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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Silence is Deafening



Edgartown Town Clock
Edgartown's Beautiful Old Church of Whaling Days, f/k/a the Edgartown United Methodist Church.


I am loving being in town this week, a departure from my usual routine (and sentiments), with this time of year, with the exception of Mondays and Tuesdays, more typically being spent in the city. But with the birth of a grandchild imminent, I decided to hold over until the baby makes his or her appearance (ha - the baby knows I am waiting. I might have to get on the ferry and pretend to leave).

I haven't always been able to say that I like January in Edgartown, but it has been very pleasant this time. For one thing, it means I get to sleep in the same bed for a number of nights in a row which is always a plus, as well as being able to focus on projects without being interrupted. It's not that I don't like the commute, it's just that sometimes I get a good head of steam going, on whatever it is I happen to be working on, and my travels - changing locations mid-stream, or steam - can be very disruptive, so I have come to appreciate an opportunity to to stay put for an extended period - in either location.

Knowing there will be a baby at the end of this stint helps - a lot - plus, I am very cozy and happy in my lair overlooking Main Street.

There's one thing I've been missing, however, and that is the sound of the bell in the town clock. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed its absence without reading in the local papers that the bell has been removed from the tower and shipped off (to allow for repair of both the bell and its housing - full story here, and here), as I'm often the one who calls Tommy Bassett (the clock keeper; a job that his father, Bob Bassett, and his grandfather William Silva both held; Tom's son Jake also works on the clock, which totals four generations of Bassett/Silvas taking care of our clock) when the clock isn't keeping the correct time or if the bell is malfunctioning.

Yes, it is eerily quiet around here, and I'm not one who craves the quiet, which is one of the reasons I choose to live smack in the middle of Coolidge Corner, with the sounds of the C-line train, and sirens, and traffic, and people, right outside my window all day and half the night. It's also the reason I like living on Main Street, for the sense I have of being surrounded by movement and sounds and life.

Bells in a town say, "people live here." In thinking about this posting, I remembered - and was even able to find - this bit from my Edgartown Column, written in December of 2001: "Sunday was a perfect day for working on outdoor projects. My chores included varnishing my new kitchen door and reworking an old brick walkway, and as I worked in my sunny side yard I savored the sounds of what I call, 'the music of life' - the whisper of the wind through the trees, an occasional seagull's cry, the distant sound of church bells, each church taking its turn..."  I was living four blocks away on Plantingfield Way when I wrote this, and in those days, not only was the town clock sounding the hour, but St. Elizabeth's, St. Andrews, and the Federated churches also had carillons that played on the hour, and they all seemed to be calling and answering each other, which now makes me think of this English nursery rhyme:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Chris Scott, the director of the MV Preservation Trust, which owns the church building (the town owns the clock), in a conversation on Main Street yesterday, told me that the bell is scheduled to be re-installed by Memorial Day. He also has assured me that the repairs will not change the sound of the bell (and I hope he's right because after hearing it for the better part of sixty years, I certainly have its frequency - the exact note and timbre - etched deeply into my brain; a different note just would not be Edgartown, I'm afraid)



Edgartown Town Clock
The view from my kitchen window, with the town clock just two blocks away. This time of year I can see what time it is from my window (by ducking and weaving a little). Growing up in this house, the sound of the town clock was a part of our daily lives



Edgartown Town Clock
While I was down town this morning taking the above photos, Tom Teller stopped his red truck and one of the things he said to me was, "This must be a favorite subject of yours. I've been looking at your photos, and you've got a lot of pictures of this church." He's right. Not only is Edgartown's Beautiful Old Church of Whaling Days (its real name) beautiful, but it's big, and seems to be catching the light differently every time I walk by, which is often.This was also my dear Grandmother's church, where she took me when I was very small, where I first heard about the God who loves me.Once, when we were kids, I went up to the bell tower with Tommy Bassett and his father. It was dizzying, but the view was spectacular.  Check it out: if you look in the window of the bell tower, you'll see an empty space where the bell used to be.




Edgartown Town Clock
From the archives: my Aunt Maude (Shurtleff) Norton; my grandmother, Mabel (Shurtleff) Boylston; and Roberta Gilluly (now Tilton; my second cousin, and Maude's granddaughter), ringing the bell of the town clock on VJ Day, 1945.
Reportedly, one of the repairs will be on the mechanism that allows the bell to be rung by hand, something that has not been possible in many years.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Edgartown Hardware, Redux

New Edgartown Hardware

I was glad to have an opportunity to stop in at Edgartown Hardware's new headquarters yesterday, out at the former Old Colony building on the West Tisbury Road, in case you haven't heard.

My first reaction? It smells brand new, like a new car, fresh off the lot.

The new store is nothing if not spacious, with long, wide aisles and lots of room for more of everything; more paint, more paint brushes; more drawers of screws, more tools; a better-than-ever garden department, and new stuff, too, including a new line of bathroom accoutrements, and an entire room dedicated to color and design, and another large room that will feature seasonal products. The store's manager, Jonathan Polleys, is also thrilled that, among the many other improvements, everything is within easy reach, which means no more using long poles to grab items from high places. Amenities also include plenty of parking and complimentary coffee.

It will take some getting used to - the intimacy and history of the Main Street store are noticeably missing, and it does feel a bit like being in California in there - but John and Pat Montes have done a splendid job with their new store (and with breathing new life into an old building). Congratulations, John and Pat, and best wishes for every success.






New Edgartown Hardware
Co-owner John Montes and manager, Jon Polleys.








New Edgartown Hardware
More drawers of screws, nuts, bolts, and washers than ever.


New Edgartown Hardware
I love tools.


New Edgartown Hardware



New Edgartown Hardware
The new color design center.


New Edgartown Hardware
A little old with the new.

New Edgartown Hardware
I can just imagine Mae Wannamaker behind this big, new counter.

I love Winter

I Love Winter

The truth is, I love winter (and as I write, we are in the middle of another in a series of January snow storms). I love the coziness about it, and the fact that it gives me an excuse to stay inside all day, holed up, focusing on various work-related or creative projects pertaining to photography or music, or reorganizing a closet, or remodeling or rearranging something or other, or catching up on paper work or a sewing project; general nesting. The cozy, indoor-centered winter is a kind of hibernation for me - not the sleeping kind of hibernation that bears do in caves, but the tending to the home-fires kind of rest that grounds me and replenishes my soul. I would never want to live in a part of the world where there is no winter, and I grow weary of the constant, collective complaining about snow and cold. I love it - the frigid air feels good on my cheeks and wakes my brain up - and snow is still magic to me. I love waking up in the morning in the dark, and I also love the dark that closes in on us in the early evening, drawing people together around a table under the glow of lamp light. In fact, I enjoy winter so much that this time of year, when the days start growing longer (at the rate of about one minute per day; it is now still light at 4:45, compared to being dark at 4:00 back in December), I find myself thinking, wait -slow down; I'm not quite finished with my winter's rest -  because I know what comes next: the frenetic scurrying; the turning to all things outward and out-of-doors and busy-ness and people and schedules.

Yes, I do love this slow and dark and inward-turning time.




I love Winter







I love Winter





I love Winter





I love Winter





I love Winter






I love Winter






I love Winter





I love Winter



I love Winter





I love Winter




I love Winter



I love Winter

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meet Mya

Mya Wild Smith was born on Thursday, January 14, 2011 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital to Julia and Ryan Smith, and joins almost-2 1/2 year-old big sister, Hailey Elizabeth.

Mya and Hailey complete four generations of friendship between Mya's family and mine, a rare and precious occurrence in this age of families being spread from here to kingdom come. Mya's great-grandma Dorothy Wild and my mother were friends; Mya's grandmother, Becky Wild Baxter and I have been good friends for years; our children have been friends since babyhood, and now our grandchildren will be friends. Becky's brother, Mike, and my brother, John, knew each other too, enjoying a summer friendship in the 1950's that revolved around cars - John's '52 robins' egg blue Ford, and the Wild family Oldsmobile.

These photos follow the tradition that was begun in 1974 when Becky came up from Florida to meet my new born son, Adam, when he was four days old and took pictures and brushed my hair - sorely needed and the best hair brushing I've ever had.  We've been doing it back and forth ever since then. Well, not the hair brushing part. 




Mya Wild Smith
Hailey and her new sister, Mya.






Mya Wild Smith

Soup Supper, Monday January 18, 2011

The soup supper at the Methodist Church was sparsely attended this week, probably because it was Martin Luther King's birthday, but it was fun to stop in and say hello to the stalwarts.








Edgartown Soup Supper
Main Street, waxing gibbous moon rising.




Edgartown Soup Supper





Edgartown Soup Supper
John Washbrook and helper serve up Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes.




Edgartown Soup Supper
Cynthia Schilling and Gerry Jeffers



Edgartown Soup Supper
Dennie Rose, allowed over the border for the evening from Oak Bluffs...love ya, Dennie.



Edgartown Soup Supper



Edgartown Soup Supper

The soup supper is as much about socializing as it is about the food.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two Boats



Edgartown News, Bend in the Road



Edgartown News, Bend in the Road

The Great Pyramids of Edgartown

Work continues at our beloved Bend in the Road. The question is, how long until Mother Nature reclaims her beach and puts it back the way she wants it? Any bets? I say three years, tops.



Edgartown News, Bend in the Road




Edgartown News, Bend in the Road



Edgartown News, Bend in the Road



Edgartown News, Bend in the Road

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

I love a snow day, when schools close, traffic slows down, and the business of the day comes to a grinding halt; a Sabbath of sorts. Somehow it feels like an extra day, a gift.

Okay, these photos aren't Edgartown, but they were taken by your Edgartown girl, on vacation from her travels for the past two weeks - and oh, how delicious, to sleep in the same bed every night for what will end up being three whole weeks.




Brookline Snow Day
Coolidge Corner




Brookline Snow Day



Brookline Snow Day
Coolidge Corner T stop, looking in-bound.


Brookline Snow Day
Coolidge Corner, the old SS Pierce building (now Walgreen's) on the right.


Brookline Snow Day



Brookline Snow Day


Brookline Snow Day




Brookline Snow Day

Brookline Snow Day



Brookline Snow Day



Brookline Snow Day
Almost got me!