MV Obsession

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


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Looking Back At April 2009 (Dog Sitting)…

April 2009…A friend of my daughter Deb’s asked us if we’d like to dog sit for their two Labs, Silas and Balou.  So Deb, her dog Chappy and I set out for MV .No matter how many times I go to the Vineyard my heart skips a beat or two when I see the above sign and the rotary welcoming you to Cape Cod. This was our first time sailing on the then new ferry, Island Home. Seven miles and 45 minutes later we touched tire in Vineyard Haven. We were about to start an Island adventure like none before.

100_8616 (2) Here is Deb surrounded by a happy, friendly threesome. Chappy on the left, Balou in the front and Silas being petted. We have never met nicer dogs, they are well behaved, sweet, gentle and loving, patient and fun. There wasn’t one moment that we didn’t enjoy being with them. Oh, okay, maybe when Balou was trying so hard to tell us things and we just were too slow on the uptake… but generally speaking (or woofing) things went very, very well.

100_8636 Except for the weather. Two of the days we were there were wet… very, very wet. And when they said soaking rain they meant it.

100_8646 (2) This picture was taken from inside our dry car looking out at Edgartown Harbor. Wet, wet, wet. It was windy too. And wet.

But there were times of no rain and actuall brilliant sunshine and so off on our walks in the woods we would venture. The 4 leggeds were happy to be out and about sniffing, walking, and being together.

In all too short a time our dog sitting adventure came to an end and it was time to head home.

Chappy is waiting to say goodbye to his new friends. He had a great time with Silas and Balou.

The Island Home is waiting for us and all too soon we are setting tire in Woods Hole and back to reality.

This of course is my take on our dog sitting adventure but Chappy himself made a guest appearance on the blog and really, you should read his… CLICK HERE

Here’s a little bit of what Chappy eloquently had to say:

*’a friend of my mom’s invited us to dog sit… I didn’t actually notice anyone sitting like a dog (except my dog friends) but humans have weird jargon sometimes. I just go with the flow and don’t ask questions.

And….

Oak Bluffs is another of our favorite towns to walk around in.  If you look really really close you can see mom and me standing outside the movie theatre on the corner.  She’s taking photos and I’m trying to keep one eye on her and one eye on gram who wandered off to the other side of the information booth.  Man, keeping them together would be so much easier if they were both leashed.


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Ups and Downs Of The Vineyard…

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The eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard is called Down-Island and the western half is called Up-Island. Why you ask? To confuse you, that’s why. Not really, at least not on purpose. There is a very logical reason and here it is according to the MV website.

” Up-Island is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Down-Island is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). The two terms come from the rich seagoing tradition of Martha’s Vineyard, which once sent its whaling ships circuling the globe heading “up” in nautical terms takes you “west” because it’s further from zero degrees of longitude in Greenwich, England, home of the Prime Meridian.”

Well then, according to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard we have this explanation. “When a ship sails in an easterly direction, it is decreasing or running “down” the degrees of longitude toward zero at Greenwich, England. A westbound vessel, on the other hand, is running “up” its longitude. Thus the Down-Island town are those on the eastern and northeastern end of the Island. The Up-Island communities are at the western end. A ship moving through Vineyard Sound sails “up” to New York and “down” east to Maine.” Ah ha.

OK, I’m still confused but I do know how to get from Down-Island to Up-Island and not get lost… it’s an Island, how lost could one get anyway.

Got all that… me neither 🙂

But that’s not the only confusion about the Vineyard … she had an identity crisis at one time involving Massachusetts and New York.

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Martha! Martin! New York! Massachusetts! How many aliases and states have claimed this 100 sq mile island? The Wampanoags named it Noepe and that stuck until Bartholomew Gosnold came along in 1602.

No one seems to know who the Martin was whose name was once attached to the Vineyard… so let’s move ahead to Martha whose identity is still shrouded in myth. Was she one of Gosnold’s daughters, or his mother, or the name of an English royal. Whoever she was her name stuck and in my opinion has a nicer ring to it then Martin’s Vineyard.

According to the book “The History of Martha’s Vineyard” by Arthur R. Railton, in 1664 Charles II gave NY, NJ and the islands to the east to his brother, the Duke of York. In 1670 Thomas Mayhew, Jr and his grandson Matthew of Massachusetts traveled to NY to ask Gov Lovelace which colony his Island was under… New York or Massachusetts. Gov Lovelace made Thomas Mayhew “Governor for Life” of Martha’s Vineyard and gave him the authority to collect rents from all who lived within its bounds. Voila, Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts. History lesson over. 🙂

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My One Vineyard Christmas…

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I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard around Christmastime many times but to my recollection there is only one time in my life that I actually spent Christmas on the Vineyard. I was probably around 5 or 6 and my mother and I went to MV to be with my godparents.

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Edward and Gertrude Norris (Nana and Pop) were my godparents. They lived part of the year in their house in Oak Bluffs which is where I spent my childhood summers. The other part of the year they lived in Newark, NJ downstairs in the same house we lived in. They were the most important people in my life besides my parents. They never had children of their own and they thought of us as their family. When my mother graduated from high school on MV she moved to Newark, NJ to live with them and to find work.

One Christmas, in the early 1950’s, when Nana and Pop were elderly, having health problems and living year round on the Vineyard and missing us, my mother decided she and I should go and spend Christmas with them. I was too young to realize this might be the last Christmas for one or both of them, all I knew was that I was going to wake up Christmas morning ON THE VINEYARD. How great would that be. The only glitch was that my dad couldn’t get off work to come with us but he insisted we go. Talk about being torn.

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I seem to remember there was a dusting of snow on Christmas morning… even if there wasn’t I like to think there was.  There were presents… one in particular I remember because I asked for it every year. A nurses kit. It was a white square box with a red cross on the side. Inside were band-aids, gauze bandages, a wooden thermomenter and a stethescope, a name tag… and the most important article.. a nurses cap. I spent the most of the morning bandaging people up whether they wanted to be or not.

All of a sudden I heard a faint knock on the front door !! I ran to open it and let out a shriek… it was my dad standing there with a big smile and a shirt box. A shirt box !! Yes indeed that’s all he had with him. No suitcase. No duffle bag. Just a shirt box with a couple of clean shirts and other essentials inside it. He liked to travel light.

It turned out to be one of the most wonderful Christmases of my childhood.

I am blessed to have the memories of that one Christmas on Martha’s Vineyard and of Nana and Pop, two people who were such an important part of my life.

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….and happy holiday memories to all. ❤


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October On The Vineyard, Part I …

October is speeding along too quickly and if I’m doing posts about October on Martha’s Vineyard I’d better get going on them.

I was lucky enough to spend 5 glorious days on the Vineyard with my daughter Deb and our friend and honorary family member, Dawn.   We packed a lot into the days we were there including meeting a new step-cousin and visiting with a dear friend as well.

In this first post let’s visit the

Hope you enjoyed this autumn walk through the Campground.

Stay tuned for upcoming exciting, fun-filled and picturesque adventures. 🙂

Links…

Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Assn

history of the Campground

the Tabernacle

 


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Stitching The Vineyard…

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This is my wall of Vineyard counted cross stitch projects. The Vineyard map in the upper left hand corner was the first one in 1993. Tisbury in the bottom middle was the last one in 2011. There were other non-MV projects done in between the Vineyard ones and I also did eight more of the Vineyard maps during that time too.

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These are not the only Vineyard counted cross stitches I’ve done though. The one closest to my heart is the Tabernacle designed especially for me by my daughter Deb. (please excuse the glare).

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The Tabernacle is my favorite place on the Vineyard for many reasons and so this picture means more to me than I can ever put into words.

This is my counted cross stitch masterpiece. My daughter Deb took a photograph of the Tabernacle… blew it up to an 8×10 and charted it by hand on graph paper. There might have been computer programs for that but this was the early 1990’s and she didn’t have one and I’m not sure we even had a computer!. She also bought the material and my daughter Patty bought the threads and that was my Christmas gift that year. All I had to do was sew it. People always ask how long it takes to do projects so I kept track. Over the course of 3 months I sewed a total of 138 hours… every inch of the picture is counted cross stitches… even all the blue sky… and there seemed like endless amounts of that. After it was finished we took it, along with the original 5×7 photograph and had it framed. For a couple of years I just wasn’t happy with the frame though so when I had my other MV counted cross stitches framed I gave this picture a new one. I also added a little plaque at the bottom that says The Tabernacle, Oak Bluffs – Martha’s Vineyard.

But I had said I couldn’t do it… ever… I would never be able to do counted cross stitch. Too hard. Too boring. I had too many excuses. Then my daughter Deb saw the counted cross stitch of the map of Martha’s Vineyard and the rest is history. We figured if I was ever to do counted cross stitching surely something Vineyard related would get me started. She even said that if I hated doing it she’d finish the map for me. Sounded like a good deal and so I began. One X after another… counting, counting every single stitch… but then it started looking like MV and I was pretty impressed and proud of myself.

We even got written up in the Vineyard Gazette… June 21, 1996

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Vineyard Friendships…

Vineyard stories about friends…

Let’s begin with the two friends who pretty much started the Vineyard connection in my family.  My mother Maude Freeman (on right) and her best friend Bertha Carter Jones (on left).

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Childhood friends on the Vineyard, they graduated in 1926 from Oak Bluffs High School (pre-regional high school).  After graduation they moved to Newark, NJ and it was there that they met their future husbands.. who were also childhood friends.

My dad Al Freeman on the left, Bill Jones on the right.

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They grew up together in Newark, NJ and remained friends their entire lives.  The best times they had were on the Vineyard when both of our families were there for the entire summer.

For many years Bertha & Bill Jones owned a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs across from the Flying Horses.  They did not have automated pin setters so the pins had to be set by hand, I even did it from time to time myself.

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Then along came Will Jones and me… not only best friends because our parents were but because we knew each other from early childhood.  How early you wonder ?  We were only a few months old when we met,  Will is a month older than me by the way and I never let him forget it… even now 🙂

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The above picture has to be around 1947 or 48, it was during the month or so that I was taller than Will.

 

Will and I were always looking for things to keep us busy and out of trouble.  Someone showed me how to make little flowers by using yarn and forks… I immediately showed Will. We set about our tasks, me at my house, he at his.

The next morning Will’s mom called my mom asking if he was at my house ?  Seems she went looking for a fork and couldn’t find any !!! A few minutes later Will was at my door, and yes, he had all his mother”s forks with him and they were filled with yarn.  Seems I had neglected to show him ow to get the yarn off the forks to make the little flowers.Oopsie.

Will had carried those forks from his house on the other side of Oak Bluffs by the harbor.. up Circuit Ave to my house where we freed his mother’s forks of their yarn.  I have no recollection of what we did with the yarn flowers.

 

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Last but not least, my daughter Deb and her best friend of 42 years, Dawn Green.

 Dawn & Deb, July 1984 (Falmouth, Ma)

                                         Dawn and Deb, May 2017 (Cape May, NJ)

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In July 1984 I took the girls to Martha’s Vineyard, just the three of us.  The trip was a new experience in that I’d never been away alone with two teenagers and I had never driven to MV by myself.

We did a lot of things together but the girls also spent time doing their own things while I did mine.  It was a nice mix to togetherness and apartness (is that even a word)!

 

Aquinnah to see the cliffs.

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Out for fancy dinner one night.

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One incident that sticks out in my mind is dinner one night at the Wharf Pub & Restaurant in Edgartown.  We ate early and the restaurant was almost empty.  We were in the middle of our meal when our waitress came over and said…”you might want to eat slowly as Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley are on their way in and I thought the girls might get a kick out of seeing them!”  THE GIRLS… forget the girls, I was the one getting all excited. So we nibbled and waited and waited and waited and then THEY walked past the window next to our table and entered the restaurant.  As we left the restaurant and walked past their table Billy Joel smiled and waved at us.  We giggled all the way back to the hotel.

Whether with family or friends, Vineyard memories are always extra special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Mothers and Grandmothers…

Happy Mother’s Day

       My mother & grandmother.   Me and my mother.    Me and my girls

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Me with my girls now… Patty and Debbie

Along came grandmahood via Patty with my two grands… Tiffany and Tyler

Tiffany 1989                                 Tyler 1993

Now

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But let’s back track just a bit to my mother who I am remembering on this Mother’s Day, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman.

Born in Waterville, Maine

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard

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my mother and grandmother – Oak Bluffs 1924

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After high school she moved to New Jersey and married a Jersey boy…

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and had a Jersey girl (me)…

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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 there 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.

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I never knew my grandmother, my mother’s mother, she died before my parents were married and I was born, but I’ve always felt a closeness to her through stories my mom would tell me about her and also the essence of her I feel when I’m on the Vineyard. She is buried on the Vineyard and I visit her every time I’m there.

Chances are she might have visited me a few years ago !!!!  Read on…

Here’s an excerpt from a post I did about the ‘spirits’ of my mother and grandmother.

100_0175    On the very haunted island of Martha’s Vineyard.. in the town of Oak Bluffs.. in a restored Victorian home was a restaurant called The Sweet Life Cafe.   In this house in the 1930′s lived a daughter and her mother.   In this house the mother passed away.   That woman was my grandmother and the daughter was my mother.

 A few years ago my daughter Deb and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Sweet Life Cafe… we’d never eaten there but felt the time was right.   It was around 5 o’clock on a beautiful cloudless and breezeless May evening so we opted to sit on the patio in the garden as it was empty and peaceful.   We had a glass of wine and settled back to talk about our day and enjoy the pretty surroundings.   The tables were beautifully laid out and each had on it a small hurricane lamp with a candle in it.  We looked around and noticed that the candles on all the tables but ours were lit!   Our waitress re-lit ours.   The candle went out.   Again she lit it.  Again it went out.   She came back with a new candle.  Again out it went.   Again she re-lit it to no avail.  My daughter and I joked that our grandmothers were joining us and were definitely in a playful mood.

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Later that evening as my daughter and I were passing by the restaurant we looked in at the patio……   the candle on the table we had been sitting at was burning brightly !!

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The Vineyard Gazette Parody Issue…

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Long ago and far away in the year of 1984 a staff of very clever, creative and whimsical people put out a parody issue of the Vineyard Gazette ingeniously titled ~ “Not The Vineyard Gazette”.  I, collector of all things Vineyard actually have a copy of this one time parody edition.

3191230935_5c9f57b791_m  One of the articles on the front page is about the discovery of a baby Vineyard named Arthur’s Vineyard after the helicopter pilot who accidentally found it. There were  several theories of how the baby Vineyard came to be, one of which was that it was the baby of MV and Nantucket and that a recent rain storm had been the baby shower.  So funny.

Another article is,  “Oak Bluffs Changes Name to Oaks Bluffs.”  Apparently the name change was due in part to the fact that too much time was being taken correcting people who were getting Oak Bluffs name wrong and it was decided to just not fight it anymore.  Of course that would never ever ever happen.

3192078522_6ecb29dfc5_m Amusing article on Edgartown hiring fashion police.  Apparently a glitch in getting the fashion police out on the streets is the inability to agree on a color scheme for their uniforms.  Tawny brown and mocha versus cranberry and puce.  I would think they’d have trouble recruiting anyone if they had to wear those combinations of colors.

3191231429_a540b4269c_m   Take your pick of a Vineyard themed movie.

3191231071_1d22cd4706_m  Vine was an actual drink on the Vineyard.  It was grape flavored water and it was delicious.  I wonder whatever happened to it… I wonder why I didn’t keep a bottle of it, or the label at least.  Here’s to the memory of Vine.

Clever real estate ads…or are they un-real estate !

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Sadly the one and only edition of ‘Not The Vineyard Gazette’.


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Remembering Dog Sitting On MV…

Thinking about Chappy and how he liked to pop over to my blog to post from time to time. This was from our dog sitting adventure on MV in April 2009. Miss him.

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Hi, it’s me Chappy, the granddog.  I was here last year to guest post about my MV visit… click HERE to read that post.

Since I just did a fun post on my mom’s blogChappysmom I thought I’d bounce over here and help gram with one about MY adventure on MV a few weeks ago.

This was the first time staying in an actual house and it was so great.  Julie, a friend of my mom’s invited us to dog sit… I didn’t actually notice anyone sitting like a dog (except my dog friends) but humans have weird jargon sometimes.  I just go with the flow and don’t ask questions.

My new dog friends, Silas and Balou were great hosts and I really enjoyed having dog friends to hang out with.  One of the best parts about hanging out with them were our walks in the woods.

I never…

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The Magic of Movies…

Because today, February 26 is Oscar night I thought I’d post about my movie memories of Martha’s Vineyard.

Movies have been a big part of Island entertainment since the early 1900′s.

The Island Theatre (Eagle Theatre) circa 1910.In 1927 the Island Theatre in Oak Bluffs was showing the talkie ‘Wings’ starring the ‘It girl’, Clara Bow.  The price of admission was 50 cents on a Saturday night, 30 cents if you sat in the balcony.

At one time there were as many as 8 theatres down-Island… of those only the Island, The Strand and The Capawock remain.

Unfortunately the Island theatre  has been condemned and is likely to be demolished.  Sad to see a place of so many memories fading away… or as they say in the movie busines ‘fade to black.’

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The Strand (2009) – Oak Bluffs has been refurbished and had a grand re-opening a couple of years ago. (CLICK HERE to read Vineyard Gazette article).

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The Capawock (1996) – Vineyard Haven has also been refurbished and re-opened in May 2015.  (CLICK HERE to read Vineyard Gazette article).

For me, as a summer kid on the Vineyard in the 1950′s, a night at the movies was a very big deal. The movies I remember the clearest are the musicals, like “Summer Stock” with Judy Garland, and “Showboat” with Howard Keel.

But before even getting to the theatre there was a stop at …

…Darling’s on Circuit Ave for popcorn. A bag would be fine for an afternoon treat but for going to the movies the choice was always a popcorn bar in such flavors as chocolate, strawberry,vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch.

After the ‘show’ a stop at the Frosty Cottage on Circuit Ave for a pistachio ice cream cone finished off the evening.

Many nights on the way home I morphed into a singing, dancing movie star…at least in my head 🙂

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