As seen, or not seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
What’s it like to finally meet someone you’ve admired for years, someone you have come close to meeting through mutual friends but didn’t for one reason or another, and so you resigned yourself to the fact that it would never happen! Carly Simon has always been an inspiration to me through her song lyrics and through her written words, and to meet her, although for only a few minutes…. well, it was down right awesome, nerve wracking and surreal and all I hoped it would be.
After 40 years of being a fan and admirer of Carly Simon – 5 concerts (MV with Harry Connick Jr, NJ art center, Lincoln Center, the Apollo and Joe’s Pub in NYC)…
After a lifetime of both of us having a connection to Martha’s Vineyard and never ever meeting each other it finally happened on Oct 24th here in NJ at Carly’s book signing for her new book ‘Touched By The Sun’ about her long time friend ship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
How did this come to be after all these years? Carly has done signings of CD’s and books over the years in NYC but I’ve never been able to make them, but when it was announced she was going to be on this side of the Hudson River in New Jersey and not far from where I live, and an early evening appearance… we knew it had to be now or possibly never.
My daughter got off from work early and we left around 3 for the 6 o’clock signing. We got to Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ around 4. There were already maybe 7 people in line outside, we went into the book store to purchase our reserved copies of the book which were our tickets into the event, got a refreshment and then got in line which had swelled to about 12 people by then. I was so relieved to be near the front, and my daughter could relax knowing she had delivered me bright and early to the event. I tend to get anxious sometimes and this was absolutely one of those times. The final estimate was between 250-300 people. Around 5 they led us into the bookstore and downstairs into a large room where they had a sort of roped off maze of lanes which led up to the front of the room where there was a desk. My description is horrible but the concept was great as it kept everyone orderly and in order of how you first got in line. As in most cases when you’re in a line for awhile for something you begin chatting with those around you, some were sitting on the floor already reading Carly’s book, my daughter was knitting socks, everyone was friendly, happy and anxious for 6pm to roll around.
A little after 6 we were all led back upstairs where Carly was seated behind a desk waiting for her eager fans.
Carly looked gorgeous, she was charming, gracious and warm, she didn’t rush anyone and spoke to you like the two of you were the only ones in the room. I was afraid I would turn out to be one of those ‘gushy’ fans that says the same things she’s heard a zillion times so I practiced in my head what I wanted to say in the short amount of time I had. I did not gush, I did not blather, I did not forget my name, or hers, I was my version of cool.
I wonder if we were both thinking the same thing…
If you’re wondering why the pictures show the back of the jacket I have on, it’s from Carly’s tour in 1978 when her ‘Boys In The Trees’ album came out. I came into possession of the jacket through two mutual friends of mine and Carly’s and thought she might get a kick out of seeing it. She did.
Thank you Carly for all the years of your incredible music,your heart felt lyrics (there’s a Carly song for every emotion), and for books, you are truly an inspiration.
Maude Louise Littlefield
Born in Waterville, Maine
Raised on Martha’s Vineyard
my mother, Maude Louise and grandmother, Albra Mae – Oak Bluffs, 1924\
Moved to New Jersey after high school graduation and met a Jersey boy, Joseph Albert (Al)…
married him and had a Jersey girl (me)
The next to the last Mother’s Day I spent with my mom was May 1975. My parents were vacationing on the Cape and she was unaware that we were driving up from NJ to surprise her for the weekend. I gave her the book ‘Mostly On Martha’s Vineyard, A Personal Record’ by Henry Beetle Hough, as I knew she’d know some of the people mentioned in the book. I am so glad I did that because after reading the book she decided she wanted to sail over to the Vineyard to visit her mother’s grave. It turned out be her last trip to her beloved Vineyard.
Can’t let Mother’s Day pass without pictures of my sweeties…
Daughters Patty and Debbie…
Grandchildren Tiffany and Tyler…
I think one of the nicest children’s books about MV is “Chappaquiddick Lullaby – a song of Martha’s Vineyard” by Stacy Elizabeth Hall and illustrated by Judith Pfeiffer.
The book also includes a CD by Kate Taylor and Taylor Brown.
The book is basically about the activities and daydreams that children have during the summer. The illustrations are abundant with Island landmarks and places… you need to read the book several times before you’ve picked out everything included in this rich and lovely book.
One of the things that drew us to this book is that we had our own Chappaquiddick in the family and when we found out that there was a Chappy song, sung no less by Kate who we, and Chappy, have had the pleasure of meeting… well, we had to have the book.
(P.S… Chappy passed away a few months ago but these precious memories linger on and I’m always happy to share them).
I want to mention Stacy’s first book also…
“The Legend of Katama” is a beautifully told story of Katama, a brave young Wampanoag woman and how she changed her world.
Interestingly this our first dog who was named….. Katama (Katy)… do you see a pattern here
Back on June 19 I posted this picture of my mother on Facebook..
A few hours later I was tagged in this Facebook post from Becky Cournoyer from MV …
Becky goes on to say…’Found written on the last page of a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress – the list of students of the senior class of 1926, Oak Bluffs High School. Copy of the book was owned by Maude Louise Littlefield. I love finding this stuff!’
And there in black and white is my mother’s handwriting…
I had no idea that this book existed, none at all.
Becky and I post back and forth, a few others join in and the whole thing takes on an eerie air… so many coincidences and things happening on similar dates to both of us.
Becky posts…. ‘I had no idea that finding this book would have any significance. When I found it I appreciated it for the old island names listed. I assumed it belonged to one of the West Tisbury Littlefields, and somehow made it to the farm from one of the book sales the library has during the summer. It makes me wonder what else is yet to be discovered.
I also wonder if this was a graduation present… I recall reading somewhere it was not uncommon back then for graduates to receive books as gifts from the school the students attended.’
And then Becky posts this…
And so 89 years after my mother’s graduation the book that I only learned about recently has returned home to me.
The box has arrived…
…and there tucked inside was… the book…
The progress of this little pilgrim took almost 90 years but it finally made it home.
It was surprising and exciting to find out about my mother’s book only a month ago… but this little book had one more surprise for me !
I carefully opened the book…
and there on the first page was written in my mother’s handwriting… “Miss Maude Littlefield’s was Charles G. Littlefield’s”… I gasped, this book had been my grandfather’s who died when my mother Maude was only 3 years old. This book is over 100 years old and I wish it could talk because I’m sure it has many stories to tell.
I know a lot about my grandmother Albra Mae but I know next to nothing about my grandfather Charles Littlefield and to have something that was his is very special.
Charles Albra Mae
Thank you Becky Cournoyer, thank you Facebook and thank you to the spirits that surround us and sometimes really need to be listened to.
By the way, this all came about because of the post I recently did about my dad CLICK HERE.. because when I was going thru pictures of him the graduation picture of my mother fell out of the pile and when I turned it over and saw it was the exact day 89 years ago I thought it would be neat to post the picture on Facebook… and indeed it was. The mystery of the book has been cleared up for Becky Cournoyer and I get my mother’s book.
Thank you to my grandparents… Charles G Littlefield and Albra Mae Littlefield Grant Baird for their help and guidance 🙂
UPDATE… AUG 7, 2015 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you to Skip Finley for mentioning this story in his Oak Bluffs column in the Vineyard Gazette.
Oak Bluffs Town Column: August 7
Sometimes the history of Oak Bluffs and its people takes a fortuitous turn in providing great stories. I found a sweet story recently thanks to social media about longtime Oak Bluffs resident and visitor Joan Freeman Boyken and Islander Becky Cournoyer. Joan writes a beautiful blog at mvobsession.com that I read with some regularity and that you might enjoy as well.
Joan calls herself a “Vineyard-a-holic” and her blog is filled with new and old pictures of the Island — especially Oak Bluffs — that she uses to share her family history here, going back to before the 1940s to when she was a little girl.
In this story, Ms. Cournoyer, while researching her ancestry, was steered to Mrs. Boyken’s blog by the name Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Baird, the second wife of Arthur Baird Sr., and Joan Boyken’s grandmother.
Albra’s first husband was Charles Littlefield, who died when Joan’s mother, Maude Littlefield, was three years old. Joan posted a picture of Maude on her blog this past June 19, the same day that Becky sent her a note on Facebook that she had a copy of the book Pilgrim’s Progress and that on the last page was a list of the Oak Bluffs High School senior class of 1926 written by the owner at the time, Maude Louise Littlefield.
Do you suppose it was coincidence that graduation day in 1926 was also June 19, the date on the back of Maude’s graduation picture that Joan had posted? Well, how about the part where Maude had written, “If this book should chance to roam give it a kick and send it home.” Becky Cournoyer did just that, sending the copy of Pilgrim’s Progress home to Joan Freeman Boyken.
If you’re looking for a summer read about the adventures of a summer kid growing up on the Vineyard in Oak Bluffs in the 50’s and 60’s…. this book is for you.
Even if you’re not on the Vineyard and just want to read a really, really charming, and interesting book, this book is for you.
I just finished reading this book “The Vineyard We Knew: by Kevin Parham . I enjoyed it immensely because like Kevin, I too was a summer kid on the Vineyard in Oak Bluffs during the 50’s and early 60’s. Our paths never crossed, and even though I’m quite a bit older than Kevin, we did do some of the same things and go to the same places. Flying Horses, Darling’s popcorn, Oak Bluffs beach (now known as the Inkwell) but I only knew it as … the beach … lol. If you enjoy stepping back into time little bit and reading about Martha’s Vineyard the way it used to be then treat yourself to Kevin’s book.
** (photographs used by permission of Kevin Parham)
Here’s a little of Kevin’s introduction which pretty much says the way I feel about the Vineyard too :
“The Island of Martha’s Vineyard is a magical place filled with enchantment and wonder. For more than half a century I have been under its whimsical spell – one that continues to lure me back year after year.
Just as a migrating bird is compelled to return to a specific geographic region each spring, I gravitate back to the Vineyard. I do this not only to reconnect to a time gone by, but also to reenergize my soul so I am inspired to reach the full potential of my life’s purpose.
Those who visit Martha’s Vineyard for the first time often develop an irresistible urge to come back, an urge most people don’t readily recognize, perhaps because it resides at the subconscious – or even deeper molecular – level. Just as is true when one is addicted to a powerful drug, once you are hooked you reach a point at which you can no longer do without it.
I have long since crossed that line of demarcation in my relationship with Martha’s Vineyard. “
** (excerpt used with permission of Kevin Parham).