Six-year-old Sevanna Sroczenski got up on her first try.

I love September. The swimming is good, the weather sunny, the garden bountiful, great starry night skies, and getting back into the off-season groove. Pam Goff said the Chilmark Church is thankful to Lia Kahler for raising a substantial portion of the funds needed for the steeple and cross repair, and the afternoon and auction all went well. Pizza nights will resume Tuesdays at 6 pm beginning Sept. 30 at the Fellowship Hall behind the church at 9 Menemsha Crossroad. All ages welcome.

Thanks go out to Nancy Aronie, who organized a lovely reading of poems for Peggy Freydberg. It was an absolute pleasure to participate. And looking forward to sharing her wonderful work with the larger world!

Sandra Balfe of Wrentham was visiting her aunt and uncle, Tom and Helen Black, in Edgartown when she found the flyer for the first Surf Night on M.V. She wrote me, “It was a dream come true. I have visited Squibnocket often and loved watching the surfers, never thinking I would have the chance to try the sport. It was amazing that the surf community came out to help celebrate the ocean with regular folks and it was all free!” Sandra says she “was totally thrilled to stand up three times.” She loved being cheered on by the entire beach, and sends a big “thank you to all of the instructors!” She hopes this becomes an annual event, because she is hooked.

Thomas Bena thanks Ari Lurie for teaming up with MVFF to create the first Surf Night on M.V. And a huge shout-out to all of the instructors who spent four hours in the water passing on the surf stoke! Craig Spa Tharpe, Katahdin Fitzgerald, Mollie Doyle, Daniel, Paul, Ben Martin, Jamie Green, Ari Lurie, Calder Martin, and to the amazing staff, Brian Ditchfield, Cassie Dana, Hilary Dreyer, Chris Mara, Anthony Esposito, and to Max Simon and all of the volunteers. And then there is Morning Glory Farm, Whippoorwill Farm, and Alex Karalekas for the food and the fish and the music. And thank you to Elaine Barse/Green Room, the Boneyard, and 6k6 for the free boards!! And finally, thank you to the Dock Dance Band for nailing it — if you haven’t heard them yet, check out one of their weekly shows in Edgartown.

My favorite part of the weekend was the amazing Iron Pour at Featherstone, organized by native Islander artist Kate Madeiros (MVRHS ’07). What an incredible community feat she pulled off. Keep an eye on this wonderful artist.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Chilmark resident Beach (Beatrice Phillips) Bennett, beloved wife of Bill Bennett and unstoppably great mother of Bella Bennett, who passed away peacefully on Sept. 17. A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, Sept. 28, at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury from 2 pm to 5 pm. Feel free to bring a dessert to share.

Drop by the ACE MV Course Sampling Fair, Wednesday, Oct. 1 at MVRHS from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Meet the teachers, register for classes (36 different classes being offered), and sample delicious food prepared by ACE cooking instructors. I will once again be teaching a Hand and Foot Fitness class for five weeks. For more info, call Diane Abbot at 508-693-9222 or visit

Gyrokinesis Workshop at the Chilmark Community Center. —Photo courtesy of Amanda Tay

September mornings wake me to the cool of changing seasons. I love seeing the new Dorper lambs grazing in the field next door. We have been picking apples from our wild apple tree and enjoying carrots, beets, and potatoes from our garden. I feel rejuvenated after a three-day Gyrokinesis Workshop with Billy Macagnone of New York City’s Body Evolutions Studio at the Chilmark Community Center, and am grateful this work was available to those on the Island who cannot travel, including teachers Daryl Owens and Giulia Casalino. What I learned having seven guests in my home for the weekend was when no one answers a phone at a restaurant you know is open, it’s a wedding party. We tried to eat out in Chilmark for dinner on Saturday night. No luck at Chilmark Tavern, or Homeport. We tried State Road, no luck. We called Isola in Edgartown and when we got there only the pizza restaurant was open. In the end we were seated on a side porch away from crowds and noise and enjoyed a delicious meal at Alchemy. So I guess during wedding season if you do not have reservations and no one is answering the phone, head to a town with choices.

Welcome home and back to school for the 4th and 5th graders from Chilmark School who successfully navigated the ocean and returned safely to our shores after a week of adventure on the Alabama.

Chilmark Preschool’s fall fundraiser to support their enrichment programs is portrait sessions with Island photographer Albert O. Fischer. This year they are offering shoots at both Grey Barn & Farm and Menemsha Beach. Please consider enjoying this for you and your loved ones or giving it as a gift to friends or family. Here are the dates and locations: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2 pm to 6 pm, Menemsha Beach; Sunday, Sept. 28, 2 pm to 6 pm, Grey Barn & Farm; Saturday, Oct. 4, 9 am to 1 pm, Menemsha Beach; and Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 am to 1 pm, Grey Barn & Farm. Cost is $75 per session, which includes 15 minutes of shooting and high-resolution digital files of all photos. Contact Sarah Waldman at 781-799-9941 or to reserve your session! More information at

The Chilmark library would like to extend thanks to everyone who supported the Summer Reading Program with coupons of appreciation. Children’s librarian Kristin Maloney said, “We had a very successful program, and are grateful for the extra incentive to encourage children to read that our local businesses provide. Almost 200 children signed up for the Summer Reading Program.” The library sends big thanks to The Bite and Karen Flynn; Chilmark Chocolates and Allison Burger and Marybeth Grady; Chilmark Store and Jennifer Lorusso and Joel Glickman; Menemsha Texaco and Marshall and Katie Carroll; Menemsha Galley and Frank and Merrily Fenner; and Menemsha Market and Debbie Packer.

Be sure to drop by the photography exhibit by Chilmark resident Hillary Noyes-Keene displayed in the Chilmark public library meeting room through Oct. 2. And check out Liza Lynch’s photography exhibit at Santander Bank from Sept. 19 to Oct. 3.

Don’t forget it’s M.V. Fashion Week, supporting Angel Flights NE. Check for events.

The sun has been shining, and getting those beach days in before the start of school was an unexpected gift for many. Monday brought the pre-K kids to school for their first day, and we hope they loved their new classrooms, teachers, and friends. Though there are bicycle tours led by oversize vans, the traffic is gone, and the porch at the Chilmark Store is still packed with visitors in the mornings and at lunchtime.

Chilmark lost two remarkable women in the past couple of weeks, Dr. Laura Lee Reid and Ethel Sherman. Our hearts go out to Laura’s children Sarah Canca, Katy Decker, and Eben Coszutta and their families. Dr. Reid’s memorial service was a celebration of her life with nearly 300 people crowded into the Grange Hall. Dr. Bernard Levy appreciated her participation in creating a program for recovering doctors in Massachusetts and thought she was the first woman doctor on staff at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Chilmark also mourns the passing of Ethel Sherman, and we send our love and support to the love of her life, Ralph, and their family. I met Ethel at Cynthia Riggs’ writer’s group when it was conducted at Howes House in 2007. Ethel’s wonderful stories about Ralph surprised us and warmed our hearts. She always managed to put a smile on my face, always had time for a kind word, shared her love of the Island Farmer’s Market, and her preserves were much coveted holiday gifts for off-Island friends. Ethel we miss you terribly!

Help repair the cross and steeple of the Chilmark Church by attending mezzo-soprano Lia Kahler’s varied program of songs, spirituals, and arias, on Sept. 14 at 3 pm at the Chilmark Community Church. Lia’s pianist, Richard Gordon, and organist, Philip Dietterich, will also perform as soloists. A silent auction at 2 pm will continue during intermission and the reception following the concert. For tickets, $15 general, $10 senior/student, call 508-645-3325.

This week The Yard continues with local artists at Poetry Night, Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 8 pm; and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish play for Public Dancing Allowed, Friday, Sept. 12 at 8 pm. For more information, call 508-645-9662 or go to

Yes, Chilmark Chocolates is open again, Thursdays – Sundays, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Homeport Back Door is open Monday – Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm and Thursday – Sunday from 11 am to 8:30 pm; dinner inside is served from 5 pm on Thursdays – Sundays. Chilmark Tavern is open Thursdays – Mondays from 5:30 pm. Chilmark Store is open weekdays until 3:30 and weekends until 8 pm. The Galley is open 11 am to 3 pm, Sunday – Friday and Saturdays from 11 am to 7:30ish. The Bite, just filmed this week for the Travel Channel, is open Tuesdays – Sundays from 11:30 to 3:30 pm. And both fish markets are open daily: Larsen’s Fish Market is open Sunday – Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm and Friday – Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm; Menemsha Fish Market is open 9 am to 7:30 pm every day.


Valerie SonnenthalI drove to Joan Bowman’s summer rental retreat overlooking Squibnocket after morning rain — wet, glittering in sunlight breaking through majestic clouds. I met Joan my second summer living on the Vineyard through a friend from Rockland County, N.Y. (my former home), and have looked forward to seeing her every summer.

Joan’s second book, Some Kind of Lucky, was published this summer by Vineyard Stories and she did two Island readings and book signings. I lost my own mother 10 years ago and am always inspired by Joan’s honesty, openness and energy. She turned 82 on August 19 and left for Ireland on Labor Day for a 12-day trip organized by her alma mater, Smith College. Joan “loves all the Irish writers” and we hope she is having a wonderful time.

She described one of the first houses she rented, on Quitsa, pointing, “up on that ridge, it was a really funky house, but worked somehow. Beautiful views, and then you would walk down this really steep staircase. It was like something out of a Fellini movie, sort of surreal. Then you’d walk down to the beach.” Joan said of her present house (that she has rented since 2000), as she gestured towards the front door, “People walk in that door and they lose their breath.”  The view over rolling green, Stonewall Pond, and the ocean rendered me speechless with a gaping open mouth the first time I met Joan.

I asked whether Joan has ever sat on the porch at The Chilmark General Store. She laughed, “I have never sat in one of those rocking chairs; it’s funny — why haven’t I done that? Usually I go there on a mission, like oh my God we have no bread, or we need to stop at the ATM for cash.” Though her son-in-law from Pittsburgh and her daughter do the two-mile walk each way regularly when they visit, buy their New York Times, hang out, have some coffee and a morning treat before their trek home.

During her month on Island she is very seldom alone, nightly dinners at home swelling from 6 to nearly 20 at her table between entertaining friends and her extended family visiting from both coasts. Her latest book was put together in the last year versus her first book in 2010, self-published, which “took a long time to write because [I] didn’t have a publisher, didn’t have an editor, there were times when [I] got fed up and didn’t pay any attention to it.” She continues: “What inspired me and forced me to finish it was the death of my son. He read a lot of the book. I had talked to him about things in the book more than my other children. After he died, I couldn’t write, at all. As I started to heal, I realized, about a year after he died, that he would want me to finish this book.”

Her first trip with Smith was in 1997 to the Veneto region in Italy where “Palladio built many many villas for the Venetians to get away from the heat.” Two of her “Rowdy Crew” friends, what they have called themselves since their undergraduate Smith days, passed away last March. Joan continued, “This is such a sensitive time. I never thought about dying until a couple of years ago. All of a sudden there’s a shift. [Now] I think about it quite often. You just wonder — how much longer have I got, and what do I want to do?” Laughing she admits, “Which I can’t answer.”

Joan came to writing in her sixties. She went to Sarah Lawrence because she wanted to write a design column for a local newspaper. And it happened. She did it for one year and got to see her insider tips about design appear every Thursday; then freelancers were let go and her writing evolved and she realized she would not be happy writing about design the rest of her life. So she went back to Sarah Lawrence and studied with Suzanne Hoover who inspired Joan to write her family memoir and apply to their MFA program. There she wrote 80 pages, all of which are in the book.

Joan brought the Paul Taylor 2 Company to the Island this summer. None of the six dancers had ever been here before. She had four staying with her. “The company got a standing ovation at PAC after performing one of his signature pieces — Esplanade — based on pedestrian movement.” Joan’s New Jersey neighbors originally brought her to Paul Taylor performances and then asked her to join the board.

Joan is candid, she tells like it is, and she seems to have enough life behind her that she no longer wastes time. I look forward to learning about Joan’s adventures when she returns to Chilmark next July.

And as far as town happenings it is the last Lobster Roll Tuesday, 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the Chilmark Church. Don’t miss Garrett James and other musical guests at The Yard, Friday, September 5, at 8 pm — for info, call 508-645-9662. And tune in next week to learn about the last softball game of the season.

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 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!

Valerie SonnenthalStill in the August blur and enjoying beach cookouts at sunset, swimming in the rain, the best tomatoes ever courtesy of my neighbor, and an incredible Shabbat dinner, but I am behind on my gardening duties and have been taking care of my son who had all his wisdom teeth removed.

I have fallen in love with Menemsha; every time I go down for a walk with my dogs I feel transported by the strange international mix of visitors and locals. I finally made it into Lambert’s Cove Glass, a walk-in closet of a store, between Beetlebung Coffee House and Scott McDowell’s Copperworks of Martha’s Vineyard. I was lucky to pick up a copy of Nancy Safford’s “Time’s Island: Portraits of the Vineyard,” a 1973 photo book published by MIT Press. The store has an excellent selection of used books for all ages with a focus on the Island, besides the gorgeous hand-blown glassware and furniture with glass hardware made by Alan Cottle. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 1–6 pm, and will be open through the fall; sorry, no phone working there at the moment.

The Fisher extended family.
The Fisher extended family.

We stopped at Squibby for a dog walk with our Santa Fe visitors and someone who recognized the dogs came up and said hello. Turns out that Cookie (Margo) Martin, who is renting a house with a nearly identical address to our own (a package mix-up was how we met), is here in Chilmark for three weeks with her family. There are 40 family members, renting six houses, all in Chilmark except one, and all are related to Ernest and Doris Fisher, who started out camping in Gay Head and Chilmark nearly 40 years ago. The family spans from 10 months old to Ernest, 92 years young. We hope that everyone had another great summer stay; how lucky they are to share their summers!

On Saturday afternoon Jay Lagemann’s 2009 sculpture “Family – Presidential Welcome,” was moved into the middle of Beetlebung Corner. I had not seen it before and when driving past at 6 pm, pulled over, got out of my car and snapped a few pictures. Thursday, August 21, join sculptors Jay Lagemann and Duncan Niederlitz at their Open Studio from 5 – 7 pm, at 18 Wequobosque, a 1/2 mile on the left past Beetlebung Corner. For more information: or 508-560-0151.

I hope the Obamas will try Chilmark Tavern or they really are missing out on some of the best food offered on Island. My family will be going back this week with our Santa Fe friends and I can’t wait to try what I missed on our first visit. I spotted a really cool Willys parked at Chilmark General Store this week with Ohio plates. I was not gregarious enough to inquire on the packed porch who the owner was and have not seen it since.

The Flanders Field Softball Most Valuable Player was awarded last Sunday to Ed Edgar with much pomp and circumstance. Also the Howie Hustle Award was given to two players this year — Ted Sattler and Caleb Caldwell. Congratulations to all. Games continue Sunday mornings at 8 am through Labor Day.

Martha’s Vineyard Museum Chief Curator Bonnie Stacy is coming to the Chilmark Library to talk about her new book “Martha’s Vineyard,” including fascinating facts, stories, and photographs of the many varied facets of Vineyard life through the 19th century from seafaring families to farm life, to Hollywood filming, on Wednesday, August 27 at 5 pm.

Valerie SonnenthalSummer movie on Menemsha Beach with Sylvia Earle and Bob Nixon, Backyard Bash on a gorgeous evening enjoyed by families and all ages, Chilmark Road Race with more runners than ever, the First Family nestled into their vacation digs, hearing Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Foundation founder and president Dr. John Aucott speak at an informal gathering, one of my sons returning from a summer semester in Poland and one off camping in New Hampshire, dancing in Built on Stilts, girlfriends from Rockland County, N.Y., visiting — it’s the August blur under the Supermoon and Perseid meteor showers. It’s time to start thinking about the Ag Fair, what to enter, and enjoying the myriad of offerings all over our Island.

The other morning in Menemsha I spotted a woman standing by the creek working on a small canvas, fog making the world of this painter a timeless quiet. It was Karen Cuchel, an artist and teacher born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She works plein air whether at home (still in Brooklyn) or every summer when she, her husband, writer/teacher Jason Dubow, and their kids visit Chilmark, a family tradition started by his parents over 30 years ago. Also our sons will share a common experience, The Mountain School, a one-semester program for high school juniors — we wish Ari Dubow a great semester.

Kara Taylor’s last gallery opening of the summer season is her NIGHT exhibit Sunday, August 17, from 5 to 8 pm. Come see her newest work; I know she’s been busy painting every day. For more information, 508-332-8171.

Last dinner (7 pm) and a movie (8 pm) in Chilmark is “Art and Craft,” a documentary about Mark Landis who has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, though he donated his work to museums under the ruse of being a philanthropist. Come meet Mark Landis on Wednesday, August 20.  For tickets and information,

The Chilmark Public Library gets serious this week with author/activist Rebecca Gordon, a professor at University of San Francisco, discussing her new book, “Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post 9/11 United States” on Wednesday, August 20, at 5 pm. Catch West Tisbury author John Hough Jr. discussing his new novel “Little Bighorn” on Thursday, August 21, at 5 pm.

The last session of Author Lecture Series at the Chilmark Community Center offers three masterful memoirists discussing writing their personal stories. Come hear Gail Sheehy, Richard Hoffman, Katie Hafner moderated by Alexandra Styron on Thursday, August 21, 7:30 pm. Tickets available at and the CCC (M-F, 9-12 only). The last Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concert will be Carol Wincenc on flute, Jay Campbell on cello, Delores Stevens on piano, playing J.S. Bach’s Duo from the “Well Tempered Clavier,” and other works by Gabriella Lena Frank and Jake Heggie.

All Chilmark Community Center programs and classes run through August 15. The Chilmark Flea Market runs through Saturday, August 30. Remember, Chilmark Chocolates is now closed until September 4. You can still take yoga and dance classes through September 7 at The Yard. Lobster Rolls to Go at the Chilmark Church runs Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 pm through September 9, and yoga at the church with Primo Lombardi on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 am runs through August 28.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.

Valerie SonnenthalLife is buzzing in Chilmark. Can’t even pull into parking lots, local eggs are sold out by noon, and the bulletin board at Chilmark Store has no space left. I stopped there for breakfast last week in the rain and the porch was full. Laurie David and a friend in one corner, Doug Liman, Wendy Weldon, James Langlois, and others happily huddled under cover and enjoying morning coffee clutches. Monday brought back sunshine, and once again we are finding deer ticks after walking our dogs. Please remember to check yourselves and loved ones thoroughly. Take it slow on the roads and be sure not to cut off the Presidential motorcade.

Congratulations to Chilmark’s own Nancy Slonim Aronie, celebrating the 25th anniversary of her Chilmark Writing Workshop. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity. You will be happy you decided to give it try. I did her workshop during my second year living here and look forward to attending again soon.

The Allen Farm, Martha’s Vineyard’s oldest continuously working family farm, is hosting the 17th Annual Water Tasting by the Sea, Thursday, August 7, 2014, 5:30- 7:30 pm. A silent auction, raffle, and live music complete the event to benefit Vineyard House, sober housing for Islanders in early recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Call 508-693-8580 for tickets or buy online.

If you are starting grades 6 -12 it is not too late to enter the Elisa Brickner Annual Poetry Contest, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Poems are due August 11. Winning entries receive $200 first prizes or $100 for 2nd and 3rd prizes! For details stop by or call the library: (508-645-3360) or check

Come hear Alan Dershowitz, 75, Chilmark’s favorite resident scholar, and Lucinda Franks, radical hippie and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who married New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in 1977, speak about their memoirs on Sunday, August 10, 7:30 pm. Richard North Patterson will discuss the last book in his Martha’s Vineyard trilogy, “Eden in Winter,” a psychological and family drama mostly set in Chilmark. Both at the Chilmark Community Center. Tickets available at or at CCC (M-F, 9 am–12 pm only).

It is the last chance to join Roberta Kirn for a Community Sing at The Yard, Tuesday, August 12, 5–6 pm. All are welcome, no experience necessary. Free.

Learn about Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Campaign at the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Annual Reception, August 12, 5–8 pm, Old Town Hall, 65 State Road, Aquinnah. Free.

Don’t miss art historian Henry Adams’s talk about artist Thomas Hart Benton’s work and legacy on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, August 13, 5 pm. Benton made Chilmark his second home for nearly five decades, until his death in 1975. Sponsored by the Chilmark Historical Commission and Friends of the Chilmark Public Library.

Baseball lovers will enjoy Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s Dinner (7 pm) and a Movie (8 pm) featuring “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” with director Chapman Way and producer Juliana Lembi Wednesday, August 13, at the community center. This heartwarming and hilarious film documents one of the great true stories about America’s underdogs — in this case, the Portland Mavericks of 1973. For information goto

Bill Edison reports that when Ed Eger comes from California to Flanders Field, he is known as the best home run hitter since the Dave Flanders reign. Too bad for Ed. After hitting a tremendous drive headed over Pasture Road, his 20-something son, Will ,was waiting for the catch, robbing his dad of a sure home run.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.

Kathy Cerick (left), husband Charles Fitzgerald (center) and daughter, Kate at their Chilmark Flea Market tent while daughter Liane helps customers with swimsuits under the white tent. — Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal

Valerie SonnenthalThis was the final week for my niece and nephew’s first Island visit, but on their last day we had a real scare when our babysitter was stung by a bee, a first for her, and she turned out to be allergic. Do not delay, call 911 if you have trouble breathing after a sting. Luckily everything turned out okay. We’ve had rain, stunning sunsets, Saturday night fireworks visible over the ocean and everywhere I go cars, cars, cars. I guess the real crowds arrive this week and we have nine days before President Obama and his family arrive. Keep enjoying summer.

I finally made it to the Chilmark Flea on a perfect Saturday and the first people I ran into were Kathy Cerick and her husband Charles Fitzgerald (owners for 27 years of Edgartown’s In the Woods store). They  are doing the Flea this summer with a mini-version of items they used to carry and are enjoying their daughters, Kate (a Yoga instructor and actress in New York City) on Island for a brief visit,  and Liane who was under the white tent next to theirs selling her line of Roy swimwear. The last time we ran into one another was in NYC. So glad they told me to try the Thai spring rolls for sale, a perfect lunch.

Congratulations to Thorpe Karabees, from Chilmark, invited to join the class of 2018 at University of Vermont’s Honor College. He went up to Vermont in June with his mom and younger brother for his orientation and looks forward to majoring in history. In the meantime Thorpe can be found working at Chilmark Chocolates.

The Chilmark Library will be busy with Felix Neck Director Suzan Bellincampi discussing her new book, “Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature,” Wednesday, July 30, 5 pm. The book is an updated version of “Moraine to Marsh,” a companion of Vineyard nature enthusiasts since 1988, written by Anne Hale, one of founders of Felix Neck. Next, Boston University Professor Cathy Utzschneider will talk about her book “Mastering Running – Run Your Best at Age 30 and Beyond,” a guide for runners and athletes of all ages on Wednesday, August 6, at 5 pm. For more information, call 508-645-3360.

Coming to Chilmark Community Center (CCC) Author Lecture Series are Andre Dubus III discussing “Dirty Love,” a collection of four novellas about love and betrayal set in a New England coastal town, Sunday, August 3, 7:30 pm. Ron Suskind will speak about “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism,” detailing how he and his wife, Cornelia, turned their son Owen’s fixation on Disney movies into a remarkable journey to reach him and find a common language to express complex thought and emotions. Tickets available at CCC  (M-F, 9-12 only) and

Come and celebrate with sixty-year Chilmark resident Jules Worthington at his 30th anniversary exhibit of paintings at the bank (Santander), Friday, August. 1, 4–6 pm.

This week I picked up Turar Abakirov who needed a ride on Middle Road to his job at Chilmark Tavern. Turar last worked on the Island four summers ago and has since received his B.A. from the American University in Central Asia and is now pursuing an MA in Accounting at New York’s Pace University. He is looking for an accounting internship and is available immediately; if you or anyone you know can help, contact Turar at 646-920-4058 or

Put your dancing shoes on for “Pride, Not Prejudice,” an outdoor Tea Dance open to all ages celebrating 10 years of marriage equality in Massachusetts, Saturday, August 2, 4 – 10 pm. at The Yard. For more information,

Valerie SonnenthalGlorious days, fog, much-needed rain, clouds and perfect sunsets — besides enjoying fresh home-baked breads by my younger son, assorted new fish and shellfish for the visiting niece and nephew, blueberry everything at home and at the West Tisbury Church Blueberry Festival, sunset and dinner outside the Aquinnah Shop, exploring the beach, and each day filled with new wonder. So much to be grateful for this July!

Maybe you’ve seen the neon orange Chilmark Fire Department shirts? I did, on three different people in one evening. Fire Chief David Norton tells me for a donation you too can support our local Fire Department and may find some volunteer firefighters offering shirts off the back of the fire truck parked for sunset in the Menemsha Beach parking lot. If you miss them there, there’s always the Wednesday, August 6, Backyard Bash at the Community Center (CCC), 5–8 pm.

This week I got to talking with the ladies at Menemsha Fish Market and here’s what I learned: Ekaterine (Kate) Tchelidze, from Georgia (yes, the country) has returned for her third summer working with Stan Larsen. It is here where she met fellow American University student Erisa Rodra (second summer) from Albania. Erisa, majoring in Economics and Business Administration, has one more year, while Kate, majoring in Journalism and English, has one and a half years left until graduation from their university in Bulgaria. Kate hopes to intern at one of the Island papers this fall.

Bill Edison tells me that Lucas from London, aged 10, arrived for his second summer visit with his grandmother, and after practicing “rounders” on the other side of the pond, he got a hit and ran all the bases proclaiming, “I’ll be back next week.” My nephew Alex from Berlin enjoyed pinch-running in this week’s game and looks forward to playing when he returns next summer.

Popular Story Book Character Ladybug Girl, from the books by David Soman & Jacky Davis, visits the Chilmark Community Center with Kristin the Chilmark Library’s Children’s librarian on Monday, July 28, 11 am. Sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Library Association. Everyone is invited, not just campers .

One new easy way to support Island nonprofits is to do your online shopping through Tisbury Turkey. Go to and you will be supporting Friends of Family Planning through August 31.

A reminder to Riparian Owners of Tisbury Great Pond: the annual meeting will be held at 10 am, Saturday, July 26, at the Howes House in West Tisbury. Any questions please contact Ellen Sturgis,

Join host and executive producer Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Charlayne Hunter-Gault for a joint benefit for MVVY 93.7 and Democracy Now! A catered Beach Plum Inn reception, 5–6:30 pm, precedes Amy’s 7 pm Katharine Cornell talk about “The Silenced Majority.” For tickets and info:

Next up at the Author Series at the CCC on Sunday, July 27, 7:30 pm, are The Beekman Boys (Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge), who gave up city life to become goat farmers in upstate N.Y.  Known from their hit TV show on the Cooking Channel, their new cookbook, “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook”, is a trip through their farm’s year-round vegetable bounty.

On Thursday, July 31, a tribute to beloved Island resident Sheldon Hackney, a distinguished scholar of civil rights and social justice who died last year. Charlayne Hunter-Gault will moderate the evening and many contributing essayists for “Dixie Redux,” a series of essays honoring Hackney will be on hand to speak, followed by a reception.  Tickets are available, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, and Chilmark Community Center (Mon.–Fri., 9 am–12 noon only).

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.