Town Columns

Oak Bluffs

By Megan Alley - September 7, 2006

The David Healey Mall next to the Oak Bluffs Post Office is always abuzz with people socializing, music or people finding a spot to just rest for a moment on the benches among the beautiful plantings. However, this week it is a bit drearier without the presence of Melvin DeBettencourt who passed away Sunday. Melvin, the proprietor of The Corner Store, would often be seen sitting on the bench nearest the store, holding court with so many people and enjoying the sunshine. He will be missed by all those people that he always found the time to exchange a few words with. We send our condolences to his children, family and friends.

Our summer visitors are slowly returning to their homes off-Island but the lessening population certainly isn't as obvious as 20 or more years ago. I think people are squeezing in as much time here as they possibly can and reluctantly leaving when there is no other alternative. We wish them all farewell and hope their winter sojourn is as happy as their summer one was here.

Summer visitors are not the only ones leaving. We know of at least two students who are on their way to college. They are John Swan who is now a student at Boston University and Andrew Farrissey who is a freshman at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt.

Would you like to have a say in the future direction of the new Oak Bluffs Library? You can. On Monday, Sept. 11, in the Oak Bluffs Library's Meeting Room, there will be a Community Planning Forum from 1 to 3 pm. The Library Trustees and Community Leaders need your input and comments on the direction of your library! Refreshments will be served. For more information, call the library at 508-693-9433.

The Library also would love two things, if anyone has a spare. They need a digital camera and a tape recorder that has at least two headphones, or places to plug in two to four so a few children could listen to a book on tape at the same time. If you have any of these items, the library would appreciate them.

The Martha's Vineyard Film Society's International Film Festival will take place Sept. 14-17. Tickets may be purchased on line at

We send birthday smiles to Evelyn Christopher whose special day was Sept. 2, Emily deBettencourt and Valerie O'Donnell who share Sept. 12, and my daughter Mary Alley on Sept. 13.

Hermine Hull sent me an e-mail telling me that congratulations are due to Kirsty Watt, newly promoted from bussing to waitressing at the Plane View. Hermine said that she was Kirsty's very first customer and said that she managed beautifully and did a great job.

Nancy Billings along with son and daughter-in-law David and Anita and grandchildren Jaime, Sami, Joshua, and Kara left Sat. for a short stay at the Billings camp at Lake Wessurensett in Madison, Maine. The sun porch of the cottage is about six feet from the water and Nancy says there is always a loon or something going on rain or shine.

Nancy was also kind enough to share her favorite Labor Day story. A few years ago before they started the "no standby on weekends" deal, she was in the Oak Bluffs SSA ticket office and overheard a man who came up to the window ask rather sheepishly "excuse me, I wonder if you can help us. My wife and I just spent our first visit here and we love it. We would love to stay a couple of days more, but I have this ticket to leave today. Is there anyway we could change it?" The clerk smiled and said," I'll tell you a little secret young man, off the record. See that line of cars out there? Well, you go out near the end of it, if you can find it, and start asking if anyone wants to buy it. I'll bet you can make enough money to stay a week!"

Enjoy your week and send your news along to me.