Happy birthday Oak Bluffs! Regardless of whether we celebrate the 106th anniversary of our incorporation as Oak Bluffs today (Jan. 25, 1907) or of Cottage City’s original secessionary founding 27 years before (Feb. 17, 1880), those who place stock in astrology know that in either case our beloved town is an Aquarian. How ironic that the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company’s seaside watering place would also be a “water bearer” typified by Aquarians.
Incidentally, the Vineyard Gazette issue of July 11, 1907 included a warm announcement of the 50th wedding anniversary of seafaring Capt. William A. Martin and his wife Sarah, well-known residents of Chappaquiddick. The piece mentioned the deep sympathy of the community for the muted celebration, Captain Martin having been a paraplegic for the prior seven years. In captaining the whaling schooner Emma Jane and the brig Eunice H. Adams, Captain Martin had notably become a member of one of the smallest groups in history — black whaling captains. The first was Absalom Boston (1785-1855) and the second was William Shorey (1859-1919).
Equally outstanding, as we approach Black History month next week was the letter from Martin Luther King Jr. to Vineyard Gazette publisher Henry Beetle Hough dated Sept. 17, 1961 following his August visit to Oak Bluffs. Staying at Joe Overton’s mansion on Narragansett avenue, Dr. King had worked on his manuscript and was unable to meet with Mr. Hough for an interview. The Gazette put the letter up on the newspaper’s Facebook page in honor of last Monday’s holiday. In the letter Dr. King told Mr. Hough: “I am deeply grateful for all your encouraging words concerning our struggle in the south, and for the support that you gave the Montgomery Improvement Association.” For the past six months I have been charmed and delighted to be the Oak Bluffs columnist for this paper, and I was incredibly humbled that Steve Durkee, our director of graphics and design and an Oak Bluffs resident, let me read this letter in person. What a remarkable opportunity to touch history — and what a remarkable town we share that has made so much history itself.
In Oak Bluffs Library news, the really busy Sondra Murphy is leading the effort to launch a new library logo and website by hosting a mini-golf fundraiser at the library. On Feb. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m., for $25 per couple or $15 per person, you can play 18 holes of mini-golf with food, refreshments and door prizes. On Saturday, Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the course will be open and free for all ages. The library has updated its mission statement as follows: “Supporting community, building cultural awareness and providing access.” The library is also looking for contributors to sponsor a tee, green, hole or fairway in amounts ranging from $25 to $1,000. Contact Sondra Murphy at 508-693-9433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Happy birthday also to Circuit avenue’s Reliable Market, which is celebrating 65 years of friendly service, affordable prices, lovingly hand-cut meats, lots of Island-grown produce, year-round employment, quiet contribution to community and the warmth of the Pacheco family. Thanks and continuing best wishes.
The annual Chili Festival takes place tomorrow at the PA Club. Here’s hoping (sigh!) that it’s not the last brought to us by mvyradio.com — since it is the last from WMVY-FM, a heartbreaking notion. It’s unclear when the final broadcast takes place. Sing along if you like; I’m dedicating this song by Bob Marley to all the folks at my favorite radio station.
One love, what about the one heart? One Heart, what about — let’s get together and feel all right, As it was in the beginning (One Love!), so shall it be in the end (One Heart!), all right! Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right – let’s get together and feel all right. Keep your foot on a rock.