In for a Penny

From the Vineyard Gazette editions of August, 1933:

A relic of times when Edgartown was a port under the jurisdiction of the British king came to light last week in the form of an old coin found by an employee of James Lineaweaver, summer resident of Edgartown. The Lineaweaver summer home at Tower Hill is near the site of the old landing where, doubtless, merchant vessels of two centuries and more ago often discharged and fitted.

The coin was apparently washed out of the ground by a recent rain, and its glint led to its discovery. It is a George the Second halfpenny, and the date is 1739.

The halfpenny reminds the present generations that it is moving in the footstepss of the past. The date of this coin is almost 200 years past, but Edgartown was settled almost a century before that.

Max Eastman and Eliena Krylenko won first laurels in the 1933 Chilmark Olympia and Surf festival held last week, the former breaking the Vineyard record in the running broad jump, high jump and hop-skip-jump, and the latter scoring first place in horseshoe pitching and jumping from a standing start.

Now and then someone asks what the Vineyard is like in summer, and we can never answer. Go to one of the community sings in Oak Bluffs on a Wednesday evening, and hear the hundreds of voices raised in song. Or to the waters of Vineyard Haven or Edgartown on a racing day, and see the white sails of the yachts stretched in the breeze. Or to Gay Head where men and women are small dark figures moving along the beach below the colored headland. Or to the Chilmark hills where summer houses may look down instead of up at the sky. Or to Chappaquiddick, the island nobody knows. Or to one of the sunny beaches where, it is rumored darkly, nude bathing is practiced. Or into the shady woods of the North Side where no sight or sound dilutes the forest scene.

What is the Vineyard like in summer? We give up. It is like anything you think or say it is like, but your next door neighbor will have a wholly different view.

The United States Weather Bureau at East Chop was officially discontinued this week. It is not likely that the warning flags or lights indicating a storm will be seen there henceforth, unless some public spirited resident cares to tend the station, free of charge, in which case lights and flags will be supplied.

Capt. George Purdy, operator of the signal tower, received this notification this week, and will no longer hoist the “full gale” signals or the small boat warnings on the tower. The station was moved to East Chop from Eastville in 1915 and has been operated there by Captain Purdy until now.

Shipping stands to be seriously affected by this abandonment of the station. Many vessels of various types especially in winter, will hold on an easterly course until they can pick up the signals at East Chop and if they carry a warning, put into Vineyard Haven for shelter. Without this station, they must continue on past the Island, taking a chance on what lies ahead.

“Joe will surely visit the Vineyard this summer, but I don’t know just when.”

So said Mrs. Henry Ely, mother of Gov. Joseph Ely, when the question was asked by a Gazette representative.

Mrs. Ely arrived at her summer home on East Chop this week, and bearing up bravely under the grief of her husband’s recent death, is preparing to welcome her famous son this month to the house he loves so well.

The assurance that Governor Ely will visit the Island is cheering news to Vineyarders in general, for the prevailing feeling is that “Governor Joe” is an Islander by adoption and choice. No other governor of the commonwealth has ever been accepted by the Vineyard with the same degree of easy and informal familiarity, and, party differences to the contrary, Governor Joe Ely has the freedom of the Vineyard quarterdeck whenever he comes aboard.

Now that sweet corn is coming in, the peak of the vegetable year approaches. On the Vineyard, in August, one has an opportunity to know what sweet corn is really like. Of course, the height of appreciation comes when one has raised the corn in one’s own garden.

But the perfection of golden corn is missed if it does not have rapid transit to the table. The thing to do is to get a kettle of water boiling on the stove, and then to step out into the garden and pull the ears of corn. Then, without the least delay, plunge the ears into the water and let them cook. They will not take long. Too much water in the kettle and too much cooking will lose some of the precious flavor. Transferred promptly from garden to kettle, the corn will yield to the fortunate consumer the utmost in natural sweetness. The true lover of sweet corn is assured a seventh heaven of delight.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner