On the Boards

From Gazette editions of June, 1986:

God’s Pocket goes Broadway! And there she is, Pat Zipprodt, West Tisbury resident and proud owner of the 1986 Tony Award for costume design for Sweet Charity, the musical directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. The soul, the shine, the beat — all 140 costumes worth of it — came from the creative mind of Pat Zipprodt. “Some of the clothes are of nasty, mean acid colors, like puce and rotten yellow, sulphurous green and icky beige. It’s very raunchy and the hairdos are exaggerated. Oh yes, and the garbage jewelry. All the stuff that’s big on the Island,” she says. “I looked back on the period and researched. I looked through old Vogue magazines, old Life magazines, old films, checking out the street life.”

In 1964, Miss Zipprodt won a Tony for costume design for the smash musical Fiddler on the Roof. She did it again in 1966 for Cabaret.

Edgartown voters will be asked to spend $1.4 million to buy 28 acres of prime Katama farmland. This is the land known as the Waller Farm. The proposed purchase is not for the whole farm, but the major 28-acre portion of it.

And in the countdown to the special town meeting, town officials scrambled in many directions, still negotiating with the Conneccticut developer who owns the land, working to secure a commitment from the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank to buy the property. As the town leaders worked, bulldozers scraped the land at the Waller Farm, piling up the rich Katama Plains topsoil to make room for seven cellar holes.

The choice is now up to the people of Edgartown.

A U.S. District Court judge in Boston has thrown out the claims of five groups of Indians to tribal status and to lands on the Vineyard and Cape Cod. Federal Judge Walter J. Skinner dismissed the claims of the Mashpee, Christiantown, Chappaquiddick, Herring Pond and Troy Indians to lands they alleged were conferred to them by ancestors. The judge writes that “plaintiffs have not established tribal status to assert claims . . .” The suit was filed in 1981 and laid claim to the 16,000 acres that comprise Mashpee; the 3,400 acres of the town of Gay Head; parcels totalling 3,000 acres in Plymouth and Bourne; approximately 200 acres in Fall River called the Troy Indian Reservation; two parcels totalling 700 acres in Chappaquiddick and a 400-acre parcel of land near Christiantown in West Tisbury.

When Beatrice Amaral arrived on Martha’s Vineyard in 1943 as a young bride with growing children, she had her mother send patterns from off-Island so she could sew clothes for them. “You could only get thread on Martha’s Vineyard. I had to go to three or four stores just to make a dress,” she said. That’s why she went into business from her one-woman store, Bea’s Fabric Shop, which she has owned and operated on State Road in West Tisbury since March 1969.

Every item associated with the world of sewing is crammed into Bea’s small quarters. The location is apart from most shops, which have higher rents and heavier foot traffic. “Every time I go downstreet, I almost get into an accident. I like being up here. It’s nice and quiet,” says Mrs. Amaral. She also knows that people cannot find or even get to what they need in the busier town centers. It brings them back to her. “I have people who come up here — just for a spool of thread or half a yard of material — because they get disgusted because they can’t find a parking space.”

And the names of some of those customers and their requests? Bea shyly recounts how she waited on Mary Martin, who bought material, how Mia Farrow came in and bought one of the Raggedy Ann dolls she makes, how Walter Cronkite and his wife visited once, and how James Taylor came in and bought the Tiny Tailor, a portable sewing machine.

Nobody pays enough attention to the month of June. The problem lies in our dash toward full and formal recognition of summer, toward July and August and beyond. Our gaze these days may be fixed too far forward, not on the days at hand. The trick is to slow down a bit, enough to take notice now.

The late Hal Borland wrote, “June is the year at the altar, a bride with a bouquet of roses, veiled with morning mist and jeweled with dew, gowned with sunrise and romantic as a full moon. June is cornflower blue and day-lily gold and white lace of daisies in the field. June is a peony and a lazy bumblebee and a thunderstorm and a small boy chasing a butterfly. June is soft laughter in the silken dusk and soft starlight over a world where life is good.”

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner