It is with a somewhat heavy heart that I sit here to write my column tonight. I say somewhat heavy heart, because I’ve had a couple of really special days these past two days, celebrating my birthday and enjoying a rare family day today. Family time always fills my heart. But in the midst of all of this was the tragic news from Paris, the senseless acts of terrorism, cruelty that defies my imagination, and hatred that so permeates our world. My son Riley was a year old when the Twin Towers were struck in 2001, and I remember wondering what kind of world I had brought this sweet little child into. What would he face? How terrible would his world be? And how could we change it for the better? Here it is 14 years later, and the questions still swirl in my head, with a different urgency on a selfish level, as the mother of a young man who dreams of a future in the military. But my concerns for our world have only grown over those years as well. How did our world become so polarized? Why is there so much anger and hatred?
Ironically, I had a discussion with a friend about all of this prior to this latest act of terrorism. We agreed that we now live in a very black-and-white world. Technology has at once given us a global community, with instant access to the whole world, yet isolated us all as well. So many sit behind a computer screen, anonymously spreading hatred and misery. People are now polarized in their belief systems, living by the adage “I’m right. You’re wrong,” without leaving room for other views and other beliefs. People don’t talk anymore. We don’t communicate. We don’t interact. And the people of the world seem to have lost sight of the fact that we are all human and should be watching out for one another. I certainly don’t have the answers, and I know that there are no easy answers. But I do know that hatred only breeds more hatred, and I so hope that we live to find a better way. What we are doing just isn’t working.
On a lighter note, my third graders came in last week and wished me a happy birthday. They asked me how old I was, and I told them, to which one responded, “That’s how old my grandfather is!” Teaching is a very humbling career choice, for many different reasons. Later I was talking with another student, and I said “JJ, I don’t know how this happened. How did I get this old? I still feel 11!” His response? “I know what you mean. I still feel 4.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will host its annual Appraisal Day with Skinner, Inc., on Saturday, Dec. 5. Appraisers will assess the value of up to six of your prized objects in the museum library in Edgartown. Items may be consigned for sale by Skinner with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the museum. Reservations are required, and are now being accepted.
Appraisal of one item is $15, and three items are $40. Reservations are required. Call 508-627-4441, ext. 123, to reserve space.
Felix Neck invites you to its 35th annual Fall Festival “Duck into Nature” from 11 am to 3 pm on Nov. 27. This event includes hayrides, face painting, live music by the Flying Elbows, food, wreathmaking, crafts for kids, and a duck-inspired silent auction. Admission is $5 for members and $8 for nonmembers. Children under 3 are free. For more information, please call 508-627-4850 or email them at email@example.com.
The Federated Church of Edgartown will hold its sixth annual Festival of Wreaths on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, from 5 to 7 pm, in the Parish House on 45 South Summer Street, Edgartown. Seventy-five originally designed, hand-decorated natural wreaths, for home and business, will be on display in the Meetinghouse for sale at $45, $55, and $65, depending on your generosity. This year there is no admission fee to the Parish House party, which includes beverages and hors d’oeuvres. There will be a special wreath raffle, and an auction of many other surprises of value. Proceeds will benefit the maintenance of the 1832 Sara Mayhew Parsonage. For more information, call Marna Waller at the church office at 508-627-4421.
My friend and writer Lara O’Brien will host a writing workshop for teenagers at the Noepe Center for the Literary Arts beginning Sunday, Nov. 29. The classes will continue on four successive Sundays, through Dec. 20, meeting from 3 to 6 pm each week. The cost is $10 per class. To sign up, call 774-563-0292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week. Please send me your news. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it would be lovely to share some of your celebrations and family stories in the coming weeks.
I close with some very appropriate words from Mother Theresa: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”