MV Obsession

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


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My Yearly Illumination Night Post …

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Illumination Night is Wed, Aug  19, 2015

It has always been my favorite event of the summer… going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter what my age is.

 

  I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went to Illumination Night.  I’m embarrassed to say that even with my annoyingly good memory, I don’t remember it. My first memory of Illumination Night involves wearing a particularly pretty dress so I’m thinking I was around three or four, which would have been around 1946.

My dad, mom, god-mother and I would have an early supper and then walk to the Campground. My dad and I would stroll around looking at all the beautifully decorated gingerbread houses while my mother and god-mother would chat with friends and relatives.

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  At 8 o’clock the Vineyard Haven Band would begin playing and the always fun community sing would start. Patriotic songs like, America The Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of the Republic are always stirring and emotional. It took me a couple of years to learn the words to all the songs and I still get messed up on a couple of the rounds like John Brown’s Baby. The band playing the Star Spangled Banner and the rousing Stars and Stripes Forever are always a crowd pleaser.

But as much fun as that was it was only a precursor to the main event. The Tabernacle and Campground go dark… the crowd cheers. The lighting of the first lantern and then all the gingerbread houses are simultaneously aglow with Japanese lanterns.
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Everyone oohs and ahhs and stream out of the Tabernacle to walk through the magical fairyland the Campground has become.
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My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could see everything… I felt like I could touch the stars.
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 After seeing all there was to see we’d head out onto Circuit Ave to either the Frosty Cottage for ice cream or Darling’s for popcorn, a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.

No matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone, I myself morph into an 8 year old.

  Illumination Night as described in the Vineyard Gazette:

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If you’re on the Vineyard this Wed, Aug 19, 2015 you should go and experience Illumination Night.  101_3011


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1982 August Trip …

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.

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 (All pictures in this post are 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). 

We drove into Edgartown and checked into the Kelley House.  The Kelley House hasn’t changed much at all but the buildings that we saw from our window definitely have.

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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.

Lower Circuit Ave… and  Circuit Ave

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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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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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.

I 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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Trinity Circle, Trinity Park and Bells …

In the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, in the Methodist Campground are Trinity Circle and Trinity Park.

Sharing Trinity Park for almost 140 years are the Tabernacle (erected in 1879) and Trinity Methodist Church (built in 1878).

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Over the years both have undergone changes. This is just one of the changes for the Tabernacle.

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A major transformation for Trinity Methodist Church

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DSC_0034  A look inside the Tabernacle and Trinity Methodist Church

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Tabernacle from inside Trinity Methodist Church… I love this picture.

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Trinity Park is a perfect place to enjoy some quiet time… to indulge in some contemplation, read, maybe snooze, enjoy a game of catch, or wander around with a camera.

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100_0643According to the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Assn. website:

“The original layout of Wesleyan Grove was a simple formation of a circle enclosing the preaching area and the society or church tents.   In 1859 a road, now known as Trinity Circle, was built which encircled that area.   In 1864, the Association purchased the 26 acres it had been renting.   As the area continued to expand (additional grounds were purchased in 1866), it developed in a radial-concentric pattern which was little used in America at that time.   Paths radiating from Trinity Circle led to smaller circles where large groups of tents had been located – County Park (Wesleyan Grove), Forest Circle, Washington Park (Victorian Park), Cottage Park Avenue (Cottage Park), Crystal Park (Vincent Park), Washington Avenue (Butler Avenue), Rural Circle and Clinton Avenue, which, at one time, had been the main entrance to the Campground.   The smaller circles, some surrounded by larger circles, had small paths radiating from them leading to other circles or parks.   The method of the grounds layout was an additive one of discrete neighborhood units, each built around small various shaped parks.   Some street and park names (current names are in the brackets) have been changed for various reasons over the 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.  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 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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The Vineyard, Feb 1989 …

February 1989 was the first time back to the Vineyard in winter since I was a child.  Following are excerpts from my travel log about that trip and also pictures taken with a non-digital camera… which does have relevance in this post.    So come join me in a trip down a cold, snowy very wintery memory lane.

Picture of the Islander in dry dock from aboard the ferry, Eagle.

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One of my favorite places is the Campground in Oak Bluffs.  I love the gingerbread cottages but most of all I really really love the Tabernacle… every time I’m on the Vineyard I take a few moments…or hour… and sit quietly there and enjoy just being.  Winter was no exception, cold as it was it was warm in my heart.

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100_7831Let’s wander through Oak Bluffs a little …  notice Christmas tree is still in the Bandstand …

My creationwent out to South Beach where there were lots of Christmas trees people had brought after the holidays…    also drove out to Menemsha just to take a look around…

My creationand then to Gay Head …

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excerpt from travel journal :  ‘it was cold on the cliffs. 26 degrees maybe…but off I went to see them anyway.  Down the road I traipsed over the dunes and onto the beach… what a sight.  Thousands of rocks all shapes and sizes, and there in the distance… the cliffs… I was very excited.  Took some shots and scurried back to the warm car.  Noticed camera had opened a bit, closed it and didn’t think much about it.  After lunch in Edgartown I rode out the ‘bend in the road beach’ to take some pictures and noticed that the picture counter on the camera said #1 !!!!  When I had gotten in the car in the morning it had said #16 !!!  Something was wrong.   I turned around and headed for the camera shop.  Everything seems to be okay with the camera but maybe it got too cold and lost its memory and reverted to #1… or perhaps when the camera opened just that little bit it caused it to revert !!  At any rate I’m having what was in the camera developed.’

The following day I picked up my photos and not only were they all fine, there was this one…. actually, these two…

shot of the cliffs taken before camera opened …

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shot after I closed the camera …  I’ve always kind of liked it… can’t do this with a digital camera …

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After a long first day headed back to Edgartown for the night but not before stopping at Sengekontacket Pond for the sunset…

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around and about Edgartown …

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There was eating and relaxing but I also had a shopping mission !  My daughter Patty and her husband Mike were expecting their first baby and I, as soon to be grammy was determined to find an MV shirt for baby.  I had already promised myself, and future grandchild that I would keep her/him in Vineyard t-shirts forever 🙂  (They found out the following month that the baby was a little girl).

Not too many shops open that carried baby things… not too many souvenir shirts available either. Here it was only 3 months before baby would arrive and this was my only chance to bring back a shirt from the Vineyard.    On an off chance I walked into a store in Edgartown, I don’t even remember what they sold but tucked way off in a corner were… little people t-shirts.  I wondered just how little those sizes would be.

I hit pay dirt… there was one baby t-shirt and I grabbed it.  Ah, success and also the start of a still ongoing tradition.

Granddaughter Tiffany was the first to wear the shirt.. after her came grandson Tyler… when he outgrew it my daughter asked what she should do with it and I said I’d take it.   Here it is today being modeled by my doll Molly.

My creationThere certainly wasn’t as much snow that February as the Vineyard has gotten this year but I got to enjoy a powdery dusting of it.


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Favorite Ten For 2014 …

*** – The Gazette Parody .. CLICK HERE

*** – Memory Correction CLICK HERE – taking the train from NYC to Woods Hole, MA right to the ferry.

*** – Movie Magic CLICK HERE  – movies and popcorn and dancing in the street on MV in the 1950’s

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*** – A Shearing CLICK HERE  – shearing day on the Vineyard 2008

***  – Saved By The Bell CLICK HERE – summer Bible school at the Tabernacle and the mis-adventures of ringing the bell.

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***  –  Memories of the Flying Horses CLICK HERE – how I spent my summer evenings as a kid and why I’ll never forget a certain ticket taker.

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*** – Barnegat Lighthouse, New Jersey CLICK HERE –  217 steps to the top, or was it !

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*** – I Can Bake CLICK HERE – my first venture into baking from scratch

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*** –  The Vineyard In Stitches CLICK HERE – recreating Martha’s Vineyard one stitch at a time

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*** – Thomas Edison Installment #2 CLICK HERE – it took 3 installments to cover my visit to the amazing Edison’s laboratories in West Orange, NJ

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