From the Dec. 6, 1968 edition of the Gazette:

Although the weather on the Island for the Thanksgiving weekend was pretty much on the foul side, plenty of cheer and gaiety was going on inside so that all those who came from the outer-off-Island world had a pleasant time of it.

Mr. and Mrs. E. Jared Bliss had a large group for cocktails before lunch on Thanksgiving Day, and then the party crossed the street for turkey at Mr. and Mrs. A. Loring Rowe’s. The Rowes had numerous small fry staying with them and it was the first time in a year and a half that the whole family, Tommy, Andy, and Miss Nancy were together.

The following day, Friday, the entire mob scene had a rousing game of touch football which occupied most of North Water street, most of the residents and even some of the roof tops.

Mr. and Mrs. Chester B. Van Tassel gave a small cocktail party Friday for their son Peter and their son in law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Tom T. Wuerth; and Mr. and Mrs. Edward K. Simpson’s had a large cocktail party that some day in honor of Mr. Simpson’s birthday and Mr. and Mrs. Blisses’ wedding anniversary.

Mrs. Richard Burroughs entertained with a buffet dinner Friday evening for the young and filled her house with the before and after college age.

In amongst all this excitement was the opening of the Red Cat Book Store in North Tisbury, which was also a cocktail party, just in case there weren’t enough already.

On Saturday Mr. and Mrs. John J. Trask had the largest party of the weekend, a combination cocktail party and buffet, which brought most of the Edgartown young and old together. On hand for the occasion were Miss Elsie Trask’s pictures which had recently been shown in New York.

A humdinger of a cocktail party took place at Red Cat Books in North Tisbury Friday night. The occasion, which will long be remembered by most of the 200 persons who attended, and perhaps rather be forgotten by a few, was the opening of a bookstore by Stanley Hart and Gerald R. Kelly.

Official hours for the party were from 6 to 8, but some people had such a good time that it was 3 the following morning before everyone left. If the success of the business has to do with the success of its launching, the Red Cat is going to be the busiest cat on the Island.

This is the second venture in Red Cat bookstores for Mr. Hart and who had his first one in the same location before the building was remodeled by Mr. and Mrs. Warren Coleman to become the Sands of Gold restaurant.

Way back before that, in the days when North Tisbury was known as Middletown, the building served as the postoffice and though it is now lined with books and painted in bright colors, Joseph Chase Allen finds the building full of ghosts unchanged during the past 65 years, or more:

“For here, in that long-gone time, Thomas Merry, bearded, because he belonged to the bearded generation, dapper and mellow of voice, presided as postmaster, in the little, caged-in enclosure at the right of the doorway, and also as storekeeper behind the counter on the opposite side where cans, bottles and packaged goods were stacked upon the ancient shelving.

“The old-timers could recall the telephone, Southern Massachusetts Bell System, just installed in compliance with the law which required a telephone in every post office. It was on the wall, in a far corner on the left hand side of the main room, and the directory was printed on a sheet which rolled and unrolled as a window-shade is operated.

“The old-timer could remember the evening, more than 65 years ago, when there sat around in the post office Frank Downs, the harness-maker, Tut Chase, the village blacksmith, Leroy and Ellsworth Norton, Clem Look, and a number of boys.

“Miss Grace Green tripped in and made a long distance phone call to Boston: the exchange call was Haymarket: ‘tis odd indeed how the memory persists, but such a phone call was unusual, a thing to be talked about at that time.

“And Tom Merry came out of the postal enclosure to dig into a box of dates from which he filled a small bag for one of the boys who happened to have a nickel. Dates were pressed into such boxes, which probably held 20 pounds, and had literally to be excavated by means of an instrument which all date-sellers kept handy.

“And Leroy tied a piece of string to the top of small bag, tied the other end to a bent pin and hooked the pin into the tail of Tut’s coat. Tut knew something had been done, but he didn’t know exactly what, nor by whom, but he expressed his opinion of the useless loafers and departed for home with the bag still dangling. “Oh yes, the ghosts were there last Friday night, many of them, but only the old timers could see them. Probably just as well. Younger people would have looked and muttered something about ‘odd characters.’ But the ghosts will not interfere with the prosperity of the Red Cat: far, far from it, they will add something to the atmosphere.”

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox