Letters to the Editor
Please, so many need help
To the Editor:
This is addressed to the individual who stole the Salvation Army Kettle from the Stop & Shop in Vineyard Haven.
The Salvation Army raises funds through our kettle campaign to aid Islanders in need.
If you are truly in need, please contact us for assistance.
If you could please return the kettle, we will be able to continue to raise funds for other Island families.
Richard S. Reinhardsen
He touched so many lives
To the Editor:
I have written as follows to Julie Flanders to tell her how sad Patsy and I were to hear of Dave's passing. And how thoughtful and selfless she was to call us during your worst hour.
My first exposure to Martha's Vineyard was in 1976. I was doing postgraduate work at Harvard and used to fly over with friends for lunch on the weekends. Although my experience was limited to the Nanapog Restaurant at the airport, I loved the feel of Martha's Vineyard from the air and knew that I would be back some day. After finishing my transplant training in San Diego, I returned to New Jersey with Patsy and two kids, and our very first vacation (after being out in practice for two years) was scheduled for you know where. A series of phone calls all led us to Dave Flanders, since we stated that we really weren't looking for city life or touristy locations. Chilmark sounded wonderful, and Dave set us up with our first rental - a quaint little house in the woods off of Meetinghouse Road, for one week in August 1985. I was a little freaked out at how remote we were (lions and tigers and bears...), and wondered if this was the right mix for us. By the end of the week, however, I couldn't wait to sign up for the next year. The rest is history, as they say, and I would like to share a bit of it with you.
After two more rentals, Dave and I had a chat. I told him that I was hooked on Martha's Vineyard, Chilmark in particular, and wanted to buy or build a house. I knew it would be an expensive proposition (little did I know at the time, how expensive), and that maybe we shouldn't tell Patsy until we found some property and robbed a bank to pay for it. Dave never let on, but looking back, I now know that he must have heard that same story hundreds of times. Renters come in for a season or two, think they want to buy a house - they look at a bunch of properties and when reality sets in, they just keep on renting (or buy something at the Jersey shore). But I also think Dave saw a small spark in me when he showed me a property with a sunset view over the Elizabeth Islands, and I think he knew even then that we were about to embark on a long and wonderful road together.
Dave knew exactly what I wanted: Chilmark, northwest sunset view, privacy, peace and tranquility. It took two years of looking, but when he called in February (no, that was not a typo) of 1987 and told me to fly right up, I knew he had found the one. And he had. He picked me up at the airport in his blue Suburban and drove me into the woods across from the Flanders farm on North Road. To my surprise, I saw nothing that looked like a house setting, nothing that would seem to support a home and nothing but woods, vines, and gullies filled with poison ivy. There was not even a hint of a peek of the ocean. Then Dave directed me to his tractor, which he had driven deep into the woods. He told me to get in the bucket, and he raised me up to 24 feet. He had cut down a few branches in the trees to the west of our location, and eureka - there was exactly the view I had dreamed of. In order to make me feel even more elated than I already was, he told me that he put "Jackie's ass" in the same bucket when he showed her the view from the property that she would buy in Gay Head.
Well, it took a tremendous amount of support to get the house approved by the Prospect Hill Association and the town of Chilmark, but Dave did all the heavy lifting. He met with the neighbors and made sure that they were all taken care of. He told me, "If you take down this tree over here, it opens up the view for this neighbor over there. Top these six trees and two more neighbors reclaim their views of Vineyard Sound. Split, stack and deliver the wood from these trees to the last neighbor, and everybody's happy." And so Dave made sure that we didn't make enemies en route and that we were in compliance with the town of Chilmark. (I don't even want to know what he did to get through that group.)
We got our dream house in paradise, and we got to watch our kids grow up on Martha's Vineyard. We watched them shuck clams at Poole's, teach kids at the Chilmark Community Center, learn to boat, fish, mountain bike in the woods and learn to appreciate the beauty and charm of the Vineyard. None of this would have been possible without your dad's guidance and oversight.
I have a few special memories of Dave, going back to our talks in the dead of winter as we drove around Chilmark looking for property. I don't think there was any heat in that old Suburban, or else he never turned it on. (I'm told that he also wasn't very fond of the air conditioning in the car, and that many long road trips with the family were a bit toasty in the summer.) He told me about the times when he was a boy - watching German subs scoot by from his perch atop Squibnocket. He told me about great hurricanes that lifted boats across Gay Head into Menemsha Pond and the bight. He told me of some of his dad's friends who weathered these storms in their boats - the safest place around. Of course there were the stories of great fish that were caught, where the best spots were, and how to outsmart the stripers. It was also a real blast to see Dave and Fran and all the rest of you gussied up at your Christmas party in the CCC - we were so thrilled to be invited.
The last special moment epitomizes how generous your father was to me. I told him after a few years in the house that I would like to buy a boat. He and I spent six months trying to find a dock or mooring in Menemsha, of course to no avail. Finally, Dave took me aside and told me to bring my boat down to Quitsa Pond, where he had a small dock. There were no spots left on his dock, so he pulled his boat and told me to park mine in his spot. He said that I would use the dock more than he would, and he therefore wanted me to have his spot. He never put his boat back in, and I have been using his spot ever since.
I can't begin to thank the Flanders family enough for all you have done for us on Martha's Vineyard. We are truly blessed, and we are thankful every single day that we look out at our view, hearing only the birds and the crickets and the frogs. We now have the memory of your dad to add to our thoughts at each sunset. Dave touched so many lives, and will be missed by us all.
Please accept sincerest condolences from Patsy, Matt, Dan and me during this difficult time.
Chilmark and West Orange, N.J.
To the Editor:
A righteous shout-out to Steve Mac and Brad Tucker for your help with the sound at my eighth Potluck Jam in Chilmark last Saturday night. You're well appreciated and respected for your time, love and energy.
Not so free
To the Editor:
Todd Follansbee of West Tisbury wrote a letter in last week's Times regarding Obama's election and how lucky we are to live in a free society. It closed with the point that our transition of government is peaceful not with "an angry youth dressed in camouflage pointing an automatic weapon in your face, demanding to see your identity card."
If Mr. Follansbee wants to experience a version of this he could walk, cycle, or take the bus to Lambert's Cove Beach, a town park in his town. He can pretend that he does not reside in West Tisbury and deal with a youth asking for an "identity card." If he proceeded by the youth without an "identity card," I'm sure he will talk to a "friendly policeman." End beach apartheid.