I have a fondness for yellow houses. They are not very common in Edgartown right now. Years ago they were more prevalent. If you can imagine it, the Doctor Daniel Fisher house was once painted yellow! Hard to believe its wedding cake splendor was covered in yellow icing.
Yellow works better in small doses. The small yellow house on Davis Lane is a good example. It might get lost if it were white, but that little dash of butter makes the lane just a tad more interesting.
One of my favorites of the past was on Cooke street, just one street over from Davis. Maxie Mello’s house was a joy to walk past. It was just the right shade of yellow. Well-kept and in its original condition, with some slight modifications for modern life (indoor plumbing and electricity), it had an Edgartown fence enclosing a wonderfully exuberant Vineyard garden. Something was always in bloom.
I never knew Maxie herself, but those who did tell me that she was a wonderful storyteller. And she really was. You can listen to her on YouTube tell her story of her first day on the Vineyard (she was a washahore just like me) after her marriage to Manuel Mello. She loved flowers. She died in 1991 at the age of 90. Her house was sold not too long after.
I went to the sale of her effects. I was too late to buy anything, but I got to see the house and the wonderful shed in the back. Even after a few years of neglect, the garden was still flourishing. But, alas, after the sale, the garden was dug up, the house was gutted and is no longer yellow. I still feel bad about this, as do others who love the old ways and stories.
So here we all are now, watching the sad deterioration of another yellow house. This one was once the home of Chase Pease, his town house, as he also owned a farm with the most beautiful view that is now the Edgartown golf course facing the Vineyard Sound. Chase had a large family who largely left town to make a better living. Once of his descendants invented the game of Monopoly! In later times — times which I remember — the house was the home of Bickerton & Ripley, Edgartown’s wonderful bookstore whose lineal descendant is Edgartown Books. It is sad to see another yellow house unloved and uncared for.