From the March 30, 1934 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Spring comes before the countryside looks any different, before the guise of winter has been altered one tiny bit as far as the human eye can see. Spring comes when, no matter how damply chill and sleeping the woods and marshes may be, there is a different feeling. In a word, you can feel spring long before you can see it. In this man must not be alone, for the birds respond to something unseen, too, and so do the growing things which begin to swell at their appointed time no matter how wintry the outer aspect of the world may be.

The spring feeling is insidious and dangerous to the industrious person, unless he happens to be a farmer. The farmer can get out of doors, breathe the richness of the naked soil at last freed of winter, feel the softness of the new breeze, and let his eye wander over a hundred details of the outdoors which are about to undergo transformation, and do this with a clear conscience. His spring instincts and spring duties are in the same direction. The villager, however, and especially the person who works indoors, is being led astray by the gentle, powerful impulse of spring. When these days begin to come, content lies only in one quest, no matter where duty is supposed to be. There is a divinely appointed way of behavior in spring which takes precedence over the most careful and necessitous appointments of man himself.

It is the air which brings the undeniable news of the new season, the air with its touch so suddenly changed for the keen or bluff contact of winter, from the obviousness of the cold months, into a feeling which is a caress, an invitation and a mystery.

No matter how many more snows may fall, no matter how lingering the grand annual transition may be, the spring feeling has come intruding, insinuating, compelling, and nothing can be the same as it was before.

The East Chop Beach Club is known as a summer club, but members who had planned to be present at the opening of the season of 1934 will find themselves too late. The season has already started. It began, to be exact, on Sunday, March 25, as the snow which had fallen the night before was gently dissolving under a hopeful but not too confident sun.

John Fields and Miss Mona Trench emerged from the club, crossed the sloping sands, and plunged into the waters of the Sound for the earliest swimming at East Chop this year. The two bathers did not linger long in the water, but they did some actual swimming in the presence of interested if not envious witnesses.

An official reading of the temperature of the water was then taken by Russel W. Fields, and it turned out to be just 32 degrees above zero.

This was not the first plunge of the season, for two Oak Bluffs boys, John Hughes and Raymond Farland, had gone in a week earlier. But it set a record for the East Chop Beach Club, and all the Island’s summer clubs for that matter, and is also claimed as a record in point of actual swimming.

Although gambling is prohibited under the laws of this commonwealth, there are a considerable number of honest, hard working men on the Island at the present time who are gambling in earnest, and the dealer in this game is no less than Uncle Sam himself. In Oak Bluffs this game is most apparent, for the reason that there are more men engaged in the play, gambling their time and labor against the sense of fair play of the federal government.

Oak Bluffs was the leading recipient of federal aid among Vineyard towns under the CWA, and this day and date finds the town with various uncompleted projects upon its hands. There is no lack of help, no lack of funds, according to the allotments allowed; but the number of man-hours each week is limited, and despite relay systems permitted, the time limit of March 31 draws near, with a possibility of a cessation of all federal aid on the Vineyard.

The town officials entered into contract with the federal board to have a certain amount of work performed, and this called for the employment of a stipulated number of men and the payment of the wages of that force. With these provisions, the working hours per week being stipulated, the work might easily have been accomplished within the designated period. But the working hours per week have been reduced, and the force reduced as well, by later regulation.

The work accomplished, however, affords a demonstration of which the Vineyard towns may be proud. The regular inspector, J. H. Shine, visited the Island again this week, and had nothing but praise for the work, for the practicability of the projects and the expedition with which the work has been carried on.

Mr. Shine praised the miles of new sidewalk in Vineyard Haven and the many small projects completed there. He had more praise for the transformation in the process at the Oak Bluffs school, and for the appearance of the selectmen’s office which now looks like an entirely new building, inside and out.

Compiled by Hilary Wall