Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Once again, it is the time of year to give thanks to those who have worked to improve our community by being caring and supportive with our young people. It is also with a tinge of sadness to report the passing of one of our most beloved mentors and role models, James McLaurin. Jim McLaurin could not go a week without letting us know of some idea that he had to help improve the lives and status of our young men. He had ideas about training in aviation and aeronautics for our students, and big plans for helping to raise scholarships to enable them to go to school. Sadly, he died on May 18 and will be sorely missed by the young brothers as well as all of the mentors and our community.

But on a happier note I would like to commend a couple of businesses and their leaders in our community who get it. First let me thank Steve Bernier and Sarah McCay of Cronig’s Market, who quietly go about their business as merchant and community builder, in a quiet and unassuming manner. Thank you Steve; after Stop and Shop stopped supporting our luncheons, you without question took up the cause and wholeheartedly supported us, even beyond our expectations. We couldn’t have been as successful without you. I also want to thank Dawn Braasch of Bunch of Grapes for her generous donation so that our graduating seniors could receive a tangible present reflecting the culmination of the high school career. The books by Dr. Robert Stepto, A Home Elsewhere: Reading African American Classics in the Age of Obama, were a tremendous hit with our young men who at our last luncheon for the year symbolically made that transition from boyhood to manhood. You can’t imagine how important that was and how surprised they were to have the author there to speak to them and then to autograph each copy. Thanks.

I cannot thank enough people for their outpouring of support, from the administration of the high school, Steve Nixon, our principal, to Jack O’Malley of the culinary arts program for preparing all our wonderful meals, and to all of the men from our community who give their time freely to help our young men and to give back to the community in ways that can only make it better.

Yours, for a better community.

W. Leo Frame



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Lights out at the Vineyard Playhouse. The theatre is dark. Eileen Wilson’s passing leaves a mighty hole. But her legacy lives on in those of us lucky enough to have known and worked with her. My first apprenticeship with Eileen at the playhouse was in the early 1990s as her assistant stage manager for Harvey. I remember thinking, how did she know comic timing so well? Little did I realize her vast experience before starting the playhouse. A few years later, she came to see my production of Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, and kindly gave me notes afterwards. Only then, did she tell me that she had been the assistant stage manager for the play’s premiere, off-Broadway.

She was generous, as they say in theatre, offering advice without arrogance, sharing what she knew to benefit the show.

After she left the Vineyard Playhouse in 1997, she and I and a few other brave souls began a new theatre group called Island Actors Company. We had several very successful shows, including Arsenic and Old Lace, with Eileen playing one of the aunts.

I had to leave the Island shortly afterwards to be with my future husband. I regret that our new group couldn’t continue and that I couldn’t have had a longer time to work with my friend Eileen.

She leaves many behind who loved her dearly.

Genevieve Hart Abbot

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

While running along one of the many beautiful bike paths of Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend, an older woman attempted to run me off the path for breach of etiquette. “Stay to your right,” she screamed at me as she veered away from me at the last second. I felt doubly wronged — the bike paths I frequent in New York and Rhode Island follow familiar rules of the road, with bikes to the right and pedestrians to the left. I looked for signage related to pedestrians, and could find none. Perhaps this can be cleared up before this callous creature hurts someone, or fractures her hip.

Peter Savard, MD

New York, N.Y.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

For years I have attended a little church on Sundays because it feels good to give thanks to a Greater Power that allows us to exist through the week unscathed. But now that convenience is threatened.

Times are economically difficult these days, but isn’t there some way that we can keep our church, that has been operating for over 300 years and provided the happiest and saddest moments of our lives, still active?

I always thought that a church was one of the main pillars of a town, ranking with the municipal offices and fire station and library, but maybe I’m wrong.

Life is about honesty, respect and doing the best with what you have. So remember: thou keep holy the Sabbath Day. Sunday is like a new beginning day to get rid of what’s not so good in life and make things better in the future.

Our church, the First Baptist Church of Gay Head, is closed and needs help. Who is in control? What can we do?

Anne F. Vanderhoop Madison