The Beginning

From Gazette editions of June, 1959:

The St. Pierre School, which for years occupied Juniper Place, the old Lamborn mansion, so-called, on Main street, Vineyard Haven, will open this year in the former U.S. Marine Hospital building, overlooking the head of Lagoon Pond. Mr. and Mrs. Raoul St. Pierre of Wollaston, who opened the school more than twenty years ago on a nearby site, have obtained a lease of the hospital property from the Boston Seaman’s Friend Society of Boston, with the option to renew the lease or purchase.

The property consists of the hospital building, which in turn includes the original wooden building, with a much newer brick ell. The grounds are about three acres in extent.

This is the beginning of the season of the year when the U.S. Coast Guard is called out to search for missing persons in boats. But last weekend is the first time of record when the Coast Guard in these local bearings has had to search for the Coast Guard. The search was twenty-two hours long, and the rescued parties had drifted over an unknown distance in pea-soup fog without food or water.

Kenneth Trimble and Michael Roucheleau of the Gay Head station and Michael Jenkinson, 14 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Jenkinson of Menemsha Creek, went out in a twenty-two foot catboat driven by power alone, their object to fish off Dogfish Bar.

Engine failure from one cause or another prevented their return and they went adrift. All coastguardsmen in the area were alerted and searched with boats. A Navy plane and one piloted by Burnham Litchfield joined in the search. The boat was eventually picked up in the mouth of Buzzards Bay by a cruising yacht, the Edith H. of Quincy, which radioed a report. A cutter from Woods Hole took the boat in tow, turning it over to the Gay Head crew in Quicks Hole. Thus the trio returned, hungry, thirsty, cold and wearied, but otherwise safe and sound.

No one can be certain how far the boat drifted nor where. The tides play strange tricks around the western end of Vineyard Sound and the Bay, running both north and south as well as east and west during certain phases. The three were blessed with moderate weather, yet it was a hazardous situation regarded from any point of view, and greatly heightened by the dense fog which shut out all visibility.

The Rabbits’ Wedding, story and pictures by Garth Williams, is prominently displayed in New York stores and probably is receiving much more publicity than it would have if the reductio ad absurdum of a couple of weeks ago had not occurred.

It was then that this innocent little story for very young children was removed from general circulation by the Alabama Public Library Division. The reason? Well, it seems that a white rabbit and a black rabbit were married one moonlight night, with all the animals of the forest looking on, and “lived happily together in the big forest: eating dandelions, playing Jump the Daisies, Run Through the Clover and Find the Acorn all day long.”

In Alabama some dim-wits think the book should be burned, believing that it is an insidious attack on segregation. This nonsense makes one wonder how Morgan Dennis fared so peacefully in all the years that he was drawing pictures of a Scottie and a West Highland White to illustrate a well-known brand of whiskey. Mr. Dennis used to visit the Vineyard. It is very much doubtful that anyone here, or in the North or South, desired to see that famous whiskey banned because of the illustration.

The fourteen members of the class of 1959 of the Edgartown High School were graduated last night in an impressive ceremony that could not escape a measure of sentiment over the fact that this was the last effort of the high school before its demise, along with the other two Island high schools, to be replaced by the new Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School next fall.

One of the audience, pointing to the motif of two crossed pennants on which were fixed the years 1926 and 1959, remarked a trifle sadly, “The end.”

“No, no,” said his wife immediately, “the beginning.”

“Let’s hope so,” the man answered.

Sentiment notwithstanding, the main theme of the evening was indeed one of commencement, of beginning, especially for the six boys and eight girls, who, upon receiving their diplomas, turned, in the minds of the other members of their community, into six young men and eight young women. Judging by their demeanor last night, they were ready to receive their new titles. The program was in their hands, and they talked of education as being the key to the future.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner