West Tisbury: Election reflection

Tax forms are filled in, signed, and mailed. Town meeting and election are over. No surprises in our elected officials; no one ran in a contested race. The only ballot question, the budget override, passed 182 yes to 142 no, with 2 blanks.

I worked at the polls from 7 am to noon on Thursday. Always interesting to see everyone who comes in to vote, as well as catching up with co-workers. Jane Rossi and I were on the “out” table, with Ginny Jones and Katherine Long checking in entering voters. John Powers was manning the voting machine. Tara Whiting and Dinny Montrowl were running everything.

Voting was slow compared to a state or presidential election. About 100 of West Tisbury’s 2,524 registered voters had voted by the time we left at noon. I think the final total was 326 voters.

During a slow stretch, we all started reminiscing about “old West Tisbury,” the people and stories that always enchant me. I cannot claim to be an old-timer, having moved to the island in 1982 and to West Tisbury in 1985, but it was a much smaller place those 33 years ago. I am terribly nostalgic, and will admit to falling in love with our town just the way it was. I suppose that is as fallacious as marrying someone thinking they will never change, or that they will. The passage of time brings changes, like them or not.

One of my favorite memories was of the appearance of blooming yellow daffodils in front of the Howes House every April Fool’s Day morning. They were plastic flowers placed in clumps across the front yard flowerbed by George Manter, our police chief at the time. Ginny Jones’ family lived in the Howes House before it became a town property; she thought that the eponymous Joe Howes might have originated the prank. Janice Manter was town treasurer, accountant, and official greeter back then, keeping her records using pencil and paper. Heidi Schultz was town clerk, then Maureen Healy took that job when Heidi retired. The library was still on Music Street, open very limited hours; what is now the Grange was the Ag Hall; our year-round population was certainly smaller. Most of my friends remember going to school at our current town hall. My first year as a registered voter in West Tisbury was the first time our town budget passed $1,000,000.

On the bright side, many of the people I met and who have become dear friends, or at least cordial acquaintances, are still here, and the relationships have endured. We all share and cherish those same memories. We have mourned those who have died and joyously cheered the graduations, weddings, and new babies. Our past has cemented us to each other and to our community. I couldn’t have imagined a better place or a better life. That said, I can’t help bemoaning “progress” and maybe remembering the past as more glorified than it was. My winter life still feels much the same, and I treasure every moment of it.

The Howes House, now Up-Island Council on Aging, is looking for anyone interested in going on a day trip to two museums in Cambridge on Wednesday, May 30. The itinerary includes lunch at S&S Restaurant and visits to the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. I looked at both websites and both looked fascinating. Call Tanya Larsen at 508 693-2896 to sign up. Cost is $90 per person.

I saw Lanny McDowell’s exhibition at the library last week. All interesting compositions, some quite abstract, of the natural forms and wildlife of our island. They are on display through April.


Wendy Nierenberg of the West Tisbury Library Foundation asks that anyone who would like to have a commemorative brick installed in the library walk submit their form by April 30 to have their brick included in the next installation before Memorial Day. Forms are available at the library or on the foundation’s website: wtlibraryfoundation.org.

The Friends of the West Tisbury Library ask that everyone hold off bringing their book donations until after they move into the school gym at the beginning of July. The sheds are full to bursting, promising an exceptional sale this year.

Beth Kramer is looking for a volunteer on a regular basis, the second and fourth Fridays of every month, to bring books to Windemere and share in conversations about books and reading. You would cover for the regular volunteer when she is not available.

Library special events this week:

Thursday, April 19, 4:30 pm, “Mozart: Music and Letters,” a concert and reading by Music of the Old Post, a period instrument ensemble.

Friday, April 20, 3 pm, “Henna for Teens,” ages 10 to 18. Get a henna tattoo, do a craft, and learn about this ancient art. Sign-up required.

Saturday, April 21, 3 pm, a presentation by Cape Light Compact, “Renewable Energy 101,” how it works and how to support it; learn solar basics. Co-sponsors are the West Tisbury library and the Green Team of the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury.

Sunday, April 22, 1 pm, DIY Wellness Workshop, “Tricks to Get 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night,” led by herbalist Jennie Isbell Shinn and personal trainer Melissa Clay. At 3:30 pm, the Community Poetry Reading hosted by West Tisbury’s new poet laureate, Spencer Thurlow. Come to read a poem of your own or one by your favorite poet, or just come to listen. Or both.

Monday, April 23, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Class. At 7 pm, MV Radio’s Dave Kish hosts his monthly jazz film and discussion. This month’s topic is Frank Morgan, alto sax player and protégé of Charlie Parker.

Tuesday, April 24, the library will be closed for staff training until 1 pm.