West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - May 25, 2006

What a week of weather - a credit to diversity, exceptional even for New England. Roaring winds and torrential downpours gave way to bright blue skies and mild temperatures.

The grass is growing inches at a time. The dogwoods and viburnum are blooming in our front yard, along with a Halesia Monticola I grew from a seedling Polly Hill gave me probably a dozen years ago. Driving with Hallie Mentzel to an early boat one morning, we were admiring the scenery, and she asked, "I wonder how many shades of green there are?" I wonder, too, as I am enjoying every one of them.

Cheryl Stark will be turning 60 on May 28. We have been e-mailing back and forth with reminiscences of her history on the Vineyard. The e-mails brought back lots of memories of a lifestyle common back in the 1970's/early'80's so I will reprint excerpts: "I came in 1966, from the Boston Museum School, to teach jewelry-making at the Island Crafts Center. I met two other kids, and the next summer we opened the leather and silver shop. We had that together until I went on my own and opened my own store on Water Street, where the Black Dog Bakery is today." Cheryl met her partner, Margery Meltzer, here in 1972. Margie had graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in philosophy; she was working four jobs. She worked for Catherine Allen, picked tomatoes for the Marinelli's, was a typesetter and inserter for the Gazette, and cared for an elderly woman at night. "After the summers, we both did the Vineyard thing of trying to make a living. We both painted houses; I scalloped and shucked scallops; Margie did modeling for Tom Maley, Virginia Berresford, and Ruth Emerson. I worked as a carpenter, cut firewood, helped build the Black Dog, shingled Leslie's Drugstore, and waitressed, etc, etc, etc." Cheryl bought her land in West Tisbury in 1971 and began building the house the next year. "We lived with no electricity or phone. After the West Tisbury School was built, we got power and a phone. We cut all the wood for our wood-burning stove from where the school is today."

In preparing to write this, I asked around for good Cheryl Stark stories. The best one came from Eileen Maley, who recalled a baseball team that Cheryl sponsored. It was called "The Stark Ravings."

Enjoy a wonderful birthday, Cheryl.

May 28 is another birthday closer to home. Our new Golden Retriever, Murphy, will turn two.

A belated Happy Birthday to Muriel Bye, who celebrated on May 16.

As many of you already know, we will have some changes at the library. The board of trustees is pleased to announce the hiring of Howard Curtis as our library director. He will be arriving on the Island the first weekend in June to begin his job on Monday, June 5. Needless to say, one of his immediate challenges will be finding a place to live. He is booked in at the Cleaveland House to start, but if anyone has a "reasonably-priced" summer or year 'round rental, please e-mail Howard at Merrimack9@aol.com or leave a message at the library.

Thanks to Barbara Fehl, who has filled in as Interim Director since Mary Jo Joiner left.

The other change will be at the circulation desk. Keri McLeod is moving to India. Beth Kramer, formerly of Biga Bakery fame, has been hired to be our new circulation clerk. We are thrilled that Beth will be joining our staff.

Working at the polls last week gave me an opportunity to see lots of people and get lots of news for the column. For one thing, our number of registered voters in town has topped 2000, 2074 to be exact. Everyone liked having the old ballot box returned to service, as the ballot had only one contest so would be easy to count manually. Congratulations to Cindy Mitchell, who won a position on the Board of Assessors in a spirited contest with Cynthia Riggs.

I worked with Eileen Maley checking in voters as they arrived, so we had four hours together to catch up. Eileen and Tim are very excited at the arrival into their family of a grand-daughter, Annabelle Mei Brothers, who was adopted from China by Stephanie Brothers, long-time caretaker and companion to Chloe Maley. Chloe has become quite adept at helping with all the diverse baby chores. Annabelle, age 16 months, has made a joyful addition to the Maley family.

In other adoption news, Cynthia Walsh has a new six-year-old Shih Tzu named Phoebe, adopted from the MSPCA. Phoebe, formerly named Fifi, arrived with her two daughters at the Island MSPCA from a shelter in Springfield. Linda McGuire has one of the daughters, April, so the two West Tisbury dogs are able to visit and play together. Allie, the second daughter, was adopted by a family in Edgartown.

Alvida and Ralph Jones's daughter-in-law, Barbara Madden, will be visiting the Island this Memorial Day weekend. She and a group of friends will be staying at the Cleaveland House.

Carolyn Murphy and a friend were here from Connecticut for the weekend staying at the Murphy houses on Music Street.

Henry and Louise Bessire have spent the past week at their home on the Edgartown Road, getting the house ready. They return next week to stay, and are expecting their sons, Mark and Paul, with their families on and off throughout the summer.

I know lots of you are expecting company for the holiday weekend, so please let me know if you would like to be mentioned in the column.

The newest edition of "Martha's Vineyard Writing," a literary journal, has just been published. It includes poetry, short stories, and artwork by Island writers and artists. In one family alone, two pieces are included: a poem written by Lucy Mayhew when she was 10 years old and a piece by Lucy's grandmother, Shirley.

Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday and all the promise the summer holds.