It’s an honor to write the Oak Bluffs column while Holly Nadler takes a couple of months off.
Skating on Crystal Lake, aka Ice House Pond, was great last week! The ice was like glass, as they say. A score of fish, carp I believe, were caught in the ice like an anthropological dig. Bob Hughes says goldfish are a kind of carp that were left by summer people. He recalls when two ice houses were on the pond.
The Oak Bluffs School’s annual talent show is at 6:30 tonight. Yes, it’s Friday, the 13th, and everyone has a talent to share.
The Democratic town committee elected Mimi Davisson as chairman, Raye King as treasurer and Brian Hughes as secretary. A subsequent caucus nominated delegates to the state convention in June.
Featherstone has invited Don Nitchie to run a poetry workshop on Wednesday evenings at 6:30. Check it out.
Oak Bluffs children’s librarian Jessica Bowers offers a teen poetry group on Tuesday, Feb. 17 from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Bring an original or favorite poem. To honor black history month the library has linked to the black studies center Web site. The library Web site is oakbluffslibrary.org.
The library’s lifelong learner series continues Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. with Aging Successfully, a lecture by town nurse Nicole Barlett. She offers advice on aging. The lecture will be repeated Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Jen and Pete Smyth have taken ownership of Slice of Life on Circuit avenue. Pete’s been the chef there for years, so the transition will be smooth. Slice opened yesterday after their annual cleaning routine. (For truth in reporting, Jen and Pete are our daughter and son-in-law!)
Leslie Malcouronne is one of many people who represent the best of Oak Bluffs.
Leslie arrived on the Vineyard in a wooden Coca Cola box aboard the Nobska in 1947, and has spent every summer since on Island. “Martha’s Vineyard is the one constant in my life,” she says.
She traces her Vineyard lineage from Elias Ingraham who stopped here en route to Venezuela in 1845. “Seven generations on my father’s side, six on my mother’s. Sea captain Jonus Strange brought runaway slaves from the south to New Bedford on the underground railroad.” Her great-grandfather was a Methodist who moved his house out of the Camp Ground to Plymouth avenue because he liked his rum. His home was known as Strange Towers.
Leslie’s first memory is the beach along East Chop Drive. “Daddy bought a house on Winemack avenue and I went to Oak Bluffs elementary with Mrs. Gordon. She was a strict one for handwriting,” Leslie recalls. She remembers fallout shelters in the 1950s. Her father had one next to his pool table.
As a youngster, she recalls “walking down by the Ocean View Hotel into town to Wamsley’s Bakery for fresh-baked donuts and going to Darling’s, with its foot-long popcorn bars, wrapped in wax paper. They had chocolate, peppermint and vanilla.” Circuit avenue ran two ways in those days, and there was Metell’s 5 & 10, Rexall Drug that smelled of cigar smoke, and the Red & White which became Reliable.
“I remember going down to Leonard’s Garage (where Jim’s is today) and they had a shiny black floor from the oil. There was a glass candy counter where you’d buy penny candy.” A pool hall was at Pomadoro’s, Sylvia’s TV Repairs was on Circuit avenue and there were two bowling alleys in town.
One childhood memory stands out for her. “I distinctly remember picking Daddy up at the boat and going to the movies. It was showing The Blob and I Married a Monster from Outer Space. We heard a huge scream and it was my father.” The double feature cost 50 cents in those days. “We walked everywhere.” Pay Beach cost 10 cents for lockers and had a great beach. The old Eastville Inn was where the emergency room is now. You got three rides on the Flying Horses for a quarter. Oak Bluffs had only one police officer on duty, stationed by the theatre. When a blue light flashed, that meant a phone call at the station.
“In the 50s and 60s you’d get up, grab something to eat and ride your bike down past the tennis courts to the East Chop Beach Club and spend the day in the water, have lunch, sailing till four p.m., all day with friends, then back to the harbor for fishing and sailing as a teenager. Life was good back then,” she says.
When you see Leslie, wish her a very happy birthday today, Friday the 13th!
Back on a personal note, we’re enjoying the company of our son, Christopher Jones prior to his trek to Finland.
And for light reading, I recommend Joshua: A Parable for Today, by Joseph Girzone.