West Tisbury: the kids are growing up!


After watching the opening into the Tisbury Great Pond remain open for a full eight months, it was surprising to see how quickly it closed, seemingly overnight. The pond is noticeably higher, the beach a little narrower, but still a nice walk with plenty of room for Talley and Nanuk and whatever other dogs are there to have a good romp.

Jessica Estrella and I had a leisurely visit at the library. We both commented that neither one of us was looking at the clock or rushing off. Nice to have time for a conversation. She mentioned the surprise party she had just given to celebrate her husband Manny IV’s 45th birthday. Guests were friends who had been in their wedding party, Manny’s groomsmen and their wives and children: Greg and Heidi Pachico with their daughters Amanda and Andrea; Kirk and Kelly Metell with sons Cody and Owen; Sean and Jocelyn Broadley with their son Garrett; Darin and Amanda Welch. Manny and Jessica’s children, Alley and Morgan, were there, too, having kept their mother’s secret. The kids played outside, while the grown-ups sat on the deck, ate and drank, and told funny stories about their high school days. Wishing you many happy returns, Manny.

Jessica mentioned that school is starting on Sept. 8, that Alley will start high school and Amanda Pachico is already a sophomore. We started talking about all the kids we know growing up. It seems so fast.

Megan Mendenhall will turn 21 this year, a sophomore at Smith. Soul Donnelly is starting third grade. Bianca Stafford just turned 2, and her cousin Olivia Bent will be 2 in December. Bizu Horwitz is studying for his bar mitzvah. Julian and Rose Herman and Violet Cabot are teenagers. Reed Cabot is in first grade. Mya O’Neill. Annabelle Brothers. Mark Clements. Natalie and Isabella Larsen. Jean and Oscar Flanders. The Morse girls. Maggie and Mark Bernard. Emily and Aaron Lowe, both in college. Hunter and Emmett Athearn. Everett and Kent Healy. I could go on.

Maciels, Rezendes, Belains, Fischers, Hayneses, and Thurbers — kids when I moved to town, all have children of their own. The day I met Tom Hodgson, he was carrying Lucy on his shoulders. It’s one of the nice things about living in the same place for so long, watching children grow up and begin their own families.

Maureen and Bob Fischer gave a party for Maureen’s mother, Marguerite McDonough, celebrating her 90th birthday. The Fischers’ daughter Collette and her two daughters, Lily and Ana, rounded out the guest list. Happy Birthday, Marguerite.

Gialle Ruhl has been here from Peninsula, Ohio, visiting her daughter, Salissa King, and grandchildren Emily, Noah, and Owen. Everyone seemed busy all the time, especially playing with BooBoo, their very adorable puppy.

Dorothy Barthelmes invited Mike and me over for drinks last Saturday evening. Her son and daughter-in-law, Rob Stevens and Allison Hepler, were visiting from Bath, Maine. We were particularly eager to hear Robert tell us about his latest project, restoring the Ernestina. Rob is a master boatbuilder, and full of stories of his projects, construction details, the history of the ships, and the trips he has taken in the completed vessels.

The Ernestina was a Gloucester dory fishing schooner built in 1894 in Essex. Her original name was Effie M. Morrissey, after the daughter of her first captain. Over the years, she sailed out of Nova Scotia to Labrador and Newfoundland as a coastal trader, and between Providence, R.I., and Cape Verde transporting cargo and passengers. Her most famous voyages were to the Arctic under Captain Bob Bartlett from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Captain Bartlett took teenagers on his Arctic explorations, among them Fred Littleton of Chilmark, who sailed the Ernestina to the Vineyard and through Buzzards Bay as part of the reunion of the 1940 crew of “Bartlett Boys.” Her name was changed to Ernestina in 1948, after the daughter of new owner, Enrique Mendes.

At the moment, the newly renamed Ernestina-Morrissey is on a railway platform in Boothbay Harbor, sitting on keel blocks with cribwork to support her while her keel is replaced. She will be totally rebuilt, making modifications to fit current Coast Guard regulations, “to last for another 120 years,” as Rob said. She is currently owned by the State of Massachusetts, “the official tall ship of the commonwealth,” used for education and sailing training. Rebuilding will take approximately four years. If anyone has any information, or personal memories of the Ernestina, please let me know!

“Island Faces,” an exhibition of portraits of Island residents by Island artists, will open at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum Friday evening, Sept. 4, 5 to 7 pm. Also at the museum is a collection of posters produced by Ted and Jane Farrow for their Edgartown store, Tashtego, during the late 1960s-1990s.

Lucy Mitchell will show “Books, Albums and Papers,” a collection of accordion-folded books made this past year, at the West Tisbury library through September. There will be a reception next Saturday, Sept. 12, at 4 pm. The new work reflects Lucy’s interests in natural history, markings, scripts, illumination, and some of the forms books can take.

Lucy is currently also showing at A Gallery in Oak Bluffs. “Book Arts: Lucy Mitchell, Stella Waitzkin, and Carol Barsha” continues through Sept. 14.

Sign up at the library if you are interested in Steve Maxner’s 20-week Beginning Folk Guitar course. It’s free, and guitars will be provided. There will be a $20 fee for instructional materials.

Tweed Roosevelt will lead a 12-session reading group on overlooked gems, some of his favorite books. The first book will be “The Snow Goose,” by Paul Gallico. See the complete list and sign up at the library.

There will be drop-in crafts and movie matinees this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 3 and 4, at the library from 10:30 to 12:30.

Chris Fischer will give a cooking demonstration and Emma Young will show her original illustrations for “The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook: A Year of Cooking on Martha’s Vineyard” at the library on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 4 pm.

The Friends of the Library are asking anyone interested in joining to let the librarians know at the Circulation Desk or call 508-693-3366. The Friends provide support for so many programs, extra materials, special events, and outreach.

Condolences to Steve, Martha, and Emma Vancour for the loss of Mary Vancour last week. The Federated Church was filled to bursting with so many people who will miss Mary.

It will be busy in town this weekend with a special Artisans Festival at the Ag Hall. It’s Labor Day on Monday, the unofficial beginning of Fall. I saw a first big pumpkin on display at Green Island Farm. The Derby will start, nights will cool down and shorten, sweaters and quilts will soon be brought out from storage. Seasons change.