Margaret Knight>



While the rest of the Northeast was getting up to two feet or more of snow last Saturday night, we had a huge windstorm with lots of rain. I had gone to sleep feeling secure about electricity because of our new underground lines and under-harbor cable, so it was surprising to wake in the middle of the night to silent darkness — no pellet stove grinding away and acting as a night light. Liz, who was staying in town, started to bring the NStar crew over after midnight, but part way across the channel, she thought better of the idea. The wind was blowing pretty hard.

Since it was the middle of the night and not freezing, the crew waited until morning, which didn’t matter to most of us. However, Matt Chronister had a batch of young chicks he was nurturing with a lamp, so he was up during the night warming them with stones heated on his wood stove. The NStar crew came over before regular hours on Sunday, and had the power going in no time. No doubt it would have been much worse if the old wires were still up.

All the wind pushed a tremendous amount of seaweed into the slip on the Chappy side. Early on Sunday morning, Peter got young Eddie Smith to come over to dig it out with his excavator perched on the deck of the ferry. He piled it in four heaps three or four feet high at the edge of the pavement. Although Chappy gardeners have been picking away at it, it will probably still be there as of the weekend if anyone wants some. There continues to be lots of seaweed in the water, tangling itself in the ferry prop — a good wind should take it out.

If anyone didn’t get a group photo of Chappaquiddickers on the ferries from Peter, you can e-mail him at for a copy. He wasn’t able to read some of the e-mail addresses he gathered that day. In other ferry news, the III is residing in Vineyard Haven in its plastic house. Peter says it looks like less work is needed than the II had last year, so it will hopefully only be out a couple of months. Ferry lines continue to be long at various not-always-expected times.

This week was the last one before the clocks drop back an hour to regular Eastern Standard Time. Then we will get serious about winter. The period of Daylight Saving Time used to be shorter, but because of the U.S. Energy Policy of 2005, it was changed to begin on the second Sunday of March, and end the first Sunday in November, about a month longer than it was before 2007. The idea was to save energy — the amount is debated — but a report published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Energy says the four extra weeks of daylight could conserve 1.3 trillion watt-hours per day, enough to power 100,000 homes for a year.

The first frost was this past Monday, which is later than usual. A few scant weeks ago I was swimming, and I know Judy Buss and Paul Cardello swam long after I did. They not only swim late into the season, but they swim long distances, which I find impressive — no brief running in and running out accompanied by squealing. They probably swim a mile or two regularly, although Paul did tell me they use wet suits when it gets colder. When they leave here, they go to Utah and ski all winter. They don’t hole up against the cold weather, which is already happening at my house.

Curry Jones has moved back to Concord, N.H., where he lived for a few years after he and Peggy left Chappy. We’ll miss seeing him and Esto around town. Mary MacGregor was here for the whole month of October, and now has headed back to Evansville, Ind. with her husband, Phil Lieberman. Pretty soon it will be just the hard-core Chappaquiddickers left.

Although we had an unusually lovely September and October weather-wise, it’s been an off year for fruiting bushes. There are some years when the beach plums are scarce, like this year, but this is the first fall I’ve ever seen the Russian (or autumn) olives be anything other than plentiful since we first started picking them in the late 1980s. Usually the bushes are covered with the red berries at this time of year, but I’ve checked my usual spots and there are almost no berries. It make me wonder what the birds and the squirrels (not on Chappy) will be eating instead. I’ll miss them in smoothies, fruit leather, and jam.

The Chappy Book Club will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 10:15 a.m. at the Community Center to discuss Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. All are welcome.

The committee discussing the future of cell service on Chappy will meet again on Friday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. upstairs at the town hall. At that time, the town’s cell consultant, David Maxson, will either be present or available by phone. If you have any questions for him, or if you have comments, you can e-mail Georgianna at or Jane at, or you can come to any meeting. According to the draft of the minutes from the last meeting, this mission statement was written: “Achieve mobile service in neighborhoods and beaches covering 95 per cent of Chappaquiddick area with a ‘good’ signal or better. Implement coverage by Memorial Day 2012. In the process, the committee shall look at the public and private sectors including, but not limited to: aesthetics, public safety, and environmental issues including noise. Consideration by the committee shall not be influenced by any revenue potential to the town.”

There was plenty of reason for Brad’s long goodbye in his last few columns. His family has had an extended relationship with the Big Camp on North Neck, and he and Kim have put in many hours taking care of the place, including the golf course. The house was built by Brad’s family back at the end of the 1800s. You can read about it in Bob Marshall’s recollection in the Chappaquiddick book edited by Hatsy Potter.

In my childhood, the Big Camp really was big, and although I didn’t hang out much with its occupants, it was a landmark in my travels around the Island on horseback. In the 1960s there were basically no other houses on North Neck until you got to the Gut — certainly no house big enough to belong to Lady Gaga. Now the Big Camp will be sold and Brad and Kim will move on to faraway places — off-Island. Both of them expect to return, but much depends on the sale of the property. We can only hope the Big Camp’s future owners will preserve its old-time Chappy charm.