West Tisbury


A microcosm of New England weather, from warm sunshine to snow, has been ours in just the past weekend. I was thinking that we were having a real spring, flinging windows open to the air. Then a hard frost hit, sending me searching for Ugg boots and down jacket, and keeping the woodstove filled.

Many of you know by now that Jon Lipsky died last Saturday. Jon has had such a presence in town, well-known and admired, as an intellectual, artist, and friend. The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center was filled with Jon’s family, friends, students, and admirers attending his funeral service Monday morning. It seemed like the whole Island was there. I hope that was a comfort to Kanta, Adam, and Jonah. My condolences to you all.

Condolences also to Rabbi Caryn Broitman, her husband, Rabbi Brian Walt, and their daughter, Galya. Rabbi Broitman’s mother, Barbara, died on Saturday in Newton. Mr. and Mrs. Broitman have been regular visitors to the Island, always here for the Jewish holidays, proudly and lovingly watching their daughter lead her congregation. Galya’s Bat Mitzvah last year was an especially joyous time.

Julie Kimball called me last week, excited with the following news: “I was walking this morning in Bethesda and saw a windowful of Leslie Baker’s paintings. I was on Wisconsin Avenue, the main drag.” Leslie is the newest artist at the prestigious Marin-Price Gallery. She is scheduled to have a show there later this year.

To catch up with the Kimballs, they moved to the Washington, D.C., area to be closer to Penn’s daughter, Lisa, and her husband, John Cooney. Julie is living in Bethesda and working for AARP. Penn is in a nursing home nearby. Laura has been in China, working and studying, and is back in college in Florida. Everyone is well. The Kimball/Cooneys will be in Chilmark for the summer. Laura will be here for the summer, too, working on the Island. Julie will visit when she can.

I called Leslie to tell her about Julie’s excited telephone call. Needless to say, she was pleased. She invited me over to see what she was working on and “for a cup of coffee with a friend,” our code for “let’s talk.” It felt like so many days past to be sitting in my dear friend’s studio, looking at and talking about art. Leslie showed me a beautiful book about Monet that she had taken out of the library. I can’t wait to be next on the list when she returns it. She also showed me a patch of Tete-a-Tete daffodils already blooming in a sunny corner of her garden. The first this year.

Martha Fleishman and I spent a busy Friday in Boston, visiting her daughter Nina. We took half an hour to run into Utrecht’s, where I grabbed some new tubes of paint and a pad of pastel paper. Sunday, Blue Cullen came over to spend a few hours sitting in my studio at a table set with white china and white roses, so I could paint. It was fun to try out all my new colors.

It sounds like the West Tisbury School’s Cakewalk Saturday night was a big success. Ben Cabot and his daughter, Violet, were busy planning their cake-decorating color scheme when I saw them.

We are approaching the culmination of our local political season as town meeting and elections are only a couple of weeks away. Candidates’ Night, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, will take place at the Howes House on Wednesday night, March 30, beginning at 7 pm. Candidates are called in the order they appear on the ballot. It is an opportunity to hear what they have to say and to ask questions about any issues that may be on your mind. Participate!

Earlier in the day, at 5:30 pm, the last pair of writers from the Fine Arts Work Center will read at our library’s Winter Reading Series. Andrew Meredith and Jacob Shores-Arguello are the featured writers.

The Scrabble Club meets Monday night, March 28, 7 pm, at the library.

I saw Mike Saulnier of Heather Gardens the other day. He told me his greenhouses are full of seedlings, getting ready for spring and summer. There are stacks of newly-delivered bags of fertilizer and compost lining the parking area. Vineyard Gardens is already open, with trees and shrubs appearing daily in the nursery yard to tempt passers-by. Their series of gardening lectures begins in April. There is lots of activity at Middletown Nursery, as well. Pretty soon the gardening season will be in full swing, heading towards summer at a rapid pace.