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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day in Edgartown



Memorial Day



Rushing out of a local shop yesterday, I blurted, "Happy Memorial Day." Before the last word was out of my mouth I realized that the word happy does not belong in that sentence. But what is the appropriate greeting on this day, a day that has been set aside, officially since 1873, as a day to remember our war dead?

The only appropriate greeting, I suppose, would be no greeting.

When I was a little girl my mother passed down the custom of visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day, a custom I did not so strongly instill in my own children, I'm sorry to have to admit; and there was the annual march down to the town wharf where we school kids tossed our lilacs into the harbor (a tradition that continues today), the meaning of which we would not understand until many years later.

I know there was a parade and a picnic in Vineyard Haven yesterday, but we don't really have a national, collective observance of this holiday, to the point that Memorial Day has become just another shopping and party day and summer's kick-off weekend. In my case, it was a work day.

I like the way Israel celebrates its Memorial Day - Yom Hazikaron. There is a minute-long siren blast that is heard all over the country. At the sound of the siren, everyone and everything comes to a standstill - even traffic stops in the middle of the highways, and everyone stands in silence, collectively remembering and showing respect to all of Israel's fallen soldiers.

I couldn't find my flag, I failed to get it together to put a pot of geraniums (the tradition in my family) onto the family graves, nor did I make it to Vineyard Haven for the parade. I offer these photos as my moment of silence.

Thank you.

Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown
The most beautiful grave stone in the cemetery.
This huge chunk of rose quartz marks the graves of my grandparents, Herbert Melville Boylston and Mabel Shurtleff Boylston, and my mother, Alison Williams Boylston Piazza. My grandmother had this pink boulder shipped down from a quarry in New Hampshire when my grandfather died in 1939.




Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown





Memorial Day in Edgartown

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gray Again


Edgartown, F/V Tenacious
Eddie Smith's fishing vessel, Tenacious.


Edgartown, F/V Tenacious
Captain Rob Coad.


Edgartown, F/V Tenacious

Welcome to ice cream season.

Edgartown, F/V Tenacious

Two of Edgartown's Finest


Edgartown Police Department
Neal Condlin and Stephanie Immelt. I supposed that Stephanie is new on the job, but learned that she has worked for EPD for eleven years - nights, which explains why she was brand new to my eyes.

To the Shad, by Steve Ewing



To the Shad, Steve Ewing
"When the shad bush blooms, the herring are running." That's what the old-time islanders say. [file photo, Tiasquam Valley, May 15, 2009]


This is a bit late, due to my not having noticed the attachment in Steve's e-mail a couple of weeks ago. The shad blooms have now passed; the white that now dots the landscape is beach plum.

To the Shad                                 


Each spring
I wait
So patiently
Until
One day
So gracefully
The shad
Displays
It’s
Early bloom
After herring
Flagged
By fluttering
Osprey
Leave silver scales
On low tide rocks
Near fresh pond runs
Sweet shad
O’re hangs
These pools
Discrete harbinger
Faithful
Hardy strong
And true
A feathery
Red brown leaf
Gently flushing
Small
White flowered
Blooms


Dedicated to Scott Ewing
April 25, 1960- February 15, 1985


Steve Ewing

The Golden Hour



Edgartown News
The Converys - Anna, Rick, and Amonda.


My favorite time of day for walking is in the evening, an hour or two before sunset; between and 6-8pm this time of year. At the end of a sunny day, as was the case yesterday, the light is laced with gold, the very best time for photography, and last evening the air was perfect - not too hot, not too cold. The streets are moderately quiet right now - half way between "ghost town" and "over-run with people but there's still nobody there" - so I did come across a few locals, out enjoying the evening air after a day's work and enjoying one last bit of ownership of our town before the onslaught.


Edgartown News


Edgartown News


Edgartown News


Edgartown News
It's always a pleasure meeting and chatting with Dick Fligor.

Edgartown News


Edgartown News


Edgartown News


Edgartown News
Karen Berwick and friends, out for dinner.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Music to My Ears

Twelve o'clock and all is well.

12 Noon, Edgartown. from Sara Piazza on Vimeo.

Related stories here, and here.

Get 'em Before They're Gone...



Edgartown, historical architecture
The Achelis barn, corner of Cooke and School Streets.

While searching for some of Edgartown's older architectural gems and curiosities to photograph this week, I came to the sad realization that there's not much left in town that hasn't been gentrified, upgraded, or just plain torn down (I'm thinking especially of the old barn/garage on Cooke Street that was bulldozed down a few years ago because - oops, the new owners of the property didn't realize that one needs a permit to tear down old buildings. No matter. I'm sure the $10K fine was a drop in the bucket to these folks; the loss of a piece of our town's history on the other hand: immeasurable.).







Edgartown, historical architecture
I've always loved this little building - one reason should be obvious. This little garage sits in the back yard of a downtown Main Street house and is accessed from Pent Lane.




Edgartown, historical architecture
#9 Green Avenue. When I was little girl this was Frank Duart's paint shop, where I spent many a happy hour visiting with Mr. Duart who graciously put up with my (probable) non-stop chatter and questions and who occasionally let me ride on the tail-gait of his blue Chevy Apache, dragging my bare toes in the sand of the dirt road when he drove out to Slough Cove to visit his brother Tony. This little building has been an upholstery shop, a bicycle storage unit, and is currently owned by Jim Joyce. Some of the neighbors think it's an eye-sore; others, myself included, love the place.


Edgartown, historical architecture
Detail of #9 Green Avenue.


Edgartown, historical architecture
Cottage, Collins' Beach.


Edgartown, historical architecture
Katama Road. I have no idea what this is, and I've never seen anyone in it or near it. It appears to be an old sheep pen.




Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fashion Hints for May

You may have noticed in these pages the occasional appearance of the writings of my dear late mother. I'm in the process of illustrating her poetry - "doggerel," she called it - a collection of a couple of dozen poems that range from sardonic to sentimental which she typed out on onion skin on her trusty black Royal and bound into a blue three-ring folder. I keep this folder in my travel bag so it is always with me in case inspiration strikes (and I noticed today that the pages are becoming worn from my perusing). This time, my inspiration was nudged by the purple lilac that has begun to bloom all over town. Half the fun was walking the streets after supper looking for the perfect lilac bush to photograph; the other half was the smell.
(the collection - so far - is here)

Edgartown, purple lilac, Alison Boylston Piazza

Fashion Hints for May by Alison Boylston Piazza


Old houses should be dressed in grey,

Pearl-sheened by years of sun and rain,

With frosty white to brighten doors

And outline every window pane.


And then to add a subtle note

Of color and of fragrance rare,

A purple lilac standing tall

Among green leaves should blossom there.






Edgartown, purple lilac, Alison Boylston Piazza



Edgartown, purple lilac, Alison Boylston Piazza



Edgartown, purple lilac, Alison Boylston Piazza



Edgartown, purple lilac, Alison Boylston Piazza

The Vincent House, Bedecked



Vincent House, Edgartown


The late afternoon light shining on the Vincent House enticed me to veer off of my straight path home the other evening - this light offering a break from the persistent gray of recent days - and my meanderings placed me smack in the middle of the fully-blooming fruit tree grove that surrounds Edgartown's oldest house. My stopover at this fairy-tale scene was made more precious by the knowledge that these blossoms - surely at their peak on this evening - will be fading fast. Stay tuned for confetti.


Vincent House, Edgartown




Vincent House, Edgartown



Vincent House, Edgartown



Vincent House, Edgartown



Vincent House, Edgartown



Vincent House, Edgartown

Monday, May 9, 2011

Edgartown's Fire Museum, In Progress

Edgartown Fire Museum

There are big doings underway in the building tucked behind our fire station on Robinson Road. I had a tour recently of the Edgartown Fire Museum, which I found both fascinating and exciting - the museum has the potential of becoming a vibrant center of learning and activity for our town - and I even learned a few things about the history of Edgartown's 175 year-old fire department.

The museum, at this time very much a work in progress, was begun in 1997, initially for the purpose of housing the department's two retired trucks. Longtime Edgartown fireman Dick Kelly, who with his son Andy was my tour guide says, "When I retired from the A&P, I saw all the stuff around the station, and I thought, 'why not put this stuff out?'" and thus was born the idea for the expanded museum.

This past year, a large climate-controlled room was added to the original garage, built for the main purpose of housing the celebrated and much-loved 155 year-old "button tub" pumper which will be on loan from the former Dukes County Historical Society. The walls here will eventually be filled with photographs, as well as fire department and town history. The room will also feature a childrens' interactive, hands-on exhibit.

The finishing touch for the museum will be a large picnic area with tables and a little patio with benches dedicated to late department stalwarts Bob Bassett and Albert K. Sylvia.

The target date for the official opening of the museum is September 2011, "If we get the money we need, and I think we will," says Dick.

And speaking of money, this 501(c)(3) non-profit project is supported entirely by donations. If you are so inclined, the address to which you may send a donation is:

Edgartown Firemen's Association (with a note in the memo directing the funds to the museum)
PO Box 737
Edgartown, MA 02539









Edgartown Fire Museum
One of my tour guides, Richard Kelly, flanked by Hose Co. No. 1 (left), and Engine 1.










Edgartown Fire Museum










Edgartown Fire Museum
Hose Co. No. 1 is a 1927 Mack that went into service in Edgartown in 1928 and was retired in 1952. It's currently undergoing a major overhaul on the engine and the brakes, as well as the replacement of a lot of old parts - difficult to find, and expensive, reportedly. The hope is that the work will be completed in time for the Fourth of July parade.
 





Edgartown Fire Museum


Edgartown Fire Museum


Edgartown Fire Museum

Engine 1. This 1952 Mack was retired from duty in 1985. A beauty.








Edgartown Fire Museum











Edgartown Fire Museum











Edgartown Fire Museum











Edgartown Fire Museum
A small sampling of fire department paraphernalia and history that will be on display in the museum. This bucket dates back to the days - pre-fire department - when Edgartown residents were required by law to hang a bucket next to their front doors in case of fire (surely, you've heard of a bucket brigade).










Edgartown Fire Museum
An old hose nozzle.










Edgartown Fire Museum
This room was built with the "button tub" in mind, will be climate controlled, and features a Vermont oak floor. Says Dick, "We wanted to do this right, or not at all." The room will also be home to photos, newspaper articles, fire department history, town history, a hands-on children's learning center, and a sales area for tee-shirts, the sales of which support the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.


Edgartown Fire Museum
The Kellys - father and son - Dick and Andy.




Edgartown Fire Museum










Edgartown Fire Museum
This bell that sits in front of the station on Pease's Point Way will eventually be brought around back to the museum.



Edgartown Fire Museum
Edgartown Fire Department's beloved "button tub" pumper, a star of the Fourth of July parade. (file photos, July 2010)



Edgartown Fire Museum


Edgartown Fire Museum
Kara Shemeth in the fore.


Edgartown Fire Museum
A mighty spray fills Main Street, generated by the hands of the button pumper team. This demonstration of strength, timing, precision, and team-work is always received with loud cheers of approval and applause from the crowd.