Letters to the Editor
A matter of moment
To the Editor:
Gee, I am thrilled that the Martha's Vineyard Commission has finally decided the color of the bricks for the new hospital. What a relief. I can hardly wait until they decide the color of the pilings for the new bridge.
I gotta say, some folks have little to do that is important.
A generous reception
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to commend and thank a wonderful Samaritan on your beautiful Island.
My family and I visited Martha's Vineyard to attend a wedding on September 27. After the wedding, we had a difficult time finding the reception cite, which was at the Sailing Camp Park off Barnes Road. It was dark and pouring rain, and our GPS was not very helpful.
After driving up and down Barnes Road for almost an hour, we pulled into a driveway of a resident. When the family saw us coming, they opened their doors, cheerfully welcomed me in from the rain, and inquired as to how they could help. One of the residents, a very kind gentleman, offered to drive to the sailing club while we followed him. He held his umbrella over my head as he escorted me back to our car.
We hope that this wonderful family will see this letter. By the way, we are an African American family that was rather reluctant to knock on the door of complete strangers in the dark. This incident truly touched our hearts, and we are extremely thankful for this experience.
West Orange, N.J.
An unappreciative review
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Keith Gorman, executive director of the Martha's Vineyard Museum.
I write about a book review published in the September 25 edition of the Martha's Vineyard Times, written by Susan Wilson, the development and publications coordinator for the Martha's Vineyard Museum. The book reviewed was: "Chappaquiddick: That Sometimes Separated But Never Equaled Island."
Despite her seemingly favorable description of the book as a "stylishly presented...compendium of essays, family photographs....and ephemera," Ms. Wilson managed to effectively damn a new and very valuable addition to Island history with her faint praise.
Relative newcomers to Martha's Vineyard are more likely to find the reminiscences of the Welch, Pinny, Tilghman and Marshall families' descendants more engaging and entertaining than "tedious," despite the fact that many accounts include "the same benchmark recollections." To most people living in this electronically driven, workaholic century, the idea of spending an entire summer in a remote locale, doing nothing other than enjoying wholesome family pastimes is a novelty, as is the idea of living year-round on an island where the only guarantees of a consistent income are relentless hard work and great resourcefulness.
Equally fascinating to modern readers, especially those who love the seemingly unspoiled, rural character of Chappy, are the book's colorful descriptions of numerous, long-vanished Island enterprises, ranging from tea rooms and antique shops to schools and post offices to herring fisheries, button factories, cranberry bogs and sheep farms.
As someone who, herself, is responsible for creating publications, Ms. Wilson must certainly be aware of the enormous amount of time, energy and intelligence it takes to produce a book. In terms of appearance, this volume is a book lover's delight because of its design, type font, layout, paper choice, illustration, and printing quality. This book is an authentic piece of history and a great gift to those of us who want to know Martha's Vineyard better. Due to its inclusion of so many fascinating maps, photographs, and extensive family histories, assembling and editing the material for Chappaquiddick was clearly an enormous undertaking. The fact that it is not only readable but engrossing is a stunning achievement - all the more laudable in view of the fact that the book was produced by a small group of dedicated volunteers over a period of several years.
Though Ms. Wilson herself is a writer, she would do well to acknowledge that this book represents a somewhat different genre than that in which she is grounded. The review is oddly mean spirited and unsatisfactory, as it appears to take exception to the book's point of view but refuses to make a clear case. She seems to imply that it's the author's fault that it wasn't a utopian community.
I know the Martha's Vineyard Museum has a lot of problems - with its finances and its staff - and this certainly won't help. It may be useful for Ms. Wilson to keep in mind that many of the invisible writers who contributed to the book she has reviewed so dismissively are the very people to whom she will be appealing when trying to raise money for the museum.
She has met intolerance
To the Editor:
I live in a country where political intolerance is the rule, quite unlike the United States, where we can vehemently disagree, but in the end we pull together.
Here in Nicaragua we are having local elections and there are several parties, each having their own color: FSLN is red and black. PLC is red; ALN is red and white; PC is green and MRS is orange. You are known by the colors you wear. When you belong to a party, you wear their colors, paint your house that color, spout their rhetoric and beat up anyone who disagrees with you. Happening now is burning homes, cars, throwing stones at and killing political opponents. Political rallies and speeches are usually broken up by opponents, and journalists who ask questions of politicians are threatened.
I happened to buy an orange tee-shirt from the Ocean State Job Lot in Falmouth for $3 for my husband. He wore it to go to the market to buy fruit in Nicaragua. Orange is the color of the MRS, which is a splinter group from the FSLN. That night someone spray painted our home with FSLN colors and a few obscenities. Yesterday Omar wore a red baseball cap with "Miami Heat" on the front, and our car was egged. We do not belong to any political party, because we consider them all corrupt and self-serving.
Engage in debates and animated discussions, but please do not fall prey to what is happening here. Intolerance of opinions different from yours is a deadly trap. I also do not know anyone who can be pigeon-holed into a rigid format. Most of us have compiled ideas from all parties, changing with our life experience. It is too easy to call people Right Wing or Left Wing. It makes it easier for us to neatly catalog people, but that is very dangerous. I am living it down here in Nicaragua.
Keep the faith.
Where are the crossing guards?
To the Editor:
Since its construction and implementation into Oak Bluffs's infrastructure, the new Oak Bluffs School has always had a total of three crossing guards.
One at the intersection of Wing and Tradewinds roads. This crossing guard is more traffic control but does also assist with crosswalk duties.
The next two, at Pheasant Lane and County Road, have always been there primarily to assist our young children as they race to school on their bikes, roller blades, skateboards, or the latest pair of sneakers.
Where did they go?
For the first week of school, I saw uniformed police officers standing in, though at a higher rate of pay, I was happy to see these two locations monitored.
Where did they go?
Our children are completely unprotected at two of three locations, one of which is nowhere near a marked, 20 mph school zone.
I know the job isn't for everyone. It is after all only a couple of hours a day, nine months of the year. The pay (if not volunteer) can't be much.
I know of one crossing guard that held this post for many seasons and would love to oversee the safety of these children yet again. Even with this desire present, life's priorities sometimes change their positions, but I don't believe the position to be available anyway. It is, after all, October 9, as I write this to you, and still these posts remain vacant.
Is it the town's budget?
If this were true, I can't believe a price could be given to our children's safety. If this is the truth, perhaps some of the more affluent Oak Bluffs employees could make a voluntary contribution from their payrolls to fund these positions.
Oh, and while I'm in the mood, how about that progress on our new multi-million dollar drawbridge.
It's a good thing they have a 10-year window.
To the Editor:
Good Samaritan. We should like to contact a young lady, Trisha, whose father is David and who rescued us around 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 30, cycling on the road from Oak Bluffs around to Vineyard Haven via Edgartown. We had passed each other when a real downpour soaked us. We had to get back for the ferry but were running out of time and energy being completely soaked. She pulled up in her car, having returned home to change and then come out to look for us. She put the hire bikes on the car, provided warmth and a towel, and got us to Oak Bluffs in plenty of time to buy dry clothes, get a hot drink etc. This was our first visit to the U.S.A., and we are already planning our next trip. We felt that a quick thank you was not nearly enough and would love her to contact us via your newspaper. Thank you for your assistance
Jackie & Dave Evans
Brixham, Devon, U.K.
Style and grace
To the Editor
As two of the volunteers at the Artists For Obama fundraiser at the Dragonfly Gallery last weekend, we want to thank the artists who donated their works, Holly Alaimo who offered her gallery for the event, and especially Leslie Baker, who conceived the project and delivered it with style and grace.
Bonnie and Bob George
To the Editor:
"Scattered showers" failed to scatter the determined 50-plus walkers who turned out for the Vineyard's eighth Alzheimer's Miles of Memories Walk on Sunday, October 5.
From civic-minded Tisbury students of Joan Creato to Windemere volunteers, with teams of Bink's supporters and a cadre of solo walkers, people gathered, bedecked with rain gear and umbrellas, for the 2.5-mile trek.
At sea, a fleet of nine kayaks proved equally determined to complete a course from Little Bridge to Big and back. Rugged winds and an incoming tide challenged enterprising paddlers.
The twin goals of the Walk were to increase awareness of Alzheimer's disease and raise funds for local services.
Sustenance rewarded participants. Reliable Market donated oranges. Vineyard Bottled Water was appreciated. Sandwiches and baked goods were provided by Rose Cogliano, Dottie Duart, Virginia Gonsalves, Florence Koster and Nicole Matthews. Morning Glory Farm set up a festive autumnal display and Featherstone furnished a tent and tables. Connie and Tony Teixeira distributed tee-shirts.
Vineyard Scripts was recognized with a sign for their most generous donation. Alzheimer's Services of Cape Cod and the Islands was gratified to report contributions topped $10,500, impressive considering the damp weather and new venue.
While some may consider the event a washout, the rain actually inspired walkers and paddlers to work a little harder. Your participation in this worthy cause was greatly appreciated.
A fine birthday celebration
To the Editor:
On Sunday, October 12, Alley's General Store celebrated our 150th birthday as "Dealers in almost Everything!" It was a fine, autumn day, and we had a terrific turnout. Our heartfelt thanks go out to so many kind folks who helped make the party such a success: Cakes by Liz; Campbell and Douglas; Chilmark Spring Water; Coca-Cola; Frito-Lay; Island Distributors; Island Food Products; Island Tobacco; Vineyard Bottled Water and Vineyard Gardens. Kevin Keady and Friends played and sang the musical score of the afternoon including a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday." Many thanks to Jim Osborn and Jerry Caton - the masters of the grill - and to all our dear friends who brought a special dish to share. And to Dan Waters, poet laureate of West Tisbury, very special gratitude for the delightful poem he wrote to commemorate the auspicious occasion.
Alley's is grateful to all our friends and neighbors for their friendly support. Now that the busy season is behind us, we hope you'll stop by and say hello. There's always a fresh pot of coffee at Alley's.