West Tisbury: Autumn memories, fire department, Barn Raisers Ball, and Music Street Musicians

todayNovember 1, 2023 2

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It was warm all week, in the 70s, then back into the 50s for the weekend. Partly sunny, partly gray. Yellow and browns predominate, as the cherry and oak leaves begin to turn. I know that many people love the fall, that the bright colors and crisp air make it their favorite season.

In my childhood memories, Halloween was always a cold, clear night, the sky star-filled. Piles of leaves covered the sidewalk we walked along. Schoolchildren painted the downtown store windows, much as Charter School students here make scarecrows that decorate our Island businesses. There were always piles of leaves; I can still shut my eyes, and feel my feet sending puffs of leaves ahead of me as I walked along Main Street, and that smell, that combination of sere and moisture. I don’t remember what candy or treats I came home with. My memories are made from my senses.

I always hope it won’t rain. Our friends have young grandchildren now, who come in their parents’ arms, much as those parents were driven and carried when they were small. It makes Halloween fun again. I bake chocolate chip cookies and tie them into beribboned bags for the children who come. My porch railing will display the tiny compost-pile pumpkins I wrote about during the summer. And lights. I might even dress up.

Don’t forget to register to vote if you plan to attend the special town meeting scheduled for Nov. 14. Last opportunity to register is this Friday, Nov. 3, at 5 pm. Call Tara Whiting-Wells at her office, 508-696-0148, or stop in Monday-Friday, 7:30 am to 12:30 pm.

The West Tisbury Firefighters’ Civic Association invited members of the fire and police departments and their partners to the first Recognition Dinner at Lambert’s Cove Inn last Saturday evening. Chief Greg Pachico and captains of each truck handed out awards honoring the “years of service” of active members of the department.

Fire department members wore their full dress uniforms, and it was an occasion for all guests to get a bit dressed up. The dining room sparkled with the polished shields and name badges on the department members’ uniforms, with ladies in necklaces and dangling earrings, silk and satin and velvet long dresses, even a pair of rhinestone shoes with a matching handbag. One young woman wore a floor-length, slinky, sequinned dress, something I would have adored and looked great in 40 years ago.

Bill Haynes and Manny Estrella III, our two living former chiefs, were there with their wives, Betty and Sharon. Arnie Fischer, who started the fire department and served as its first chief, and John Cotterill Jr., who was chief between Bill’s and Manny’s terms, have both died. Many longtime members of the department have served under all five chiefs.

Eric Medieros and Granville White have served for over 40 years; John Cotterill III, Ken Edwards, Pete Marzbanian, and my husband, Mike Hull, all over 35 years. Everyone gave speeches. The camaraderie and dedication of our firefighters was apparent. The fire department has, in many ways, defined the lives of all of our families. We have watched children, and now grandchildren, enter the department with the same sense of commitment as elder, longtime members. We have all grown older together.

Educational requirements are much more stringent. Joining the department is a big commitment of time and training. We still have a mostly volunteer, on-call force. Everyone has stories of dinners and other occasions left midway through, and plenty of sleepless nights.

The Lambert’s Cove Inn’s owners and staff couldn’t have been more gracious hosts. The inn was beautiful, welcoming, and comfortable. The meal was fabulous, from gorgeous hors d’oeuvres to an opulent array of delicious offerings for the buffet dinner, and incredible chocolate and lemon desserts. It was a very special evening.

Saturday evening was also the date for the MVRHS class of 1973’s 50th high school reunion. My roving reporter, Blue Cullen, mentioned the following names as some students from West Tisbury: Linda Alley, Janet Cottle, Hal Garneau, Vicki Thurber, Sarah Mayhew, and Whit Manter. The reunion dinner was held at the Loft, and Sunday brunch at Farm Neck.

A memorial service for Ann Fielder will be held at the West Tisbury Church this Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2 pm.

There will be a memorial service for Jonathan Bernstein at the M.V. Hebrew Center this Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.

The Barn Raisers’ Ball will be held at the Ag Hall this Saturday at 7 pm. Celebrate the community’s efforts to build the new Ag Hall. All are welcome.

If you need to brush up on your dancing in advance, Tom Carberry of M.V. Ballroom Dancing will give a ballroom/swing dancing lesson Saturday morning at 11:45 am at the West Tisbury library. All are welcome. At 2:30 pm, Music Street Musicians will perform a fall concert, “Taking Flight,” featuring baritone Nathaniel Sullivan, soprano Hannah Malloy, and pianist Diane Katzenberg Braun.

There will be a fix-it clinic at the library on Sunday afternoon, 1 to 3 pm. Hugh Phear and Michael Gately will provide tools and guidance for repairs of small appliances, wood furniture, toys, etc. Email to tell what you will be bringing and how it is broken, so Hugh and Michael will know what to expect.

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 3 to 5 pm, naturalist Elliott Bennett will show attendees how to use a microscope to examine “tiny treasures.” Bring something you would like to look at close-up. The library will provide the microscope and the opportunity.

The October Neighborhood Convention will meet at the Federated Church in Edgartown on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 11 am. Luanne Johnson will speak about ”The Bat Crisis: How You Can Help.” Bring your lunch.

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back Saturday night.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull,


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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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