I love the picture above our column that evokes so many positive memories, particularly at this poignant time of year when Columbus Day marks the end of the season for so many Oak Bluffs homeowners. If you squint, the stylized Cottage City cottage looks remarkably like Dorothy West’s, the original writer of what was called Cottager’s Corner until November 1973 when she changed it to Oak Bluffs. Ms. West was one of the early Cottagers, the philanthropic organization of 100 black women homeowners on the Island founded in 1956 when there were only about 40 African American families like ours. Through donations and fundraisers shared with Island charities, the Cottagers, under the leadership of East Chop’s Maggie Allston, were able to acquire the old fire station on Pequot avenue in 1968. It was called Cottager’s Corner and used largely to keep a lot of us busy with activities other than hanging around Circuit avenue. The mortgage was paid off in 1977 and the location was added to the African American Heritage Trail in 2006.
New Cottagers house tour chairperson, Anne Patrick is now also in charge of publicity and shared that history. Anne’s dad, Mel Patrick, founded The Delegate, a publication that chronicled the accomplishments of African Americans — particularly Oak Bluffs denizens — from approximately 1965 to 1985. I have about 11 issues and Anne has donated all of them to the Smithsonian Institute. Anne’s folks Mel and Fanny Patrick were known for summer parties at their home on Nashawena Park, which was on the house tour this past July. Many present-day homeowners are planning to attend the annual Say Goodbye to Summer party at the Inkwell this Saturday — rain date Sunday — on the weekend known for closing homes for the season. Historically the annual food fest featured leftovers, but these days I believe some folks are just showing off their culinary skills instead of just emptying cupboards.
Many in our town are reconsidering parking options in Oak Bluffs and the use of Circuit avenue. One great idea I heard from a local business person is to extend the size of the sidewalk outside the Ritz, the Lamp Post and the Dive bar instead of using the space for the five or six parking spots. I offered a suggestion a year ago to review prospects for out of town parking at a 4.6 acre private parcel on Vineyard avenue between the P.A. Club and the Sea View Hill Cemetery. By my estimate, it could hold 300 cars with room for vegetation to hide them. If 100 cars parked there for $15 a day during the 60-day season the town could generate $90,000 in annual revenue. The VTA’s #7 and # 9 could provide quick access to Circuit avenue and workers could possibly ride free.
Everyone hopes for a beautiful day for tomorrow’s Wind Festival in Ocean Park from noon to 4 p.m. Frisbees, model planes and boats — and oh yeah, yikes, kites! Many thanks to founder Holly Alaimo for another treasured Oak Bluffs family event. You can purchase Traeger di Pietro’s colorful posters on site.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (across from the high school) hosts Fall Electronics Disposal Day where for fees ranging from $1 to $30, you can drop off all those cell phones, computer related stuff and appliances you were smart not to have purchased extended warranties for, since they would have broken anyway the day they expired. This service is less expensive and you can get new stuff to break.
Remember the Columbus Day Road Race is Sunday; free T-shirts with your entry fee. Roger Way has information at 508-693-7887.
Condolences to Alexandra Clancy and family, spouse of recently departed prolific and best-selling Oak Bluffs’ author Tom Clancy. I had a chance to spend a few hours with Tom at the Rod and Gun Club a while back and will miss his creative action stories.
Is it myopic to continue celebrating a holiday honoring a dude who got lost and named the people found here after the place he couldn’t find?
Careful driving at night, it seems skunk suicide season has started.
Lithesome Farm pond monster Vanessa has left as quietly as she appeared. Theega, theega, that’s all folks.
Keep your foot on a rock.