West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - August 3, 2006

It was with a feeling of dread that I saw my husband walking towards me at Cronig's last Saturday morning, a gallon of vinegar in each of his hands. "Both of them?" I asked. Mike looked puzzled. "They both got skunked?"

I had assumed the worst, that both Talley and Murphy had been skunked, and there was Mike stocking up on vinegar to rinse them off. That has long been our home remedy, a wash with dish soap or shampoo followed by a generous sluicing with vinegar. They may smell like a strong salad, but that's better than skunk.

Fortunately, he needed the vinegar for something else and just happened along when I was at the store. With great relief, I added his vinegar to my cart of groceries and headed home to two unsullied dogs.

Al DeVito would like everyone to know that applications for Community Preservation Act funds are available at the Town Hall, the Library, or on the Town web site, www.town.west-tisbury.ma.us/CPC/index_cpc.html. Two members of the CPC, Sean Conley and Caroline Locke, will be guests on Jim Powell's television show (Mondays at 7 pm, Channel 13) discussing the application process in detail.

Brian Athearn, in charge of maintaining U.S. Veterans' graves in our three town cemeteries, has asked that anyone who knows of graves that are not currently being taken care of to please call him at 508-693-9957. Brian, a veteran himself, places flags on the graves on Memorial Day as well as keeping them pristine throughout the year.

I didn't realize that Brian, Kate, and their boys, Hunter and Emmett, have been busy raising animals and farming on their Lambert's Cove Road property. They currently have sheep, pigs, and chickens, and are looking for goats if anyone in town has some to spare.

Harriet Bernstein will host a houseful of Yogis at her Red Hat B&B this weekend. Her friend, Liz Owen, is teaching an Iyengar Yoga Workshop at the Wakeman Center Friday from 5 to 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 to noon. Several of her off-Island students will be at the Red Hat as well as Liz and her husband, Pete, here from Arlington. They hope to go sailing from Menemsha after the workshop ends.

The second volume of "Martha's Vineyard Writing" is now available in bookstores. West Tisbury, "the Athens of the Island," is well represented with poems, stories, and essays, by several town residents. Town Poet Laureate Dan Waters is featured, also Amelia Smith, Lucy Mayhew, Dionis F. Montrowl, Shirley W. Mayhew, Cynthia Riggs, Susannah Sturgis, Sarah Montrowl, Jack and Barbara Moment.

Nancy Furino stopped by the other afternoon on her way home from seeing Mary French's show of paintings currently on view at the Chilmark Library. There was high praise from Nancy and I look forward to going myself over the next two weeks. Both acrylic paintings and watercolors are in the show.

The Polly Hill Arboretum is presenting a lecture by Dr. Peter H. Raven entitled "How Many Plants Will Survive in the Twenty-first Century?" The lecture, open to the public, will take place at the Ag Hall Wednesday, August 9, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at the door for $8, or $5 for Arboretum members. Dr. Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis, is a leading proponent of plant conservation. He will offer insight into ways individuals can stop the loss of plant species and preserve biodiversity.

Also on August 9, at 5 pm, the West Tisbury Library will welcome author Jules Feiffer to a program for kids and adults. The program is free.

The library's Monday night movie at Howes House is "Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown," an animated Peanuts classic by Charles Schultz and Bill Melendez. Admission is free at 7 pm.

Barbara and Bob Day have their daughter, Elizabeth Churchill, visiting from Los Angeles, Calif. with her two sons, Freddy and Bobby. Elizabeth's husband, John, will join them soon in August.

Happy Anniversary wishes to Les and Terry Cutler who celebrated 40 years together on Sunday, July 30, by spending the day at the beach. They looked very happy when I saw them briefly, and very brown.

Saturday evening Mike and I had Fran Woods and Landes Bell over for dinner. The Book Sale was a big topic, as Fran and Landes plan their time on the Vineyard to coincide with that favorite West Tisbury event. Fran told me the story of how the Book Sale began, so I shall retell it to all of you.

This year was the 50th anniversary of the first sale, held at the old West Tisbury Library on Music Street. It was Jane Newhall's idea and, for most of the 50 years, it was her baby. It seemed that Malcolm Jones was closing his bookstore in New York and donated the books to the library. There were too many of them and many duplicates already in the collection, so Fran's Aunt Jane decided to hold a sale in front of the old library. They raised $250, which was used to purchase new bookshelves.

So many people came by and said, "If only we had known, we have so many books to donate...." So there was a sale the following year. And so on. As the Book Sale grew larger, it was decided to hold it during the Agricultural Fair and move the sale to the Grange Hall. Daniel Manter donated and built the needed bookshelves, and Jane Newhall remained in charge. People loaded up so heavily with books, that frequently they would ask to leave their bags and boxes at the sale while they walked around the fairgrounds. Often this resulted in their arriving home to find a few additional volumes added to their purchases, surreptitiously placed by Miss Newhall, never one to waste a good book.

Katherine Long has been in charge the past two years, following Lee Revere's and Betty Franklin's long tenures. The sale continues to grow every year. Tom Vogl reportedly counted 28,000 books this year. I want to specially thank all the volunteers who work so hard at sale time in July and throughout the year sorting and pricing, and the Friends of the Library who are so generous. This year I want to give a special thanks to Rusty and Marcello from the Up-Island Cronig's; they saved large flats for me every morning. Those flats helped keep the sale a lot tidier and the books more accessible for everyone. Also, thank you to Sharon and Manny Estrella and their staff, who are unbelievable.

By the way, the old library's doors are again open on Music Street. Ernie Mendenhall (Building/Zoning Inspector) and John Powers (Health Inspector,) and their shared assistant have moved their offices from the town hall. Ernie spent the last two weekends painting the walls with a fresh coat of white paint, setting up desks and file cabinets, and the guys are settling in. It makes me smile to be in that building which has such happy memories for me and for everyone who remembers it as it was.