Bells and Whistles

From the Gazette editions of November, 1933:

Miss Louise M. Wood of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital staff, and Mr. Philip J. Norton of Edgartown, were married Wednesday morning at Sacred Heart Rectory, Oak Bluffs, by Rev. Charles R. Smith. The wedding was extremely simple, only two friends of the bridal couple being present at the ceremony. The wedding, which was supposed to have been kept secret, took place at 5:30 a.m., but some of the bridegroom’s friends, discovering what was afoot, lay in wait aboard the Eben A. Thacher, freight boat, which was moored near the Island steamer. At the proper time the whistle of the freighter was blown, and the valve sticking, it continued to blow until the steamer was well on her way.

The Beatrice House, situated in Montgomery Square, Oak Bluffs, and one of the older hotels of the town, has been purchased this week from F.G. Huss of Newton by Willis Hughes of Oak Bluffs, who will assume the management of the place next season. Mr. Hughes has been identified with the Purity Creamery for the past few years and will sever his connection with that establishment on taking over the new business. The Beatrice House is by way of being an heirloom in the family of Mr. Hughes, having been owned and operated by his uncle, Henry Hawksworth, when it was known as the Central House. The last owner, Mr. Huss, obtained possession of the establishment thirty-five years ago, and has operated the place as a summer hotel and bakery since that time. President Grant took his meals at this hotel for a week during his famous visit to the Island.

With the widespread interest on the Island this week aroused over possible town allotments from the $12,000,000 state share of the Federal Emergency Fund, interest in the Public Works program has been excited. Oak Bluffs’ proposed new schoolhouse and the proposed road program in Edgartown are projects which may be financed under the provisions of this act. The primary purpose of the Public Works Act is to relieve unemployment during the next several months, and to substitute opportunities for work in place of public welfare aid. At Edgartown, Winthrop B. Norton said a meeting would consider the selectmen’s program of road construction, hard surfacing streets in the town proper and the Katama Road, as an unemployment measure.

The knell of prohibition was celebrated in the earliest hours of the morning by the sounding of the fire signal in Oak Bluffs and in Edgartown. This form of jubilation was unauthorized, and the chiefs of the two fire departments which had been called out by the false alarm instigated an investigation. The joint efforts of Antone Alley chief of the Oak Bluffs department, Frank Norton, chief of the Edgartown department, James Geddis, chief of the Edgartown police and Patrolman Leonard Martin of the state police, resulted in the arrest of Richard S. Beetle of Edgartown, who was charged with turning in the false alarms in both towns. The Oak Bluffs alarm was rung from a box at Harthaven. The Edgartown box which was pulled was number forty-five, so that the town heard the longest possible signal.

They say that the eelgrass is coming back. When it grows again, everything is likely to be just the same as ever so far as the human world is concerned. Scientists will continue their researches, and the rest of us will soon forget what a surprising difference it made to us when the submarine meadows were blighted out of existence for a few years. Darwin said that the wiping out of a great area of vegetation under the surface of the sea would destroy more life than the destruction of a vast forest on land. Thousands of creatures depend upon eelgrass for their existence. They must have been reduced to the vanishing point these past few years. The teeming underwater life of the seas has gone through a tremendous crisis, and as the eelgrass begins to grow again, perhaps not all the effects will be repaired. Eelgrass is also called grass-wrack, and it not only grows but blossoms under the water. It is like grass in a meadow, the blades like ribbons which float and drift. That it is coming back is cause for rejoicing and for relief.

The top-line yarn from the haunts of coot and heron is the following told with much chuckling ’longside the stove in Sanderson’s in West Tisbury. William MacNeill wended his way to Town Cove as the sun rose. There he looked in vain for the waterfowl he coveted, but as his keen eyes swept the water, he detected movement just beneath the surface. “An otter!” gasped Mr. MacNeill and lined his sights on the object, which showed just a fraction above the surface. The repeater barked, but the object moved on. Again the fowling piece spat, and this time the moving thing lazily turned and moved away, revealing as it swung, the glistening body of a large goosefish. Bill is recovering and not calling at the store right now.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner