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 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.

Joan Freeman Boyken’s grandmother Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Baird died in the house that is now the Sweet Life Cafe — a sweet ending to a great story. –