From the Jan. 14, 1955 edition of the Gazette:

This day, early in our week, has been a gray one from start to finish. Low gray clouds over the slate-colored Lagoon made the sunrise so brief as to pass almost without notice, and so all-prevailing were the clouds at evening that there was no visible sunset at all.

Scallopers groped with their dip nest through the dull waters of Sengekontacket, while out in the Sound, almost lost between the gray of the sea and sky, a fishing vessel moved, its staysail set to modify the roll and pitch caused by the white-capped surface it traveled.

Toward the close of the day, snow flurries predicted for “the Cape and nearby islands” fell, but they were of the briefest nature possible, and over the water turned within a matter of minutes into a mist which, along with the general dimness, all but made Cape Pogue invisible form Edgartown harbor.

A penetrating chill in the air resulted in a border of ice around the shores of the Lagoon below the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and skim ice covered the entire surface of Ben Luce’s pond near the lower reaches of Skiff avenue. A duck would have had no trouble breaking through the ice today, but we understand that before the pond became largely overgrown, and in the days when winter held the Vineyard in an uncompromising hand, this pond was a favorite spot for ice skaters, frequented by the younger set from after school until dark, and by both grown ups and youngsters on Saturdays and Sundays. Up-Island cranberry bogs, flooded by their owners to protect the crops, also furnished the best in skating after a few days of freezing weather and here, too, the sport was followed by every member of the family who could muster a pair of skates, from grandfather on down.

Gray days such as today, which have little to recommend them, might redeem themselves by spreading some solid ice abroad. As long as it’s going to be unpleasantly cold anyway it might as well get a little colder and form ice. Skating resulting therefrom, enthusiasts will tell you, is adequate compensation for low thermometer readings and does wonders toward transforming an unpleasant day into one in which pleasure abounds.

January, too, sees an upsurge in general winter repair work, chores to be gotten out of the way before summer returns visitors and traffic to our shores. Vineyard Haven, for instance, is taking the opportunity to continue a drainage system along Main street. The work began at the bank, and at this writing is centered in front of the D.A.R. building. Work will continue until the system reaches Woodlawn avenue, and in the interim period local drivers detour by way of William and Franklin streets, for there is not room for the big machinery and even one car down Main street way.

Over in Oak Bluffs, men carry on with the rip-rap job along East Chop, working, at least the afternoon we watched, in the face of a cold wind that had us shivering in seconds. Everything about this job seems sealed to large proportions. The rocks used are giant boulders, wrested from Ozzie Fischer’s fields up-Island and transported to Oak Bluffs in heavy-duty, double-tired trucks. At East Chop they are dumped over the high embankment and juggled into their assigned places in the bulwark by a behemoth crane.

The rip-rapping injects a particular note of insularity into out consciousness, a note we seldom think of. The machinery used for the work belongs to an off-Island firm and, as we said, is of an out-sized nature. It is much too big to squeeze aboard the steamer but the steamer and planes are all that connect us with the mainland now. The machinery arrived on the ferry before the vessel quit running for the winter and here it must remain until the ferry goes back on duty again, unless the company sends a lighter to pick it up. Even then, we understand, the lighter must await favorable winds and weather before it attempts to cross the Sound with its cumbersome burden. It takes something like this to remind us that the Island is really an island.

Donald Cronig, 7-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. David Cronig, is, in his early years, a passionate devotee of the motor car cult. During the pre-Christmas season he petitioned Santa Claus, stopping for a time at Brickman’s store, to bring him a driver’s license for Christmas. Santa explained that it would take a while to comply with this request, probably about until Donald was sixteen.

Just the other day Donald was proceeding downtown past Renear’s garage when some toy automobiles on display caught his eye. Marching in to the sales room, Donald inquired of the salesman on the floor, Dixon Renear at the time, what the price of these little cars might be. “A dollar seventy-five,” Dixon told him. Donald reflected on this for a moment, then in man-to-man tones broached Dixon with a proposition: “Tell you what,” Donald said, “I have one of these cars at home but the rear wheel is broken. How much will you allow me on a trade-in?”

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox