Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pent Lane House is History

Pent Lane, Edgartown   

      The dismantling and subsequent removal last week of a house on Pent Lane has at least one Edgartown woman feeling wistful and nostalgic.
     The house in question had deep sentimental value to Jeanne Perry Andrews, who lived in the little house at what is now #8 Pent Lane (house numbers have only been in use in Edgartown for the past thirty years or so - since right around the time we stopped knowing each other - but I digress)  for the first four years of her life. 
     According to Jeanne, her maternal grandmother, Mary C. Enos, moved the little house - which Jeanne thinks was built in the late 1800s - from its original location on Pine Street (then called St. Michael's Way because of its large Azorean enclave) to the small plot of land she owned on Pent Lane. Jeanne says, "The first thing she did was plant hydrangeas because the color blue reminded her of the old country." The year was 1905.
     Jeanne's mother, Emily, was born in the house in 1907. When Emily married Manuel Perry in 1938, they stayed on with her mother. In 1940 the household expanded to three-generations when Jeanne was born; two years later, Jeanne's brother, David, came along (their sister, Kathy, would be born a few years later, after the family's move to Pierce Lane).
     Jeanne recounts, "We lived with Nana until 1946. We moved to the big house on what was then called Pierce Avenue [now the home of the Christopher Scott family] - my mother always said, 'It's not an avenue, it's a lane;' eventually the name was changed to Pierce Lane. Nana stayed at Pent Lane.
    "One day, when David was four years-old, he disappeared. In those days, Pierce Lane wasn't paved, so they followed his wagon tracks in the dirt down Cottle Lane. They eventually found him at Nana's. He said he wanted to help Nana bring in 'chop-wood,' as he called it. She kept the dry wood in the chicken house. Nana always had chickens - she didn't like to kill them, so she asked the milkman to do it. The house was heated with a combination kerosene, coal, and wood stove.
     "My mother and grandmother - as was typical for that time period in Edgartown - did laundry and housekeeping for the hotels and private parties in town, and Pent Lane was filled with children - the Bettencourt kids: Arthur, Rita, David, and Susan; and the Arnold family - Mildred Arnold ran her little yarn store right out of her front room.
     "Nana lived in the house from 1905 until she sold it in 1955.  St. Elizabeth's [across the street] was built during the time she lived there, and she was very happy when the church was built.
     "I can't believe it - a part of my life is going to be destroyed."

Pent Lane, Edgartown
Jeanne Andrews reminisces about her early childhood, living with her Nana on Pent Lane.

Pent Lane, Edgartown
This archway is a more recent addition to the property and will be preserved by the new owners, reportedly.





Pent Lane, Edgartown






Pent Lane, Edgartown
Mary C. Enos and Emily Enos Perry, on the kitchen steps. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Andrews.

Pent Lane, Edgartown
Jeanne Perry Andrews, sitting on the same kitchen steps - well, not exactly the the same steps, but the same location -  November 2010, just weeks prior to the house's scheduled destruction.
Pent Lane, Edgartown
The windows and other vital house parts were salvaged and donated to Habitat for Humanity, according to Jeanne.
Pent Lane, Edgartown
The week of November 15 found the little house finally meeting its demise. Jeanne says that the new owners, who also own the property adjacent to the back yard, will be building a bigger and wider house that will extend all the way back, spanning both properties, with a garage on the side.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simpson's Lane

Simpson's Lane
Simpson's Lane
Am I the only one in town who is of the opinion that this style of architecture is totally out of place in this neighborhood? How did this slip past Edgartown's watch guards?

Autumn Prayer

by Alison Boylston Piazza

When raking leaves becomes such a chore
That you really think you can't rake anymore,
That's the time that you pray very hard
That they'll all blow into your neighbor's yard.


Edgartown News

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Drilling to Chappy

And speaking of utility lines - I happened upon the crew that was setting up its equipment to begin laying a new conduit in order to repair damaged electrical lines to Chappy the other day, a project which has since commenced (full Gazette story here).

David Scott, foreman and owner of Bay State Piping Co., Inc., explained to me that they would be blasting out a channel (hydraulically, I believe - kind of like pumping for clams with Cy Norton) some thirty feet beneath the bed of the harbor.

Being a techno/gadget/gizmo geek, I found the equipment, as well as the whole prospect of drilling beneath the harbor, quite fascinating. I mean, who on earth invented these machines and devised the method for this kind of project?

So, plan on lower Dock Street and Memorial Wharf being in a mess for a while.






drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy
David Scott







drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy
The drill's entry point.







drill to chappy









Edgartown's Old Marine Railway



Edgartown Harbor


Not used much anymore, apparently.

Timeless Yet Different

I'm still on a bit of a gray/black and white jag, inspired by my mother's poem, I guess, and egged on by the fact that her birthday was a couple of days ago (November 18).

More from one of my favorite haunts, the Reading Room (locals have been wondering for years, whatever do they read in that place?), also including one of my favorite Edgartonians, Steve Ewing; these from a recent gray and drizzly November day.

I think I gravitate to the harbor because it links me to the days of yore - the days of whale ships and sea commerce. There's something somewhat timeless about these harbor scenes, I believe. Timeless, yet a different configuration of boats, people, activities, and sky and sea conditions is to be found every time I venture down there, giving Edgartown Harbor - seemingly bleak to the casual or one-time observer at this time of year, I am sure - a particular dynamism and life.




Steve Ewing






Steve Ewing






Edgartown Reading Room






Edgartown Reading Room






Edgartown Reading Room

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Song for the Old Year

A poem by Alison Boylston Piazza

The year is beginning to turn gray;

Gray sky, gray sea -

Clinging, like the old bird's nest in the apple tree

To one last day

Of hope that this is not really all

There is of sun and warm breezes

Before earth freezes

And white silence starts to fall.


Song for the Old Year




Song for the Old Year




Song for the Old Year

Monday, November 15, 2010

Utility Lines



Edgartown's Great Plains


They've been up-grading the utility lines on Herring Creek Road, the lines that run out to what we used to call Edgartown's Great Plains. A few of the older townies still do call it by that name, but this area is mostly known as Katama these days. Suburbia is more like it.

The reason for the up-grade, of course, is the greatly increased population.

Oh, how far we have come.

I can remember being out at the Waller farmhouse, winter nights, early 1960's it must have been - those years when every teenager in town was friends with and an overnight guest of one Waller or another - looking out the kitchen window and not seeing a single light, just an empty blackness as far as the eye could see. There weren't as many trees in those days, either, so it was mostly wide-open space. About the only sound to be heard was the wind whistling through the bare-bones array of utility wires - telephone wires we called them - wires that fed electricity to the Waller Farm and over to the Wests and the Suttons; to Herring Creek Farm and beyond; to Tony Duart, Chauncy Maury, Ed Bannister, the Wilds and the Turners.

Well, that was then; this is now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Autumn Sky

I love the sky, both day and night (and have you noticed Jupiter lately?). This week offered at least one day's worth of dramatic cumulus cloud effects - and, rather than drone on  (as someone once said, when asked to explain his poetry, "Do you want me to say it worse?"), I will let the pictures do the talking here.



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse




Edgartown Lighthouse



Edgartown Lighthouse

Local Color, Election Day 2010

Edgartown Election Day
Perfect autumn weather on Election Day 2010 ensured a healthy turn-out of voters.




Edgartown Election Day
Mike McCormack's winning - as it would turn out - smile.



Edgartown Election Day
Ann Tyra, Jean Brennan, and Janet Sigler welcome and keep track of in-coming voters.



Edgartown Election Day
Decisions, decisions...

Edgartown Election Day
                         Take a good look - these colors will soon be a fond memory.

 
Edgartown Election Day

                                            Liz O'neill, sporting her own cozy autumn colors.
                         
Edgartown Election Day
                                                             Autumn still life.