West Tisbury: Coo’s Deli


Lately there have been a few stories in both Vineyard newspapers that have brought back so many memories of my early days when I first moved to the Island in the winter of 1982. The first was Eric Peters’ essay about Coo’s Deli, a tribute written after Coo died a few weeks ago. Coo’s was where everyone went for breakfast or lunch or coffee during the winter days when Edgartown quietly bustled with downtown activity. Between frequenting Coo’s and walking my dog, I met quite a few of the year-round residents, many of whom have become close friends over the 36 years I have lived on the Vineyard.

One of the people I regularly ran into was Edo Potter, who died last week at her farm on Chappy. I always called her Mrs. Potter, as well-brought-up young people did when meeting adults in those days. When she invited me to call her Edo, I felt like I was really a grownup, perceived as a grownup by someone who was meeting me as a 32-year-old woman with a gallery in town. I was no longer the daughter of, or sister of, or niece of anyone. I was just myself. That was my welcome to my new life, and one of the nicest gifts anyone had ever given me.

The third story was last week’s first installment of “The Settlers” by Geoff Currier. It described the early years on the Island of Richard and Toni Cohen and Bob and Peggy Schwier, who moved here in the early 1970s. Again, it told of memorable events for the much smaller community, how everyone worked lots of jobs to get by, how much emptier and quieter the winters were, how people managed with less money and lots of creativity.

So many people and stories. The Island was so different then, so much easier to move here, to become part of the community, to build our houses out of discards from the town dump, to start businesses, to grow old in tandem. We hippies are now the older generation.

I don’t mean to sound as though it was easy, that there were no difficulties, only that there were fewer of us, fewer regulations and impediments. The Island was nowhere near as expensive or la-di-da. I felt welcomed when I moved here, as all of the above illustrates, lucky to come when I did. Still glad to be here now.

Brian Athearn, new president of the Ag Society, has planned an informal meeting to start up a 4H Club. He said, “It teaches confidence and community service, among other attributes, for our youth. A long-overdue program on the Island. With the momentum we have at the Society now, I am truly hoping we can reach out with many educational and agricultural programs.” All who are interested are invited to attend. It’s at the Ag Hall on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 1 pm.

All registered Democrats are invited to the next meeting of M.V. Democrats on Saturday, Feb. 17, 10 am, at Howes House. Voters attending will elect three delegates and three alternates to the Democratic State Convention that will be held on June 1 and 2 in Worcester. There, candidates will be chosen to run in the November 2018 election. If you are interested in participating, but not a registered Democrat, you may register at the Town Clerk’s office on the first floor in Town Hall before the Feb. 17 meeting. For more information contact Paddy Moore at mooreiiresolutions@gmail.com.

Wearing another hat as chairman of Healthy Aging MV, Paddy also sent me an announcement that HAMV and First Stop MV have joined with Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for winter classes and programs. More information is available on their Facebook page, at HealthyAgingMV@gmail.com, or at

774-549-0555, and in the 55+ Newsletter published monthly in the Martha’s Vineyard Times.

Enid Haller will lead a meeting of the Lyme Support Group at Howes House on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 pm. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Carolyn Early and the Interfaith Community have planned “Meditations of Peace,” a program of music, poetry, song, readings, and guided meditation to be held this Saturday, Feb. 3, at 4 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital chapel. All are welcome.

At the West Tisbury Library this week:

Saturday, Feb. 3, 4 to 5 pm, there will be a reception for photographer Dylan Spencer Kenney, who will be exhibiting “My Island Veterans,” a collection of portraits of Island veterans, through the month of February. The band Porchlight will perform, and refreshments will be served.

Sunday, Feb. 4, 3:30 pm, Spencer Thurlow and Eric E. Hyett will read from and talk about their newly released book, “Sonic Peace.” It is a collection of Japanese poetry by Kirii Minashita that they translated into English. Describing the translation process will be part of the discussion.

Monday, Feb. 5, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky will lead her Balance Class that includes the techniques of Chi Kung, yoga, and breath. At 6 pm, the Seed Saving Club will meet with the Martha’s Vineyard Community Seed Library to plan their winter seed swap. Also at 6 pm, Jennifer Knight of “Mama’s Ignite” and the Island cast of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” will lead a program of guided visualizations, intuitive painting, and journaling dedicated to embodying, celebrating, and empowering vaginas. All creative materials will be supplied, but participants are asked to bring their journals (if they have one) and a favorite writing implement. Sign-up is required.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 11 am, Reiki Master Corinne Feinberg will lead a workshop, “The Opportunity of Chronic Illness: How Chronic Illness, Cancer, and Lyme Disease Can Be an Opportunity for Self-Transformation.” Participants will learn intuitive listening techniques to assist in tuning into yourself, building awareness of what is happening in your body, and how to support your body’s needs.

Thursday, Feb. 8, 10:30 am, there will be a preschool storytime with special guest Peter Rabbit. He will sing songs, read stories, and offer hugs to all children attending.

I just went outside to bring in extra firewood for the three to five inches of snow predicted for tonight and tomorrow. Next to our dining room steps, I noticed the clump of snowdrops that is always the first to bloom every year. Green leaves and white flowers, a sign of life, and a reminder that spring will come.