West Tisbury: Memories new and old

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— Kyra Steck

Because of Labor Day, we have an early deadline for our columns, so I can’t give much of a report on the weather, as it won’t have happened yet. I am, as always, waiting for rain.
We will have voted in the Sept. 6 primary by the time you are reading this.

Children will have started school. It will feel like fall, even if the official autumn equinox isn’t for another few weeks. Somehow, the beginning of the school year always feels like the beginning of fall. There must be something in our body memory, even after all these years.

Does anyone remember Marilyn Kerr? She lived here for several years in the 1990s, maybe into the early 2000s. She was a writer, knitter, weaver, dyer, crafter, a tremendously creative person ready to try anything. There were lots of crafting afternoons in those days, with Sophie Block, Teena and Charlie Parton; I think I met Nancy Cramer through Marilyn.

Marilyn had been a teacher in Canada for her whole working life. I remember her saying that she had loved her students and teaching, but every year after she retired she felt a joyful relief when school began in September, and she didn’t have to get up at quarter to six ever again.

Marilyn was also a champion ice skater. She frequented the skating rink, especially when her granddaughter, Gemma, came to visit from Canada. Gemma and my niece, Charlotte, became friends during those visits. I can picture those two little red-cheeked girls in their skating skirts and sweaters, twirling and gliding across the ice. Then we would take them out for hot chocolate and something delicious at Mocha Mott’s or the Black Dog.

I’m lucky to have those happy memories, and to still be making more.

A good segue into a reminder that Donna Blackburn’s blanket project has to be completed by Sept. 30. Blankets for babies and toddlers can be knitted, crocheted, of acrylic or wool (just put a note in telling if it’s wool.) They may be delivered to Heather Ann Slayton, church secretary at Saint Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, between 10 am and 2 pm, Monday to Friday, or call Donna at 508-627-8747 to make other arrangements.She asks that you include your name and mailing address, so she can send you “a heartfelt thank-you note.” From here, the blankets will go to the Ukrainian Church in New Britain, Conn., then delivered to friends in Poland to be distributed to Ukrainian refugees.

The celebration of Leslie Gray and her wonderful life will be held this Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, 3 to 5 pm, at the Ag Hall. The doors will open at 2:30 to allow everyone time to sign the guest book, have a glass of lemonade, and get settled in a seat before the ceremony begins. Leslie’s husband, Hunter Moorman, hopes that everyone who knew and loved her will be there to share memories and stories. Thinking of how Leslie so easily made friends and was connected in so many ways to West Tisbury and the Island, it will be quite a crowd.

The sun is shining outside my windows. No rain. It has cooled off some, though, which has been nice. Iyla and I went to the Dairy Queen yesterday, and we both hope for a few more such outings before they close for the winter. Isn’t that a funny thing to be thinking about?

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.