Who Was Martha, Anyway?

Two more bulletins from Martha’s Vineyard by our far-flung correspondent Ray LaPorte. So, the handy Wikipedia tells us that English seaman Bartholomew Gosnold ventured near the Atlantic coast in 1602 and named a smaller island near today’s M.V. for his young daughter who had died—and historians say the name migrated to the larger island; the local Wampanoags called the island Noepe (“land amid the streams”).—PM


Aug. 10, 2013

As a fifth generation Lowell native with a deep sense of belonging, and despite living elsewhere for half of my life, I am always amazed how often connections to my hometown appear wherever I may be and without much prodding. Just yesterday the Tilt-a-Whirl  truck heading by my office on the way to the Vineyard Fairgrounds was a Cushing Amusement vehicle from Wilmington. A local Vineyard Haven eclectic shop has an “On The Road” t-shirt displayed all summer in its window, always bringing a smile to me as I pass by. And this weekend, my old friend and former Lowell Historic Preservation Commission (LHPC) colleague, Fred Faust, is here visiting, and so we had our Lowell gal pal and former LHPC colleague and now Vineyarder, Pam Chicklis Scott, over for dinner.  Needless to say, the entire dinner conversation was about Lowell and our collective work there in the heady eighties and how the old home town has blossomed since. As we await the impending arrival of POTUS, et al, we shall head to a secluded beach to swim, avoid the crowds, and enjoy a summer day while they last.
On The Road shirt (4)

Aug. 11, 2013

POTUS arrived mid-day Saturday aboard one of two presidential helicopters that crossed Vineyard Sound trailing three very impressive V-22 Osprey aircraft http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrzhPf_a6Vw , something new to us and an impressive sight to see and rumble to hear. From our vantage point on the beach a mile south, it seemed a smaller flight formation than previous sightings, but still plenty of Coast Guard watercraft running about with bow-mounted machine guns. A very noticeable and welcome side affect of his visit is the total lack of recreational planes and private jets in the air, reminiscent of those eerie days following 9/11. Am I wrong to be happy that a few jetting one-percent-ers are being inconvenienced by his vacation here? And unlike previous years, cell phone service and strength has not been noticeably affected, but we now don’t mention certain words while using cell phones, internet searches, or e-mailing. Last evening after dinner we went to Oak Bluffs for a stroll, and our first ice cream of the season (really!), chocolate raspberry for us, lemon sorbet for Fred (really Fred?). And other than a Channel 4 news broadcast van set up with person-on-street interviewer poised for taping, there seemed no big buzz or chatter about the visit. We are at full capacity and not a nattering nabob of GOP discontent can be heard. It’s nice to live in the Democratic Republic of Martha’s Vineyard in August despite the inconveniences.

—Raymond LaPorte, reporting from Vineyard Haven