MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Photo A Day Challenge: Inspired By Song…

The song is: ‘Never Been Gone’ by Carly Simon.

Every trip I make to Martha’s Vineyard this song plays in my head when I’m on the ferry because I truly feel like I’ve never been gone. Carly Simon actually wrote ‘Never Been Gone’ on the ferry Islander on her way home to the Vineyard 🙂

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https://citysonnet.wordpress.com/2018/09/01/september-photo-a-day-challenge/


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MV 1982…

 36 years ago in August 1982 was my first trip back to the Vineyard in too long a time.  I was excited, anxious and also looking forward to showing my family the place I love so much. Both my teenage daughters were supposed come, however, my older daughter Patty decided she didn’t want to, so that meant my younger daughter, Deb would have to face the vacation alone with her parents.  Not a situation a teenager really looks forward to, especially when your mother turns into a crazy woman for most of the trip. Talk about embarrassing, I was the definition of it in her eyes… and quite frankly, I was a tad embarrassing once in awhile. Deb survived the trip mainly by escaping into her books… she can tell you what she was reading and where we were at the time… she still does that.

Aug 1… We drove to Falmouth and stayed there overnight.  Why,  I don’t know.  The fact of being so close to the Vineyard and not actually on it seemed like torture.  We actually drove to Woods Hole that evening just so I could look at the ferries and see the Vineyard.

Aug 2 – 6… I awoke early, okay, not really awoke since you can be sure I didn’t sleep much at all.  After a quick breakfast, we drove to Woods Hole to await the arrival of the ferry.  I was thrilled to be landing in Oak Bluffs, the town I grew up in as a summer kid.

   Then: 1982

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 (The pictures from 1982, the originals are 3×3.. they are somewhat blurry and the colors are not vivid.  I took pictures of them with my digital camera today and have not altered them).

Now:

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We drove into Edgartown and checked into the Kelley House.  The Kelley House hasn’t changed much at all.

Then: 1982

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Now:

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Unpacked, rested maybe 10 minutes and then back to Oak Bluffs to see the sights and maybe do a little reminiscing… maybe a lot.

Oak Bluffs – Lower Circuit Ave… and  Circuit Ave

Then: 1982

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2009 (below)   lower Circuit Ave                                               Circuit Ave 2017

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Ocean Park… the Flying Horses.. and yes, I did take a ride on them 🙂

Then: 1982

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Now: 2017

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Then into the Campground where seeing the Tabernacle for the first time in so many years was kind of emotional for me.  Anyone who reads reads my blog or knows me knows I have a deep attachment for the Tabernacle.

Then: 1982

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Now: 2017

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After dragging leading my little group around town for quite awhile I took pity on them and back to the hotel we went to relax.  It had been a long first day and there were still 4 more to go.  Yippee.

The next morning we headed Up-Island to see Gay Head.  Look closely at the pictures to see the difference in the cliffs from 1982 to 2010.  There’s been erosion and the colors have changed but they’re always an awesome sight to behold.

Then: 1982

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2013:

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On our excursion the next day out to Menemsha we drove past my mother’s relatives house in Indian Hill.  This is where I unknowingly at the time, embarrassed my daughter Deb.  I wanted to get a picture of the house and while doing so notice a man in the backyard I thought I knew.  To get the picture of the house I was standing half in the car and half out… I thought I was being inconspicuous. The man in the back yard didn’t see me but my daughter did and buried her nose deeper into the book she was reading.   I can safely say she laughs about it now, but back then, major mother embarrassment.

Then: 1982

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Now: 2017

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On arriving on the Vineyard I was thrilled to find out we’d be there for Illumination Night.  It had always been my favorite event of the summer (still is) and I was beyond excited to be there for it.  (Cue another embarrassing moment or two) When the community sing began I was amazed at how quickly the words to all the songs came back to me.  I sang, clapped my hands, and was 8 years old again… and my daughter sat as far away from me as she could get… can’t say I blame her, I was a little on the excited side.    I cannot believe I only took ONE picture.

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Now:

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Our four days on the Vineyard came too quickly to an end.  I was sure that I would never get back again… I still feel that way after each trip.

Was I a little on the frenzied side?  Yes.  I had dreamed about being back on the Vineyard for a long time and the reality of it was intense for me.  Quite frankly I still get a touch of it each trip.  My heart still beats quicker the closer to Woods Hole I get and try as I might I just can’t not burst into smiles.

Has my daughter Deb gotten over the embarrassment of her mothers behavior?  Yes she has.  She and I have made more than 20 trips to MV by ourselves and she smiles at, and enjoys my Vineyard persona.

Did my daughter Patty ever make it to the Vineyard?  Yes, finally in 1996 she, her husband Mike, their daughter Tiffany, and son Tyler joined me on the Vineyard.  I loved showing them everything and passing my love of the Vineyard on to my grandchildren.

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But I truly cannot believe the paltry number of pictures I took in ’82… I mean really. ONE picture of Illumination Night. ONE picture of the Tabernacle. ONE picture of Gay Head. Well, things have definitely changed and now with digital cameras I can snap up a storm… and I do… and sometimes with two cameras.


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Church Bells Ring (or do they!)…

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In the Campground in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard sits the Tabernacle, and across from it is Trinity Methodist Church. Trinity Methodist was built in 1878, a year before the Tabernacle was erected. They have shared the same grassy circle known as Trinity Park for over 140 years.

I spent my childhood summers on Martha’s Vineyard and many of those summers I spent my mornings at Bible School in the Tabernacle. As was the custom a girl and a boy would be chosen each morning to walk from the Tabernacle to Trinity Church and ring the 8 o’clock bell. I waited almost all summer to hear my name called, I didn’t think it was ever going to happen. Finally it did and off across the lawn my partner and I scampered.

 Inside the vestibule tied to the staircase railing was the thickest rope I’d ever seen.

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The rope was attached to the bell way, way, way up in the steeple and the longer we stood there and pondered the situation the higher up the bell seemed to get.

First though we had to untie the rope, it did not go well, we fumbled along and finally the rope was free from the railing. Time was ticking but neither of us were aware of how close to 8 o’clock we were coming.

Now all we had to do was pull the rope and the bell would ring and … well, that did not go well either. Neither one of us had enough weight to pull the rope hard enough to ring the bell. Rope burn was the least of our problems though as now we were sure it was after 8 o’clock and we’d failed our mission. With what strength we had left we both grabbed the rope, stood on one of the steps and jumped. Just as our teacher walked in the door to see what the problem was, we heard… bong, bong, bong… it was ringing, the bell was peeling loud and strong, we had succeeded, we were saved … we had only missed the 8 o’clock bell by… oh 10 or so minutes. Who would notice!

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When I got home at lunch time the first thing my mother said was “the 8 o’clock bell was a bit late this morning, do you know who was ringing it this morning?” I said it had been me… she shook her head slowly and said nothing but I did notice a little smile. By the way, I was never asked to ring the bell again.


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Flirting and Dancing At The Tivoli…

The Tivoli building… Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard (circa 1920)

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The two story, full block Tivoli Dance Hall stood from 1901 until 1964. The bottom floor housed shops and an ice cream parlor. My godmother worked in the ice cream parlor and I always enjoyed visiting her there… one time in particular jumps to mind.

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I was 3 years old and had newly mastered winking and was anxious to put it to use.  Sitting at a table behind my mother and facing me was a sailor.  Being that I was wearing a sailor dress I figured we had something in common and so I began winking at him… it did not take long for my mother to notice.  She turned around and as she did the young sailor headed for our table.  He smiled and said he was alone on the Vineyard for the day and wanted to tell my mother how charming he thought I was (blushing here).  Not only did my mother invite him to join us at the table but she invited him home for dinner (this was mid 1940’s). I was amazed at how powerful this winking thing was.  I’ve never forgotten him… I do however keep the winking thing to a minimum.

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The entire second floor of the Tivoli Dance Hall was just that, the dance hall. It was huge, at least in the eyes of a 4 year old being dragged there against her will for a dance lesson. I did like all the windows and how far you could see out of them, I liked the clicking sound my shoes made on the floor, I loved the brand new sundress I had on …

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   …but, I did NOT like the group dancing part.  I remember reluctantly getting in line with the other victims children, but my feet did not move, they planted themselves firmly in one spot and stayed there.  Everyone danced around me but I did not care to join in, not only didn’t I dance I wouldn’t talk to anyone either.

 

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My mother was not happy with me… we did not stop for promised ice cream at the Frosty Cottage on Circuit Ave for ice cream and we didn’t come home with a sailor for dinner either.

 

 


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The Flying Horses of Martha’s Vineyard…

After arriving on the Vineyard each summer of my childhood one of the first orders of business was going to the Flying Horses the oldest carousel in the United States, they came to the Island in 1884 from Coney Island.

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The Flying Horses are not a carousel, or a merry-go-round, they don’t go up and down just round and round. They are flying horses, like Pegasus, and fly to wherever you can imagine . They don’t actually have wings, but as you make the first circuit you feel like you’re about to fly out the open windows.

I flew on these beautiful horses every day when I was a little girl. The ticket taker was a young man who would never take my tickets ! We tried everything to get him to take them… we brought him candy and cookies and tried slipping the tickets in with them… nothing work. At the end of the summer I said I wanted to buy him a gift, so off my mom and I went to purchase what I thought was a novel idea .. a tie. I was 5 years old, what did I know about buying gifts for men… he, by the way was about 13 but in my eyes he was a grown up. We put the tie in the box with all of summer’s uncollected tickets. As he came around to NOT collect my ticket I handed him the box. He smiled. Ah ha, success… or so I thought. As we were leaving the Flying Horses he came over and thanked us for the tie and as we turned to leave he handed us the tickets. I won’t say who he is, just that he turned out to be an official in Oak Bluffs in later years… and someone I’ve never forgotten.

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The picture below was taken during the autumn when the Flying Horses had closed for the season but it didn’t mean I didn’t get a picture of them though. I positioned my camera close to the window and clicked…I got the horses… I also got the reflection of the camera and the reflection of the building across the street. I think it’s pretty neat.

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The last time I flew on the Flying Horses my granddaughter Tiffany was with me.  I thought it might be my last time ever to ride them (I think that every time anyway)… and as my horse came around to the arm shooting the rings out I could see that the next one, the one waiting for me was the GOLD ring.  What a fantastic way to possibly end my Flying Horses ride.

 But I missed it … my fingers slipped and I couldn’t grab it.  But… right behind me was my granddaughter and she got it 🙂  She offered me the free ride but it meant more to me that she should have it.  Perfect ending, if indeed it was.

 

Rings of gold are good luck I’m told…

as for riding Flying Horses you’re never too old 🙂

 


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Tasting and Tripping On The Vineyard…

Date: June, 1993 –

                                Place: Martha’s Vineyard –

                                                                Occasion: A Taste of the Vineyard

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 25 years ago my daughter Deb and I decided  to treat ourselves to A Taste of the Vineyard, we’d never gone before and it seemed like a fun and different thing to do. Off we went to the Vineyard for a glorious long weekend of eating, shopping and tasting. The weather turned brutally hot all along the Eastern seaboard, it verged on 100 degress which is unusual for mid June. A few hours before the Taste was to begin welcomed thunder storms rolled in and dropped the temps about 25 degrees. The evening was cool and clear and perfect.

We donned our new outfits and headed over to the grounds of the Preservation Trust which are located at the Dr Daniel Fisher house in Edgartown. The house is a beautiful Federal style home surrounded by lush gardens. It’s gorgeous.

We gingerly and hungrily entered the tents where all foods and drinks were on display. Lots of eager tasters were already there. We got our dishes and start wending through the crowds. We found seats and set about our tastings.

The tables were set with crisp white tablecloths.. in the middle of the tables were mounds of sand with seashells and rocks scattered about and a large hurricane lamp with candle sitting in the middle of the sand. Simple and tasteful, much like the occasion. The bite sized portions of appetizers and entrees were just satisfyingly enough. Had to leave room for the abundance of dessert samples after all.

But… the thing that mostly interested me was trying for the first time the Frozen Cappuccino from Espresso Love one of my most favorite places on MV. I returned to our table with my cup, eager to taste what smelled and looked delicious. I set it on the table… or at least I thought I had…

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…but no, I had sort of placed it precariously near the edge and it landed in my daughters lap, almost the entire cup of cappuccino!!!!! On her new skirt !

**(The part of the original skirt is now being portrayed by a stand-in)

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Deb loved the skirt and had hoped to wear many, many times. I felt awful, I still do… it was an accident. I mean after all I myself had gotten a drop or two on my new shoes. We cleaned her up as best we could and I believe she went and got me a second cup of frozen cappuccino. I set it down on the table and… it hit the rocks and there before our eyes it oozed from the rocks and sand onto the table cloth. It looked like the tide had come in… it wasn’t pretty and it was embarrassing.

 

Could it be that maybe the third time would work! I had to find out so off I went for the third cup of frozen cappuccino. I walked carefully back to the table, avoiding being bumped or nudged. I approached the table… Deb grimaced… I held the cup tightly in both hands… I bent to set it down… and… I did it, I made solid contact with table. I then raised the cup to my lips and actually got to taste the frozen cappuccino and I have to tell you… it was good, it was very very good, it was joy to my taste buds. I loved it and I still do, I try to have one at least once during every trip to MV. And of course I feel compelled to apologize each time to my daughter for her long lost beautiful skirt.

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This blurry picture of the two of us was taken at the end of the evening. At least we’re laughing because no matter what, we always enjoy ourselves on the Vineyard.

(PS.. apology #107..I’m still sorry about the skirt)


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The Train To The Vineyard…

Mid-June every summer of my childhood my mother and I would start our trip to the Vineyard.for the entire summer There was no I-95, not that we had a car anyway… no, our train travels would begin in Newark, New Jersey and end in Woods Hole. Yes, WOODS HOLE, trains used to go right to the ferry.

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We would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to Pennsylvania station in New York city where we would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole. Pennsylvania Station was built in 1910, covered nearly 8 acres, extended 2 city blocks and was one of the largest public spaces in the world. Its 3 year demolition began in October 1963. It was replace with another Penn Station which Madison Sq Garden sits atop… it’s functional but not as beautiful as the original 🙂

 

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The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins.  The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.

100_8757 The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of this photograph. It was literally only steps from train to boat. A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway.

(Woods Hole circa 1890’s)                                         (circa 1950’s)

The ferry, the Nobska/Nantucket would take us to MV.

We’d land in Oak Bluffs and our relatives would be there to greet us, and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.

We traveled light, I would have my favorite doll, Beverly, and my teddy bear with me and my mother would have a small suitcase with a few belongings in it, the rest of the things… like ALL my toys we sent to and from the Vineyard by Railway Express.

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It took days for the rest of our things to arrive and Beverly and I would watch every day for the Railway Express truck to arrive at our house…

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…and then summer on the Vineyard would officially be under way 🙂