MV Obsession

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


Birthday, Mine …

I was born on Saturday, February 14… Valentine’s Day.  Family story has it that my mother refused to have me on Friday the 13th.  Whether true or not I don’t know but I have always liked being a Valentine.


I was born in Newark, NJ where my dad was a police officer.  From the age of 6 months I spent all my summers on Martha’s Vineyard where my mother grew up.  What a lucky kid I was.

Out and about for a walk with my Easter bunny in my new Easter outfit.


I was an only child but never a lonely child.

Every year my mother would plan a party for my birthday and every year I’d be sick and it would have to be canceled.  At long last around the age of 9 or 10 I finally had my first birthday party.


I believe that was the first and last birthday party I had until my 50th many, many years later…


The group picture is my daughter Deb with dog Jilly, daughter Patty, granddaughter Tiffany and me… we recreated it for Patty’s 50th a few years ago with Deb holding dog Chappy this time.  We’ve definitely all changed a bit I’d say.


And so that’s how birthdays go. One year after another like clock work they roll around and give us pause to think about the past ones and the ones still to come.

 DSC_0253 I can pretty much be summed up in this word search Patty made for me.


In the words of Carly Simon…”one number older, another year younger, blow out the candles, happy birthday” 🙂




Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide…

The prompt:   Share with us an image, or two, or three, (or more!) of where you live. For bonus points, tell us what it is about the photo(s) that you love. I can’t wait to go on a fantastic virtual tour of the world, courtesy of photo challenge participants. Away we go!


Rather than share where I live now I want to share where I was born and raised and lived until I got married.

My home town… Newark, New Jersey

Court House - Newark NJ

Above is the Essex County courthouse.  In the forefront is a statue of Abraham Lincoln called the Seated Lincoln sculpted by Gutzon Borglum who was the creator of the Mount Rushmore sculpture of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.



Surprising to many who don’t know much about the city of Newark, it has some beautiful parks in it. Washington Park, Lincoln Park and the newly revitalized Military Park. Here sits another of Gutzon Borglum’s works,  one of his most compelling : Wars of America. He created this magnificent sculpture over the course of six years, completing it in 1926. It memorializes all the major conflicts in which Americans participated up to and including the First World War.


Thus ends a short tour of two of the beautiful sculptures you can find in Newark, New Jersey 🙂


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved…


This is Fluffy, he is my dearest childhood possession. He is 68 years old this year. Fluffy came from Germany, he used to be completely covered in rabbit fur but over the years a lot of it has been petted away. Fluffy is also a little hard of hearing as one of his ears falls off from time to time.

   A relative of my mother’s who lived on Martha’s Vineyard had two sons, William and Leon, and a daughter, Vivian Carole who were all in the army in the 1940’s and 50’s.  Every time one of them would be stationed in, or visit a foreign country, they would bring back a doll for me and for their niece.   Fluffy was one of those gifts.

Look at that face … his eyes look so real to me.


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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Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme…

The prompt: use your camera to discover the endless variety that one thing can contain. It can be a single photo featuring some visual play on repetition and variation. You could opt for a series of shots showing the same place, person, or object in slightly different light (literally or figuratively, as the case may be).


Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, knows that the Bandstand in Ocean Park in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard is one of my favorite places, and one that I have taken many, many pictures of.  I had no trouble this week coming up with a theme for variation.  I hope you enjoy.




Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence…

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For a few years now my daughter and I have been visiting cemeteries where our ancestors and family are buried.  We have found cemeteries to be beautiful, peaceful places … monuments become works of art and epitaphs become poetic homage to those who have passed.  We have visited beautifully manicured and well cared for cemeteries, the one above was not one of those though.   Although this cemetery in Goshen, New York, the resting place of several ancestors, is over grown and sadly neglected there is a silent beauty to it.