Bricks and Mortar

From Gazette editions of May, 1959:

Chilmarkers were pleased to see E. Y. Harburg on the Perry Como show on television. Mr. Harburg looked refreshingly like his Chilmark self, though somewhat more dressed up. By way of introduction Perry Como sang Brother, Can You Spare a Dime, an early Harburg song that has become a classic. Mr. Harburg appeared and sang We’re Off to See the Wizard, from The Wizard of Oz, as a duet with Mr. Como. The chorus and other members of the show sang a number of Harburg songs, including Glocomora and Old Devil Moon from Finian’s Rainbow, Paper Moon, and Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, again from The Wizard of Oz.

For the first time, the regional school district committee held a meeting Tuesday in its own building, the shiningly new Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Although equipping the school was the main item of business, the new surroundings seemed to have no palliative effect on at least one of the committee’s bete noirs, those bricks, which were once more the cause of a sharp interchange among members.

Herbert Glassman, the architect, reported that a Mr. Crane, a representative of the Structural Clay Products Institute, had inspected the brickwork in the new building that day and found both the workmanship and the product to be of superior quality. “I think it’s high time we forget the bricks,” James Beckman of Tisbury said. “We chose the brick to save $12,000 . . . .” He went on to say that the low cost plus the fact that the brick had supposedly possessed a water absorption rate of only five per cent had influenced the choice. Then, later, when the brick had been bought and delivered to the site, a test revealed that the absorption rate was fourteen per cent.

The architect recounted the whole sad drama of the regional school brick, and noted that “Now we have a letter from the manufacturer explaining that the clay content was changed during manufacture.” Mr. Beckmann wanted to make one more statement: “I think any brick company that would sell a brick and then change the mortar mix — there shouldn’t be another brick bought from them.”

The creation of a subcommittee to dispose of the matter in any manner — so long as it doesn’t bring it back to the committee as a whole ever again — was then voted.

Miss Carolyn Cullen recently received notification from Washington, D.C. that she had been promoted to the rank of captain in the Air Force reserve. Her career in aviation goes back twenty-one years to the time when she was the first woman to solo an airplane in Berkshire County. She went on to get her commercial license and instructor’s rating and worked as a flight instructor at various airports in the East.

During the first two years of World War II, Miss Cullen gave flight training to students enlisted in the Naval Air Force at Schenectady, N.Y. She then enlisted in the WASPS as an Air Force service pilot with the Army Air Force. Since 1947, she has been owner and operator of the Oak Bluffs Airport and Trade Wind Flying Service.

All Island school children will be given a fourth preventative shot of Salk vaccine against polio, in order to insure their complete protection, Dr. Robert W. Nevin, Edgartown School physician, said yesterday. He explained that this procedure is now recommended on the basis of extensive study, and is advised by the state health authorities. However, the state will not underwrite the cost, which is being assumed by the boards of health in the Island towns. The intent is to set up the procedure so that it can be completed before the end of school, and it is available to all school children who have had the series of three shots and to other students who have not completed their basic series.

Martha’s Vineyard, its history and detailed reference to the famous sea-faring Tilton family, figured prominently in the announcements in the program of Miss Emily Huntington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. Gale Huntington, broadcast from Boston University. The program was announced as American folk-songs, as a part of what has constituted a survey of American music, wholly prepared and presented by Miss Huntington during the past several months.

In his explanation of what these songs were, how they came to be, and where Miss Huntington learned them, the announcer specifically named her father as the musician who had collected, arranged and recorded them, and also referred to the family background of Miss Huntington, her grandfather Welcome L. Tilton, who was a whaler, his brother William, a chantey-man in merchant ships, another brother, Captain Zeb, a coaster, and her fisherman father and uncle, all of whom have known and sung these old songs throughout their lives.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner