Chilmark: So close to home

It’s beginning to look a lot like Dorperville. — Valerie Sonnenthal

Last week Chilmark lost the matriarch of the Flanders family, Frances Todd Flanders, at 86 years old. My sincerest sympathy goes out to the extended Flanders family and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Felix Neck at, Chilmark Community Church at, or to the St. Labre Indian School at

We also lost Ralph E. Sherman, 88. I was lucky to get to hear his wife, Ethel Sherman, a member of the Howes House writing group, read many stories she’d written about Ralph before I actually met him at the Farmers Market, getting to enjoy his perfect strawberries and other produce. My heart goes out to all his friends and family. Donations in Ralph’s memory can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Program Scholarships, online at or by mail at P.O. Box 73, West Tisbury, MA 02575.

I hope you enjoyed the first supermoon of 2021. Although known as the Pink Moon due to early spring phlox flowers, there are many other names for this April full moon, including the Fish Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Sprouting Grass Moon. I think we all can agree it’s a good time to plant seeds for the future, whether in our gardens or in our lives.

Up-Island Cronig’s is open daily except Sunday, from 8 am to 6:30 pm, with deli hours until 5:30 pm. Thank you, Steve Bernier, and everyone who helped make this happen; we’re so happy Cronig’s is back.

The Chilmark and Vineyard Haven libraries host author Michael J. Tougias on Tuesday, May 4, at 6 pm for a dramatic presentation based on his co-authored book So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During World War II. Using images of the attack, the survivors, and their rescue, Tougias tells the dramatic story of the Downs family, who were civilian passengers on the freighter Heredia when it was sunk by a German submarine in 1942 off the coast of New Orleans. Donald Nitchie’s Favorite Poem Project returns on Saturday, May 1, at 4 pm; get ready to read your favorite poem or just listen. Email for the Zoom invite. Pick up your Take and Make craft at the Chilmark library on Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm, while supplies last..

The Coalition to Create the M.V. Housing Bank is hosting a community listening session on Monday, May 3, and on Wednesday, May 5; both are from 7 to 8:30 pm. Learn more and find the listening link at

Pathways Arts has co-hosted Regenerative Gardening practices. Check out what’s coming, and you can watch the recorded programs as well. See See all of Pathways’ offerings at

Have you ever wanted to help tend the grounds at Polly Hill Arboretum? Come on Thursday, May 6, from 9 am to noon to work with the arboretum staff and other volunteers; help plant, prune, weed, and mulch. Learn more about gardening, and leave with knowledge you can use in your home landscape. They provide tools, but please bring gloves and wear outdoor work attire. May be canceled in rainy, cold, or hot weather. Contact grounds manager Ian Jochems for more information at And be sure to check their other volunteer dates.

The Chilmark Community Church services continue on Zoom, see for the access link.

For everything COVID-19 on MV, see

Check It’s a Chilmark Thing on Facebook for up-to-date information about our town and Island.

Have a healthy week.

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