News of the horrific fire that destroyed the Coast Guard boathouse in Menemsha Monday afternoon overwhelms everything and everyone. I had just gotten home when the call came over the scanner. All the Island's fire departments and emergency personnel were called to respond. My friend, Tara Larsen, called to tell me that her husband, Stephen, had gotten his boat and himself safely out of harm's way. All I could think of was firemen in their full gear out in this heat.
When the call first came in, there was concern about nearby fuel tanks exploding. Fortunately, that didn't happen. I am saddened that stately landmark is no more, but thankful no one was seriously injured or any lives lost. With gratitude for all who responded, and for all the training and dedication evident in their response, thank you.
My mother-in-law just called to remind me to mention the demise of the old Ice Cream Parlor, formerly attached to Gifford's Store, the house with the huge multi-paned front window facing the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, across from Old County. Bobby said it also served as the Western Union office. My father-in-law's family used to rent the Luce House before they bought the Joshua Slocum house in the early 1940s. Richard and his siblings regularly crossed the street for ice cream, telegrams (there were no telephones in the house) and groceries at Gifford's.
My cousin, Malcolm Gran, and his wife, Harriet, arrived last week from Philadelphia. They are renting Holly and John Alaimo's house for three weeks. It's a treat to have them right in town this year, as they had always stayed in Vineyard Haven. Longtime friends Lance and Susan Horowitz came with them for the first week. We are eagerly expecting the arrival of David and Kim Gran with their new baby daughter, Amaya, here from China where they teach art. I can't wait to meet Amaya. With them will be Mal's sister, Robin Landis, her daughter, Hannah, and Robin and Mal's mom, my cousin Sally. It will be a busy and wonderful time.
Mike's cousin, Dan Hull, was here last week with his family. Xiaoshi had to return to work during the week, but came down for bracketing weekends. Dan and their daughter, Sunday, were just up the path. They were all here for the annual lobster feast on the lawn of the Slocum house. Hannah Beecher was the hostess, aided by Christopher and Cheryl Bump and their children, all here from Texas.
The Ag Hall was the setting for a surprise party celebrating David Merry's 60th birthday on July 10. About a hundred friends and family members gathered for good food, dancing, and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday." David's niece, Sara Dexter, baked cupcakes for the crowd. She reported that "David was all smiles —as were the rest of us."
Saturday was also Betty and Bill Haynes' 45th wedding anniversary. They celebrated with a special family dinner, a lot of happiness, and laughter. Love and wishes for many more years together and as our friends.
I had wondered about not seeing signs of Sydell and Arnold Rabin yet this summer. Usually Arnold is a familiar sight walking along Tiah's Cove Road, and they are both regulars at the library and the Farmers' Market. Sydell called the other day to tell me she has had aortic valve replacement surgery. She has their ferry ticket and plans to be on the Vineyard July 25. "It seems weird to be anywhere but on the Vineyard in July. I miss everyone." We miss you, too, and Arnold, who has been busy working on new pastels and taking good care of his wife.
Michael Cocolla and Jon Kelly were here from Washington, D.C., to spend the week at their home in Vineyard Meadow Farms. Besides Michael, Jon, and their dogs, Michael's family was with them: his parents, Peter and June, from Venice, Fla., and his sister, Lydia, with her daughter, Katy, from Denver, Colo.
Many thanks to Tom Colligan for the new electrical system on the pump at the cemetery. There is now only one switch to turn on — bright red and clearly marked.
I am, for the first time ever, enjoying a bit of Island summer. Murphy and I took a walk at the Land Bank's Tiasquam Valley trail off Middle Road. I wanted to see where Ruth Kirchmeier's woodcut of the farmhouse was from. We found the site and had a pleasant outing. Yesterday, I went to The Field Gallery and The Granary with my friend Martha Fleishman. I'm almost a regular on Alley's porch at 5 pm, watching the world go by with that most congenial group. I also had time to stop into Alix Small's Vineyard Knit Works on New Lane, where I was captivated by the colors and textures of her amazing collection of yarns, books of patterns that one would actually wear, and a list of classes. I'm determined to learn how to knit next winter.