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.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wintucket Waterworks, from the Archives

So, the day I sent out the Wintucket Station post, I received this message from Janice Belisle: "Sara, I cannot believe this 'god-wink'.....coincidence, etc.  I was just emptying out a huge box this AM....AND I came across old negatives of Gene Belisle's  of the Wintucket pumping station ! ! !   I have not even thought of it in years. AND here is your blog about it."

I now have the negatives (once upon a time, Gene had a darkroom in his Silva Lane home and was very involved with photography), and since I recently got my film scanner up and running, was able to run off a few of these old photos.Thank you, Janice (and Gene).





Wintucket Waterworks, Gene Belisle
This photo explains the round brick foundation in my photo from last week - I only vaguely remembered what was on top of it (file photo, Gene Belisle)





Wintucket Waterworks, Gene Belisle
The pump house, exactly as I remember it (file photo, Gene Belisle).


Wintucket Waterworks, Gene Belisle
The actual waterworks. Magnificent (file photo, Gene Belisle).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wintucket Station



wintucket station, edgartown


What began as a drive to the water department's Meshacket Road office to pay my water bill ended up as a wistful and nostalgic trip out to the old Wintucket water works, the location of the small cabin in which my family lived for several summers during the late 1970s and early 1980s when Paul managed what was then the Edgartown Water Company.

I had not been down the road to the old pumping station for many, many years. Knowing that the cabin that had been our summer home had been bulldozed down several years back, I just couldn't face the place, preferring to relegate it to happy memories.

But now that the water department's office is out at Wintucket - which I discovered upon my arrival at the Meshacket Road office - and with my water bill overdue, there was no avoiding a face-to-face encounter with the past.

After paying my bill in the big new office, I took a right at the end of the road, parked the car, and wandered around the place.

Standing in our former backyard and seeing the old brick pump house - smelling the sweet fern  and hearing the summer sounds - was straight out of a dream. The building was the same unique and distinguishable shape, but of course most everything else was very different. The tall forest that had surrounded the building was gone; the garage; our little house - all gone. But the memories- who can bulldoze these down - of walking the trails and picking high-bush blueberries; searching for arrowheads; the tire swing that hung from a high oak; swimming and boating off of the old dike; and one of my all-time favorite memories as a mother, from our second summer in the cabin when our oldest child would have been around age four: I was tucking Adam into bed on our first night back when the whippoorwill outside the cabin window struck up its call, "Whippoorwill, whippoorwill," when Adam, in a moment of recognition, perked up and said, "There's my old friend, the whippoorwill."





wintucket station, edgartown



wintucket station, edgartown
I peeked in the window, looking for - what? Something familiar, something left behind? But all I saw was a bunch of junk and my own ghost-like reflection.


wintucket station, edgartown



wintucket station, edgartown
The only original outbuilding that remains.


wintucket station, edgartown



wintucket station, edgartown



wintucket station, edgartown



wintucket station, edgartown



wintucket station, edgartown
Adam, at the old dike that separates the fresh water on the right from the brackish, Wintucket Cove water on the left, circa 1980. This body of water was an integral part of the functioning of the old pumping station that was once the sole source of Edgartown's Water.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Perfect Fourth

This year's Independence Day was as fine as any I can remember; maybe even better. Yes, the day was magic - an old fashioned Edgartown  Fourth of July, right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, beginning with the weather, that despite advance doom and gloom reports, turned out to be sunny (remember? weather reports don't apply to Edgartown).

After hanging the decorations (and yes, I managed to hang my vertical flag backwards again), mowing the lawn, and making sure all was in order for the evening, I biked with friends out to the beach - the heat of the day making the water all the more refreshing - where I was hard pressed to drag myself out of the briny deep.

I've begun what I hope will become a yearly tradition: a barbecue on the front lawn along with a live Irish traditional music session on the porch (videos at the end). This brings to full circle a story that was referred to often in my childhood. According to a Vineyard Gazette piece that appeared in a May 1948 issue, my Main Street house was moved from Ocean Heights in 1848, being rolled into town on logs by oxen (picture the house being pulled forward a few feet, with the men then removing the rear-most log and placing it the front row - over and over for three miles down a dirt road). As the story is told, that particular May day culminated with a rare spring snow storm (records of which I've never been able to find), and as was the custom of the day, with a pot-luck feast, replete with fiddlers.

Since I haven't figured out how to barbecue, play my fiddle, and photograph simultaneously, a couple of things suffered - okay, everyone told me that burned hot-dogs taste better, but I think they were just being polite - also, I couldn't wander and take the copious numbers of photographs I usually take during this bonanza of Edgartown faces. I did manage to get a few shots that I like (the complete set: link).



Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
117 Main Street.





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011






Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Dylan Morgan, in step with his grandfather Colonel Fred B. Morgan.




Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
The Colonial Navy Band from Fall River





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Ready for the shower of sweets.
 







Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
The pipers regaled us going into town, as well as on the way back out - a double treat.





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Dylan Morgan





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Skip Tomassian




Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Mike Smith (left).







Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Sheriff Michael McCormack







Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Edgartown's finest - Smith, Rossi, Gazaille, and Searle.





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Porch musicians, Cormac and Bob.





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
David





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Levi, Cormac, and Bob.





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
Levi and Cormac





Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
David, Levi, Cormac, and Bob.




Edgartown Fourth of July, 2011
                                                              Susie and David








Fourth of July Porch Session from Sara Piazza on Vimeo.
Footage from our inaugural Alison Boylston Piazza House/Midnight Mermaid porch session, July 4, 2011. Great tunes, great friends, great craic!


Fourth of July Porch Session 2 from Sara Piazza on Vimeo.
The Bucks of Oranmore with Levi, Cormac, Bob, Susie, and David.

This was a great day - from swimming at Bend in the Road, to the parade, the BBQ, and great music - all topped off with spectacular fireworks over Edgartown Harbor.

Monday, July 4, 2011

On the Right, Going Out



Midnight Mermaid Gallery, Alison Boylston Piazza House
117 Main Street, the Alison Boylston Piazza House, a/k/a the Midnight Mermaid.


My neighbor Skip is an American flag etiquette expert, and I can always count on him to straighten me out if my flags are not hanging properly. When I hung my flag from the fascia board of the porch a couple of years ago, I knew that the American flag must be depicted in a particular way in a picture or a decal - with the field of stars on the left - but I somehow couldn't figure it out as it pertained to hanging it perpendicularly, and I did manage to hang it backwards, which Skip helpfully pointed out to me.

I had been wanting to get a proper flag, with a pole, for some time - to replace the one that was stolen a few summers ago - which I did recently. As I unfurled it and placed it into the bracket on the front of my porch I thought, well, at least I can't hang it backwards this time.

A couple of days went by before Skip stopped by my porch to tell me, "Nice flag, but it should be on the right hand side of the doorway as you go out." Darn - my new flag was on the right, going in.

No matter - I still had the new bracket in its package, so I climbed back up and installed it on the correct side.

When I was a camper at Camp Wintucket summer day camp - out on Wintucket Cove, and run by Joe and Betty Robichau - we were taught how to care for the flag, raising it up every morning and lowering it every evening - never, ever, allowing the flag to touch the ground, of course - as well as the proper folding: triangle over triangle, into a neat package, to be stored until the next day's raising. I do remember that being selected to participate in this rite was considered an honor and a privilege.

Because I don't have a light for my flag, I do have to set my flag out every morning and bring it in every night, which I thought might be a chore, both to remember to do and to do, but it turns out to be an activity I actually enjoy. First of all, it is now part of my daily routine; bookends on my day. I have also discovered that there's something transformational about taking care of the flag every day. Of course, the flag doesn't really need me to care for it, its being an inanimate object, but on a deeper level, the act of tending to the flag twice a day fosters a caring and respect - in me - that spills over into many other areas, including: love and respect of country, others, and self. 

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July. See you at the parade, and if you see me with my camera, smile.








Camp Wintucket
Camp Wintucket, 1948. My brother, John, is third from left (with his hand on the little sailboat). I wonder if that's Mary Waller, the only girl, with pig-tails.