Early Summer Scrapbook

From Gazette editions of June, 1934:

A school of forty or fifty sturgeon was sighted off Wasque. Many Islanders had never heard of such a school before in these waters. The sturgeon were chasing the mackerel which ran right into the shore. All the sturgeon were big fish, believed to have run from 300 to 400 pounds apiece. It has always been said that when sturgeon arrived, the bluefish were here.

This time of year raises again the vital issue of how strawberry shortcake should be made. Most of the human race has become intensely partisan on this issue, and we are glad to say that the cause of right and justice seems to have the upper hand. The best elements of our civilization are set solidly against the heresy that strawberry shortcake can be brought into existence merely by messing about with layer cake, strawberries and whipped cream. Yet this treason continues to exist, and it threatens the culinary integrity of the nation. Why, even on the Vineyard, stores dispense angel food cake imported from the mainland and bearing on the box the shocking suggestion, “Excellent for strawberry shortcake.”

Surely no one can ask what shortcake is really like. Shortcake goes back into the Vineyard past like a family tree. For shortcake, there is no sweetening. The berries, and whatever sugar may be desired with them, supply this element. Under no circumstances can ordinary cake be converted into shortcake, and no strawberry shortcake is worthy of the name which does not have its swimming portion of fragrant strawberry juice.

How humiliating it is for patrons in restaurants to be forced to inquire, “Is it made with biscuit dough?” before ordering strawberry shortcake. Just as it is humiliating for them to have to ask, “Is it made with milk?” before ordering clam chowder. Of course it is made with biscuit dough (as distinguished from sweet cake dough). Of course it is made with milk. Otherwise truth falters, the foundations of our institutions are weakened, and a specter of dissolution threatens our future.

Future Vineyarders may hunt their Thanksgiving dinners like the Pilgrim fathers if the recommendations of Russell Smith, federal wildlife technician, are adopted. The recommendations of Mr. Smith were read at the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club on Wednesday night by the president, M.C. Hoyle. Mr. Smith listed the upland birds which would be best on the Vineyard. The list began with pheasants, but wild turkeys came second. He explained that the great quantities of acorns produced here insured a plentiful supply of feed satisfactory to the turkeys and he will recommend that a shipment of these birds be sent to the Island between now and fall. Wild turkeys, it is said, will not interfere with gardens or other cultivated areas, being timid birds which prefer wild, secluded places.

A plane, bringing Dr. Charles Sziklas from Boston, landed on the DeBettencourt farm in Oak Bluffs on Saturday, due to the fog which obscured the Katama airport. Scheduled to perform two operations at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the surgeon phoned that he was leaving Boston by plane and would arrive shortly. A car was at the airport to meet him, but the plane failed to appear, and while doctors and hospital attendants anxiously awaited news of his whereabouts, he walked into the hospital. Charles Delafield was also a victim of the same fog when, coming for the weekend at Katama, he was unable to find the airport. He flew to the golf course of the Martha’s Vineyard Country Club, where he made a safe landing.

Unless some obstacle prevents the completion of the plans of the Cape and Vineyard Electric Company, electric lights will be turned on at Chappaquiddick. Probably the bathing beach buildings will be the only ones to have the service tomorrow, but the connection of the remaining services will be completed within a few days.

This weekend is seeing the graduation of the classes of 1934 from the high schools of Martha’s Vineyard. In towns like ours, the classes are small and commencement preserves the importance of the individual. About the graduating exercises hangs an unrepressed sentiment. There is a reality and genuineness which no onlooker can escape. No matter what advantages city schools may offer, to be a graduate of a small town school is to be envied above others.

Graduation in a year like this, however, does not mean an end of education or of preparation. Work is difficult to find, and high school graduates may find it wise to return to school in the fall for post graduate work. Those who can go on to college or business school are fortunate. In every possible case, plans should be made to keep on studying and preparing against the day when opportunity will again appear, and the world will really offer a foothold for the young man or woman.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner