Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I know I am one of scores of Vineyarders whose days will be a little less sunny now that Virginia Hackney has left our Island. Like Virginia, I am devoted to my bike as the favorite mode of travel and the frequent, and for the most part incidental, intersection of our paths were always a highlight of my rides. Yet I must admit, there were times when I would troll the streets of Vineyard Haven in the hope I would yet again be subjected to questioning about my behavior and berated if I had forgotten my helmet.

Virginia was one of those rare people who, just by being around her, made you feel good about life. Not only did you marvel at her optimism, the way she focused her attention on you to the exclusion of everything and everyone else around, and her affectionate and gentle scolding, but you realized that she was secure in her surroundings because of the support she received from her family and from her many friends on the Island. It was a continual reminder of what a fortunate gift it is to be part of the Vineyard Haven community on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Her resume of love and connections recited in the Gazette is astonishing yet not surprising. Whenever we met, whether on our bikes at Five Corners, or in The Black Dog, The Net Result, Brickmans or Grace Church, there was always a gallery of her friends and companions vying for her attention. You were branded as somebody if you were a friend of Virginia’s, and it was the ultimate honor if you were so privileged.

Virginia knew that I carry a bag on my bike and pick up roadside trash on my early morning route from the end of Hines Point to Cumberland farms to buy the Times for my dear bride. Occasionally, Virginia would demand an inspection of the route and we would bike from Five Corners to Skiff avenue and back. Invariably, she would spot a piece of paper, a can, or some other roadside trash, and just as invariably, I would plead that it had to have been recently tossed after I had already policed the area. She would have none of that, claiming instead that my eyes were failing, and that I, as usual, was misbehaving again.

As I climb on my bike every day, it is probably the anticipation that our paths might cross that I will miss the most. Thanks, Virginia. It will be a long, gray winter without the ray of sunlight that always followed you around.

Steve Crampton

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I had the pleasure of knowing Virginia Hackney. We worked together for many years at Chilmark Chocolates. She was a great friend. I treasure the time we had together and I’m deeply saddened that she’s gone.

Chilmark Chocolates won’t seem the same without her.

Cynthia Dean