From the August 2, 1934 edition of the Gazette:

The dividing line of the summer season is crossed, and the second half is here. Indeed, to borrow the terminology of the schoolboy, the largest half is here, for August is traditionally the apogee of summer, the fulfillment and culmination of the collective Island vacation. The greatest vacation for the greatest number comes in August, and from a business standpoint a big August is always expected to redeem an only medium July.

One wonders how the supremacy of August became established. The first camp meetings at what is now Oak Bluffs were held in August, and the later vacation seasons at the developing resort were expanded in either direction from camp meeting week. Rusticators, as they were called in earlier years, came a few days before camp meeting week, then a week or two before, and finally many weeks before. But the emphasis from those climactic weeks of August was never shifted.

Then, too, August has been the most uncomfortable month of the year in the big cities, and the bigger the cities, the more uncomfortable the dog days, the name of which stands as man’s greatest slur on his four-footed companion. It is doubtless natural for those who can choose their times of recess from city congestion and city cares to choose a part of August.

Yet these reasons do not seem to explain fully why August is the greatest vacation month. One suspects that the deciding factor has been and is that an August vacation has a certain sanction of fashion. It is “the thing.” Fashion and habit are responsible for some of the most important mass movements.

At any rate, August is here, and August brings with it the supremacy of rustication under country skies. The great concourse is on, and the pulse of Island life until Labor Day will be rapid indeed.


Bradlee Martin, sage of Tiah’s cove, unhooked a Jersey cow’s horns from a barbed wire fence, rescued a young pig from a watering trough into which it had fallen, broke up a healthy cat fight and plucked a small grandchild out of the path of a charging Tom turkey, then hauled out his seven-yard bandana, mopped his dripping brow and gave vent to the first complaint uttered by the sage since he located in this quiet suburb of West Tisbury.

“I vum!” he ejaculated, between healthy nibbles at his plug of Mayo’s Best, “I hain’t been through such a summer since Bryan first ran for president. The depression is all over, thanks be, but the aftermath, as they call it, is worse!”

“Why, what’s wrong?” queried the scribe, whittling off a sliver from the cow manger and receiving a dark look of disapproval from the sage.

“Most everything, I cal’ate,” groaned the sage, masticating his quid with much less than his customary enjoyment. “Most everything, if it ain’t the cows jumping the cornfield fence, the turkeys are tackling the young shoats or the children. And then the children run and fall in the branch, and Pashy gives me the very devil because they get their clothes muddy. I tell you, the country’s going to the dickens, and yesterday’s fracas capped the climax. I’m going to quit farming, I am!

“We figgered on mixin’ up some ice cream yesterday,” he continued, “got the freezer, plenty of ice and all the fixings, and when the batch was done, it was elegant, and no mistake. It was so doggone good that I suggested that we freeze another batch. So we mixed it up, poured it into the freezer and I begun to crank the thing.

“I turned that handle for thirty five minutes, and there was no sign of freezing. I rested a spell, and then took hold and cranked steady for forty five minutes, Waterbury time.”

“Just then one of the children came out and says, ‘Oh grandpa, you forgot to put this thing in,’ and she held up the paddle!” “It was the last straw, the last, dagnabbed straw that busted the camel’s backbone, and I quit right there in disgust. I haven’t been in the house since, and I don’t know when I’m going, neither. I dread to look my fellow man in the face for the first time in ninety odd years! I tell you, the country’s ruined!”


The honor of taking the season’s first bluefish goes to Mrs. F. Warner Bishop of New York and Edgartown, who, piloted by C. Stetson Look to the famous bluefishing ground off Skiff’s Island, took two three-pound specimens of the favorite game fish of these waters yesterday afternoon.

Delaying their arrival almost two weeks later than last year, the bluefish, the reason for whose departure for years and their return in full force a few years ago, remains a mystery, have had local fishermen and vacationists on tenterhooks, and the warmth of their welcome is unaffected.

The first fish to be taken on a jig last year was hooked by Harry Norton of Vineyard Haven in Vineyard Sound on July 19. A day later Manuel S. Perry took one, and Hiland Porter two in Edgartown waters. Mrs. Bishop is believed to set a record among female anglers with her first catch of the season.

Compiled by Hilary Wall