Bird of Paradise

From Gazette editions of July, 1959:

Somebody’s given Chief F. Hudson Worden of the Edgartown police the bird. Literally. The bird in this case, though, is a handsome parakeet with an azure breast. It was left, elegantly caged, in the police station, like an orphan on a doorstep, by a person unknown, but the indications are that it came from a privileged home. In his capacity as head of law enforcement in a resort town, the chief has seen practically everything. In fact some live and uncaged chickens were left in his office several years ago. Therefore this recent event brought only a sigh, and the bird was promptly made a member of the force. The bird required a name and somebody promptly dubbed it Plick, an ancient and legendary nickname for the chief himself, derived from some half-forgotten, intra-municipal anecdote. Plick now resides atop the chief’s filing cabinet, its coloring very much like the uniform of the other members of Edgartown’s finest.

The Old Colony system, operated for many years by the New Haven Railroad, came to an end at midnight on June 30. As it stands today, there are no passenger trains reaching Woods Hole either from Boston or New York, and there is no prospect of any further rail service for passengers. The Old Colony reached its end in an atmosphere of bitterness. The Almeida bus line has begun supplying service from Boston to Woods Hole. Buses, planes and private cars are the current means of transportation for anyone bound to or from the Vineyard. Mourning crepe was festooned about one door of South Station, and uniformed trainmen sold apples at five cents apiece in front of South Station to dramatize the situation, which will bring about the discharge of some 700 railroad employees within the next month or so.

At least one Vineyard hotel, one of the largest, said that there had been three major cancellations of reservations for the summer because of the loss of the New York trains. Other hotels either had felt the effect already or expected to do so.

In the years since World War II the growth of Woods Hole as a scientific center and the growth of Falmouth, the Vineyard, and Nantucket as summer resorts has stimulated railroad travel. The increase in traffic during much of the year has been remarkable, and the costs of rail operations have been kept within bounds.

It should be pointed out now, and not forgotten in the weeks and months to come, that the discontinuance of railroad service represents abandonment of the transportation which made possible the prosperity of recent years. The Cape Codder and Neptune have not been trains alone, but the successors of the Long Island Sound lines of long ago. When the Fall River Line and the New Bedford Line were abandoned in 1937, the New Haven spent a good deal of money on a new track at Middleboro, and made sure that the New York trains represented the very best in railroading. With the suspension of the Old Colony, Martha’s Vineyard loses a type of transportation which it has never lacked over a span of at least three generations.

The first female fireman was welcomed into the ranks of the West Tisbury Volunteer Fire Department Monday night, when a group of firemen, led by Chief Arnold M. Fischer, presented badges 25 and 26 to Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Jones of Deep Bottom. “You can make it honorary or active, as you like,” said the chief. He went on to express the department’s, and the town’s, appreciation of the Jones’ continued interest in the fire department, which culminated in the donation of $5,000 which was helpful in the acquisition of the new fire truck for the town.

The stage-door Johnny is not extinct and never will be. But this is a story of a couple of Johnnys who waited outside a theatre door in Paris.

The attraction was the great and only Josephine Baker — Ba-ker with an accent on the second syllable, to her French admirers. She had come up from her chateau in the scenic Dordogne Valley to open in a new show. When it was over, two men — there may have been others, but these are really all that matter — converged on the door.

Promptly came a flicker of recognition, and then a startled greeting. Of all things and in all places, two Vineyard cronies, friends for 21 years, were meeting outside of the star’s dressing room. They were Roger N. Baldwin and Fred Rodell. Tie that one on for coincidence.

The actress is an old friend of Mr. Baldwin, who had done her some good turns in the days of his greatest activity with the American Civil Liberties Union. Fred Rodell, a longtime admirer of Miss Baker, had just come from a visit to her chateau, Les Milands. Just one more item: the Rodell family occupies one of the houses on the Baldwin place, Windy Gates, during their Vineyard vacation weeks.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner