Edgartown: September in simpler times

— Shelby Regan

Do you remember the days, years ago, when Labor Day came to the Vineyard and it was like flipping a switch? Everyone would leave our little Island by Labor Day weekend and the next day, one could drive down Main Street and count the cars parked there on one hand. Stores would close for the season and we would once again be our sleepy little village, where the only people you saw were your friends and neighbors. Oh, how I miss those days. Certainly our Island has quieted down but there is no longer a switch to flip. It merely dims a bit, as the “shoulder season” is now as busy as our summers once were.

Back in those days, very few businesses remained open beyond summer. The essentials remained open; the grocery stores, the hardware store, maybe the Paper Store downtown. And the Sundays of those days were family days. As I recall, nothing was open on Sundays, save Cumberland Farms in Vineyard Haven. Sometimes we would go for a Sunday drive around the Island and stop at Cumberland for Fudgesicles, Creamsicles, or chocolate eclair ice creams on a stick. Looking back, life seemed pretty simple back then. I wish we could go back to those simpler times.

A small group of us “dance moms” got together for lunch today to say goodbye to our friend and fellow dance mom, Amy Baldino and her daughter, Emma. Amy has worked at the Edgartown School for about eight years, while her husband, Gary, managed the West Chop Club. Their girls, Emma and Molly, grew up alongside our kids. Last winter, Gary took a job at another club off-Island. Amy stayed back here to sell the house and wrap things up and the whole family will move off and head into their next adventure together on Saturday. Good luck, Gary, “Mama Ames” and girls. We will miss you around these parts.

Schools opened around the Island on Wednesday, Sept. 8. While COVID is still here, making masks and safety protocols necessary still, much of school will go back to normal. Unlike last year when teachers traveled from room to room as kids stayed in one room all day, this year, kids will once again move around the building to attend their classes. And while we still have some questions and expect some changes to be made over the first few days or weeks, this year can only be easier than last year was. I’m looking forward to the new year.

Remember that the Steamship Authority has issued a travel advisory for Thursday, Sept. 9, canceling two crossings of the MV Island Home. SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll said the ferry needs a gasket replaced in the exhaust system. “It’s an unexpected, but brief repair,” Driscoll said. The last round-trip of the MV Island Home (scheduled to leave Woods Hole at 8:30 pm and Vineyard Haven at 9:30 pm) will not run, so the vessel may travel to the Fairhaven maintenance facility for a brief repair period. All affected vehicle reservations have been moved to other trips.

Saturday, Sept. 11, offers up the M.V. Wind Festival at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs, with events happening from 10:30 am until dusk. I remember this fun event from my childhood (more nostalgia) and looked forward to it every year. Nowadays I tend to be more afraid of kites but it still sounds like a fun day for families to go fly, or simply admire, kites.

The 76th MV Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby starts on Sunday, Sept. 12. You can pick up information packets and sign up to be part of the Derby at any of the local tackle shops. And yes, you want to sign up if you fish. It would be terrible to catch the biggest fish and not be registered for it. Wishing all participants tight lines and lots of fun.

On Friday morning, if you have some littles at home, The Farm Institute is hosting the Sunflower Sing Along. Laura Jordan of Little Bird Music will bring her seasonal songs and movement to the Farm Institute. They’ll gather in the center of the one-acre sunflower meadow for a magical experience to sing and play among the flowers. Little Bird sings familiar children’s songs as well as folk tunes and songs that involve movement, make-believe, and dance. Recommended for ages 2 and up. The cost is $9 per child for members, $15 for nonmembers. You can check out their link and pre-register at bit.ly/3yS4X2q.

I guess that’s about it for this week. Time for bed. Please remember that Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. I can’t find any planned vigils or memorials in honor of this day. And honestly, I worry that someone will do something to mar the memory of that day. Fingers crossed nothing happens anywhere. Have a great week and please, wear your mask.

If you have any Edgartown Town Column suggestions, email Gail Gardner, ggardnermv@gmail.com.