Edgartown: The big week ahead


I had the shocking realization this morning when I woke up that next week is the “big” week on the Island. Where did the time go? I have to admit that I miss the old days, before they crammed Illumination Night, the fair, and the Oak Bluffs Fireworks into one week. Spreading the events out over the course of the month was more enjoyable, in my opinion. But it is what it is, and now it makes for one incredibly crazy week here, although I don’t usually go to Illumination Night or the fireworks anymore. That said, it does sort of “close down” the Island, so we get a little time at the very end of August where the Island is a little calmer, a little quieter. And I can’t argue with that.Happy birthday wishes this week go out to Colette Fisher and Tom Sullivan on August 6, Marna Waller on August 10, and Johanna Wooden on August 11.
Since 1923, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has been the “safety deposit box” for the images, stories, objects, and voices on the Vineyard. As the premier institutional storyteller of the Island, the museum introduced the Martha’s Vineyard Medal in 2009. The medal is awarded annually to leaders in the community in recognition of their outstanding commitment to preserving the history, arts, and culture of the Island. This year’s recipients are Kate Hancock, James B. Richardson III, and S. Christopher Scott, and they will be recognized at the museum’s 95th annual meeting this year.
Kate Hancock is currently the gallery manager at Featherstone Center for the Arts. She has been a theater stage manager and production supervisor for over 35 years, many at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse and MVRHS. James B. Richardson III has family history on the Island dating back to the 1840s. His family built the Lawton cottage, the first wooden cottage in the Campgrounds, and now reside in East Chop. Jim is the curator emeritus of anthropology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. S. Christopher Scott is the former executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, recently retiring after serving for 25 years.
The museum’s annual meeting and Martha’s Vineyard Medal ceremony will take place on Monday, August 14, at 5 pm on the front lawn of the Marine Hospital, 151 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven. A reception will follow the ceremony onsite. The event is free and open to all, and will take place rain or shine.
“Islanders Write 2017” is happening on Sunday and Monday, August 13 and 14, at the Grange Hall. “Islanders Write” is free and open to the public.
On Monday, August 14, we have a full day of events planned. Upstairs, beginning at 8 am, there will be panel discussions focused on different aspects and genres of writing. We will explore approaches to writing biography and memoir, writing characters in a gender other than your own, writing middle grade fiction, journalism, and we’ve designated the afternoon for humor writing. We’re calling it The Laughternoon, beginning at 2 pm with a talk about deconstructing a New Yorker cartoon, and followed by two panel discussion with some of the funniest writers around. Parking is behind the Grange Hall, and food from Scottish Bakehouse and coffee from Chilmark Coffee will be available at as well. You can find the day’s complete schedule on the website, islanderswrite.com.
I went to Eastville Beach last Friday morning after dropping Amelia at dance. I was going to relax and read for a few hours while I waited to pick her up. No sooner had I settled in when a gentleman pulled up on the beach in a dinghy. I made a comment about his taxi, and we chatted for a moment. He then mentioned that he was up on the beach to meet a friend so that they could go out and put the sail up on his boat. He wondered if I’d be interested in helping. Those of you who know me well know that I am generally not much of a risk taker, and I have a moderate interest in serial killers and what I refer to as the “dark underbelly of society.” But neither of these two seemed particularly dangerous, and I figured worst comes to worst, I’d jump in the water and get away.
I have to tell you, I had the best time. The man with the boat turned out to be Nick van Nes from West Tisbury, and he had stories to tell and a song or two to sing while we worked. His friend and helper’s name is Jim Clifford, a teacher in Connecticut, so we shared some teacher insights and stories. And the boat in question is the Mass Transit 105, a 100-foot megayacht that Nick built himself on a landfill in the shadows of the World Trade Center in the 1980s in downtown Manhattan. She was custom-designed by the late Alan Gurney, renowned naval architect, to stringent American Bureau of Shipping and U.S. Coast Guard rules and regulations. The boat is gigantic, as was the sail that we put up, and I was more than delighted that I agreed to help. I hope to spend a bit more time with Nick in the near future to learn more about this boat and his life. He obviously has a great outlook on life and varied interests and talents, and there is more story to this story for sure. I can’t wait to learn it and hopefully share it with you all soon.
I wish you all a great week. Try something new this week. Take a risk. Have some fun. You never know who or what it might bring into your life.