Chilmark – Menemsha blessing, Diana Freed, Memorial Day Picnic at the Tashmoo Waterworks

—MV Times

Memorial Day Weekend is a lovely time on the Island. It is a time to savor the blooming flowers. Soak up moments when the sun is shining and the wind is calm. Brave dips in the refreshing and no-longer-immediately-bone-achingly-cold salt water.

It is a time when we pull out kayaks, remove spiders, and hose off dust. It is a time when we check the life vests, and ponder upgrades to accommodate the broadening range of children and adults.

Maybe there will be time to truck the dinghy to the pond and, with a little help, get the sailboat rigged and out for a sail before tying it off on its mooring.

This Sunday, May 26, at 9 am, the Chilmark Community Church will be in Menemsha to bless all seafaring Chilmarkers, the Coast Guard, and the fleet of commercial and recreational vessels who call Menemsha home.

All are welcome, and encouraged to bring prayers of remembrance, joy, or concern. I will bring a basket of blossoms, and the children will have bubbles to accompany our prayers for safe passage, full holds, open hearts, healing, and remembrance. 

We will remember longtime Chilmark resident Diana Freed, who died last week. Her daughter Deborah asked the community to help spread the word. Diana and Norman Freed were longtime summer residents until 1990, when they retired to the Vineyard year-round. Norman was a trustee of the Chilmark library, and helped raise the funds for the expansion. In 2015 they moved off-Island to be closer to family, and sadly Norman died later that year. Our hearts are with the family, who have continued to use their Chilmark home. 

The Rev. Charlotte Wright will lead the service, and beloved bards of maritime songs, or should I say, as they describe themselves in their fabulous multi-act short film, the one aired at last weekend’s Circuit Arts “Locals” performance at the the Grange Hall, “fuddy-duddy buddies,” Mark Lovewell and Molly Conole, will lead us in song. 

Mark and Molly know life is hard, and that laughter makes it easier. You can see Mark and Molly’s video on their new YouTube channel, fuddyduddybuddies, their new website, and their Facebook group, Fuddy Duddy Buddies. I encourage you to boost their efforts by subscribing. They reassured us that they will continue their Sundays at Sea show, Sunday evenings at 7 pm EDT on Facebook Live.

I also want to send a shout-out to fine art photographer and photojournalist Dena Porter and this paper for covering the Featherstone flower art exhibit opening. There are many wonderful works, and the opening gathered a sampling of the amazing Island people. The depth and breadth of our community’s experience, talent, and presence is something I never take for granted. May we continue to push open our hearts, embrace the full palette of cultures, individual perspectives, and expressions of living that gather here. May we continue striving to be a community of communities where we take delight in one another. May we offer a community that feels as welcoming as home, where there is no need to hide or mask who we are. May we be a place that encourages growth, and supports one another while valuing and respecting differences.

Virginia Woolf wrote in her essay “The Humane Art,” “A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.”

Here’s to the study of history, stories finally being told of experiences, and nurturing the future. 

Here’s to fireworks lighting up the night sky, music and dancing, loud laughter and conversation, the pong of a pickleball, the twang of a tennis racket, the zing of a bicycle, the high-pitched hum of a fishing reel letting out line, the roar of a motorcycle, the pregnant silence of a misty morning, and the soft splash of a stone skipping across water.

Here’s to summer meals out of Larsen’s and the Menemsha Fish Market, enjoyed on crates next to the dock. Here’s to early morning swims and wind-filled sails. 

I am starting to look for someone who loves to read scripture, play, babies, and young people to help me with the Chilmark Church Sunday School; at the moment we have kids ages 1- 6. We set up at 8:45 am, and are usually done before 10:30. This will be a paid position, depending on experience. We start with a check-in and Bible story, followed by opportunities to draw and create kinetic crafts, play games, and build with blocks. 

Keep Democracy Alive is gearing up for its postcard parties. They will all be held every Monday in June from 4:30 to 6:30 pm (drop in any time) at the Hebrew Center on Center Street in V.H. 

Come and help them reach their goal of 17,500 postcards before the November elections. 

Larissa Rich continues cleaning up beaches. This week she heads to Cuttyhunk, where a professional team is gathering to help remove ghost fishing gear from the shoreline. 

Soon she hopes to bring this program to the Vineyard. Apparently there are rules about cleaning up fishing gear that washes up. I look forward to hearing what she learns, and applaud her.

I used to get super-cranky over dump fees paid to dispose of trash that washed up, and am happy to do the pickup now that I can use the Beach BeFriender stickers for the fee.

The town of Tisbury, with support from the M.V. Cultural Council, will again sponsor the annual Memorial Day Picnic at the Tashmoo Waterworks on Monday, May 27. All are welcome for music by the Flying Elbows, tours of the historic building (circa 1887), games, rowboating, and grilling. Bring your own picnic, but sorry, no dogs.

Here’s to the fabulous and complex tapestry of summer on the Island, where exuberant vacationers and those who need a good night of sleep, those who treasure dark skies where you can see fireflies and stars seem within reach, and those who seek places where human sounds are silenced, replaced by another kind of symphony, can not just coexist but thrive.



  1. I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Diana Freed. She was my “Vineyard Mom” when I lived near 4 Winds in the late 80s, early 90s. She had such a beautiful, easy laugh and a caring way. My condolences, especially to my dear friend, Andy Freed, and the entire family.

  2. I have the most wonderful memories of Diana Freed’s Hebrew Center book group. When I was new to full-time island life, Diana and the book group were so welcoming. My first spring I was invited to her home for a Passover seder. So many from that original group are no longer with us. Condolences to dear Diana’s family. May her memory be a blessing.

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