Chappy is a small island with a relatively large personality. There doesn’t exist much ambivalence toward our (sometimes wayward) appendage: one either would “never live there” or would “love to find a small lot.” Those of us who call Chappy home may be a bit more measured in our opinions of home, however — our relationship is more like that of an old married couple: we’ve been together long enough to know each other’s charms and faults, and are true to our vows of “for better or worse.”
All Chappyites may not share my sentiment, but they should because I write the column and my word is gospel. Kidding aside (for now), not every resident’s experience on Chappy is the same. In fact, despite its small stature, Chappy is remarkably a community of neighborhoods. There are the North Neckers (east and west), the Wasque folk (you know who you are), the Caleb Ponders, the Manaca Hill people, the Enos Lotters, the Sampson Hillians, the Pochians ... and more. Each neighborhood has a history and a feeling born of the families who predominated the area. As a child (and as an old child now), my knowledge of my home was confined to the goings-on of a half mile radius. If it happened outside my perimeter, I was not aware. Surely I must know the so-and-sos or whoggie-mcwhatitz — it’s such a small island — but nope, I don’t. If I didn’t cut your grass, spray your bugs, or bother you for golf membership money, then I probably only know you from a ferry nod. My point is this: I don’t have a point. Chappy remains broadly undefined but locally intimate.
One definable element that I do treasure about Chappy, though, is its lack of a discernible sense of schadenfreude. There a few divisive issues on Chappy — we have our bike path and internet access divisions — but on the whole we are an uncompetitive lot. There is no joy in the misfortune of others. Only compassion.
Next Saturday, June 14, my Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links is hosting the Joseph Jerome Memorial Golf Tournament. This event, in memory of their son Joseph, is to benefit Ed and Marianne Jerome’s charity that aids island families with critically and chronically ill children. There will be two shotgun times of 9 a.m. and noon, with an awards ceremony and auction to follow at the Big Camp. Breakfast fare, a lunch cookout and cocktails will be available to all participants. Fabulous swag and prizes, too. Transportation will be provided to and from the Chappy ferry. So many people have come together to make this event a reality — and it truly promises to be THE event of a crowded June. Space is very, very limited for the tournament, so please contact me at my column email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. If you can’t attend the golf tournament, please come by around 4 p.m. for the auction. Some really cool stuff (including a Derby weekend in the Big Camp) will be up for bid.
A few years back during my college days I produced, directed and starred in an epic 10-minute super 8 film (the title of which has been long forgotten). This venture took almost six months of my life. And it was only notable for its extraordinary awfulness. But imagine producing a full-length historical documentary — the time, passion, love and endurance required rather overshadows my efforts. This level of professional brilliance will be on display this Sunday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. Islanders Marjory and Bob Potts will be screening their documentary, You May Call Her Madam Secretary — a one-hour film about Frances Perkins, one of the most remarkable (and unfortunately most forgotten) women of the 20th century. This will be a great opportunity to appreciate not only the life of an incredible woman, but also the craft of filmmaking by local documentarians. Making movies is hard, so come out and reward the efforts of the Potts in bringing to light an important part of our American history.