West Tisbury: Two men I loved


Last Monday’s storm littered our lawn with fallen leaves, now dusty and dry from the sunny days that followed. Walking outside, I am immediately brought back to my childhood. My feet toss those leaves into the air as I hear them rustle and crack, and smell that combination of warmth and moldering wetness underneath a top layer as light as air. I’m reminded of falling backward into piles of leaves as my dad raked them up. He and I would laugh together; he never minded my destroying his efforts with my wild flinging and kicking. He was a tolerant and kind man.

I remember how formal my father was. He was a pharmacist, always dressed in a suit, a starched white shirt, and a tie. Sometimes a bow tie, sometimes a regular tie. There was one that was our favorite; whenever Daddy asked us, “What tie should I wear?” we always yelled, “The circus tie.” It was a bow tie, royal blue with a colorful pattern, rather Art Deco, in yellow, red, and green. The circus tie is mine now. I found it among my brother Mark’s belongings when he died. It still makes me smile and feel close to two men I loved.

It always surprises me to see where my mind wanders as I begin this column. Fallen leaves to Ridgefield to my dad and Mark. One story always leads to another. Both of their birthdays were on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. Dad always said Mark was the best birthday present he ever got. Pictures of them are in my mind and heart, a small blond boy smiling up at a bald blond man smiling down. They are buried next to each other.

Veterans Day is this Saturday. Remember that the Post Office and library will be closed.

My friend Julie Kimball called me Friday morning to tell me that Lisa Kimball had died that morning at her home in Washington, D.C. Lisa had been ill for a long time, although this was the first year she was unable to get up to her home in West Meadow for the summer. I don’t think I knew anyone who loved the Vineyard in August the way Lisa did. “Mike-or-Ernie burgers” at the Fair. A picnic in Ocean Park while waiting for dark and the fireworks. Cookouts and visitors and Chilmark Chocolates, and just looking out across her view. Although I had never visited Lisa in D.C., I believe she was happiest here.

She came here as a child with her parents, Penn and Janet Kimball. The camp in Chilmark eventually became hers. My husband added on a larger (only in comparison to the original one) living room with big windows, open to the meadow. Lisa was so proud of maintaining the small 1940s ambience of her house.

My love and condolences to Lisa’s husband John Cooney, her sister Lisa Kimball, to Julie, Penn’s second wife, to their neighbors, the Urbans and the Aronies, and to the constant parade of visiting friends, former students of Penn’s, and all who will miss Lisa’s sharp mind and sharp wit.

I ran into Harriet Bernstein at Alley’s the other day. Harriet had just returned from a yoga trip with Kanta Lipsky. They stayed in a 12th century farmhouse in the Tuscan woods outside of Siena, “a magical place, doing yoga, and eating gorgeous organic food.” They also went to the Venice Biennale and spent their last night in Rome, where they saw the Trevi fountain at 6 am “with no tourists around! Magnificent site.” While in Florence, Harriet studied Italian. She hopes to find a tutor or conversational class in Italian here, now that she is home.

The Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard will hold their monthly meeting this Saturday, Nov. 11, 9 to 10:30 am, at Howes House. Devin Reston will introduce the new Martha’s Vineyard Social Justice Leadership Foundation, a nonpartisan, educational 501(c)(3). The second guest speaker will be Jay Gonzalez, candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, who will speak about his campaign and his goals for Massachusetts. To study up, check out both their websites: socialjusticemv.org and jay4ma.com.

At the West Tisbury library this week:

Friday, Nov. 10, 10:30 am, Open Chamber Music Rehearsal with violinist Cesar Atzic Marquez. At 1 pm, a Totoro Party for kids to sample Japanese food and watch a movie, “My Neighbor Totoro.” At 7 pm, Bodhi Path will present dharma teacher Tsony, who will speak about the fearlessness of compassionate wisdom, and how it leads to the daring move away from background and culture.

Sunday, Nov. 12, Chess Club for Kids with Doug Brush and Ken Vincent from 1 to 3 pm. At 4 pm, a concert by Music Street Musicians, featuring pianist Diane Katzenberg Braun and Boston Opera stars soprano Bethany Worrell and baritone Vincent Turregano, performing arias, songs, and duets by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Schumann, Bizet, Montsalvatge, and Lehár.

Monday, Nov. 13, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop will meet. The monthly Writers Read will meet at 7 pm. Sign up at 508-693-4307. Come to read your original fiction or nonfiction for eight minutes. Or just come to listen.

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 11:30 am, Linda Tumbarello will speak about Joyful Sexuality for Women, how to let go of false beliefs and myths that get in your way of appreciating your body, needs, and pleasure. Sign-up is required. Call 508-693-3366, or sign up at the circulation desk.

Here it is the beginning of November. Still mild weather. There were a couple of days to wear turtlenecks, sweaters, and long pants. I guess the rest of the week will be in the 50s during the days. I was watching something on television last night that showed snow falling, and thought of, I hope, snow falling outside our windows and the quietness of winter settling over town.