Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

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

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.

I have loved driving down Old County Road and seeing goats clearing brush near the school, eating away at everything within their enclosures. They sometimes look up with curiosity, but mostly they remain heads bent downward, focusing on their task. What a wonderful idea to use goats and sheep for this natural purpose.

Another sight I have enjoyed is watching MaryAnn Dolezsar and Mary Lou Perry in their hard hats and day-glo vests, working at the former Veterans’ Memorial triangle at the end of Edgartown Road. I watched the digging one day, plants going in, shovelsful of mulch being applied. So I stopped to ask.

MaryAnn reminded me she had begun this project last winter and called me earlier in the spring to tell me about its inception. She is president of the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club. The project was inspired by our town meeting vote to appropriate Community Preservation funds to reshingle and restore the Old Mill building, as a “thank you” gift to the town. It will be one for all of us to enjoy.

Since the triangle is on state land, the Garden Club had to apply to be allowed to “adopt” this piece of land. They had to watch a video and follow state safety regulations, hence the hard hats, etc. Mary Lou designed the garden and chose the plants. Then she and her committee began rototilling, edging the bed, planting for year-round interest a collection of skimmias, azaleas, heath, and daffodils. I enjoyed reading up on skimmia, which will produce red buds, white flowers that are fragrant on the male plant (skimmias are dioecious, meaning they need a male plant to fertilize the females) and bright red berries, all on a three to four foot plant with shiny evergreen leaves. The azalea Mary Lou chose is Encore “Autumn Royalty” that will also grow into a four foot high and wide mound of foliage. You can see its gorgeous magenta flowers now; it is a variety that blooms both spring and fall. I don’t know what variety of heath was chosen, or the daffodils, but all are pretty and daffodils, especially, are welcome come spring. The bed surrounds the huge Kwanzaan cherry that has bloomed there every spring that I can remember.

This was the West Tisbury members beautification project, although garden club members from other towns participated. They are: MaryAnn Dolezsar, Mary Lou Perry, Charlie Lopresti, Angela and Bob Egerton, Tracie Clark, and DiAnn Ray. Thanks to all of them. I look forward to observing the new garden throughout the year.

Congratulations to Dan Waters, our new town moderator. Having served with Dan on the library board, I know he can be a showman, so our town meetings will be entertaining as well as well-run.

Congratulations, also, to everyone who ran and was elected or re-elected to a town or regional position.

Planning Board Administrator Jane Rossi is looking for new members for the West Tisbury Byways Committee. The group’s mandate is to protect the town’s ancient pathways. Interested volunteers may call Jane at 508-696-0149, email at, or send a letter to PO Box 278, West Tisbury 02575.

West Tisbury Selectmen invite everyone to a public hearing next Wednesday, November 19, 5 pm, in their meeting room in Town Hall, 2nd floor. They are looking for public comment on a “Community Development Strategy” document. A draft is on the town Open space, economic development, affordable housing, and transportation are the subjects to be discussed. Approval of this document will allow the town to participate in state housing subsidy and child care subsidy programs if they are funded for FY2015.

The Chilmark Women’s Symposium is this Saturday, November 15, 9 am to 12 noon, at the Chilmark Community Center. The topic is “AHA! Moments.” The event is free, although donations are graciously accepted.

The newly-formed Lego Club of the West Tisbury Library will hold its first meeting Saturday afternoon, November 15, from 2:30 to 4:30. Legos of various sizes will be provided to accommodate various age groups.

The Saturday day-long family craft project for that day is curlicue birds. Materials will be set out in the Children’s Room.

Ed Schulman is artist-of-the-month at the library. His work will be on display in the Program Room through November 30.

When I ran into Bob Day recently, he told me that Barbara has been in the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for the past three weeks. She remains there a while longer and would love to have visits from her friends. Bob said the ambiance is lovely; she has a view of the roof garden. Her care has been excellent, just long. So drop in to say “hi” and share with her the news around town.

Our weather lately has typified New England’s reputation for changeability. One day I’m looking for my winter coat and the next day I’m wearing shorts and a tee-shirt. It certainly keeps us aware of our surroundings. That’s a good thing. I can’t imagine living in a place where the weather remains temperate all year, the trees always look the same, where things don’t change. Here, the winter sea doesn’t look like the summer sea. Light moves. Colors go through their yearly progression. We live in a world made for minute observation. As an artist, I am never bored. Just going for a walk with Talley in the morning provides me with a whole day of images and inspiration. Good exercise, too.

What an exciting weekend to be safe and dry inside while the world outside blew and blustered and even snowed a little bit. I spent Sunday doing absolutely nothing. I finished one book and started another. I knitted. Mostly I watched the weather blowing through our woods.

Fortunately the storm waited till after Halloween. The party at the library, the first really big event, proved that the new building worked just as it was designed to. Linda Hearn served cider and donut holes on the Children’s Room porch, out of the wind, and was able to accommodate everyone. Beth Kramer estimated between 250 and 300 children and grown-ups attended, all “in the most incredible costumes.” Martha Hubbell had supplies set out for building spooky houses and decorating witches to take home. Finnegan MacLeod appeared as a headless gentleman carrying his head around in a box; he went on to win a prize for the best costume at the Chilmark Community Center party. Asa Ruel, dressed as a baby squid, may have been this year’s youngest attendee in the arms of his mom, Bea Whiting. Steve Klebs took lots of pictures that will be up on the library’s website:

It looked pretty spooky all over town. The Charter School’s scarecrows haunted doorways and lawns in the business district, and it was safe to assume that Ghost Island Farm would be suitably dressed for the occasion. Pumpkins and corn stalks, bittersweet wreaths and colorful garlands with bats and ghosts and witches wound through them decorated doorways and lamp-posts. All very festive.

Welcome to our newest town resident. Vivian Vladimirov was born at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on October 23. Her parents are Sylvia Ilieva and Vladimir Vladimirov and she has an older sister, Dia, at home.

Marjory Potts and her children, Oliver and Phoebe, have planned a memorial celebration for the life of Robert Potts, who died on Oct 11. The burial will be private, but everyone is invited to join the family afterward at the Grange Hall this Sunday afternoon, November 9, at 3:30 pm. Please bring finger food only, and your best stories to share. If you would like to make a donation in Robert’s memory, Marjory suggests the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, PO Box 692, Vineyard Haven 02568, or volunteering your time to Vineyard Village at Home, PO Box 1356, Vineyard Haven 02568, an organization that helped the Pottses during Robert’s illness.

Resident cartoonist Paul Karasik is wearing a new hat as Programming Director for Comic Arts Brooklyn. In a two-day program at the Wythe Hotel Williamsburg this weekend, November 8 and 9, Paul will be interviewing Charles Burns and Richard McGuire, and moderating a discussion between Roz Chast and Art Spiegelman. If you are planning to be in Brooklyn, tickets may still be available:

Congratulations and Happy 25th Anniversary wishes to Vincent and Heather Maciel. I’m glad rain didn’t dampen your spirits or your party last Saturday.

And belated Happy Birthday wishes to Reed Cabot, who turned five on October 24.

The West Tisbury School 5th grade will hold a cake walk at the Chilmark Community Center on Sunday, November 16, 2–4 pm, a fundraiser for their Shenandoah trip. Bring a cake and get a free walk. There will also be a bake sale, a 50/50 raffle, and a chance to win a sunset sail for two on the Shenandoah.

Jan Paul’s Heath Hen returns to normal fall hours and some special events. The Heath Hen will be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 3 pm, closed Tuesday and Sunday. Drop-in knitting convenes Monday evenings, 5–6:30 pm. The hand-quilting group will meet Wednesday mornings, 8:30–10 am.

A reminder that the Monday Night Knitters meet at 7 pm at the Howes House and the Martha’s Vineyard Modern Quilt Guild meets at the library on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Beth Kramer would like anyone who has been holding paintings owned by the library during construction to please let her know and return them to the library. The Art Committee is beginning an inventory of the collection.

The library is reinstating the Food For Fines program to benefit the Island Food Pantry. Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate in lieu of a fine on your overdue movie or book.

Island Grown Harvest Storytime for preschoolers will celebrate sweet potatoes next Thursday, November 13. Guest reader Nicole Cabot will tell you all you need to know beginning at 10:30 am in the Children’s Room.

The first meeting of the library’s new Lego Club will be next Saturday, November 15, at 2:30 pm. If you have new or gently-used Legos to donate, please drop them off in the Children’s Room before then.

Nelson has decided that hunting in the comfort of his home is preferable to braving whatever weather there is outside; he has begun bringing his mice in with him through the cat flap. Mike and the dogs and I hear him leaping around downstairs at night. One morning we found him staring at the refrigerator, more accurately under the refrigerator. Another time we found him trying to get behind a heavy basket of kindling. Mostly we hear him thumping around in the dark. There have been no dead mice, or parts of dead mice, and no smell, so I can only assume he takes them outside again once he’s done with them. Small blessings. I guess I should be grateful.

October has zoomed by, or blown by. This whole past week has been leaves aswirl, good for drying laundry on the line, and for pushing me inside to face a summer’s worth of chores undone. Something about this time of year makes me want to clean out and organize. Of course, intentions are not achievements, but I have already made a good start emptying out and reorganizing the cupboard in the dining room and packing up bags of books for the book sale.

The problem with cleaning is that one thing leads to another, and another, and so on, making it easy to throw up my hands in frustration, to give up altogether. Now the whole bookcase in the living room needs to be re-organized because there is nowhere to put the books I re-organized from the sunroom. My art books are overflowing their shelves in my studio.

And that’s just one job. There are still vases and platters, summer clothes and winter clothes, dog toys, cat toys, flowerpots, components of long ago projects still undone, extra blankets, cake pans shaped like Valentine hearts or Easter lambs, the enormous Thanksgiving roasting pan, way more books, and files that haven’t been looked at since the clippings were filed in the first place. Stuff. Usable and necessary when you need it, but needing to be put away somewhere when you don’t.

Mike and I have had an ongoing conversation over our years together. I insist I would be better organized if I only had adequate storage to put everything away in its proper place. Mike is just as dogged that if I threw everything out there would be plenty of space for what little remained. He really means everything. And so it goes until I start wanting to organize again.

A few Happy Birthdays: to Millie Gault on October 27, Barbara Moment on October 29, Sandy Turner on November 7, and Lyn Hinds on November 9.

Fall is the time of year that the Capital Improvements Planning Committee begins meeting, and they need a new at-large member ASAP. Town Treasurer Kathy Logue described the committee’s job as reviewing and prioritizing the town’s five-year capital plan for projects over $25,000. She and Town Accountant Bruce Stone, appointees from town departments, and two members at-large from the community make up the membership. They begin meeting monthly this time of year through the winter to prepare for Annual Town Meeting. If you are interested, apply to Jen Rand in the Selectmen’s office, 508-696-1012, or Call or email Kathy with any questions: 508-696-1018 or Or stop in to town hall.

Valerie Sonnenthal, a MELT instructor, is hosting three ninety-minute workshops to introduce people to MELT bodywork, “simple self-care techniques you can use to make your body feel better and function more efficiently.” Workshops are $25 per class and are held in her studio on Peaked Hill. The first workshop is this Saturday, November 1, 10–11:30 am. Sessions two and three will be Sunday, November 9, 10-11:30 am and Monday, December 8, 5-6:30 pm. For more information, call Valerie at 508-645-9692 or look at her website

Vineyard Montessori’s fundraiser, Truckin’ MV, is this Saturday, November 1, 11 am–1:30 pm, in the MVRHS parking lot. It is every gearhead’s dream of giant trucks and power equipment available to inspect and climb on to your heart’s content. $10/child or $25/family helps support the school and projects.

The West Tisbury Library is getting ready for its Annual Halloween Party. It will be this Friday, October 31, 3:30–5 pm. There will be a hayride, crafts, yummy treats, and everyone in the best costumes in town. Come and have fun. It’s all free and everyone is welcome.

Special programs at the library this week include West Tisbury poet laureate Justen Ahren’s free poetry workshop this Saturday morning, November 1, 11 am–1 pm, “Mining Poems for the Resonant Image.” On Monday evening, November 3, Carolina Cooney will lead the Graphic Novel Book Club in a discussion of Roz Chast’s book Can’t We Please Talk About Something More Pleasant: A Memoir. The discussion begins at 7 pm.

Don’t forget that the library is open now on Sunday afternoons, 1–5 pm, through the winter.

I just heard that Alan Cottle suffered multiple fractures when he fell off scaffolding this past Saturday. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I have been reading Mill Pond Joe by Nelson Bryant, his reminiscences of life in West Tisbury since the 1930s. There are wonderful descriptions of the way the town looked, lots of stories about people and families well-known, Nelson’s hunting and fishing adventures, his life as a naturalist, and his career as a writer. There’s some personal biographical stuff, too, but mostly it’s Nelson’s love of nature over a lifetime that is his story. Mill Pond Joe was the name of the bedtime story hero he made up when his children were small. The stories are just as engaging to read for myself.

Colors are changing every day. They seem to be fading rather than intensifying, a pale rust replacing once-vibrant orange and red, green sliding into a yellowing chartreuse. Not the fresh chartreuse of new spring leaves, but a last bit of effort color, before bare twigs and branches are all that remains.

I have been following Marsha Winsryg’s and Ruth Kirchmeier’s travels through Tuscany on Marsha’s facebook page, “…an artist’s waking dream” as Marsha describes it. They have posted their own drawings of magical landscapes they have walked to and sculptures in public squares, as well as photographs of Fra Angelico’s frescoes, the black and cream interior of the Baptistry of Florence, acres of olive trees and 300-year-old cypresses, hillsides swooping along in landscapes that seem familiar from Renaissance paintings. The trip was a planned fundraiser for the African Artists’ Community Development Project, one of the projects Marsha has supported with her time, advocacy, passion, and sales of crafts. She plans another trip this coming spring. It all sounds an amazing opportunity to see and experience a beautiful place through the eyes of an artist. Can’t wait till they return home to hear all the details and see the art they made. And the art to come.

Shirley Mayhew wrote a wonderful article for the fall/winter Martha’s Vineyard Home & Garden that has just come out. It’s called “Local Food? Again?” and tells the story of reality in 1950s West Tisbury for her, her husband, Johnny, and their three children, when “…eating fresh local food wasn’t a fad. It was a necessity.” I remember daughter Deborah reading a funny tribute at Shirley and Johnny’s 50th anniversary party; the refrain was something about eating oysters once again, and again and again. It’s a good read.

I was surprised to hear about Abigail and Tony Higgins celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. We all seem too young. Pat and Joannie Jenkinson had theirs a few weeks ago. Congratulations and wishes for many more years together.

Paddy Moore is hosting a project of the Rural Scholars Committee of Dukes County Health Council, sponsored by Rural Scholars from UMASS and the Graduate School of Nursing, called Rural Scholars Study Elder Abuse and Neglect. They will present their findings at the West Tisbury Library on Thursday, October 30, 4:30–6 pm. The public is invited to this free program. John Hough Jr. will be the featured guest author when the Library Foundation’s Speakeasy Series resumes at State Road Restaurant on Tuesday, October 28, 5:30–7:30 pm. Hors d’oeuvres and erudite conversation are the fare. Call Carol Brush for reservations: 508-693-3489. Tickets are $30.

If you have enjoyed the Vineyard Colors exhibition at the library, you may be interested in their 2015 calendar. It has verses by Dan Waters, as well as a selection from their daily photographs taken around the Island. You can buy it right in town at Alley’s or Conroy’s.

West Tisbury Parks and Rec is offering a free series of yoga classes for adults at the library on Tuesday evenings, 5:30-7, beginning October 21 through December 16. The classes will be taught by Carol Aranzabe, who trained at Kripalu Center and specializes in therapeutic techniques that balance muscles and relieve pain. Participants must commit to all eight classes, as space is limited. Call or stop by the library to register, 508-693-3366.

The library staff is getting ready for Halloween, always a festive occasion. The drop-in craft this Saturday is making spooky houses with stained-glass windows. Lots of Halloween-themed books are on display in the Children’s Room. And the Halloween Party is in the works. It will be held on Friday, October 31, from 3:30 to 5 pm. There will be hayrides, special craft projects, and treats to enjoy. I just spoke with Nelia, who said she is busy putting up decorations and making plans for the party. Please come in your costumes and prepare to have a good time. If you would like to, bring a favorite nut-free treat.

Pre-register for poet laureate Justen Ahren’s poetry workshop for adults to be held at the library on Saturday, November 1, 11 am to 1 pm. The subject is “Mining Poems for the Resonant Image.”

Participants are asked to bring something to write with and an original poem to work with. Sign up at the library, 508-693-3366, or online at

Another heads-up. Carolina Cooney will lead the Graphic Novel Book Club in a discussion of Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant: A Memoir on Monday evening, November 3.

The wind is blowing and frost is predicted. And a nor’easter later in the week. I’m making soup and getting extra wood in. Extra books and candles, too. Nothing like a good storm.