Aquinnah: Stop & Shop, school field trips, ‘Saving Moms,’ and Polished Dental

—MV Times

Charley and I did our weekly down-Island get-the-errands-done journey today. We went to the bank, the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy, and Morning Glory Farm. The grocery part of the journey included a stop at the metamorphosing Stop & Shop in Edgartown. What an experience! We found the salt tucked away in the bottom of a temporary shelf that included a mix of other unrelated items. We found the eggs on the far wall, away from the produce. We found the tea near the peanut butter. My heart goes out to the workers at that store as they continue to keep things somewhat together while in the midst of a major rebuild. It is going to be a grand place, that’s for sure, but for now it feels like going on a treasure hunt just to find eggs. An adventure.

Last week saw the entire fifth grade of Chilmark School on skis, whooping and laughing and working their way down the slopes at Sugarloaf. Nine kids, five dads, and two school chaperones (including Principal Susan Stevens), gathered on Monday for the 6:45 am ferry, drove the six or so hours it takes to get up to Sugarloaf in Maine, got out of their cars, did a few hours of schoolwork (learning to code), ate dinner, swam in the heated pool, and collapsed for the night. The rest of the week saw them learning from ski instructors, and then skiing down, catching the lift back up to the top, and going down again and again, repeating the mix of learning to code (they created games!), deepening their bonds with one another, and hearty physical exertion. Representing Aquinnah were Lucille Stahl, Willie Bologna, and my own granddaughter, Tillie Taylor, along with Tillie’s dad, Isaac Taylor.

This school trip is a fine example of the way that Vineyard schools help their students learn how to live fully in this part of the world. Fourth and fifth graders learn some about life on the sea with a week on the Shenandoah. Second graders go on a water safety trip where they learn things like what to do if their boat overturns. During January, they go once a week to the ice rink, where the older students help the younger ones learn how to stay upright, gain confidence, and become easy on skates, as the older students learn empathy, leadership, and responsibility. Lucky kiddos, I’d say, to be taught how to stay safe, to revel in their world, to be together, to share what they know. This doesn’t happen everywhere; I’m glad it happens here.

I went to the kickoff for Black History Month that was held at the Oak Bluffs library last week, as did Aquinnah health board member Kathy Newman, along with her husband Jim. Part of the event was showing the powerful documentary “Saving Moms.” I want to encourage every person who cares about fixing what’s broken in our health system to see this film. It is well-done and important. And it doesn’t hurt to have a powerful reminder of the real-life effects of racism either. Learning is key to how we will make things better. You can see it on the PBS website at

Meanwhile, I want to remind those who don’t have access to dental care that free dental screening for adults is taking place from Feb. 19 to 22 at the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven. Sign up by texting or emailing Polished Dental at 978-549-0659 or

One birthday to celebrate this week is that of Anne Fleming Vanderhoop. (And I continue to be grateful to Jamie Vanderhoop, who sent me her listing of Vanderhoop birthdays. You should emulate her great gesture by sending me your own family birthday list, so I can mention them here.)

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