West Tisbury


It always amuses me when summer visitors ask, “And what do you do here all winter?”

There were lots of announcements in my inbox this week, detailing events in town and across the Island.

Featherstone has classes scheduled: needle-felting, figure drawing, painting, quilting, and more.

ACE MV offers classes on how to build a solar greenhouse, learn to play bridge, cook various international cuisines, study world history or current events.

Movies, lectures, authors’ readings, craft programs, and game nights are scheduled at all of the busy Island libraries.

Vineyard Knit Works is offering a series of classes for neophytes to experienced knitters, and a free drop-in knitting night every Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm. Knitters can join the West Tisbury Library’s In Stitches group on Monday evenings from 7 to 9 pm.

Then there are the regular life activities: dinners and walks with friends, work, cleaning the house, laundry. So much to catch up with after a busy summer. For those of us over a certain age, rest is a big activity, too.

One of the things I try to get to is cleaning out our closets and the basement. My desk is beyond all hope. Mike will laugh, as he never acknowledges any progress, but I do make an attempt. I have just written to my cousin, Marshall, about finding letters from his mother, my Aunt Emma, who died several years ago. Aunt Emma was a wonderful and frequent letter writer. She had the beautiful Palmer penmanship we all used to learn in school. It was such a gift to have these letters to hold and re-read. I despair that hand-written letters with grammatical speech, complete thoughts, and well-crafted analyses are an anachronism that will be completely unknown and unremembered in another generation.

Din Montrowl asked me to explain why there are missing sections of the church fence. It was considered a hazard, as the side towards Garcia’s and Alley’s has been in disrepair for some time. There are plans to replace the fence this fall, along with other repairs to the building itself.

For anyone who is interested in the history of the fence, it is a remarkably unique design. I don’t know who designed or built the original, but it was in photographs taken after the church was moved in the 1860s from the knoll to the left of the cemetery entry pillars to its current setting. Onslow Robinson and Dan’l Manter both rebuilt it at different times over the years. My husband replaced the side with the curve along Music Street about 20 years ago, when Mike Black was painting it and discovered rotten wood. The new section is cedar rather than pine, and except for the old posts, still looks pretty good. It’s such an iconic structure in our town center, as is the church building. I hope both will be restored to serve for some time to come.

Writing the above, I had help and information from my husband, from Bill Haynes, and from Harry Athearn. As my fellow West Tisbury columnist and town historian, John Alley, was serving in his other role as postman when I called, I hope he will fill in the gaps in my history in his Gazette column next week. In advance, thank you, John.

Town Clerk Tara Whiting wants to remind everyone who is planning to run for office in the April town elections that nomination papers must be filled out and returned to her office by 5 pm today, Feb. 24.

The West Tisbury Library will host its monthly Friday afternoon concert by the J.C. Jazz Trio tomorrow, Feb. 25. The music begins at 4 pm.

On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 26, there will be a poetry reading at the library at 4 pm. Barbara Peckham will read selections from her new book, “A Jar of Summer and Other Poems.” She will share the podium with fellow-poet, Donald Nitchie, whose poems have appeared in “Salamander,” “Martha’s Vineyard Writing,” and in his chapbook, “Driving Lessons.”

There will be a public forum at the library Monday, Feb. 28, at 5:30 pm. Members of the library board, building committee, and foundation will be on hand with a progress report regarding the proposed library addition. Plan to stay on, as the Scrabble Club meets Monday night at 7.

Congratulations to Maxwell Nunes, who has been accepted to the London School of Economics. Max will be moving to London this fall.

As half of the Island is heading south for school vacations or just to escape winter, I am never happier than in this season of cold temperatures and bare woods, quiet days for projects, or just reading on the sofa. It was snowing this morning when I awoke, soft and silent past my windows, to cover the ground.