Chilmark: Elder care, Ocean Film Series, poetry with music, and Community Church

—MV Times

Our family is still paying attention, working together and doing what we can to support our father, Robert Ganz, while he is a patient at MGH. I’m ensconced at the Wyndham Beacon Hill and grateful for the medical discount they offer. It has been a long two weeks. Dad is blind, which means he has none of the normal visual cues that can help you remember where you are or discern if someone is speaking to you or the patient in the bed next door. Visiting hours start at 11 am and end at 8 pm. We use our cell phones to send and receive calls. My sister Jennie Ganz continues to read articles to him from the New Yorker over the phone and we place a good night call after dinner. This experience has highlighted the limitations of ERs and on-the-floor hospital care. We’ve experienced physical therapists looking for signs a patient is declining treatment or therapy instead of encouraging them to try. The physical therapists askes “do you want to?”, and when a patient answers “no”, instead of following up with something like “I know you don’t want to but will you?”, a question our father usually complies with, they simply write down “patient refuses.” This also happens with finishing meals. The question, “do you want anymore?” is very different from “can you finish this?” Same with eye medication — “let’s get this taken care of.”

I encourage providers and families of patients to be more aware of this dynamic and motivate patients to work at getting better. Of course one doesn’t want anything done against a patient’s wishes. At the same time, it is unhelpful to ask questions in a way that leads to discouragement instead of encouraging a patient to make good choices. Despite everything, our 97-year-old father is getting stronger, eating better, and thinking more clearly.

Meanwhile, life in Chilmark continues. My eldest son Owen came home from his sport fishing job to help his nana, Anne Ganz, run errands, go on dump runs, and move furniture to make room for a hospital bed.

Gabby Carr of West Tisbury continues swimming and winning for Roger Williams University. This past weekend the team won at the NYU Winter Invitational. Gabby had two personal bests first in the 200-yard freestyle, with a time of 1:54.79. The next day, in the 100-yard freestyle, Gabby finished in 52.61.

Roger Williams will return to the pool on Friday, Feb. 24 for the first day of the ECAC Championships down in Annapolis, Md.  They will be competing against teams from all divisions of the NCAA. Roger Williams and Gabby eagerly await the final rankings from the NCAA for potential NCAA Qualifiers.

Friday Feb. 24, from 7 to 8:30 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm when PathwaysARTS Ocean Film Series will show a trailer, two shorts, and a feature including “Discovering Sunken Slave Ships” and “Music Meets Science in the Caribbean.” More information can be found at

Tuesday, March 7, from 7 to 9 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm for PathwaysARTS Writing & Poetry Series with Ron Slate. Open for all to sign up to read or just listen. Come to the space or join via Zoom. Featured local poet and musician, Ty McDonald — Poetry layered with his musical compositions. Featured Reader Jamie Craig reads his father’s essay on his days as a cowboy in the 1940s.

The Chilmark Community Church would like to stay in touch with their church friends and family and are updating their contact database. Note that the church does not share this information with anyone. You can email them at or snail mail to 9 Menemsha Crossroads, Chilmark, MA 02535. Special dates:

Sunday March 12 – New Member Sunday
Tuesday March 14 – Spring weekly pizza night, 6 pm
Easter Sunday April 9 – Guest musicians Phil Dietterich/Violet Southwick
Sunday May 28 – Blessing of the Fleet. Musical guest Mark Alan Lovewell

A week ago, Rebecca Miller of North Tabor Farm sent me the following, “I hope you are enjoying the sunshine today. The warmth shines through the cold air. Matthew works full-time on the farm for the first time (in 28 years). He, Ruby, and I are all learning to share in farm decision-making.  We picked up our pork a week ago (Mama Crouton is still here) and will have short ribs available for Superbowl Sunday Snacks at the farm stand.  We also are harvesting our super sweet collards and kale.”

Patti McCracken writes that there is more good news about her soon-to-be published book. “Earlier in the week we learned that the Brazilian rights to The Angel Makers sold. My Brazilian students on-Island were happy to hear that. I was, too.”

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,