Chilmark: Stylish footwear, August Engler, winter greenery, and Pathways music

—MV Times

My dog is recovering beautifully from surgery. The biggest challenge is keeping him calm. He is eager to get back to long hikes and runs. Next week the restrictions will be lifted.

My mum, Anne Ganz, has returned from three months with my sister, Jennie, in Bethesda, Md. Anne is a cartoonist, and a longtime member of the American Newswomen’s Club, located on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. On weekdays she took the bus into the city to work at her desk in the club. It is an adjustment to be back in Chilmark with me.

She has a keen eye. She was struck by the differences between the shoes people in the city wear, and that they all looked brand-new and stylish. I also appreciate fabulous shoes when I’m on the shuttle from the ferry to the Palmer Avenue lot. Jane Slater is a shoe aficionada.

I have short hot pink rubber boots that make me smile, and are a pleasant contrast to my insulated black Carhartt overalls.

Anne turned 84 last week, and my brother, Robert, a master at present giving, found a puzzle of the August 26, 1950, Saturday Evening Post cover depicting the Menemsha store painted by Steven Dahonas. Anne knew Steven from the time he was a near neighbor when she was young.

Next week we will have bottles of ink for her fountain pen, the puzzle table set up, and our work spaces readied.

I weep with my friends, Sharon and Bill Engler, and have my sleeves rolled up to help.

On Jan. 23, 2024, they had to make the heartbreaking decision to remove life support from their eldest son, August Engler. He was 25, and had battled mental illness and the disease of addiction for years. Addiction is a terrible disease that carries a lot of stigma, and challenges to treatment.

Sharon and Bill loved their son fiercely and never gave up — believing in him and his dreams. Gus’s organs were donated. And in his honor, they are asking for donations to a scholarship supporting students who have faced mental health and substance abuse challenges, and seek to continue their education in college or trade school. The link is  If you prefer to write a check or a note, Sharon and Bill’s mailing address is P.O. Box 385, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

Recognizing the challenges and struggles and giving a student recognition and support for their dreams is the kind of powerful support that helps when shame and despair cloud out hope. Many look away or throw up their hands; the Englers sow seeds of hope.

The memorial reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 3 pm at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs. His funeral service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Vineyard Haven. A graveside gathering will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven.

Addiction claimed his life but not his spirit. May he rest in peace.

Rebecca Gilbert reported, “Big News: Eric’s cat, Miss Mini, was found yesterday in North Tisbury, and they are happily reunited. She had been gone since June.” I am so relieved by this news. We kept hoping to see her, and worrying about the coyote that regularly wanders through the woods.

Susan Murphy reminds us that now is the time to remove winter decorations that graced the graves of loved ones at Christmas. The greenery is now “brownery,” and could be blocking the snowdrops and croci (crocuses?) and other spring bulbs that will be on the way very soon.

Pathways will be hopping this weekend. Friday, Feb. 16, 7 to 9 pm, Isaac Taylor opens for Phil daRosa with friends Stuart Gardner, Pinto Abrams, and Ted McInnes. This is one I know I will plan to arrive for when they open at 6:30 pm.

I keep my eye out for Tauras Biskis, and was delighted to note he was playing at the West Tisbury library’s Second Sunday Jazz. Listeners filled every chair, and spilled out of the room. Darby Patterson and the Jeremy Berlin Trio (Jeremy Berlin, piano, Eric Johnson, acoustic bass, Tauras Biskis, drums) didn’t disappoint. We are lucky.

May the coming week bring us moments of ease.

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