From the March 14, 1958 edition of the Gazette:

One of the things that has pretty much gone out of Island life is the all-day meeting. Years ago nearly all town meetings started in the morning, took a recess at noon, and resumed in the afternoon. Everyone could get home early in the evening, put up the horse, feed the stock, and settle down to a quiet rest before bedtime. People didn’t mind being out and abroad after dark when necessary, but they didn’t make a point of it.

Conventions, institutes, conferences, and many other general gatherings would begin in the morning, with that early, fresh approach about them, and the delegates and other attendants dressed up for the occasion. It wasn’t so much that missing a day’s work counted for less in the old times, but life was less regimented, and what you lost one day, you made up another. And if a gathering was important enough to be held at all, it was important enough to deserve the best part of the day.

Maybe the best part of the day is now the evening. A lot of people seem to think so. Evenings are crowded, and days are given over to almost unbreakable routine, and often crowded with nothing but routine. Some people still talk about Daylight Saving being a departure from God’s time, even though it merely represents an attempt to adjust more conveniently to astronomy, climate, and the rising and setting sun. But nobody says a word about the regimentation and ruination of the day, a period of time devoted to routine for routine’s sake, and no longer flexible as it used to be.

Those all-day meetings of old were comfortable and spacious, and we miss them, and there is hardly enough scope in the evenings to make up for the loss.

There have been all kinds of holidays at one time or another, but so far as we know there was only one bank holiday, and it occurred twenty-five years ago this month. Looking backward a quarter of a century is always an engaging occupation for those who can remember; the chances for nostalgia and sentiment are hardly limited at all. But was there ever a time quite like that winter and early spring of 1933?

Not sentiment nor the purple haze of youthful memories provide the theme in this instance, but the curious flavor of a time that was like no other. The depression hung over the land as if it were the climate; the Gazette promoted barter arrangements, business men argued the value of distributing trade dollars, popular jokes had to do with going off the gold standard, state laws were being amended to allow the sale of beer which wasn’t quite up to old standards, either.

Then came the bank holiday. The Vineyard banks were doing well, thank you, but they closed their doors along with all the others, and everyone was quite set up about it. Something was happening. People were consciously stepping along from one era into another. Silver dollars appeared from private collections to gain fresh circulation, the steamboat company trusted passengers for their fare, accommodation was the word all around.

When the banks opened, nothing in particular may have happened here on the Island, but a lot seemed to have happened. One remembers the good feeling, the laughter, the general resurgence of optimism. The Island went on having jokes about the gold standard and about beer, all in good humor. The past was dead and unmourned, and the future was coming in.

A quarter of a century has passed — oh, time! — and as one looks backward the memory is remarkably fresh, for that winter and early spring of 1933 were like no other.

Reports of heavenly phenomena are becoming so commonplace these days when just about everybody is interested in just what sort of political beliefs outer space is going to adhere to that it may be necessary to think up another word besides phenomena to describe them all. Nobody can deny that the unusual sight Mr. and Mrs. Winthrop B. Norton of Edgartown saw Tuesday night, though, qualified as phenomenon in the true sense of the word: there glowing in the northeast sky was a green equilateral triangle surrounded by red lights.

Mr. Norton reported the sight with some misgiving, explaining that although he is not accustomed to seeing apparitions he would not mention it all if his wife had not also seen the same thing. With the naked eye, he said, the light looked merely like an extra large star, yet “you could just make out that it was something besides a star.”

So he got out his telescope for a closer look, and that was when the light’s colorful geometrical shape was revealed, unmoving. When no news broadcast mentioned the phenomenon the next morning Mr. Norton began to wonder if both he and Mrs. Norton had both been prey to an optical illusion provided for their enjoyment alone. But he doesn’t think so. It seems certain that the three-pointed star was man-made, but who is responsible? Russians? Americans? Mike Todd?

Compiled by Hilary Wall