West Tisbury: Living history

—MV Times

I am sad to begin this week’s column with an announcement of the death of our friend, Mark Weiner. Mark and his wife, Michiko, had been the faces of Vineyard Glassworks in West Tisbury. Their children, Aki and Kiyla, were born here. The family had just moved to California to establish their glassblowing and art glass gallery and themselves in a new place. The gallery had just opened when Mark had a massive heart attack from which he didn’t recover. To lose a dear friend, especially one so young, and at such an exciting time for him, is heartbreaking.

We had stayed in touch after the move, through emails and surprise phone calls. There were updates of progress on the business, work on the new space, friends the children were making, the life they had all moved into. The last email was a photograph of smiling Mark and Michiko, arms entwined, in front of their gallery on opening day.

As you can imagine, finances are a huge concern. There will be medical bills and Michiko and the kids will need help getting through this grieving time. A friend of theirs has set up a GoFundMe page. If you can help, please do. https://gofund.me/d65c2e32. If you would like to write, their address is 144 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, CA 94515.

It has been a time of loss and memorials, celebrations of the lives of so many we have lost. COVID didn’t allow for grieving together, so families are catching up to honor their loved ones now that regulations have lessened.

Lee Fierro died in April 2020, just as everything was shutting down. Her life and many contributions to our Island will be celebrated on Oct. 16, 2 pm, at the Grange Hall. Her daughter, Melanie Stephens, has asked that everyone who attends bring a photograph to share. To contact her: mvstephens12@gmail.com or 808-344-9677.

Many of us have likely watched at least some of the pageantry and funeral following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I am a life-long anglophile, so have been glued to much of the television coverage, and reading some of the history of the British monarchy. The longevity of Queen Elizabeth’s reign is enough to have made her passing an event of significance. King Charles III has ascended to the throne. It is living history.

Our other bit of living history was the arrival of Venezuelan refugees to the Vineyard. I felt great pride in our Island for welcoming them, treating them with compassion and dignity, helping in any way we could. We are a unique and special place. I wish all of them well as they begin their lives in America.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the almost 3 inches of rain we had last Tuesday. What a downpour! Then came days of cool, dry weather. I hope it will stay this way, and a pattern of regular rainfall will prepare our woods and landscaping for winter.

My ham is in the oven, almost done. It will go to the Ag Hall for Margaret Logue’s memorial later this afternoon. I am reminiscing about standing in that kitchen with Maggie Schwartz, carving hams or turkeys for various gatherings over the years. One time we had to send Mike home for sharp knives, something we never forgot in the future. Then there was the time Mike left a ham out on our kitchen counter, and our golden retriever, Molly, ate it. It seems like I have collected memories and stories for every occasion, at least for most.

Tony Cordray was celebrated in fine style yesterday. The whole fire department, dressed in their uniforms, stood at parade rest along the walkway as everyone arrived at the Ag Hall. Then they arranged themselves around the perimeter of the hall during the ceremonies. His truck stood outside, draped in black bunting in his honor.

I will end on a cheerful note. Having spent much of this column writing of losses, I just learned of the renewed good health of one friend, a great new job for another, and the expecting of a new baby early next year.

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