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To the Editor: 

Earlier this afternoon, one of our booksellers called me to let me know that a gentleman had just come into the bookstore and wished to speak with me. I found him sitting in one of our chairs, a cane in one hand, and in his other a piece of mail that had mistakenly been delivered to his mailbox. It was addressed in a way reminiscent of a vintage postcard: [Author name redacted for privacy!], Martha’s Vineyard, Vineyard Haven, MA.

I’m not sure what from that scant information prompted the Post Office to direct the envelope to this man, but he said it was the third such piece of mail he had erroneously received in recent weeks. When the Post Office was unable to help him find the intended recipient, he went to the fire station and spoke to the fire chief, hoping that he might be able to track down the addressee. Alas, no luck there, in spite of the chief’s best efforts. Finally, the man (and I think he said with the help of his wife), searched for the name online and discovered that this person is the author of several books. So this long journey led the weary amateur postman to Bunch of Grapes to see if we might be able to help him find the author and finally deliver this well-traveled letter. Indeed, of course, absolutely, yes! He worried that the author might be a seasonal resident. I assured him that they live here year-round, or mostly anyway, and that we’d let them know right away that there was a letter for them here at the store.

The man was pleased to know that the letter would find its way into the proper hands, and I am embarrassed that I forgot to ask his name. He self-deprecatingly mentioned that he was “just a wash-ashore,” and a wash-ashore from Cuttyhunk (surely there can’t be too many of them?) before that. However and whenever he arrived on the Island, his efforts to right this minor mix-up and his unwavering belief that the community would and could help him do so highlight what is so wonderful about the small-town-ness of the Vineyard, and remind me to appreciate and cherish the ways we can all try just a little harder to connect with those around us.

And, to the author, I hope the envelope contains some really great fan mail!

Molly Coogan
Vineyard Haven