Have you ever thought about what makes a community special? I researched the subject by rereading my columns for this summer.

We lost several longtime community members this year. Graham Dripps, George Sanford, Larry Stewart, Biff Cooper, Kay McMahon Geary and Wally Ross will be sorely missed. And yet I reported on two college students, Amos Gaylord and Dan Reid, who are on track to make a difference. Think ahead and imagine the difference our newest member, Elda Isabella Berlin, will make. With parents like Betsey Guest and Jeremy Berlin how can she miss! Communities renew themselves with such promising young members.

I have praised the creativity of Dexter Nerney; and more recently, several East Chop artists who received awards at the Agricultural Fair. Communities move forward and make progress because they have creative members who can think outside the box.

I have profiled the lives of several interesting people — Bill Dennehy, Peter Puchner, Wes Dripps, Pam Anderson, Abby Williamson and Jeremy Crigler. We need such people in our community because they inspire us to work hard and to achieve our goals.

We learned this summer that things change from the deaths mentioned above and from watching the cliffs on our precious bluff erode. And yet in equally important ways things on East Chop have remained the same. Our three clubs, old family houses and wonderful vistas scattered around the Chop are seemingly timeless. They provide us with an anchor for the fast and changing lives we lead in other places.

As I people-watch from a rocking chair on our porch overlooking Vineyard Sound, I am reminded time and time again that we have our differences. Fraternities are filled with like-minded, similar people. Communities are not like that. They thrive from a wide variety of people who make an effort to find a way to live and work together. East Chop is such a community. I prefer a community to a fraternity.

For those of you who are leaving after another East Chop summer, I know you will think about and appreciate your anchor here throughout the winter months. For those of us who have East Chop as a full-time residence, we will enjoy your absence for the first few months as we drive up Circuit avenue and find several parking places from which to choose. However, it won’t be long before we start missing you because communities are first and foremost places where people care about their neighbors and friends. I look forward to getting back to reporting on this splendid community next June.