One of the appreciative comments that I heard upon Barbara Erickson’s passing was that she was forward thinking in an organization whose history stretches back 130 years. I ponder daily about how forward thinking applies to Chappaquiddick Island in general and to the Chappy Ferry in particular.

There has been a ferry of some sort serving Chappy for 210 years. The character of the island was shaped by its isolation from the rest of the Vineyard and the world at large. The ferry was the main route by which the outside world invaded and eroded the special nature of Chappy.

There has always been a conflict between preserving the values of the past and implementing our perceptions of the future. It’s clear that Edgartown as a community is concerned about holding on to aspects of the past. It created an historic district within the heart of Edgartown.

Each person makes their own judgement regarding which aspects of the past have positively influenced our present. As Chappaquiddickers now contemplate their vision of the future of their connection to the outside world, it seems wise to consider how the ferry contributed to the uniqueness of the island that they hold dear.