Cast Your Ballots!

From the Gazette editions of March, 1909:

Before town meeting the air is electric with discontent and criticism; whenever two or more persons meet, the town and its management are criticized and condemned. The roads, the schools, the town officers, are found wanting and are found to be without one redeeming quality. Something must be done, so of course it must be done at town meeting. The eloquence increases, local politics grows red hot and boils over. There are hushed consultations, sly winks. There are to be “great changes.” The post office, the blacksmith shop, all the places where men congregate are filled with mysterious hints and plans.

When the day arrives, if it is a good fish day, the welfare of the fish is more important than the welfare of the town, and the chug of the motor is heard. Or it may be an ideal day to cut wood, or cart coal, for there are plenty of excuses lying around loose waiting to be picked up. The prospective town officers separate the voters from their excuses, and the votes shuffle into the voting box and are dumped and sorted. But when a discussion of important affairs is in order, a paralysis of the tongue affects the majority, leaving important matters undiscussed. The last articles of the warrant are rushed through, and at the close we find things about as they were before.

After town meeting everything becomes quiet, except for the mutterings of the dissatisfied stay-at-homes.

The schooner Fred A. Small, ice laden, from Friendship, Maine, which struck on Little Round Shoal off Chatham, has been abandoned, vessel and cargo a total loss. After a large part of her cargo had been thrown overboard it was found impossible to haul her off with four powerful tugs. Six hundred tons of the ice had been consigned to Louis Pease of Edgartown and 400 to Osgood Mayhew, Oak Bluffs.

Not only in well known centers, but in remoter locations, the school garden movement is taking root, and this suggests a satisfactory outcome, the result of which will be not only the higher culture of our future citizens, for there is nothing like an understanding and appreciation of nature to impart this culture, but it may also lead to a better distribution of our population. Once impart to the child a love of flowers and field, and the city cannot hold him unless it can give him a garden spot. Reports from the principals and teachers where school gardening is in vogue have been most gratifying.

Just where Mr. Ketcham came from is not important. He was a seaman from some other port, who caught Mollie’s fancy at an opportune moment and they were married. He went off on a voyage and as only too often happened, failed to return, and Mollie donned widow’s weeds.

The lady was thrifty and managed to accumulate some means as time went on and this, or something, attracted a certain Mr. Merry, who finally won her over to his way of thinking and they became one. All too late the long mourned Ketcham appeared on the scene. Mollie was an impartial soul and expressed herself as agreeable to any solution of the difficulty that would keep the peace, and after some discussion, the three agreed to leave the matter in the hands of Isaac Daggett, inn keeper, in whose judgement they all had great confidence. Daggett told Ketcham that he was dead to all intents and purposes and that the best thing for him to do was to clear out and never return, and he then advised the others to pay Ketcham $300, if he would agree. So it came to pass that Ketcham dropped out of Vineyard history, never to return.

But another account indicates that the lady was not quite so philosophical as represented above, for it is to the effect that when Ketcham had turned up, she was that provoked that she took a broomstick to him.

Mollie’s thrift got the better of her sentiment when Merry went by the board. It seems that among her other accomplishments was knitting, and that she made many pairs of stockings and mittens with which her husband, who was a pilot, was amply supplied whenever he went on board a vessel, he being duly charged to sell her manufacture and turn in the money. While he was taking a vessel across the shoals, she was lost with all on board and soon the sad news was broken to Mollie. The depth of her woe was sounded as she exclaimed, “Oh dear, all those stockings and mittens gone.”

Mollie lived to be 96 years of age; she always slept on feathers and drank coffee all her life, and was considered a brilliant refutation of the theory that those two things tended to shorten life.

Monday’s Transcript speaks exultingly and with headlines about the arrival at T-wharf of two barrels of alewives from the Vineyard as a “harbinger of Spring.” The Boston paper is either slow or all the “harbingers” have been for home consumption, for they’ve been in evidence some little time. We know them equally well as herring or “turkeys.”

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner