Chilmark: Memories with an open heart

A herd of M.V. Land Bank goats seen on Middle Road last week. — Valerie Sonnenthal

Last week the Island had two major losses, and my heart goes out to the extended daRosa and Mayhew families. Dennis daRosa was always kind, helpful, and informative. I know he will be missed by many, not just in O.B.

I met Shirley Mayhew through Cynthia Rigg’s Writer’s Group, held at Howes House, in 2006. She was among a number of older-than-me women whom I happily received into my life on the Vineyard. I loved hearing Shirley’s stories about her husband Johnny, her many nature stories, and those she recently published in “Paucartambo: A Midlife Adventure from Martha’s Vineyard to Peru.” Before moving out of her longtime Look Street home, she held a yard sale where I purchased a pair of black leather gloves, keeping her memory alive and my hands warm. Shirley and I kept in touch even after we both left the writer’s group. Though she wondered why she was still alive, I know how proud she was of all her family members, and getting the opportunity to enjoy four generations living under the same roof. Shirley set an example of an open heart and living life to the fullest, besides always helping me with my grammar.

Early voting from 8 am to noon continues through Friday, August 28, at the Chilmark Community Center.

The last Wednesday Farmers Market is Sept. 2.

If you are looking for school info, see

WCAI started a book club a few months ago, and they are partnering with the Chilmark library in September, and have selected TaraShea Nesbit’s new novel, “Beheld,” described as “the riveting story of a stranger’s arrival in the fledgling colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts, where a crime shakes the divided community to its core.” Put a hold on it through, or purchase a copy through Bunch of Grapes, and join the on-air book club discussion on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 9 am. Check out the August 28 Tween and Teen Books Trivia Competitions at For other info, see, and sign up for the weekly newsletter on the Programs page.

The Chilmark library, Moment Magazine, and the M.V. Hebrew Center’s virtual M.V. Jewish Book Festival continues on Thursday, August 27, at 4:30 pm with Aimee Ginsberg Bikel, poet, journalist, and wife of Theodore Bikel. She will discuss her awardwinning book, “Theodore Bikel’s ‘The City of Light.’” The finale is Saturday, August 29, at 4:30 pm with former New Yorker cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, author of “Have I Got a Cartoon for You! The Moment Magazine Book of Jewish Cartoons.” He will unravel the mysteries of Jewish humor, and share favorite cartoons from his career. Email to sign up for the author talks.

Peaked Hill Studio’s Kaiut Yoga are online or outside at Peaked Hill Studio in Chilmark weather permitting. Learn more at

Mollie Doyle continues online yoga; see

The Yard’s last week of virtual classes are found at Attend a live 45-minute site-specific performance in partnership with Slough Farm on Saturday, August 29, at 4:30 pm or 6:30 pm. Tickets are $25, learn more at Also check out the lastest interactive YardWork offering, Jenna Pollock, see

The Chilmark Community Center’s classes end this week.

Check out fall nature programs from Sassafras,

The Chilmark Church Sunday 9 am services are outdoors, weather permitting. They will continue to Zoom the service for those who can’t come out. Social distancing and masks are required. All are welcome and if you can bring your own seating, there’s less to sanitize later.

New statewide COVID-19 regulations are in effect. Schedule a free COVID-19 test at 877-336-9855. If you need any help, Chilmark Neighbors offers volunteer assistance. You can find them and anything Covid or town related at

If you’re on Facebook, check It’s a Chilmark Thing for up-to-date information about our town and Island.

Have a good week.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Valerie Sonnenthal,