Happy New Year 5769! I have said it before, as every good Jew, student, teacher, and school staff member knows, the new year begins in September, not January. I have not caught you up lately on what I have been reading, but during the holidays I got my hands on Child of the Ghetto by Edda Servi Machlin. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Edda was a teenager in Italy during the second world war, and her father was the town’s rabbi. Think Garden of the Finzi-Continis, only more graphic. You will certainly come away from reading this book with thought-provoking realizations and an appreciation of your own life. Get it.

I am very excited about a new community program which will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at the high school. ACE — adult community education — is brought to you by the YMCA, the women’s network, and many other tireless groups on the Island. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, for five weeks, classes will be offered in almost anything you can think of: documentary writing, yoga for beginners, healthy cooking, Irish penny whistle, introduction to Native America, quilting, Italian language, how to grow your business, and wine appreciation. I’m sure I have already aced that last course.

My own personal favorite is the one I shall be teaching, beginning Thursday, Oct. 23, English language learning for those who now have a good handle on my favorite language but want to delve more into reading some of our great authors and practice writing as well. The name of my course is Express Yourself! In my eclectic way, I have chosen five of my favorite writers; Thomas Paine, Annie Dillard, Anne Tyler, Stephen King, and Eudora Welty. I adore-a Eudora! First we shall examine what these writers say about writing. Then we’ll take off on our own writing from there. No textbook is required, but bring a notebook, not a list pad, and a pen. I shall have spare pens for when you run out of ink — and you will. In-person registration is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday night at the high school. You may also check out the course list and register on-line at Ready, set, learn!

I won’t see you at the school next Tuesday night because I shall begin my English-as-a-second-language classes, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Edgartown library. These are more basic. Surely you have friends who live here but arrived fluent in a different language. I’m not just talking about my Brazilian friends – the accents on Island this summer were as diverse as Ecuadorean, Mexican, Romanian and Bulgarian. This will be a six-week class on Tuesdays at the Edgartown library. All are welcome and it is free. I’ll see you there.

I know many of you play the guitar or, at least, enjoy guitar music. Our MV Film Society is showing a terrific documentary tonight, Talking Guitars, about master Flip Scipio. His clients include Jackson Browne, Ben Taylor, Paul Simon, David Lindley, and Carly Simon. Guess what? Flip will be on hand for a personal talk and Q & A after the film. This is scheduled at the Katharine Cornell Theatre for 7 p.m.

Louisa Gould is so talented and so delightful. When I ran into her on Main street last Tuesday she informed me of her weekend open house and sale at her gallery beginning tomorrow. Among her featured artists are Ray Ellis, Ed Jerome, Washington Ledesma, Jeanne Campbell, John Holladay – you get the picture: your friends and neighbors. Call 508-693-7373 if you want to reserve your favorite piece before the crowd gets there. Louisa’s gallery is at 54 Main street. It’s always a party.

If it weren’t for Dr. Vince Phillipino, his wife Karen, and their lovely and funny staff, I just wouldn’t go off-Island to turn myself in to an oral surgeon. But go I did last Tuesday. Every visit to his office in Falmouth is remarkable. Last Tuesday was especially so. On the way home, at the bus depot in the SSA parking lot, I met the most endearing couple from Leavenworth, Kans., John and Carolyn Battle. They had some tourist questions to ask me – they were on their first trip ever to Martha’s Vineyard! This was also there first trip to New England. I made sure they got safely on the boat and safely off. I hope they return when they have more time to spend on storybook Island.

As you well know, I missed writing last week. Wait till I explain writer’s block to my new class! But I especially want to wish anniversary bouquets to Ray and Laurel Redington-Whitaker who celebrated on Oct. 5. Bouquets go out today to Laurel’s folks, Chuck and Carolyn Snow Redington.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Rob Laffie today. I would be remiss to not mention that this was the birth date of that most famous Islander of all, Craig Kingsbury. Tomorrow is a party for Caitlin Crossland, Kristin Siple, Mardell Francis, and Kenon Veno. Oct. 12 belongs to Arvi Bahal, Jaime Conroy, and Sabrina Flipse. Oct. 13 is for Vania Ruas, Marcos Arado, and John Sylvia. Oct. 14 honors Amaru Pareja. And on Oct. 15 Helen Gorski and Lu Healey take the cake. Many happy returns.