Oak Bluffs: Radar


Although you are reading this on Jan. 3, 2019, it was written on Dec. 26, 2018 to meet a printing deadline required by the printers of the MV Times. I am sure that there will be much news and information I will have missed because of this early deadline, but I do have a bit a news to pass on and a tale of a memorable New Year’s Eve past.

The Library Friends of Oak Bluffs is sponsoring an adult fundraising event on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Come to the Barn Bowl and Bistro on that date to participate in an old-fashioned spelling bee. The bee will be held from 6 to 8 pm and I promise you it will be more fun than those that we were required to attend during our long-ago school days.

The Neighborhood Convention for January takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 11 am at the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury. The program will be “Soap Opera” by David Ives and featuring the Peter H. Luce Play Readers. Please bring a bag lunch, and beverages and dessert will be provided by the host Church.

Although it seems a bit early, Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools announce that kindergarten registration for September 2019 starts on Thursday, Jan. 3, and continues through Friday, Feb. 15. To register your child, call the school in the town in which you live and school staff will provide you with additional information and materials or you may stop by the school office. Students wishing to enter kindergarten must be 5 years of age on or before September 2019. Parents registering their child must provide a birth certificate, up-to-date health and immunization records, and proof of residency with a street address, such as a lease, mortgage payment or a utility bill. Parents interested in school choice may apply after registering their child at the school in the town in which they live.

The Martha’s Vineyard Family Center invites you to a workshop: Educational Enrichment or Mind-Numbing Addiction. We live in a world of television, computers, smartphones and other mobile technologies. Making appropriate choices of the use of technology can be difficult and this workshop will assist you in making those choices. The workshop will be held on Jan. 15 from 6 to 7 pm at the Tisbury School library. Pre-registration is required by emailing

mvfamilycenter@gmail.com or calling 508 687-9182.

The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society’s David Rhoderick will offer a weekly classic music appreciation class at the West Tisbury Free Public Library beginning Jan. 9 at 10:30 am. The classes are free to all and no pre-registration is required.

We send birthday smiles to Rick Tarter and Sonja Lima on Dec. 28, Ava BenDavid, Claudia Metell who share Dec. 31 with Anita Combra who will be celebrating her 98th birthday. Smiles to Jen Araujo and Michelle Bettencourt on Jan. 2, Nola Mavro, Chris Alley, and Nicole deBettencourt on Jan. 3.

The year 2018 has disappeared and we are about to write a new calendar year in our lives. Hopefully, New Year’s Eve and day passed safely and joyfully for most people and perhaps we all can recall a year when the memories of those celebrations still bring a smile to our faces. The following story of a strange New Year’s Eve celebration was told to me by a close friend and they swore it was true. Knowing the true identity of the participants, I believe it to be authentic but I have changed the names to protect the innocent, of which there were not many.

On this particular New Year’s Eve that took place in the early 70s, there were no dance clubs or places open to celebrate so it was very common for small groups of friends to gather at one of their homes to ring in the new year. Around 11 pm as everyone was starting to enjoy their beverages and the supper all had brought to share with each other, the town fire horn blew. Back in the day, when there was a fire, there were no pagers or radio communications but a fire horn was blown and the number of rings gave you the area in which the fire could be found. Immediately all the men at the party went running out the door to report to the fire. The main requirement to be a fireman in those days was to be an Oak Bluffs resident and a burning (pun intended) desire to drive a firetruck. The perks of the job were frequent fire drills and firemen’s dinners. With the party group now about half the size it was, the women remaining waited until almost midnight and then decided to go ahead and eat dinner and then, as no one returned from the fire, everyone slowly headed home.

When one of the wives arrived home, she discovered that the woodstove fire, which was her main source of heat, was almost out. And also, there were no logs remaining in the wood box in the living room. So by now dressed in her night clothes, she went out on the porch with no shoes on and grabbed a log which slipped out of her hands landing heavily on her bare foot. She managed to hobble back into the house and tossed the log into the stove. Then she waited and waited, until around 6 am, for the resident fireman to come home and take her to the ER as by now her foot was throbbing and her temper getting shorter and shorter as the minutes rolled on with nary a fireman in sight. Finally, she managed to limp to the car and attempt to find her husband.

Now, it is probably worth noting that this woman had the nickname “Radar” because she was always 100 percent successful in tracking down lost persons, especially late, partying husbands. Immediately she headed to engine 4 fire station, which was located at the foot of Vineyard Avenue. Sure enough, parked outside the station were the vehicles of the missing party firemen. Back in the day, re-hab and hydrating firefighters was not done in the same manner as it is today, with EMTs bringing water to hydrate and a rest vehicle for re-hab to the fire site. When the wife went into the station, the firefighters were hydrating themselves with intoxicating liquids in brown bottles and from the state of them, it appeared they had been at it for a few hours. The wife explained to her firefighter husband that she was in a lot of pain and needed to get medical help.

“Of course,” he said and immediately hopped into the driver’s seat to transport her to the ER. All the way he gave a rambling account of the fire and who did what and how, and of course the temperatures were really low so all the water froze and they lost the building.

He suddenly made a sharp turn off the main road muttering something about wanting to show her where the fire was. He apparently forgot that the yard of the house had turned into a frozen ice arena and the car with the hydrated fireman and the injured wife went around and around in circles until finally they were able to get back on the main road. When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor in charge told the fireman to go back to the waiting area and diagnosed the wife with a broken toe that they could not do anything for. The trip back home was completed in silence and, actually, the silence lasted for a few days. And that’s the way it was back in the 70s.