Edgartown: Fundraiser for John VanPutten and Channon Capra


Growing up on the Island and living here pretty much my whole life, I’ll admit that I complain about the negative aspects of this place. The boat is a headache, between schedules, costs, and cancellations, and definitely not the magical experience that some of our summer guests enjoy. The cost of living here is high. Stores are closed in the off-season. You know the drill. We’ve all had similar complaints. But this weekend I had the opportunity to witness and be part of the real reason most of us live here: community and the way we rally for one another in times of need.

On Saturday night, the P.A. Club was the place to be for a fundraiser for John VanPutten and Channon Capra. Many of you may know John from his job at Stop and Shop, and Channon is, of course, one of our ace physical education teachers at the Edgartown School, as well as West Tisbury and Chilmark schools. Last April, John was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, and he has been unable to work. Nicole Barlett, Gina DeBettencourt, and Michelle Pikor brainstormed the event and made it happen, and the turnout and support from this community was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The P.A. was packed, and the parking lot was overflowing with cars. And every single person that came in happily donated to the worthy cause. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and love I witnessed. Thanks to all who came up to support these great people.

I’ve got a last-minute update for you regarding the design contest for this year’s issue of Island Holidays in The MV Times, which publishes on Dec. 8. The deadline for submissions has been extended to the end of Wednesday, Nov. 23, so get your creativity going and submit a design! The theme for the design is what you think of when you hear “Island Holidays.” What do you think represents the spirit of the holiday season on Martha’s Vineyard, and how would you visually represent it?

Submit your design, and it could be selected for the cover of 14,000 issues of our “Island Holidays” supplement, which is distributed to every postal customer on Martha’s Vineyard. Submissions must be original artwork or a photograph of something you made (a gingerbread house, a Christmas sweater, an ornament, etc.) and can be uploaded at bit.ly/IslandHolidays.

Felix Neck will be hosting its 36th annual Fall Festival on Friday, Nov. 25, from 11 am until 3 pm. This celebration of fall is a Vineyard tradition held the day after Thanksgiving. There will be hayrides, face painting, live music, food, wreath making, crafts for kids, live animals, and trail walks. There is something for everyone, and fun to be had by the whole family! The cost is $6 for members and $9 for nonmembers. Children under 3 are free. In case of rain, the rain date is Saturday, Nov. 26.

Happy birthday wishes go out to my favorite “sticker girl,” Caitlin Nichols, who celebrated turning 21 on Nov. 17th, Myllenna DeOliveira and Maureen Hill on Nov. 19th, and Donna Enos on Nov. 22nd. I hope your days were wonderful.

Gone are the days of big family Thanksgivings like my family had back in the day. As a kid here, with the all my Corwin and Goodwin cousins here as well, we had some crowded dinners over the holidays. Thanksgiving would usually alternate a bit between our house or the Corwins’ house. There was always the adult table and the “kid table,” and at least once, I seem to remember extending the size of a table or two with plywood or some such thing to make sure we all fit. When all was said and done and the whole extended family was in attendance, we celebrated with about 21 family members, and possibly a stray friend or two along the way. Inevitably, the day would also bring the first family viewing of the musical “Scrooge,” starring Albert Finney, which always played on Channel 38 on Thanksgiving Day, and was, and still is, a family favorite.

Nowadays, our family is widely dispersed and doesn’t come together for the holidays. My siblings stay put or travel to spend the day with their significant others’ families. This year, my kids will spend much of their day with their dad at their grandmother’s house. So, if I even “do” Thanksgiving, it will be small. And I don’t say that with sadness or unhappiness. I love the holidays of my youth, but I’m OK without a big to-do for Thanksgiving. I kind of wish my kids had more family here to share the day with, but Shirley always brings in a few cherished friends for the day, so my kids still get a wonderful experience.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday. I hope you enjoy Thursday with friends or family, and that you have much to be thankful for. Sometimes it feels like it’s tough to think of things to be thankful for, but if we put our minds to it, we can often come up with many things. I’ll start. This year, I’m thankful for my family and my coworkers at the Edgartown School. Our staff is kind, caring, funny, creative, and supportive of one another. And each and every one of them gives their all to their job for the sake of the kids. I’m grateful and honored to be part of a great team.

Have a great week.