On-Island

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We launched the After 18 series last fall, with a group of 2013 graduates who sent regular dispatches about their experiences in college, work, or travel. This year, we begin again with graduates from the class of 2014. We’re hearing first from Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz, a recent graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and a freshman at Harvard University. Nathaniel was an intern in the newsroom at The Times for eight months, and had been at Harvard (where he will be studying molecular biochemistry) for three days when he filed this dispatch.

“She’s skating in the next Olympics,” said one of the girls seated in the circle, pointing across the Yard at another incoming freshman. “And she’s performed piano in Carnegie Hall three times.” Other members of the circle murmured approval. One boy, a champion rower, added that this same prodigy had spent her summer in a prestigious Cambridge lab, working on cellular transport channels.

photo_1Throughout high school I had heard of these wunderkinds: seemingly mythical peers, out there, somewhere, conquering the world. Now, surrounded by them, I felt honored, but at the same time, intimidated. The boy on my left won the international science fair, twice. On my right, a girl from India, also on her way to the Olympics (for shooting).

Me? I write pretty sometimes.

I expected that. And I expect it will intensify when classes start in a few days, packed with some of the world’s sharpest students. What I didn’t anticipate was the diversity. In that circle of 11 incoming freshman in Harvard Yard, several are on full, financial, need-based scholarships; five are foreign citizens; and only two are white males. Those numbers hold roughly true across the entire class of almost 2,000. This is an astounding achievement in a country where 30 years ago higher education was dominated by rich, white, almost-always-Christian men.

I also didn’t comprehend the effect of social media on my incoming class. Instead of entering a campus full of strangers, like my parents or even freshmen from five years ago had done, I was met by dozens of students from all over the world who I had messaged or Skyped with regularly since December, students who I already considered friends before we had even met in person.

Five of us got frozen yogurt tonight (three ounces free with a student ID!) and sat in a courtyard just beyond the gates of the college. We listened to a street guitarist playing Bob Dylan and squeezed onto a bench beneath an array of mellow lighting. No one mentioned their international accolades or aid work or perfect SAT scores. Instead we noted the premature chill of the air and laughed again at jokes made months before, when we were still thousands of miles apart. Now together, we appreciated the momentary perfection: a few friends united for the first time, enjoying a simple, beautiful evening.

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A far more simple life, some say,

with cocktails for a grand.

Cut farmers’ market’s vibrant blooms,

decline in rusted cans.

Wise diplomats, keen journalists,

deep psychoanalysts

sip pinot and pontificate

about why life’s amiss.

While “Summer people, summer not”

is lost on those who strive,

to have, not be, and fail to see

most struggle to survive.

II

Still Sphinxian she gazes out

with nature’s neutral view:

“Till this soil, paint these vistas;

’til golden days are through.

Then isle go on in harmony,

my elemental state;

your footprints and ideas gone,

our universal fate.”

Ed Dalton first ferried to Martha’s Vineyard in the late 1970s when he rented a bicycle, rode the Island, and stayed at the West Tisbury Hostel.  He, his wife Elizabeth, and their three daughters have spent many, wonderful summers on the Vineyard. They reside in Framingham.

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After a recent performance of Island Theatre Workshop's Peter Pan, Nate Vieira (blue shirt, kneeling), proposed to Wendy (also known as Katie Feeks).

Jim Osborn, a Times staffer and member of the cast of the recent “Peter Pan” production by Island Theatre Workshop, came in Friday morning and said, “I’ve got a story!” and proceeded to tell us about a post-production “Peter Pan” proposal that he’d witnessed the night before. Before we knew it, he’d gotten us the full story from the newly-engaged Katie Feeks, who wrote:

We had all taken our final bows and were about to back up and wave off the stage as we always do, when the director of the play (and close family friend) Kevin Ryan stepped up onto the stage and asked everyone to hold a minute. Kevin then picked me out of the crowd. None of us knew what was going on. That’s when Nate came up on stage with a red rose in hand. He came up to me, dropped down on one knee, opened the ring box, and asked, “will you marry me?”

I nodded yes, and said yes quietly, skipped right over the ring and straight for the hug and kiss, and tears of joy were running all over the place! The crowd cheered. Nate then asked me if  I would try the ring on. Perfect fit! Kevin wanted to make sure the crowd heard my reply, so I shouted out, “Yes!”

Friends and strangers alike came up to us for hugs, handshakes, and to offer their congratulations. The PAC [Performing Arts Center] holds so many wonderful memories for me, after years of performing there, and I cannot imagine a proposal more fitting for me!

Kevin’s role: Nate (full name: Nathan Vieira) had asked Kevin ahead of time if he could get up on stage. Kevin is like a second father to me and actually officiated my eldest sister’s wedding ceremony.

About the ring: Nate started planning the ring about a year ago, with one of his high school classmates and jeweler, Ivry [Rusillo], to create an original, handcrafted ring, featuring his grandmothers’ diamonds, along with some new ones. He also consulted with one of my best friends, Molly Peters, on my taste and ring size. I’ve never seen one like it and it’s beautiful!

Nate asked my father last week for permission to marry me, which he was happily granted. To make things even more special, last night was my father’s birthday. My father said he could not have asked for a better present than to gain Nate as a son and to see me so happy.

We have not set a date, but we both agree, sooner rather than later.

We are over the moon!

Thank you,

Katie (Kathryn Feeks)

PS: Something funny — one of the lost boys shouted out, “Now we have a mother AND a father! Peter’s off the hook!” (Pun definitely intended.)

Linley-DolbyIt’s time to make a list and get all those last-minute summer things done before it’s too late! I’ve made it to most of my favorite spots, but I still haven’t had ice cream on a bench, been out on a boat, or taken a sunset swim at State Beach. I was supposed to finally hit the flats this week with Kara Shemeth to forage for our own quahog dinner, but the schedule is getting a little out of hand as we approach Labor Day.

Much of the Connecticut contingent said their goodbyes this past weekend, and already the first day of school photos have been popping up on Facebook. I got to catch up with some of these folks as we celebrated my niece Addy’s birthday out at Norton Point on Sunday. Addy got to hang with all her buds, decorating cupcakes, playing in the bay, and brutalizing a defenseless piñata. Her actual birthday is August 27. Hope seven is an awesome year, Kid.

Congrats to Michael Valenti and Emilee Whorton on their recent engagement. Hope you guys have a great time planning the big day, and we wish you a lifetime of happiness together.

We got to catch up with Alex Avakian and Emily Norberg over Fenway franks last weekend as Dave and I took Boston by storm. The two are still out in Waltham, with Emily commuting to her travel planning job, and Alex climbing the ranks in the fish distribution world. They have been doing the weekend warrior thing to M.V. most weeks, striking a great balance of working hard/hardly working.

This week’s Vineyard Conservation Society Almanac was filled with cool upcoming events. First off, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum will host an archaeology ID day, Saturday, August 30, from 9 am to 12 noon, at their Edgartown campus. Bring your archaeological finds from the Vineyard and around the world to the museum where a panel of distinguished archaeologists will help you identify, examine, and discuss them.

Also, the FARM Institute is gearing up for their fall programming, which begins Saturday, September 6. Weekly Saturday programs include Wee Farmers (age 2-5) from 9:30 to 11 am, and for older kids, there’s “Farmer for a Day” from 1 to 3 pm. Little tykes must be accompanied by an adult. For more info, call 508-627-7007.

The M.V. Center for Living will sponsor a benefit Hootenanny Sing-along, Thursday, August 28, from 7 to 10 pm at the Chilmark Community Center. The sing-along and karaoke gathering will be fun for the whole family. Bring your musical instruments and music stands and join in the old-time folk, early rock and roll, and gospel fun. Light refreshments will be offered. For details, call 508-939-9440.

I’ve had word from Ellie Bates that the Friends of the Edgartown Public Library will sponsor the second annual Pennywise Path 5K run/walk on Monday, September 1. Register online at edgartownlibrary.org or at the library’s front desk. Meet at 9 am at the Edgartown School for number pickup. The first 200 registrants will receive a tee-shirt and prizes will be awarded in all categories. Call 508-627-4221 for more details.

Happy, happy birthday wishes go out this week to Randy Walpole, who celebrates August 28; to David Vaughan, August 29; and to Mike Poirier, September 3. Hope you gentlemen have a great time.

Megan-AlleyAre things any quieter? A bit perhaps. The sounds of helicopters roaring overhead late Sunday evening signaled the departure of the President and his family. They were not the only visitors leaving our Island. Many people who had come here for a short stay, perhaps to see the Illumination night celebration or the fireworks show, and students returning to their schools and also freshmen, excited to start off a new path in life, have also left. But we still have much to see and do, as always.

Just so you won’t get bored, the Trinity United Methodist Church is sponsoring a benefit Jewelry Treasure Hunt sale. There will be jewelry for sale to please everyone’s taste at a variety of prices. The sale will take place on Saturday, August 30, at the Parish House in the Campground. Doors will open for the sale promptly at 10 am, no prior admittance and will last until 3 pm or perhaps a little longer.

Friends of the Edgartown Public Library are sponsoring the second annual Pennywise Path 5K run/walk on Monday, September 1. Register online at  edgartownlibrary.org or at the front desk.

For the first time in memory, starting on Labor Day, September 1, St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven will be the only Catholic Church in Good Shepherd Parish on the Island  open for Masses until Memorial Day 2015. Starting on Saturday, September 6, through October 12 the schedule will be Saturdays 4 pm and Portuguese Mass at 7 pm. Sundays there will be services at 8 am, 9:30 am, and 6 pm.

Then starting Saturday, October 18, until Memorial Day , the Saturday schedule will remain the same but Sunday is changed to 9 am and 5 pm. St. Elizabeth’s and Our Lady Star of the Sea will be shut down for the winter. St. Augustine’s has been insulated and a new heating system installed. It is hoped that this will be a wise economic move.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is opening its latest exhibit on August 29, depicting three generations of artists from one family. Although a little tongue in cheek, Moore and Moore and Moore, the show’s title, declares that the talent just keeps coming. This exhibit reveals the connections and relationships of three artists: landscape painter Nelson Augustus Moore, his great-great grandson Andrew Gordon Moore, a realist painter who lives in Oak Bluffs, and Hannah Moore, Andrew’s daughter. The exhibit will open on August 29 with an Opening Reception in the Museum Galleries, 5–7pm. Admission is free for Museum members and $7 for non-members. Children under 6 are always free. The exhibit will remain on display through October 25.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake will walk up to 26.2 miles along the historic Boston Marathon route in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai. He will join an expected 8,500 walkers with the goal of raising more than $7.5 million for the Jimmy Fund for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, bringing the event’s 26-year fundraising total to more than $100 million. It raises the most money of any single-day walk in the nation. To register for the walk or to support a walker, or to volunteer, visit JimmyFundWalk.org.

Head to the Oak Bluffs Senior Center to enjoy another Friday Conversations program. On Friday, Sept. 5, 10–11:30 am, our guest speaker will be a new, young literary find: Stanley Kissel, who found his muse at age 75. Stanley, a summer resident of the Vineyard, will discuss his third novel, Murder In Swing Time. He will also discuss his approach to writing, and why he started so late in life. This novel is an old-fashioned murder mystery and private detective yarn that takes place in New York City, post WW II.

Throwback Thursday Movie Night on September 11 is a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. The movie starts at 5:30 pm. There will be Hitchcock Trivia; 50s name games and refreshments.

Flatbread Benefit Night: Join us for a fun night at Flatbread Company, on Airport Road, on Tuesday, September 2, between 5 and 9 pm. The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury will receive a percentage of the pizza sales for the evening (either eat in or take out). Once again, a silent auction will be featured with exciting, unusual, and distinctive items to bid on. Good humor will prevail as friends try to outbid one another for these great items. Invite your family and friends for this end-of-summer event to support the church and its mission. All ages and sizes are welcome!

On Monday, Sept. 8, 5:30–6:30 pm, there will be a legal clinic presentation at the Tisbury Council on Aging on Pine Tree Rd. The subject of Arthur Bergeron of Mirick O’Connell Law Firm will be “Dealing with Alzheimers: At Home, in Assisted Living, or in a Nursing Home.” He will be joined by representatives of Alzheimers Association and Elder Services of Cape & Islands. Register at the Council 508-696-4205; a light meal will be provided.

The Annual Evening of Music on the Lagoon will be held at Jim and Pam Butterick’s house at 359 Barnes Rd., Oak Bluffs on August. 31 at 6 pm. Come and enjoy wine and appetizers at sunset on the Lagoon on the last Sunday of summer, and listen to the fabulous pianist Adele Dreyer play “Rhapsody in Blue,” to be joined afterwards by musician extraordinaire Peter Boak for duets. Donations of any amount will be accepted for the Federated Church Organ/Music Fund and/or Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. For questions email antispung@aol.com.

We Send Birthday Smiles to Liz Wilson on the 29th, Pam Melrose on the 30th, and Nancy Giordano and Sean Flynn on the 31st. September birthday smiles start with Tony Ferreira on the 1st. Ed BenDavid Sr., Evelyn Christopher, and Valarie O’Donnell share September 2. And let’s give Robert Pacheco the day off from Reliable Market on his birthday, September 3.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

Molly-PurvesBack to school in seven days, Chilmark Chocolates reopens in seven days as well, and Labor Day is of course this Monday. I think I heard the entire Island take a collective breath when the Fair ended. It’s all downhill from here. The summer went fast, kind of; the work felt endless and the play time felt too quick. If you have not been to the Aquinnah Shop for dinner yet this summer, you should go this weekend. After Labor Day they will just be open for breakfast and lunch, weather depending. I went for dinner a couple of times this summer and it was delicious. If they have a bluefish special: get it.

There is a Hootenanny/Sing-Along for families, musicians and anyone else who would like a musical night out, tonight at the Chilmark Community Center, 7–10 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door and light refreshments will be served. Feel free to bring an instrument and join in. This is a benefit for the MV Center for Living.

Tonight marks the last of the Aquinnah Public Library’s wildly popular speaker series. At 5 pm Hermine Hull and Brooks Robards will speak about their new book On Island, which features the poems of Ms. Robards and the paintings of Ms. Hull. The talk will be at the Old Town Hall and refreshments will be served. Come to the Library on Saturday at 12 pm for the Summer Readers Pizza Party. The pizzas will be made from the veggies that have been growing at the library all summer. This is a lovely way to wrap up the season and to say goodbye to summer friends who will be leaving to go back to school.

Joan LeLacheur is having an Open Studio and sale this Saturday, August 30, from 10 am to 5 pm at 42 Old South Rd. For details email Joanie at   Joanlela57@gmail.com or call 508-645-9954. There will be many wampum bead keepsakes and treasures to wear as earrings, necklaces, bracelets and also tiles.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center will be open this week Friday, Saturday and Wednesday from 11 am to 4 pm. You can stop by and see exhibits about Wampanoag whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries, a beginning exhibit on the Lighthouse and the Wampanoag people who kept it and a new video program  called Land and Life in Old Gay Head. For more information, please call 508-645-7900 or email aquinnahcc@gmail.com.

I was very sad to learn of the passing of Dr. Laura Reid on August 18. She was one of the first people I met when I started coming to the Vineyard 14 years ago and she was always very kind to me. There will be a remembrance and celebration of her life this Saturday from 1 to 3 pm at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury.

Valerie SonnenthalThe season is winding down, nights have an added chill as the temperature drops, the Ag Fair has packed up, the last Chilmark Flea Market is Saturday, August 30, 10 am–2 pm, summer neighbors and vacationing friends are headed back to more hectic lives and Labor Day is around the corner. Parents and kids are preparing for the first day of school, Thursday, September 4, and we wish all the incoming kindergartners and returning Chilmark students a great beginning to their new school year. The Chilmark School art show is up through August 29 at the Santander Bank. I had hoped to get there for the opening but got tied up with family and then we had to get on the road to take my younger son to Oberlin.

I hear from the Chilmark Library that the Elisa Brickner Memorial Poetry Contest winners reading “went really well, people called to say it was touching and moving and wonderful!” In case you missed them the Junior High winners are Sam Kass of Michigan, Julia Kane of Vineyard Haven, and Meredith Carlomagno of West Tisbury; the High School winners are Hannah Soros of New York, Shoshana Boardman of Arlington, and Aliza Astrow of New York. Congratulations to all! You can stop by and read the poems in an album displayed at the front desk before it is moved to its home in the Poetry Corner; you can share the poems online at the library website. Next year the library plans a 20th anniversary publication of 20 years of Elisa Brickner winning poems in one book.

I look forward to checking out the DVD of art historian Henry Adams “Thomas Hart Benton on Martha’s Vineyard” presentation sponsored by the Chilmark Historical Commission and the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library that took place August 13 to an overflowing crowd. It had been a rainy day and when we got to the library at 5:15 pm there wasn’t even standing room in the hall outside the lecture room. We did try to listen through the doors from the children’s area, but without the added slideshow opted to wait for the DVD. I’ll let you know when the library adds it to its collection. Remember library hours change on September 2; Tuesdays the library now closes at 1:30 pm and they are closed on Fridays.

If you are up Island don’t miss fellow Cleaveland House Poet Brooks Robards and artist Hermine Hull discussing their exquisite new book “On Island,” which features their poems and paintings inspired by walks together, 5 pm, Thursday, August 28, at the Aquinnah Library. I have already sent this book as an inspiration to a number of good friends. Also if you are looking for programs for kids Aquinnah Library hosts MAD Libs Tuesdays at 3 pm, story and crafts for younger children on Thursdays, 3–4 pm, and drop-in story reading 2–3:30 pm on Saturdays, plus on rainy days there’s always Legos on the Rug. For info, call 508-645-2314.

The Yard will debut a new full-length work choreographed by Alison Manning and Jesse Keller on Friday, August 29, at 8 pm and Saturday, August 30, at 11 am, includes works by Yard interns and Island-based improvisational dance company What’s Written Within plus other guest performers. I have seen portions of Alison and Jesse’s full-length piece as it has been created over the past couple of years and look forward to seeing this completed work by the talented staff at The Yard. For info, call 508-645-9662 or visit dancetheyard.org. Also you can still attend yoga classes daily through Sunday, September 7.

Siggy Vanraan, an inspiration to all Sunday softball players, overcame an injury to pitch the final game. A cheerleader for Flanders Field softball over many years, Siggy was awarded the Most Valuable Person trophy at Sunday’s game. Congratulations Siggy: keep up the good work and we look forward to seeing you next year!

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Married 45 years next week.

Barbara and Chris Murphy, after almost 45 years of marriage.

As fall approaches, and along with it the Island’s wedding season, some great Island couples tell us how they’ve made marriages last. This is the third in an occasional series that salutes the stamina, love, good will and compromise required of couples who stay together for a long time.

Barbara and Chris Murphy were married on September 6, 1969, at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church (OLSOS) in Oak Bluffs.

How did you meet? First day of Freshman Year at MVRHS in homeroom.

Barbara Thomas's senior picture in the MVRHS yearbook.

Barbara Thomas’s senior picture in the MVRHS yearbook. — courtesy MVRHS yearbook, via Ele

Who proposed and how? That’s a tough one — I’m sure that Chris proposed, but I think he has another opinion! Since I’m writing this, I get the last word!

Describe your Vineyard wedding – My family (Mary and Bill Thomas and my sister, Anna, and brother, Bill) house was directly across from OLSOS church, and so we decided to have the reception in our yard rather than go through all the complications of going somewhere else. Louise Tate King catered the event with some wonderful culinary additions from friends and family. As with my sister’s wedding, my mother thought that the best way for me and my Maid of Honor — my sister, Anne — to cross from our house to the church was to use large white towels sewn together to make a bridal carpet from the house, across the park, and to the church doorway. Mom wrote the name of a family member or one of the wedding party on each towel, with the date of the wedding and Chris’s and my names. After the wedding she separated the towels and handed them out to each person so they could use them to go to the beach. She had done the same thing for my sister’s wedding in 1965.

Chris Murphy in the 1964 MVRHS yearbook.

Chris Murphy in the 1964 MVRHS yearbook. — courtesy MVRHS yearbook, via Ele

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Two daughters: Hope and Mary. Both are married and live here with their husbands and children. Hope is the Intensive Needs Coordinator in the MV school system and is married to Chris MacLeod. They have two children, Finnegan, six (but almost seven) years old and Linden, five years old. Mary is the Assistant Principal at the West Tisbury Elementary School, and is married to Jonathan Boyd. They have one daughter, Emily, six years old.

Do you both work? We both did. Chris was a fisherman and I taught Spanish at MVRHS.

Briefly describe your years together – the good, the bad, and the wonderful….. We’ve had good years, some that were perhaps more difficult, but mostly we’ve been extremely lucky and have lived rich, rewarding lives.

Barbara and Chris Murphy at the Oak Bluffs wedding, September 6, 1969.

Barbara and Chris Murphy at the Oak Bluffs wedding, September 6, 1969. —

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Yes.

Why? We were living in Rhode Island where I was teaching and Chris was fishing when Hope was born. We thought of moving to Alaska, Hawaii — we even considered a job in Kuwait. Then we looked at each other and realized we had two loving families waiting for us on Martha’s Vineyard and moved back here. A terrific decision!

Kay-MayhewWhat a wonderful Fair! We always enjoy the Blue Hills music. Kids of all ages tried their skill at the recyclaphone too.

The quilts showed more blue ribbons than ever. Each one was well deserved, with many familiar names such as Laura Beebe and Wendy Nierenberg. Wendy’s grandson will treasure those cars and trucks. Several quilts were strikingly beautiful. I loved Pamela Flan’s sea life in blues, as well as the patterns in yellows and blues by Mary Ruth Flores, and Mary King’s lovely garden quilt. Our granddaughters delighted in the farm animals quilt by Mary Louise Koch.

The art by youngsters is always good. We noted the sea horse by Amelia Wiener, Hannah Hoff’s deep blue ocean scene, and a pretty frame painted with fish by Isabelle Custer. Sophie Bonneau created a girl with colorful curls.

The kids do a grand job giving personalities to their vegetable displays. I have to ask Katie Goldsmith: was that an apple octopus on the blueberry sea? Or perhaps an apple spider? Potato animals were great, one chasing a ball and another by Matty Wolverton. Our girls’ favorite garden had dinosaurs roaming amongst rocks and green trees.

Our girls took a picture of the tiny red tomatoes entered by Harrison Davis and were also amazed by the tall sunflowers. A trip through the animal barns was made more exciting because they were invited to enter the stall with three Kiko goats. Our Fiona crouched down and the lovely small goat in velvety black approached her several times for patting. Rebecca Brown displayed several blue ribbons for these as well as her Arapawa goats. As Island Grazing she rents goats and sheep. Did you know these goats originated in New Zealand? And they do a grand job of poison ivy control.

For my part I was taken by Isabel Shattuck’s huge blue dahlia and Judy Bryant’s living wreath. Daphne DeVries had succulent plants displayed in a plain wooden frame. The different shapes and sizes and colors of the small plants drew the close attention of fairgoers. And the Bantam poultry are always a favorite stop. I do love the black and white hens but had to admire the gorgeous Bantam roosters entered by Nicola and Lucia. Thanks to all of you who put in these delightful entries.

The granddaughters and I finished the weekend with the live performance of Peter Pan. It was a magical presentation. Old and young were cheering, crowing, and thoroughly enjoying the afternoon.

While fall is the best time on the Island, some say everything quiets down. Not quite. And besides, now you can find a parking space. Tonight at 7:30 the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center offers the movie Boyhood, an ode to growing up and parenting. Then at 9:15 you can see Woody Allen’s latest film Magic in the Moonlight, a romantic comedy set in the Côte d’Azur region of France.

Next Tuesday at Flatbread the pizza sales (eat in or take out) also benefit the West Tisbury church from 5 to 9 pm. A silent auction will offer unusual and distinctive items. Enjoy your pizza and feel good about it — all ages welcome.

The Annual Evening of Music on the Lagoon will be at Jim and Pam Butterick’s house at 359 Barnes Road at 6 pm. Enjoy wine and appetizers at sunset on the Lagoon on the last Sunday of summer, and listen to the fabulous pianist Adele Dreyer play Rhapsody in Blue, also joined by musician extraordinaire Peter Boak for duets.  Donations of any amount will go to the Federated Church Organ/Music Fund and/or Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. For more: email antispung@aol.com.

Lia Kahler is an internationally known opera singer with Vineyard roots. She also donates her time and talent for Catalyst Concert fundraisers for nonprofits. On Sunday, September 14, she will be on our island to help the Chilmark Community Church. When Hurricane Sandy blew through Chilmark in 2012, she toppled the cross and damaged the steeple of the church. A Spirit Song concert of songs, spirituals, and music in the sanctuary at 3 pm will follow a silent auction opening at 2 pm. Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors or students.

Don’t forget you need to start reading to join in the seminar beginning September 17 on Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace. Swarthmore College professor Philip Weinstein will present a workshop in six sessions on Wednesday evenings at 7 at the Katharine Cornell Theatre. You need to sign up at the Vineyard Haven Library and begin reading. The classes run through December 3.

Register now for the 5K Run/Walk to benefit the Vineyard Haven Library on September 14. Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome. The fee is $15, with free tee-shirts to the first 100 registrants. The race goes from the Library to the West Chop lighthouse and back.

Register to Cycle Martha’s Vineyard by midnight on Labor Day (September 1) and receive a 10 percent discount off of the $100 registration fee. Prior participants receive an extra 10 percent off by registering early. On September 2 registration is $100 for new riders and $90 for repeat riders. The 100K route circuits the Island traveling along the Atlantic Ocean, Nantucket Sound, rolling farmland, and state forest. The 50K route offers breathtaking views of Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Happy anniversary wishes go to David and Elizabeth Beim on Sunday.

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to Barbara Bruck. Tomorrow wish the best to Cynthia Walker. Jessica Dolliver parties on Sunday. Happy birthday on Tuesday to Edwin Gould-Hart. Wednesday belongs to Maggie Masek.

Heard on Main Street: Some are wise and some are otherwise.

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Sharks, food fights, and the hotel that saved a town.

"Jaws" was filmed on Martha's Vineyard 40 years ago; the cast, including Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider, stayed at the Harbor View, and reportedly had a food fight in the dining room.

This summer  marks several occasions: The 40th anniversary of the filming of the movie “Jaws;” the 90th birthday of notable Edgartown resident and former owner of the Harbor View, Bob Carroll (who also, 30 years ago this summer, founded the Martha’s Vineyard Times); and the publication, by Vineyard Stories, of a history of the Harbor View Hotel, in time for their 125th anniversary. We were happy to find a way to mark all these anniversaries and birthdays with an excerpt from the book “Harbor View, the Hotel that Saved a Town,” by Nis Kildegaard.

And along comes a big shark.

I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down the pond chasin bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallows you whole. . . And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant…”
–Captain Quint (Robert Shaw)

Bob Carroll celebrated his 90th birthday at the Harbor View on August 15. Here, Drew Conway, one of the owners of the hotel, speaks about Mr. Carroll's illustrious hospitality career.

Bob Carroll celebrated his 90th birthday at the Harbor View on August 15. Here, Drew Conway, one of the owners of the hotel, speaks about Mr. Carroll’s illustrious hospitality career. — Angelina Godbout

As much as Bob Carroll enjoyed owning the Harbor View, he says it was never a big moneymaker. “I’m not sure the Harbor View Hotel has ever made real money. You keep thinking it’s going to turn around and make money, but I had to borrow each year to make renovations.”

In 1974, with the expenses of buying and expanding the Kelley House weighing heavy on his books, Carroll was closer than ever to violating his personal code of paying every bill on time. But then came financial salvation in the sort of windfall we expect only from Hollywood. A young filmmaker named Steven Spielberg was planning to make a movie on Martha’s Vineyard. Its name was Jaws.

When the director’s advance team contacted Carroll, he had already learned the lesson that no commodity is more perishable than a hotel room for a given night. He’d been burned, and badly, when the national press corps had made reservations for Senator Edward Kennedy’s date in court after the Chappaquiddick accident in which Mary Jo Kopechne had died. That court date was postponed, and the hotel didn’t see a penny.

He says, “One of the things I discovered, early on, was that if you got a bad weather forecast, everyone who had reservations would call and cancel. I started asking for security deposits, nonrefundable.”

When the Jaws team called to reserve 50 rooms, Carroll demanded a $25,000 deposit and got it. He estimates that by the time filming was done, he and his various Edgartown enterprises — which by then included the two hotels; the Seafood Shanty restaurant; Edgartown Marine, which helped outfit the boats shooting scenes on the water; and his Carroll & Vincent Realiy business, which arranged pricey rentals for key members of the movie crew – made more than $1 million from the filming of Jaws. “That,” he says, “was a memorable experience.”

Not exactly wonderful, but certainly memorable, was the food fight that broke out at the Harbor View in that summer of 1974 as director Spielberg and his cast blew off steam from a memorably difficult production session. How exactly it started — who threw the first meatball or handful of mashed potatoes — no one can exactly recall. But bartender George Gamble later said the principals were Spielberg and actors Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss. “The three managed to make a real mess,” he said. “It was a disgusting sight, seeing them covered in ravioli, cake, and diced fruit.” According to one account of the fracas, the combatants rinsed off by jumping into the Harbor View pool.

Nearly four decades after the success of Jaws, the money continues to trickle in. Carroll, who was cast as a selectman in the fictional town of Amity, gets regular residual checks from the blockbuster film, which to date has earned a total of nearly $2 billion.