Aquinnah: Philbin Beach, Mataquhs Vanderhoop, Mato Wagner, and Up-Island Council on Aging

—MV Times

My oldest daughter, Laurie Dewan, is a brilliant woman. In the midst of her crazy, wonderful life as a working mother with two active boys to raise, she is studying time whenever she can. I don’t mean that she is studying time management. She reads physics, she reads philosophy — she reads about studies of time itself. For me, time is doing its usual trickery, moving dreadfully slowly or thundering past with lightning speed, and, of course, never actually pausing. As I write this, it is gray and chilly outside. There’s a nice north wind blowing. It’s hard to believe that this is June. Out my window, the lilacs and irises and pansies and trees flutter and dance in the wind. To my astonishment, I have become an old woman. Understanding time doesn’t seem necessary for me at this stage; I’ll leave it to Laurie. For now, I’ll simply embrace the deep pleasures of life, and embrace the now.

Meanwhile, I have a few good stories, a crucial town meeting, and several enticing and exciting events to report.

Laurisa Rich reported that the Philbin Beach cleanup sponsored by the Beach BeFrienders (a collaboration with the Vineyard Conservation Society, Island libraries, Island DPWs, and the M.V. Refuse District) was a blast. Although there was a light turnout, it was a beautiful day, and those who attended found things like feed bags, a big hank of seaweedy rope, and a fully intact lobster pot flag apparatus (that they took to Stanley Larsen’s for reuse), along with various bits and pieces that definitely did not belong on the beach. Rescued beach trash went to the Edgartown transfer station, and kids who helped out were given Dairy Queen certificates as a thank-you. The prize awarded for the tiniest plastic bit found went to 7-year-old Mataquhs Vanderhoop, who was there with his family. The next up-Island cleanup is scheduled for Squibnocket on June 24. You can pick up a cleanup kit that morning, or at any Island library.

Aquinnah’s own Mataquhs, child of Jamie and Woody Vanderhoop, was also named one of 10 finalists in the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s 14th annual “My Ideal School” contest. This year the School Building Authority received drawings from first grade students across the commonwealth. Of these drawings, 10 winners were selected, one of whom will be chosen as the grand prize winner and have their artwork featured on the cover of the MSBA’s 2023 annual report. The proud family is going to the State House on June 7 for the awards ceremony. Mataquhs did a fine drawing, and wrote an accompanying essay about his ideal school. My favorite part of his essay was this sentiment: “Everyone in my school is nice and happy.” Now there’s a great goal!

Beverly Wright proudly reports that her grandson, Mato Wagner (Wampanoag/Lakota) played in the Heritage Cup International Lacrosse Tournament, May 26–29. Mato plays for the Haudenosaunne Team (a team of all Native American players), and they walked away with a Gold (against Ireland), a Silver, and a Bronze (against Israel). Since Mato was 7 years old, he’s wanted to play for the Haudenosaunne Team, and at 13 he made it. Congratulations are definitely in order.

I spend time tending to my flower gardens. In Aquinnah, this means that I also spend time searching myself for ticks. This season I have already had to remove three from myself, one from my cat, and three that were waiting on various pieces of outdoor furniture. For people like me who are worried by the damage these tiny critters can cause, come on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 to noon to the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven for a talk on “Tick-Borne Diseases.” Sponsored by M.V. Hospital, Vineyard Medical Care, Island Health Care, Dukes County Public Health, and the Fledgling Fund, this is your chance to learn what the risks are, what can be done about them, and how to avoid them. The talk is free. The information is priceless. Educate yourself. Attend this talk.

On June 14, at 7 pm, there will be a Town Meeting at Town Hall: On the docket — the high school budget, as well as a request that the M.V. Regional High School commit to an all-grass campus with no plastic fields, and that they commit to accepting no anonymous donations above $5,000 for legal action, experts, design, or permitting relating to any plastic fields at the high school. In addition to high school matters, warrant articles include a text correction of the General Bylaws titled “Fossil-Fuel-Free Demonstration”; repairs and improvements to the Dukes County Health Care Access Building; dollars to fund a grant consultant; and the budget for building inspector salary and expenses. Please attend this one. This is a chance to ensure that our high school has the funds it needs to educate our kids, while also letting the high school committee hear clearly what we feel about plastic fields.

At the Aquinnah library, you are encouraged to read “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” by Gabrielle Zevin, and then take part in a group discussion of the book on June 15 at 3 pm. Every Saturday in June, relax on the library deck with “Movement, Breathwork, and Meditation” sessions from 9 to 10 am, and then bring the kids and have fun with tie-dying from noon to 3 pm.

Save the date for a coffee and conversation with Bethany Hammond, Up-Island Council on Aging assistant director, on Thursday, June 15, from 1 to 2:30 pm at the Outermost Inn. She’ll discuss existing programs and services, and collect feedback about how the UICOA can best serve Aquinnah residents. Seniors might want to think about what would entice them to the UICOA center at Howes House in West Tisbury, and also what services they would like to see here in Aquinnah.

Now, celebrate the season by taking a friend for a walk up to the Lighthouse, and see if they can spot what is new: Assistant lighthouse keeper Isaac Taylor and Chris Kinzel have repaired and rebuilt the old front door and door jamb, and all the bricks have been repointed by International Chimney. The old girl is looking terrific. I am grateful to these hard-working folks who have used their skills to help her along.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,