making their own traditions and memories. Sad for me, as Janice made Thanksgiving in the early days when Mike and I were newly married. Somehow her tiny dining room table expanded to fit us all as ours did when Mike and I took over that holiday tradition. We both adored Janice and have memories of happy, and interesting, times spent with her. We both miss her.

My best Thanksgiving memory is of the year our niece Charlotte was born on November 26. Her parents stopped by on the way home from the hospital to show her off. She is, of course, grown up and making her way in the world, but Thanksgiving always reminds me of the blessing she is in my life.

Nelia Decker, our Children’s Librarian, has a suggestion for a family activity before or after the big meal. The library has planned a special craft for this Saturday, November 29, between 10:30 am and 3 pm. It’s building fairy houses, and Nelia’s suggestion is that you might spend some time outside in your yard or on a walk looking for material to use. Use your imagination, too, to plan what your fairy house might look like and who might live inside. Have fun.

Don’t forget the library will be closed both Thursday and Friday. It reopens on Saturday morning at 10.

Martha Flanders will teach a workshop called “Heat Embossed Stamping on Velvet” at the library Sunday afternoon, November 30, 2–4 pm. After a demonstration and some practice time, you will make your own embossed velvet bag to take home. There is a $12 charge for materials. Call the library for more information, 508-693-3366.

The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society has planned a Thanksgiving concert Saturday evening, November 29, 7:30 pm, at the Old Whaling Church. Stephanie Chase, Scott Woolweaver, Scott Kluksdahl, and Delores Stevens will perform works by Brahms, Bartok, and Schumann. Tickets are $20, students admitted for free.

There will be an Antiques Sale this weekend at the Grange Hall on Friday and Saturday between 9 am and 3 pm. Twenty vendors will set up their tables with Vineyard memorabilia, vintage jewelry, cottage and primitive furniture, tools, porcelain, and more. There is free parking and no admission charge.

Also on Saturday, November 29, another opportunity to learn about Island history at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Chief Curator Bonnie Stacy will discuss the life, legacy, and inspiration to contemporary artists and poets of West Tisbury’s Nancy Luce, who lived on Tiah’s Cove Road 200 years ago. “Madonna of the Hens” is the name of the museum’s current exhibition. Island poets Ellie Bates, Jill Jupen, Donald Nitchie, and Steve Ewing will speak about how Nancy Luce’s poems inspired them and read from their own work. Admission is free.

I hope everyone will find something to feel grateful for this Thursday. That’s what this holiday is all about.

It finally feels like winter is coming. Gray, drizzly, hardly any leaves left on the trees. Thanksgiving is next week and people are already making plans for Christmas. I’m not ready to race this year away quite yet.

Holiday fairs are already scheduled for this weekend. Trinity United Methodist Church in Oak Bluffs will hold their Holiday Fair this Saturday, November 22, 9 am to 2 pm, with baked goods, knitted items, jewelry, ornaments, and Grandma’s Attic, an intriguing-sounding collection of goodies to inspect and intrigue. Grandma’s Attic items and additional vendors are still wanted, so call Alison Enos for more information. 508 693-4424.

The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Second Annual Vineyard Artist Holiday Sale is this Sunday, November 23, 11 am to 3 pm, at the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. Sixteen artists and craftspeople have signed up so far.

We seem to have had a mini baby boom in West Tisbury. Four new babies were born last week. Taeko Rose is the daughter of Rebekah and Joshua Thomson. Luke Arturo is the son of Laurie and Wagner Periera. Ethan Gunnar, the son of Sarah and Marques Rivers, and Wiley Cedar is Alexandra and Eliot Coutts’ new son. Welcome and wishes for a happy life to all of you.

Sadly, we have lost someone from our town. Condolences to the family and friends of Ernie Medeiros, father, hunter, fireman, and storyteller, who died this past week. His burial service with full West Tisbury Fire Department Honor Guard is Thursday, November 20, 11 am, at Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven. The family asks that any donations in his memory be sent to the Center For Living Supportive Day Program, Box 1729, Vineyard Haven 02568 or to the West Tisbury Firemen’s Civic Association, Box 211, West Tisbury 20575.

Paul Karasik has an article in the New Yorker Cartoons of the Year. “Anatomy of a Gag” appears on pages 6-7. It is an analysis of a Charles Addams cartoon first published January 13, 1940.

Congratulations to Joe Tierney, our new Building Inspector, after being hired at the last selectmen’s meeting. Joe has worked for the town since Ernie Mendenhall retired, working alongside Ernie while learning the job. Now it’s official. And Ernie gets to be really retired. Hah. Maybe a little?

Lots going on at the library, as usual. Besides the regularly scheduled storytimes at 10:30 am on Mondays and Thursdays, and drop-in crafts all day Saturday, here is a list of special events:

Thursday afternoon, November 20, there will be a reading by MVCC grant recipients, beginning at 5 pm. Participants are: Donald Nitchie, Emma Young, Jennifer Tseng, Jill Jupen, and Justen Ahren.

David Stanwood will perform on the 1901 rosewood Steinway piano he restored for the library this Friday, November 21, at 4 pm. His concert will be the first of many, called “Happy Music Concerts.” We’ll have to go to find out what that means.

On Sunday, November 23, the library hosts a Community Poetry Reading at 3 pm. Poets, poetry enthusiasts, and interested listeners are all welcome. Nominations for a new poet laureate will be accepted at the event.

Martha Flanders will teach a workshop for adults, Heat Embossed Stamping on Velvet, next Saturday, November 30, from 2 to 4 pm. Pre-registration is required. You may call the library, 508-693-3366, or email: There is a $12 fee for materials. After learning techniques and having some time to practice, you will design and make a velvet purse. Just in time for the holidays.

I went off Island for a couple of days to visit with Jayne Johnson in Sandwich. On Friday, we attended an Alzheimer’s conference in Hyannis. Anyone who knows Jayne knows we had a great time together, and the conference was one of the best ever. One of the most helpful suggestions I can make to anyone caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is to learn about the neurology of how the disease progresses through the brain. It will make the person’s capabilities more understandable. Not that it will ever be easy, but if you understand what is happening, at least it will help you be more empathetic and, hopefully, more patient with both your loved one and yourself.