West Tisbury


It felt delicious to reach for a flannel shirt to put over my shoulders when I came downstairs last Thursday morning. By evening, I was wearing long pants, a shirt with sleeves, and a light sweater — an outfit impossible to envision during this prolonged heat spell. I have heard that wood stoves were lit in quite a few parlors around town, just to take off the chill and damp. Despite the welcome rain, it feels hazy, hot, and humid again and looks to remain so through the week.

Linda Alley enjoyed making jam in her warm kitchen. Susie Middleton actually turned her oven on for the first time in weeks, making an open-faced tart for Roy’s visiting family, expected later in the day.

I ran into Max Decker last week, here from Brooklyn to visit his parents, Nelia and Chris, and to deliver paintings to the Eisenhauer Gallery. Leslie Baker, Mark Reisman, and I went to Edgartown Thursday evening for Wendy Weldon’s opening at North Water Gallery, then across the street to see Max’s paintings. They were not hanging, but we saw images on an iPad, some of which were already sold. Congratulations, Max.

Patti Linn recently visited her family in Baltimore, Maryland, to help her mom, Dottie Sippel, celebrate her 90th birthday and her step-father, Bob Sippel, his 85th. The whole family and many friends, 75 guests in all, gathered for the party on July 14, Dottie’s special day.

Howard Wall was mowing and trimming across the street one morning, so I stopped the car. Howard reports that both girls are permanently home. Tessa will be teaching first grade at the West Tisbury School, her alma mater. Hilary is the new archivist/librarian at the Vineyard Gazette.

The 4th Annual Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony will be held at the Harbor View next Thursday, August 8, from 5 to 6 pm.

Nancy Cramer will hold an artists’ reception at Shaw Cramer Gallery this Friday, August 2, 6 to 8 pm. West Tisbury artists included are: Leslie Baker, Laurene Krasny Brown, Ruth Kirchmeier, Marie-Louise Rouff, and me. Laurene will speak about her tenure as Artist-in-Residence at Marnay Sur Seine, France, on Tuesday, August 6, 6 pm, at the gallery.

On Sunday evening, a group show opens at Featherstone. Nine Artists/Thirteen Years shows work by Leslie Baker, Claire Chalfoun, Nancy Furino, Lyn Hinds, Ruth Kirchmeier, Jeanne Staples, Liz Taft, Wendy Weldon, and me. Monina Von Opel will serve as guest curator. The opening reception is August 4, from 4 to 6 pm, and the show runs through August 21.

Poets Jorie Graham and Fanny Howe will read and speak at the MV Film Center Monday, August 5, 7:30 pm, a program for the West Tisbury Library. The Library Foundation Speakeasy Series continues this week when Amor Towles, author of the novel “Rules of Civility,” speaks at the Granary Gallery, Wednesday, August 7, 5:30 pm.

The Friends’ book sale appears to have been a huge success. My husband must be the only person in town who went and came home with nothing. He was looking for one particular thing, an atlas to replace our ragged copy from 1973. It’s hard to find one that has print big enough to read. He didn’t find one, so left empty-handed.

Mike’s cousin, Hannah Beecher, stopped by earlier and told me a story about her childhood summers in the Slocum House, which I paraphrase here.

There was only one clock in the Slocum House, and no-one remembered to wind it, so we got up when the sun was up and went to bed when it was dark. There was no television, radio, newspapers, or magazines. We all felt so carefree. We would go to the beach at Quansoo, sleep in the sand, go into the water when we got hot, then sleep in the sand some more. Someone, usually Janice, would make a sundial out of a piece of grass in the sand and say, ‘Time to go home.’ So we packed up and went home.

At night, parents made pitchers of martinis and visited among the neighbors, all friends, many artists and writers. They did sound like carefree days. Hulls, Beechers, Bryants, Whitings, LaHarts, Smiths, Scannells. Much different from our over-scheduled and over-committed summer days.

Buzzy Blankenship stopped by yesterday and Bob Fischer wandered through the woods between our houses, carrying his glass of wine, reminding me of Hannah’s family stories of West Tisbury Road summers past.

Dorothy Barthelmes and Bob Henry arrived yesterday from Washington, D.C., for their six-week stay at the Slocum house. Dorothy was our Aunt Janice’s dearest friend, a frequent visitor. Now she rents from Hannah. She and her dear husband, Bob, feel as family to me. Her kids grew up with Mike’s siblings and cousins, so a special part of our summer is when Rob Stevens and Buffy Webber arrive. We have also grown quite fond of new acquaintances Lars and Rick who, I am told, are year-round readers of this column.