For some couples the wedding is the calm before the storm with a hurricane that sadly follows. Christina Cinelli and Jim Wilkerson did things differently. They were married on Squirrel Island in Maine on Saturday, August 29, during the storm named Danny.

Christina arrived at the chapel as if she had been gift-wrapped for the occasion. She was stunning in a strapless, full length wedding gown, dry, and with hair in place while outside the wind howled and the rain poured down. Jim was relaxed and handsome as the town mayor led them through the brief ceremony.

The ceremony was secular in tone with readings that included an Apache Wedding Blessing and a poem by Maya Angelou. Jokes about the weather by the mayor, Rob Hopkins, created an atmosphere that was relaxed and fun. Those in attendance were enthusiastic about the handsome couple before us, and Peter and Gail Cinelli, parents of the bride, must have experienced great relief that the ceremony had gone so well under the very challenging conditions. Peter and Gail were cool under pressure as they handled the many details of the event with grace and style.

The reception immediately followed in the town hall adjacent to the chapel. Glasses clinked, and the dinner which featured beef tenderloin and halibut was elegant. After appropriate toasts from the best man, C.J. Lanktree, and the matron of honor, Erin Cinelli, sister of the bride, the six-piece band silenced the bad weather. Jim and Christina led the dancing with deft moves and loving smiles while the many young people in attendance showed us old folks how it was done. Steve and Kathy Wilkerson, parents of the groom, attended to the requests with their special warmth, which was just one more factor that made this wedding an event that none of those in attendance will soon forget.

Speaking about hurricane challenges, I did a little research a few weeks back concerning the bluff. I wanted to discover what the bluff looked like a hundred years ago. I thought it would be important to separate rumor from fact. In conducting this research, I consulted several of our senior residents.

When people talk about the bluff, I have often heard that there was a tennis court across the road from the Lewis house along the water. According to Anne and Ted Lewis, this rumor is not true. The tennis court was located in their side yard, parallel to Monroe avenue. It was constructed by Ted’s grandfather, George Dowley.

There was, however, a croquet court in front of the Lewis home beyond the road along the water. It existed in the early 1900s. The existence of the croquet court is confirmed by pictures that the Lewises and Anne Gallagher possess. According to Anne, tournaments were regularly held there. Doesn’t that sound like East Chop!

Moving along the bluff toward the beach club, Emma Carmichael swam as a little girl off of Mills’ Pier which was located over the bluff between the current Carroll and Harris houses. The Mills sisters owned the house the Flanagans own now, and Emma went down over the bluff every day to swim at a large, sandy beach.

Finally, I talked with Dave Lawton, a fountain of knowledge when it comes to East Chop lore. According to Dave, football games were played over the bluff in front of the Brooks house in the early 1900s. The results of my little study seem clear. The bluff is an endangered shoreline, and the action of the association to turn it over to the town of Oak Bluffs, which has the resources to protect it, make eminent sense.