In the Forest

From the Vineyard Gazette editions of July, 1933:

Capt. A. S. Knight, commanding officer of the Civilian Conservation Corps on the Vineyard, has received orders permitting the enlistment of fifteen local men for service with the 106th company, the company at present on the state forest on the great plain. This will bring the company to about 200 men, the strength allotted to the camp by the government.

The selection of the men to be sent to camp is in the hands of the local boards of public welfare. The boards receive instructions from the state welfare board as to the number of men allotted from each town.

Lieut. H. W. Wilkinson, camp adjutant, will be in charge of the enlistments. Under no circumstances will he be able to enlist any man unless the man comes to camp with a properly filled out application memorandum from his local board.

The length of time for the present enlistments will be the duration of the camp. The first allotment, enlisted in May, was for six months, and those men will be discharged in November. The men enlisting now will be discharged at the termination of the present camp in the fall.

The pay will be the same as heretofore, thirty dollars a month. On the Island the age limit of 25 does not apply. Both married and single men are acceptable for enlistment.

Captain Knight says that all men who enlist now will spend their entire time here on the Island. The men will be enlisted, receive their training here at the camp and will be assigned to duty with the various units now at work in the forest, and in the erection of permanent buildings.

Capt. Ben Mayhew took the lead among Bight swordfishermen for a single day’s catch of swordfish when he brought in five. All were good-sized fish and were taken at a moderate distance from the Sound mouth. His son, Capt. Ben Jr., hit hard luck indeed. He struck and killed one fish, but the sharks were so thick that they devoured the fish, cleaning the backbone and sword before he could hoist it aboard his boat. Old fishermen say they have never before heard of such a thing. The sharks were the small type, and were attracted and made ferocious by the blood in the water.

How many visitors to Martha’s Vineyard every summer become acquainted with the old-fashioned institution of the clambake?

We ask the question because we are afraid the clambake is in danger of going out. It will never go out completely, because the clambake is too high in the scale of gustatory delights, its flavors too near to immortality, and its devotees have the fire of fanaticism which will defend the purity and integrity of the institution through all ages. But we are afraid it is going out as a popular indulgence. We do not hear of visitors going to clambakes as often as we did years ago, and the tales of great bakes come less frequently than they used to do.

Can it be that modern youth is against the clambake? Is it too much trouble for an effete age to take the proper steps with fire, hot stones, rockweed, canvas, and the amazing variety of ingredients from clams to green corn?

Probably our modern laziness, especially the laziness of youth, has something to do with the neglect of clambakes. Probably, too, the present age is too ready to follow the line of least resistance, and, tasting clams, lobsters and all the rest, as served ordinarily at table, assumes that this method of partaking of such food is adequate. Such acceptance of the obvious ought to meet with rude shaking. It is all very well to enjoy other methods of preparing and serving clams and other foods, but one should never forget that the clambake is different. It stands apart.

There is a fine art in preparing clambakes. A reputation as a maker of bakes is hard to acquire, but once acquired is as permanent as the fame of a Lindbergh. Our Island bake masters should be called upon more often to perform their service to mankind.

One Island institution which has watched its business fall off of late is the district court. There has been a striking scarcity of criminal cases, especially serious cases, and summer has brought no revival. Everyone connected with the court is satisfied to see the business decline. Judge Abner Braley believes it is too early to characterize this as a quiet summer. The next few weeks will tell the story. Meantime, no speeding cases have yet been heard, there have been no serious violations of the motor laws except one case of driving under the influence, and patrolman Leonard Martin of the state police had only one motor law violation to handle from the time he reached the Island last fall until early summer.

The great depression in the district court is attributed by Judge Braley to the efficiency of the state police who enforce laws without arresting people for unintentional offenses, to the lack of cash in the hands of the young and the reckless, and to greater care on the part of the public.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner