Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
Click here to contact Hermine

Posted September 13, 2007

The weather continues to be beautiful, perfect for the weekend's weddings and the fire department picnic. I have been joking the past couple of weeks about walking through Death Valley (our yard), but it is so dry that I can't really joke about it anymore. Our friend Bill Ternes arrived from Sherborn to spend the week here teaching a plein air painting workshop. He reports it is as dry off-Island as it is here. Sue Hruby, returning from Maine, also observed signs of drought along the ride home.

Noting Sue's return, I must also note the departure of Lou and Freida Kaplan, who stay at Sue's for the month of August every year. They ended their stay with a flurry of company. Their daughter, Jan Kaplan, her husband, Leonard Wolfenstein, with sons, Benjamin and Noah arrived in West Tisbury, coming from Bethel, Maine, where they attended a reunion of Leonard's family. The Kaplans are back home in North Haven, Conn., and the Wolfensteins have returned to their winter lives in Annandale, Va.

By now, many of us have heard the news that Nina Schneider died in her sleep last Saturday. It feels impossible to think of Nina as anything but alive, her eyes flashing with interest and appreciation at all life had to offer. The first time I met her, about 20 years ago, was when I was invited for a tour of her garden. It was June, so I remember clouds of blooming pink "Fairy" roses and amazing structures covered with clematis, artful combinations of colored foliage, and the bridge to her own tiny island. Over the years, it was always art and garden talk we shared. She was as interested in hearing about my beginning garden as she was to share information about her remarkable one. For several years now, I have missed the jaunty wave as she walked along Music Street, head to head, laughing with Herman, but that is how I will remember them both.

Dorothy Barthelmes and Bob Henry left this morning for Provincetown, where they will spend a few days before driving home to Bethesda, Md. Dorothy's daughter, Buffy Webber, arrived Wednesday evening, joining her brother, Rob Stevens, and his friend, Allison Hepler. We were all invited for a rousing evening of croquet on the lawn of the Slocum house this past Wednesday, Mike and I, Mike's mother Bobby, Hannah Beecher and Brian Ruddick, and Nancy and Walter Sheble. But the highlight of the week for Bob was Jim Kaplan's bridge column in Tuesday's Gazette, in which Bob was commended for his qualities as a bridge partner, something along the lines of, "For anyone lucky enough to have Bob Henry for a partner at bridge." It's fortunate that Jim feels this way, as the two gentlemen spend most of their time here playing golf together during the days and bridge in the evenings.

I had a lovely catch-up visit with Chris Greulich, who has been here with her son, Evan, staying at the Tiah's Cove home of Chris's parents, Hal and Ruth Miller. It's been a long time since we got a chance to really talk, but it felt like just yesterday and we picked right up again.

I had hoped to see Nina Mentzel when she was here visiting her mother, Hallie, on Old County Road, but it just didn't happen.

As befitting the milestone of a hundredth birthday, Pinkie Leavens had two parties, a grand celebration attended by friends and family from near and far, and a smaller party on the actual day. I haven't seen Pinkie in ages, but she used to be a regular visitor to my gallery with her artist friend, Peg Knowles. Happy birthday, Pinkie.

Cynthia Riggs has issued an invitation to everyone to attend a "Lawn-ching" party of "Victorious," the 1937 Egg Harbor sport-fishing yacht she has been restoring on her lawn all summer. The party is this Saturday, September 15, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Cleaveland House on the corner of Edgartown Road and New Lane. Parking is in the field, the first left off of New Lane. Cynthia asks that partygoers be careful not to disturb her bees. Bring an hors d'oeuvre to share if you wish.

Valerie Sonnenthal is exhibiting a remarkable series of photographs at the West Tisbury Library through Sept. 22. They are remarkable because they are very beautiful, but also as proof that an artist can make art out of anything. They are photographs of what most of us would consider the detritus on our bedside tables, but composed, manipulated, edges softened or rearranged. I find them quite intriguing. Take a look.

Leslie Baker was off-Island last weekend, delivering her painting, "Nothing Will Be As It Was," to the Copley Society in Boston. Leslie's painting was chosen to be the image on the postcard announcing the Fall/Winter schedule. It will be featured in the Fall Members' Show: Equinox, from Oct. 19 to Nov. 10. It is a painting of Sepiessa Point, done last fall.

Philippe and Elie Jordi are participating in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters benefit bike ride on Sept. 29. They ask that anyone interested in sponsoring them go on-line to then click "Sponsor a Participant," type in "Jordi," search for Elie's or Philippe's name. You may also send a check payable to "The Ride - BBBS of Martha's Vineyard" and mail it to PO Box 1082, Edgartown, 02539.

There will be Jazz at the library this Friday afternoon. The JC Trio will perform at 4 pm.

The Polly Hill Arboretum is having its First Annual Plant Sale this Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 am to 2 pm. The selection of trees, shrubs, and fall-blooming perennials includes many Island native plants.

Bea Phear, Chairman of the Town Hall Renovation Committee. has sent an update on the project, which is as follows:

"The Board of Selectmen voted to negotiate a contract with the architects Keenan and Kenny of Falmouth for the design of the renovation of the town hall. The Renovation Committee received eight responses to the RFQ for designer services, interviewed six candidates, checked references on four, and held second interviews with two.

K&K has extensive municipal experience, including town hall renovations for Falmouth, Barnstable, and Mashpee. They have also done many other public buildings including senior centers, police and fire stations, and schools. Their familiarity with the public process and their efficient practical manner, combined with glowing references, made them the first choice.

Since the funds available total only $125,000, the RFQ was written to take the project through construction drawings and contractor bids only. If the voters approve the plan, which will have firm bids, at the spring town meeting, there will need to be a subsequent contract for some later design features such as final site plan and for the construction monitoring phase."