Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Your article in the April 17 Gazette on the history of Martha’s Vineyard baseball was very interesting, but slightly lacking in historical accuracy regarding the evolution of the game in Menemsha and Chilmark. For some unknown reason, there has been a continual problem in the media in correctly setting down the facts about the early history of up-Island baseball. The earliest and most egregiously flawed article, which was written by Robert Crichton, appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine Section in the early 1980s. At that time, I tried to straighten out the early history of the game in a letter to the New York Times, which the Gazette reprinted some years later.

The next distortion appeared in an article written by Chilmark baseball commissioner-emeritus Bill Eddy. Again, I tried to set the record straight in a letter to your paper. Mr. Eddy, in a follow-up letter to the Gazette, graciously admitted his historical misstatements.

Upon reading your recent article, I feel obliged again to set the record straight. Because of the cramped quarters of the Menemsha ballpark at Salt Meadows, with its close left field poison-ivy-covered stone wall that made Fenway Park’s famed Green Monster look like a pussycat, there was a desire to find a more spacious location. Bill Smith, who helped everybody with their own site and roadway problems, generously offered to make his back property available for the Sunday spectacular. The ballpark then became known as “the field behind Bill Smith’s house.” On Sundays Bill would come out and sit at the back of his house watching the game. He had his own one-seater bleachers in deep right field.

Some years after he died, the location became known as “the field behind Muriel Toomey’s house.” Unfortunately, with the new name people soon forgot about Bill Smith’s generosity. If it had not been for him, The Game might have moved to the dump, and then the fine Chilmark baseball tradition would have had a different flavor and may well have withered away.

As you noted correctly in your article, Menemsha baseball originated in the backyard of Herbert and Hazel Flanders’ house, the Homestead, which was then rented to Edward and Dorothea Greenbaum. Two years later, in 1934, the Greenbaums moved to their Menemsha Inn Road home, which they christened Salt Meadows. The Game moved with them. Anne Simon, who is noted in your article as the owner, did not acquire Salt Meadows until more than two decades later, well after baseball had relocated to Chilmark at “the field behind Bill Smith’s house.”

I hope that this will finally straighten out the early baseball history in Menemsha and Chilmark, and I hope that this is my last letter on this important historical subject.

Daniel Greenbaum



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing to thank all of my family and friends who supported me in my run for town clerk. It was very daunting and I am grateful to everyone that worked both behind the scenes and on the front line. Thanks for traveling for meetings as well as calming my nerves! Thanks also to all those who came out to vote. I look forward to serving you as town clerk.

Tara Whiting

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Jeff Norton is the most respected town moderator in the county. Julia Wells’s comment in the April 17 issue was uncalled for and the Gazette photo with accompanying commentary was in extreme poor taste.

Everett H. Poole


Mr. Poole is Chilmark town moderator.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We would like to thank Vineyard Complementary Medicine for their thoughtful way to raise money for nonprofits. There is a container at the reception desk for employees to put money in to wear jeans (casual clothing) to work on Fridays! Clients are also welcome to “stuff the jar.” Every three months the benefactor is changed. Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center was the proud recipient this past quarter. Currently the Cancer Relay for Life is their charity. Thank you for your creative endeavor and to all the supporters.

Vickie Thurber

West Tisbury

Vicki Thurber is executive director of Rising Tide.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Today’s Gazette carries the remark of someone who supports alcohol sales in restaurants — she “lamented that Tisbury is now a ‘pass-through town.’”

Could be a lot, lot worse.

Christopher Gray



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

April 22 celebrates National Girl Scout Leader Day, and we at the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts are so honored to have the support and dedication of our 17,000 volunteers. Each day, week and month throughout the year, we rely on our volunteers to help implement our mission and programming to over 45,000 Girl Scouts.

Our volunteers, as with many organizations, are critical to our success. They provide our girls with the rich experiences they deserve and offer valuable programming in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, health and fitness and leadership development. This perpetuates a culture of giving that is reflected in the tremendous community service impact our Girl Scouts make. These volunteers set the example.

The Girl Scout organization epitomizes a positive dependency on volunteers to be successful. Our incredible corps of motivated, inspiring volunteers expands our ability to reach out to girls in every community. Without them, there would be no Girl Scout troops to build these girls into leaders.

Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers on the Vineyard that support girl scouting.

Ruth N. Bramson


Ruth Bramson is chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m. the West Tisbury Free Public Library will show its last 16mm film. Our longstanding Monday night movie program will change its format to a DVD projector starting in May. In January of 2009 we received a letter from our supplier, Boston Public Library Audio-Visual Collection Services stating that they were no longer able to house, care for, and ship the films.

The earliest records of motion pictures date back to the 1800s. Contrary to popular belief Thomas Edison did not invent the first motion picture projector. There are many contenders depending on how motion picture is defined. Edison did patent a movie projector in 1893 with the assistance of a young protégé William Dickson. Several widths of film have been used, but the 16mm variety remained the most popular. There is evidence that projectors have been around since the 1860s and possibly earlier.

After several phone calls to former library staff and much perusal through annual reports and trustee minutes, it was discovered that in October of 1977 under head librarian Nancy Whiting, assistant librarian Deborah Carr initiated the idea of showing films for school children as a regular program for the library. Her plan was to borrow films from the Vineyard Haven Public Library and use the projector from the West Tisbury School.

As the program grew and became more successful, more movie selections were in demand and the film choices from the Vineyard Haven Library had been exhausted. The library borrowed from other films sources, including Fitchburg Library, Central Massachusetts Regional Library System Audio Visual Center, and lastly Boston Public Library. This cinematic movable feast has been held upstairs on Music street, downstairs at the Howes House, and in the reading room in the library’s present location on State Road.

The trials of keeping this tradition afloat were no small feat. Ebba Hierta, former assistant librarian, recalls a stormy Halloween of 2005 when she reserved the 1922 silent vampire film, Nosferatu. The film case arrived salty and dripping wet inside and out with a note of apology attached. Apparently, during the voyage of the Patriot from Falmouth, someone tossed the case to the deckhand who slipped and dropped it overboard. The case was fished out with a boat hook before it sank to the bottom. Ebba unwound the film around the Music street reading room and set up a fan to dry it out. She prevailed. “Although the film was coated in salt, it ran through the Old Clacky just fine,” she recalled.

This program is colored by many instances of the projector breaking down, emergency splicing, fixing misthreads, changing bulbs, popping popcorn, pretending to be the actors’ voices on the screen when the sound mechanism dies (thank you, Al Hurwitz), and receiving films that went for a swim in the harbor.

A special thanks to the following individuals for helping with this program of 32 years: Nancy Whiting, Deborah Carr, Mickey Barnes, Ann Fielder, Gay Nelson, Paul Karasik, Jack MacKay, Brian Brown, Mary Jo Joiner, Martha Hubbell, Nelia Decker, Ebba Hierta, Beth Kramer and the Dunkl family.

To this day not only have the Dunkl family been our faithful audience but they also have provided ongoing maintenance for the projector and films. Ann Fielder, former children’s librarian, recalls that she had a loyal following of movie watchers, especially the Dunkls with Peter, Frank, Heidi, and their mother, the late Gudrun Daub Dunkl. Ann recalls that Gudey loved old-time films, especially Charlie Chaplin. A sentiment from the mom stayed with Ann all these years and it rings true today: “We do need a good laugh.”

Please join us at the farewell projector party on Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m. We will watch our last 16mm film, Flying Down to Rio (1933) with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Dolores Del Rio. More than anything, we will have a good laugh.

Colleen E. Morris

West Tisbury

Colleen Morris is program director at the library.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I have been coming to Martha’s Vineyard for 35 years, first as a boy, when my parents had a house in Katama, and now with my family where we have a home in Edgartown.

Last summer when we were here on the Island, we discovered that the Edgartown Public Library was in the midst of a capital campaign. With the current economic times, I wasn’t surprised to see that the local library was trying to raise money and despite the generosity of a number of well known Islanders like Walter Cronkite, I put the idea of making a donation away for another time.

Since then, I have experienced the library in a whole new way. It has proved to be a wonderful outlet for my two-year-old nephew as well as for my 80-year-old mother who suffers from a failing memory. The play area is cozy and offers plenty of toys for youngsters and older folks with failing memories.

When my wife and I are on the Vineyard we prefer to leave the chaotic world behind, and for that reason we don’t have television service. As a result, we have found another way to use our local library. We have begun to rely on the library’s DVD selection and over the past few years we have borrowed many well-done foreign films and documentaries.

As anyone would expect, my family and I borrow books from the library without incident, but it’s the little things that I find make such a difference at the library. The receptionists greet everyone with a smile and a warm welcome and goodbye. While reading the more than adequate magazine and newspaper selection I enjoyed my favorite warm beverage. We don’t need big scale coffee houses on the Vineyard when the library is kind enough to offer complimentary coffee and tea. While flipping through the latest edition of Consumer Reports I even noticed that any member of the library can access the Consumer Reports Web site and relevant online articles that usually would require a separate Consumer Reports membership or fee.

The Edgartown Library Foundation piece that I picked up at the library mentions that “it has been a bridge to the mainland and the world for over a hundred years.” My family and I have been reacquainted with our local library and it has been a wonderful experience. I hope other Islanders will join me now in contributing to the Edgartown Public Library and helping to ensure that it continues to thrive into the next century.

Michael Mayone



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

What a banner season we just experienced at the Monday night community suppers hosted by the United Methodist Church and the Rotary Club at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. From October through March, old friends as well as many new faces joined us for delicious homemade soups, salads, entrees, and desserts. The introduction of our theme dinners earned positive feedback and our holiday meals saw attendance topping 100. The warm and inviting atmosphere was welcoming to all thanks to the caring efforts of our dedicated volunteers.

Thanks to the Rotary Club, Edgartown Stop & Shop, Island Food Products, Vineyard Cash & Carry, the Rev. Jerry Fritz and the congregation of the Federated Church, the Clarion Hotel, and church family and friends.

Your continued support of this outreach ministry is a true testament to the hospitable nature of Martha’s Vineyard.

Have a wonderful summer, and see you in October.

Karen Rego

Oak Bluffs