Town Columns

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - November 2, 2006

What an exciting weekend! As the rain pounded the windows and wind roared through the trees it was nice to be inside looking out. Of course, it set the stage for Halloween, along with the Charter School's collection of scarecrows that are dotted around town. There seems to be more sky now that the leaves are mostly down and it is fun to scuff along through the piles of leaves on the ground.

Writing this week's column is a bit of a different experience. Our computer seems to have died and so instead of sitting at the desk in my office, backspacing and deleting, I am settled onto the living room sofa writing with a pen on a yellow pad. The sun is pouring in the windows, measurably brighter as few leaves remain on the trees in our woods. I don't know what the computer's problem is, but I will ask everyone to call me with their news rather than e-mailing. My apologies to anyone whose e-mails last week may still be unread in my computer.

Mike and I seem to experience our mechanical failures all together. A few years ago our microwave blew up, the television went black, and my beloved Trooper died. This past weekend our electric coffee maker and the toaster oven gave out, so I had to replace both. In the spirit of conservation, I bought a Chemex glass carafe that looks beautiful and doesn't run on electricity. So far there seems to be a learning curve I haven't yet mastered; Mike complained that the coffee tasted horrible and his muffins were burned.

The windy weekend was actually kind of nice. It felt cozy to be inside puttering with fall cleaning projects and preparing for the storm. I baked a delicious apple cake, a recipe from Nancy Cole, and made chicken soup. We never lost our power, although it flickered and grayed on and off. I gather that a good part of town, North Tisbury and Lambert's Cove, was without power for several hours.

Chuck Hodgkinson and Ebba Hierta were off-Island attending a family birthday party on Saturday for Chuck's mother Jo, who turned 80 earlier in the month. The party was in Newburgh, N.Y., just off I-84, and the trip was a howler in both directions. Chuck said they saw three cars blown off the highway during the trip homeward, but the sturdy Islander ran from Woods Hole and they arrived home safely. Chuck said Vineyard Haven was "a zoo" with long lines of cars waiting to get off and only the one boat running.

Leslie Baker and David Gorenberg also braved the winds to attend their daughter Emma's Parent's Weekend at Amherst. Emma is a senior this year and Leslie was feeling sentimental about it being their last Parent's Weekend. Despite the weather, they all had a terrific time and were full of compliments for the SSA "doing a great job getting people on the boats." Leslie just brought me a big bag of the most beautiful vegetables from the Amherst Farmer's Market: miniature bok choy, pea shoots with delicate tendrils, a chartreuse-colored cauliflower with twisting and pointed florets, and a cream, orange, and green striped pumpkin.

Fortunately for the Martha's Vineyard Rowing Club, the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge was held two weekends ago. Donna Paulnock of West Tisbury and her crewmates, a Masters Women's Four, rowed to a fourth place finish, missing out on a medal by less than one second. They were cheered on by Donna's husband, John Mansfield, and friends Charlotte Cole and Floy Miller.

It was nice to see Becky Cournoyer back to work at the West Tisbury branch of the Dukes County Savings Bank. She is hoping that her husband Mark Bettencourt and their sons Connor and Evan will adjust to her being gone all day.

Jen Wiggan, who also works at our DCSB branch, celebrated a double anniversary last week, her first wedding anniversary to her husband Chris and three years at the bank. Congratulations.

John and Susan Fowler of Wakefield, Yorkshire, were the weekend guests of Dan and Elaine Pace. The two couples met through the school exchange program when Elaine was West Tisbury School principal. John is principal of the Wakefield School and Susan is a teacher. They are chaperones for the school kids' trip here from England.

There are lots of birthdays to mention this week. Olivia DeGeofroy turned 12 on Oct. 30. I will be 57 this Wednesday, Nov. 1. Norma Salop and Brian Ruddick will celebrate on Nov. 4. For her Monday, Nov. 6 birthday, my boss at the Times, Pat Waring, will work part of the day and take a long walk. Happy Birthday to all of us.

November will be Sir Alec Guiness month at the Library. This Monday night's movie will be "The Man in the White Suit."

I am up at the library using their computer to e-mail this column to the Times. It's kind of fun to be here working with all the activity around me. I have seen Paula Bolash and Ella. Diana Manter whizzed through. Julia Humphreys came in to return and pay for two books that her darling Xochi had chewed up. Julia said he has just lost his last puppy tooth and weighs 55 pounds. Paula Black teased Julia about never feeding her dog. Salim and Claire Chalfoun just showed up. I get to see everybody in town. So I just may come here to do my column and not replace my computer at all.