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 the wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Edwina B.

Edwina B., Old Sculpin Gallery

I've had my eye on this sweet little catboat docked off the rear of Floyd Norton's boathouse for the past couple of weeks. I ran into Floyd at Depot Market yesterday and was glad to have a chance to inquire about it. According to Floyd, this boat was built by our own Manuel Swartz Roberts in his shop - now Old Sculpin Gallery - that happens to be diagonally across the street from where she is now berthed. Floyd says, "She's right where she belongs, back home." Floyd also told me that the boat was donated to the MV Preservation Trust (full Vineyard Gazette story: link). He also shared boyhood memories of climbing down into the boats as Manuel was building them and gathering up the wood shavings. "He'd give me a pot of copper paint and a brush - I thought I was really something."

Edwina B, Old Sculpin Gallery
Old Sculpin Gallery, the former home of Manuel Swartz Roberts' boat-building shop. The wide wood floor of the gallery still has the worn spots - in the shape of a boat - that reveal where Manuel's main work area was.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Morning Egg

Remember a few years back (who can keep track, the verdict changes so often) when the authorities decided that eggs were bad for us? Here were my dear mother's thoughts on the matter, written for her friend David Hewlett, then-organist at the Federated Church whose weekly lunchtime concerts she attended regularly; penned sometime during the 1980s, I believe.

Alison Boylston Piazza, poetry

For David by Alison Boylston Piazza

Take away my nicotine,

Sugar, butter, and caffeine,

Salt, without a single doubt,

Is something I can do without,

And living without alcohol

Doesn't bother me at all,

But please, on bended knee I beg,

Don't take away my morning egg!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Moons and Junes and Ferris Wheels


Do you smell the honeysuckle? My yard is presently filled with its fragrance - a full, pungent aroma that triggers memories of every Edgartown summer of my life, especially those carefree childhood Junes when the world was ours and we had all the time in the world; the time and the patience to gingerly pull the little round nubbin off the end of the blossom and slowly pull the long stamen through the shaft until the tiny bead of nectar appeared; a droplet of delicate sweetness.




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No, the New Baby's Name is Not Button Tub

In response to a funny phone call I received yesterday afternoon - a friend who knew that the birth of my third grandchild was imminent reported her fleeting thought that I was announcing the arrival when she saw the title of yesterday's post - I am proud to announce that Rebekah and Adam's daughter was born last Wednesday, June 15; 3:03pm; 7#14oz. Her name is Shadow, and she has been pronounced perfect by the authorities. Shadow joins big brother, River. I have yet to meet the lass, but I am told she is beautiful.

(if anyone is keeping track, that's three babies in less than two years - does it get any better than this?)

Welcome, Shadow!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Welcome, Button Tub

On Sunday, as promised, the Edgartown Fireman's Association hosted an ice-cream social in honor of the Button tub hand-pumper's installation into its newly built, climate-controlled room at the Edgartown Fire Museum. Dick Kelly emphasized that Sunday's party was what's called a "soft opening;" with the main event - a gala opening of the museum - scheduled for September. It was a fine day for socializing and ice-cream, getting a glimpse of the many good things to come, and for supporting a great project.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social

The walls of the Edgartown Fire Museum feature big, beautiful posters that depict some of the history of the EFD. Above is a shot of the old station on Church Street (I had practically forgotten all about that place), the site of today's visitors' center.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
This is Edgartown's famous antique hand-pumper, in its new, climate-controlled room. 
The write-up with the display reads:
Button Tub Hand Pumper
This was the third fire apparatus used on Martha's Vineyard. It was made in 1855 by L. Button & Co. of Waterford, NY. Bought by the town of Edgartown for $1,000, it was actively used for over 75 years. The engine drew its water from cisterns scattered around town, and the water pressure needed was produced through manual pumping. It could throw one stream 150 feet; two streams, 125 feet; and three streams, 100 feet high. At full capacity, the engine could pump more than ten barrels per minute. In theory, this would have meant the work of 42 men, although the size of the team 
was usually closer to 30.
The tub was restored by the Edgartown Firemen's Association in 1984.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Dick Kelly and Peter Look

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Jesse Maciel with daughter Madison.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Jesse, Madison, and Emily.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Phyllis Brown; Jesse, Madison, and Emily; Peter Look - generations one, three, and four.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Three of the masterminds behind the project: Andrew Kelly, with Peggy and Steve Zablotny, whose Vineyard Haven design firm, Z Studio,  is responsible for the layout and design of the museum.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Maisie Sherman

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
EMT Kate Conde

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Just a few of an estimated 700 fire department patches that have been collected by various members and friends of EFD. The above, specifically, are patches that Dick Kelly has collected from his many trips to Canada. Dick travels with a supply of EFD patches that he trades with other departments.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
The 1927 Mack is a show stopper, everywhere she goes.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Peggy Zablotny enjoys the ride.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Susan Kelly, Steve Zablotny, Dick Kelly, and Khalid Dore.
When Dick Kelly joined the department in 1956, Hose Co. No. 1 was still in service; Dick would spend his first four years as a fireman on this truck.

Edgartown Fire Department, ice cream social
Khalid Dore (Dick Kelly, b.g.)

Riding on Hose Co. No. 1 from Sara Piazza on Vimeo.
Haven't you always wanted to ride on a fire truck?
I had an opportunity to ride on Edgartown Fire Department's 1927 Mack today. It was quite a thrill, especially with the bell ringing and the siren blaring.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Surf Report

Surf Report from Sara Piazza on Vimeo.

Video shot at South Beach, "right fork."

The weatherman called for a rainy weekend, but, as I tell my off-island friends, "Never believe the weather forecast for the island - it's always wrong." Indeed, we seem to be in an alternate universe, weather-wise (as well as in many other ways), as today there's not a cloud in the sky (hmmm...perhaps the bride I will be photographing later today remembered to put her rosary beads out on the porch last night - I've seen this old trick work many times). There's a bit of fog out at the beach, but that will soon burn off, as usual.

It seems that the recent low-pressure activity has kicked up a bit of a swell, albeit - by this morning, anyway - quite wind-blown.

I think there may be some activity up-island, at least that's what I'm hoping for for tomorrow afternoon - the first opportunity I'll have to get into some waves.

PS - so much for the so-called wind-filter on the G12.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Couple of Locals

RW Cutler Bike Shop
Dave Corcoran and Willie Pate

Main Street, Monday Morning

1936 Chevy Truck
1936 Chevy

Come One, Come All

Edgartown Fire Museum
Engine 1

On Sunday June 19, the Edgartown Firemen's Association will be hosting an ice cream social in honor of the 1855 hand-pumper's official welcome into its newly-built space at the Edgartown Fire Museum.

The public is invited to attend this event, which is scheduled to run from 1pm to 3pm at the museum, behind the fire station on Robinson Road.

(I had a sneak-peak at one of the exhibits in the museum today - this place is going to be amazing.)

See you there.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

First-Swim Update

Bend in the Road beach, Edgartown

My friend Liz H., who is too modest to boast of it here, informs me that her first swim was on May 27. That gives me a date to beat for next year. Yes, I'm actually a very competitive person, didn't you know? I'm so competitive, I can't stand traffic being ahead of me on the highway, and I am constantly setting new goals for and competing with myself, even. There's a well known teaching story about the day that the (mythical) town leaders, fearing that competition was causing strife among its residents, decided to banish all competition. As a result, nothing was ever again accomplished in that town; not a building built, or a business begun, or a game played among the children. The lesson of the story, of course, is that competition is part of what motivates us to succeed and even at times surpass ourselves.

Bravo, Liz - and see you at the Bend next May 26.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In the Swim

It's that time of year again - can you believe it? Yesterday, June 9, I took my third swim of the season. I began on June 7, the earliest that I can remember in some years, inspired by this week's heat-wave and having worked up a good sweat over at my Plantingfield Way house. Mind you, it's not my usual 1/8-1/4 mile; more like a very fast 50' - and then out, as the water is chilly. According to the MV Coastal Observatory, the near-bottom water temp (off of South Beach) is 59.1 degrees. It's probably a bit warmer at Bend in the Road, but not by much - let me tell you, once I hit that water (no slow-entry for this girl, either; I'm the run-and-dive type), I am wide awake. But then again, if I wanted warm water I'd either move to Florida or stay home and take a bath.

Edgartown Bend-in-the-Road Beach

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Uncle Orin

Orin Norton, Edgartown's Blacksmith
Orin Norton, Edgartown's last blacksmith, source unknown, 
probably taken between 1950-60.
(Thank you, ALM, for sending it)

When I was a little girl knocking around my Uncle Orin's farm - way up the hill, at the end of what is now called Norton Orchard Road -  where my grandmother, mother, brother, and I were often invited to pick corn and other vegetables that were in abundance; or wandering around down on Dock street, in and out of his blacksmith shop (where he once admonished me for coming into his shrapnel-covered floors barefoot but gave me a dime for penny candy anyway), I had no idea that he was a living treasure, Edgartown's last blacksmith who would be written up in National Geographic, and reminisced over so fondly; our own living legend, bent over his forge, crafting scallop drags, quahog rakes, anchors, ploughshares - every piece of metal that we needed for our farming and fishing lives.

How could we, as kids, have known these things? If we had, we'd have paid much closer attention.