Town Column


By Jacqueline Sexton
Click here to contact Jacqueline

Posted June 21, 2007

In spite of a couple of weeks of dark days, fitful sun, and not much rain, Chilmark flora appear to be exceptionally lush and green. Does that augur a harsh winter?

Long-time Church flea market coordinator Phyllis Conway is looking forward to celebrating the 40th birthday of the market this summer, beginning, in fact, next Wednesday, June 27. Started in 1967 as a swap meet by Jean Hancock, who set up five card tables on the church lawn to see if anyone would be interested in buying antiques, children's books, dolls and quilts, the original vendors included Julia Poole, Rose Welch, Louise Harris, Gladys Flanders, Fran Flanders, Hazel Flanders, and Judy Mayhew. The idea quickly caught on, attracting hundreds of buyers over the years and expanding to the field adjacent to the church. In the 1980s, Gladys Wallace and Gert Shea became the managers until the '90s when Phyllis and Bob Conway took over.

It grew and prospered, received off-Island media attention and posed traffic and parking problems. So in 2001, it moved to a sunny meadow with ample exhibition and parking space on the Middle Road, a mile up from Beetlebung Corner, where it continues to be held.

The Conways try to abide by the standards of the original swap meet and caution vendors to bring only wares consistent with the ideal of a country flea market. All proceeds are used for repair and maintenance of the church and the parsonage.

The flea market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays through September 1 from 8:30 am to 2 pm.

Under-sea photographer Bob Rosenbaum is back with a show of photos from his recent Caribbean trips, opening tomorrow at the Bank of Martha's Vineyard. During the past year, Mr. Rosenbaum has been on two different dive boats doing research in Bimini and Tobago. On one of the trips he worked with three staff people from the New England Aquarium in Boston and eight volunteers, of which he was one, collecting specimens for the aquarium. They spent seven days doing three or four dives a day, collecting 350 fish and invertebrates. Once on board, the fish were put in tanks to keep them healthy until they reached Miami where the fish were packed in plastic bags and air-freighted to the aquarium where they can now be seen, live, in the Giant Ocean Tank. The photos will be at the bank from Friday, June 22, until June 29. Everyone is invited to a reception tomorrow from 5 to 7 pm at the bank.

Billie Hancock is in town for a visit from her home in Florida.

Congratulations to Kathie and Emmett Carroll who celebrated their wedding anniversary on June 17.

Daylily fans can learn about the different types, how to divide and propagate and keep them thriving at a talk by Nancy Rogers next Wednesday, June 27, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the library. Ms. Rogers has more than 300 varieties at her Oak Lane Nursery in West Tisbury. The lecture is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, and admission is free. Everyone is welcome.

Another event sponsored by the Friends in conjunction with the Chilmark Historical Commission is a double-header by geologist and author Robert M. Thoson, who will talk about stone walls on Thursday, June 28, at the library at 5 pm. The following day he will lead a walk around the Chilmark town center to look at local stone walls, starting at 9:30 am. Dr. Thoson, a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut, has written three books on New England stone walls. He is also the founder of The Stone Wall Initiative which promotes the appreciation, investigation and conservation of stone walls in New England with an emphasis on the cultural, natural, and aesthetic resources of stone walls, which are the closest thing New England has to classical ruins. Both events are free and open to everyone.

A couple of postscripts from Katie Carroll on end-of-year school happenings. The fifth grade graduation ceremonies continued for most of last Friday. The second grade string students played Pomp and Circumstance, diplomas were awarded and a "wonderful luncheon," organized by Janet Weidner and Tom Ruimerman, followed. A DVD about the fifth graders was shown, "a tear-jerker, everyone cried!" After the school ceremonies the group later gathered at the beach for a picnic and conversation and reminiscing until sunset.

The preschoolers had their end-of-year day in the sun as well with an all-day field trip that started at Bella Thorpe's to see her foal, moved on to snacks at the Menemsha Café courtesy of Cameron's parents Christina and Chris Soulagnet, surprise popsicles at Menemsha Texaco, courtesy of Brooks's parents, Katie and Marshall Carroll, and a tour of Laurisa Rich's garden. "They were all pooped at the end of the day," Katie reports.

A final word about the school year would not be complete without mentioning the incredible community involvement throughout this and other school years. As principal Diane Gandy points out in the June issue of the Bell Tower, thanks go to many, many people for their thoughtfulness, time, and consideration: to Ethel Sherman and Ann Deitrich who show up every Friday to help young readers, David and Carolyn Brown for showing their wood carvings, to Harry Beach for his slideshow of trips to China and Tibet, Cliff Jernegan for his handyman activities, and to Wendy Thatcher of The Yard for introducing the children to different dancing movements. And to all the others who contribute surprises and new ideas throughout the school year. They enrich the lives of us all.