West Tisbury celebrates new “On Island” book


What a string of glorious, perfect days. Thursday’s rain, one whole inch at our house, was such a relief to the waiting earth and to gardeners already tired of dragging hoses around trying to keep plants alive. I know we still need rain, but I am glad for the sunshine, moderate temperatures, and no humidity. It’s been perfect summer weather.

I noticed that the kousa dogwood seedlings I planted at least 20 years ago are now covered with creamy blossoms, trees that shimmer above our rooftops. Roe Belain just gave me some of her seedlings, descendants from the trees at Polly Hill’s. I have always wished I had room to plant an allee like the one at the arboretum, but the trees will sometime in the future make a pretty display and I like that mine have all come from friends’ gardens, making them very special to me.

Mari Harman stopped by Saturday on her way home from the Farmers’ Market. She has just arrived for the summer and couldn’t wait another minute to see Nanuk. Fortunately, I was able to find Mike at Cottle’s and he came right home, bringing Nan for the desired reunion. Nan has definitely become Mike’s dog, but she always has kisses and affection for Mari, her former owner who misses having a dog. Meanwhile, Talley was the recipient of Mari’s petting, while waiting for Mike and Nanuk to get here.

Mari doesn’t drive anymore, so it was a doubly nice visit to reconnect with Elise Thomas, Mari’s designated driver. Elise and Tom, longtime West Tisbury residents, moved to Maine several years ago. She has been helping Mari for the past three years. Tommy will be here soon for the summer. He was the owner of Indian Hill Equipment and a volunteer fireman. Elise ran a preschool on their property on State Road. Now the property is owned by Trippy Barnes. Good to have them back for awhile.

Jan Paul emailed me with her latest great idea. Her drop-in knitting/quilting group that meets at the Heath Hen on Tuesday evenings is moving to the beach by the drawbridge in Vineyard Haven. Wouldn’t it be pleasant sitting out on the beach, watching boats in the harbor, working on a project, surrounded by people who share your interests? Bring your dinner if you like. The group meets at 5:30 pm through the summer.

The West Tisbury School is renovating their playground and Jenn Doyle is coordinating the committee in charge. She is looking for folks in town who are interested in helping with the project. She needs committee members, designers, landscapers, and pure brawn. Are you interested? Can you help? Call Jenn at 508-693-6878 or Samantha Look at 774-563-8871.

The Martha’s Vineyard Library Association’s kick-off to the summer reading program is this Saturday, July 5, at the Ag Hall. Doors open at 10:30; the program begins at 11. Bill Ross is a very funny entertainer who can juggle almost anything. Face-painting is part of the event, too, all for $4 entry. Babes in arms are free. Enjoy the program, then come to the library and sign up for the summer reading program. This year’s slogan is “Fizz, Boom, Read.”

Paul Karasik will be guest artist at the West Tisbury Church’s Sunday morning service. He will draw cartoons to illustrate the week’s scripture reading as it is being read. July is the month the church focuses on the arts.

In Paul’s other life on staff of the Martha’s Vineyard Charter School, he told me about the school’s construction project over this summer. The groundbreaking for two new science labs begins this week with a ceremony and then heavy equipment. The school received a $200,000 grant for new science lab equipment from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

I hope everyone reads all the town columns. There is often something relevant to West Tisbury even though technically about events in another town. Two weeks ago, there was a letter in the Times about the Chilmark softball team missing Howard Wall playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his bagpipes to begin the games. Valerie Sonnenthal’s Chilmark column last week updated the story, reporting that Tony Peak has assumed that duty, much appreciated by the players and fans. No one will ever replace Howard, but it’s nice to know that his tradition is being carried on.

A bit of news about a project that has been an ongoing part of my life for the past two years. Brooks Robards — poet, reviewer, writer, and dear friend — and I have just published a book together. It’s called On Island: Poems and Paintings of Martha’s Vineyard. Thirty-five poems and 35 paintings. Sam Hiser was our photographer. Steve and Peggy Zablotney took our raw material and turned it into a beautifully designed 9 x 6 inch volume. Our first event, a talk and book signing, will be this Sunday, July 6, at Shaw Cramer Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven where we will be from 4 to 6 pm. There will be books for perusal and sale, and paintings of course. Homemade cookies are free.

Our next reading/signing will be at our own West Tisbury Library. I wanted very much for West Tisbury to be first. Brooks and I will talk on Tuesday afternoon, July 8, at 5 pm.

Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield will be at the Howes House weekly discussion group this Tuesday, July 8, from 9:30 to 11 am, talking about their new book, Martha’s Vineyard in World War II.

On Wednesday, July 9, Christa Fischer will lead a needle felting workshop at the library, 3:30–5:30 pm, for kids age 10 and up. Anyone who has seen Christa’s amazing felted animals and dolls will want to give it a try. She is a wonderful teacher. Please pre-register at the circulation desk or online at programs@westtisburylibrary.org.

Monday Night Movies are back at the library. New time is 6:30. There will be family movies upstairs in the program room and special movies for teens downstairs in the young adult room. Movies are free and so is the popcorn.

Kay Mayhew reported in her Tisbury column last week that all over the country bells will be rung for four minutes at 2 pm on July 4, a few moments between parades and cookouts to stop and remember the significance of the day. Enjoy your weekend.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.