Oak Bluffs: Changes on Circuit Avenue


We are fast approaching the July Fourth weekend, and the weather certainly feels like it. Hot and humid, the wish for beach lovers, has arrived. For me and the dog, Chance, it means fans and a bit of air conditioning, and a loss of what little ambition I have left. But the birds keep chattering away, and Doodle the cat hopefully perches on the porch rail, eyeballing the hummingbird feeder in the dream of catching one of these buzzing birds. Thankfully his few attempts landed him face-first in the hydrangea bushes. Better entertainment than YouTube videos.

I had a call from my good friend Josephine Tucker, a.k.a. JoJo, asking me if I could let other correspondents and organizations who send us notices of upcoming events in town columns, to please include a phone number. JoJo said, “You know, a lot of people, including some of us old people, not only do not have computers and would not know how to log onto a website if we had access to one, so we can’t get information about these events.” I always thought my phone number was included in my column, but apparently it has not been. Here is my phone number, 508-603-0850, to call if you have news for or questions about my column. I will be sure to either include phone contact numbers or ask anyone submitting news about an event to do the same. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, JoJo.

Congratulations to Brian Packish on his re-election to the board of selectmen last week, and to Ryan Ruley, who also won and will be serving his first term on this board. Also Sunday last was the first day of closing Circuit Avenue and part of Kennebec Avenue to all but foot traffic. I must admit I am not a great fan of this idea, because, being someone handicapped in walking any distance at all, it means the only place I would have access to is Reliable Market. I am sure it is the same for many handicapped individuals, whether they use wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. But I also sympathize with the many businesses who have been forced to close during this pandemic, so I hope this works out well for them.

A familiar figure in the information booth at the foot of Circuit Avenue will be missing this year. Ninety-three-year-old Bob Falkenberg retired last week from his job there of guiding hundreds of tourists throughout the years to their desired destinations. Bob will be spending more time with his wife Jodi, children, and grandchildren, and as the grand masters of the annual July Fourth children’s parade In the Campground, they will both continue to enjoy life as time marches on.

And oh, how the parents and children will miss seeing Jennifer Robinson. After 32 years of teaching at the Oak Bluffs School, Jen is retiring. She has taught kindergarten, and first and second grade. The school celebrated her retirement at a virtual community meeting. She received congratulations and well-wishes from her family, students, and staff. When you see her out and about, please thank her for her many years of teaching our children.

Author Tom Dresser’s final segment of weekly highlights from his book “The Rise of Tourism on Martha’s Vineyard“ brings tourism to the end of the 20th century and beyond: “We discuss curiosity seekers searching for Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick and Memorial Bridge (“Jaws Bridge”) on State Beach. We review the two presidents who vacationed on the Vineyard, encouraging legions of fans to follow in their footsteps. And I conclude talks with an update on the status of tourism on the Vineyard this summer, which is evolving to meet the challenges of the coronavirus, economic disparity, and the virtues of Black Lives Matter.”

We send birthday smiles to Ashley Rebello Andrews and Leanne Giordano on June 28, Abbey Marchand, Donna Leon, and James Maseda on the 30th, and Madeline Alley on July 1.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.