Town Column : West Tisbury
Sunday was a perfect day for inside chores and that's what we did. Mike cleaned his shop and I think I peeled every apple in West Tisbury. Mike has a clean workspace, and we have a freezer full of apple pies/apple cake/applesauce, although they cook down into less than you might imagine. The dogs and Grace snoozed by the woodstove as the rain poured down outside and the wind roared.
While I was working, I played old records on our stereo. My playlist ran the gamut from Mike Bloomfield/Al Kooper/Steven Stills's "Super Session" to Dmitri Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic's recording of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet Ballet Suite." My mind filled with pictures and memories as I listened. I thought about seeing "Madame Butterfly" at the Metropolitan Opera House, with tickets to "Cabaret," my 18th birthday present. Ella Fitzgerald at Carnegie Hall, Jonathan Schwartz at Michael's Pub, Dave Van Ronk at the Blue Note, Jimi Hendrix at Fillmore East, years of concerts, ballet, theater, art exhibits, and the richness the arts have added to my daily life.
You can see where I'm going with this. In light of the proposed school budget cuts reported in last week's newspapers, I have been thinking about Miss Shields, Mrs. Woodlock, Miss Sturrock, Mrs. December, Dr. Rowe, Dr. Fisher, Mr. Lavigne, Mr. Salvo, the art, dance, and music teachers I had growing up in Ridgefield, Conn. They encouraged me and gave me gifts they never knew. Obviously, I grew up to be an artist. But I remember Mr. Salvo once saying that learning about art will help you appreciate the world around you, even as simply as picking out pleasing colors when decorating your house.
I don't usually get into political issues in this column, but why are the arts always the first cuts in a school budget? Why isn't growing up to be a sculptor, pianist, or poet as valuable to our world as being a computer whiz, mathematician, or soccer star? Why don't educators and budgeters value what the arts add to education? I have heard the Minnesingers and instrumental concerts, seen dance and theatrical performances, gone to photography and art exhibits of children at elementary and high school levels and marveled at the accomplishments of these young people. Mike and I have enjoyed many occasions listening to friends' children play violin concerts after dinner or showing their artwork. These lessons teach coordination, memorization, creativity, and observation of the world around them as much as science and math. I'm getting off my soapbox now.
It's almost Halloween and scarecrows will begin appearing around the Island. It's hard to believe the Charter School is sponsoring its 10th Annual Scarecrow Contest. They hope to raise $6,000 this year towards upgrading the school's science labs. Businesses donate $75 to have a scarecrow tableau outside their stores. Prizes include gift certificates from Bunch of Grapes, Edgartown Books, Educomp, Island Entertainment, Summer Shades, and Vineyard Electronics.
Congratulations to Ward Just, recipient of the President's Award for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Letters from the New England Booksellers Association. He chose our West Tisbury Library as the beneficiary of the $500 grant for a "library or other institution for the advancement of literacy," specifying it be used for book purchases, as opposed to electronic or internet-related expenditures.
Beth Kramer called to say the library is totally out of bags. Please drop off any extras. Also, the library is open 1 to 5 pm Sunday afternoons through the winter.
The CROP Walk, scheduled for October 18, was cancelled because of the weather. It will take place this Sunday, Oct. 25. Marsha Winsryg wants to remind everyone they may still send donations to her at P.O. Box 3051, West Tisbury 02575 or call her at 508-693-4059. Checks should be made out to CWS/CROP.
Hallie Mentzel was in town last week, staying with Susan Wasserman. It was a treat to see her. Hallie, Susan, Linda Hearn, and I had lunch together at Farm Neck, one of Hallie's favorites. She was planning to spend a few days in Falmouth visiting Jean Halvorsen before returning to her apartment in New York.
Thursday was the only day we could get together because Linda and her husband, Glenn, were going off-Island for the weekend. Glenn has been pursuing his interest in bird-carving and painting, and visiting fellow carvers/painters for lessons and advice. His birds are beautiful and we are all enjoying his enthusiasm.
October 20, 1943, Ensign and Ms. George Hough were married at Riverside Church in New York. They came to the Vineyard for an 11-day honeymoon, then were separated for two years as George shipped off to join his LST (Landing Ship for Tanks) commission during World War II. George and Mary Lou Hough will celebrate their 66th anniversary with a private dinner together at the Square Rigger Tuesday night. We wish them many more happy years and adventures together.