Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

With the excitement of the Beijing Olympics upon us, I couldn’t help but recall my own excitement in 1936 when I turned on the radio and heard that Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe had finished first and second in the 100 meters for the United States in the Berlin Olympics. Owens went on to win the 200 meters with Mack Robinson (Jackie Robinson’s older brother) finishing second. This was becoming very embarrassing to Adolph Hitler, who preached that Aryan athletes were the super race.

Owens was also a member of the winning 400-meter relay team with Metcalfe, Foy Draper and Frank Wyckoff, but herein lies a tale. Two other runners, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller had trained for the relay and were expected to run for the United States, but at the last minute Owens and Metcalfe (who had never practiced a baton exchange) were substituted. Why the substitutions? One story circulated that since Glickman and Stoller were Jewish, Hitler asked that they be removed so as not to embarrass him anymore with a U.S. team winning the gold medal, with two Jewish runners.

Owens’s fourth medal was in the long jump. Owens fouled on his first two jumps and if he fouled on his third, he was out of the competition. At this point, Luz Long, Germany’s best long jumper suggested that Owens jump a few inches before the takeoff board. Owens took this advice and qualified for the finals, which he won with Long finishing second, who then congratulated Owens. Owens later said: “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler. You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be plating on the 24-karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment.”

Hopefully, the sportsmanship and good will of Luz Long will be the spirit of the 2008 Olympics.

Mev Good

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am a lifelong summer resident of Oak Bluffs. Returning to the Island once again this year I was struck full-force by the disturbing evidence of climate change in the waters of our fragile Island.

In Oak Bluffs, at jetty beach near the yacht club last week, I went tearing out of the water only moments after being stung by at least eight jellyfish in the course of a few minutes.

The next day I was among the throng of beachgoers oggling the seals at South Beach. Jellyfish, seals, sharks . . . they are here telling us something. This ocean is changing at a disturbing rate right before our eyes.

While all this is happening, Congress is on vacation. When in session, they did nothing to combat the global crisis that is climate change. They even failed to renew the federal tax incentives for wind and solar companies, which are set to expire by the end of this year. Congress will continue to do nothing until the media gives appropriate coverage to the climate crisis and the American people call the offices of their representatives and demand they do better.

Sarah Leaman

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read Working Family for Wind Power‚ and it got me thinking. What kind of working family promotes a form of energy that would quadruple their electric bill? Do working families sit around the kitchen table at night and tell each other, you know honey, I just don’t think the government takes enough out of my paycheck each week, I wish they’d give a few hundred million to a big energy company. I don’t know any working families that want to destroy our natural environment by building monstrous towers in our beautiful oceans, so that can’t be it. Most working people cherish the little sleep they get so listening to a neighbors noisy turbine all night couldn’t be the reason. I took a considerable amount of time thinking about the subject when out of nowhere it hit me like a lightning bolt. What do those of us who work two or three jobs really desire? A day off! Think of those wonderful summer days with barely a trace of a breeze. With a world powered by wind turbines there would be no electricity for our power tools, kitchen equipment or computers. Just get up in the morning, take a look at the flagpole and if the flag is still, right back to bed or the beach. Where can I get one of those stickers?

Brian Smith

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As an avid reader of the Gazette, I feel compelled to respond to a comment by David Gergan, who spoke at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. I am outraged that he would compare Senator McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war with Senator Obama’s upbringing. This is outrageous for Mr. Gergan to speak like this. Senator McCain served in our military, gave five-plus years as a prisoner of war and to say that for Senator Obama, who served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review is the same, is shameful. To me, it almost smells un-American. Mr. Gergan will say anything to anyone who will pay him or give him a mike. What makes him an authority.

Jack Kane

Edgartown and

Rockaway, N.J.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In 1980 I was approached by a young New York architect who was looking for a builder for his own summer home in Chilmark. The plan envisioned a super insulated solar home which was a dream job for me as young contractor. I was eager to do the work. When I was given the contract it involved one caveat: I had to include the architect’s young daughter on my crew for the summer. That is how I met 17-year-old Wendy Weisman-Jenkinson. At our first meeting Wendy had a warm smile. It was the very same smile she had every time I saw her for the next 28 years. As a member of my crew she also had a willingness to try anything I asked of her. That willingness was a hallmark of who Wendy was. She was the essence of the can-do person and always with her warm smile.

After building the Weisman home, my family became part of their family. We often spent holidays together with their family and friends. She was born out of the warmth and love of a very special family and it is little wonder why her smile was ever-present. I watched Wendy grow up during those years. I photographed her first wedding and celebrated the birth of her daughter Marguerite. As she matured there were major changes in store for Wendy. In her classic style she rose to meet each challenge with the same can-do attitude she had at 17. When she found her husband Pat, that smile gained warmth that only true love can bring. Their son Wyatt followed soon thereafter.

Wendy was like a daughter to me. We spoke often during those many years. During the summer of 1980 she was my charge — that never changed. I saw Wendy after her initial surgery last summer. Her hair had not grown enough to cover the large scar on her head but with that smile who noticed? We hugged and cried together and she said, “I’m going to fight this. What choice do I have? I’ve got kids!” That was Wendy the can-do person. She is gone now but she leaves something so rare and precious for everyone who knew her. It’s the knowledge that we can do it too.

David Damroth



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As I do not know to whom I am indebted from the emergency room staff who on Sunday, July 27, retrieved my billfold which had dropped from my bag when I left my room at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. I want to thank them all.

I shudder to think of driving off in my car and discovering the loss later and not even being sure where or how I might have lost the billfold. I am most appreciative of not having had that frightful experience.

Adelaide M. Cromwell


The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.