Saying hello to the August gang, Eileen Bemus and family, the Motorcycle Men; saying goodbye to the July crowd, the Gomez-Blancos of East Brunswick, the Reeses, Alicia Marie. This is, of course the big turnover weekend. Actually, I find it very, very difficult to say goodbye in so many ways. So did my good friend, Phil Drew, who always insisted on saying “so long” instead of goodbye.

I could not even bring this up in an earlier column because it has been so painful to me, to so many others, but I guess I must now say so long. So long to my good friend, my hero, my inspiration, and yours, too, Leslie J. Stark. Condolences to Myra, Cheryl, Margie, and Leslie’s entire family. Leslie was my editor of this column at the Vineyard Gazette. Before I knew him as that, I always read about his many theatrical exploits on Island, and attended when I could. His enthusiasm and encouragement for any project he or his friends were involved in was unbounded. Most closely, I came to know him as the moderator of my Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group. What an example for us all! How kind, how caring, how funny . . . I am at a loss and could not even talk about it but I must sing his praises now. And note his love of jazz. Last year, on his birthday, I gave him a little stuffed lion as we both are Leos. I was hoping he could hug it when he was in for treatments. I cannot delete his name from my Rolodex, my contacts, my mind, and my heart. Thank you, Leslie, the lion of the Island.

The time has come. Friday is the opening of the book festival, tirelessly worked on by Suellen Lazarus and her faithful crew. Visit for a complete menu of all this weekend’s events. Please, please, someone, I cannot attend, film it for me!

Lowely Finnerty sent me word that on Saturday, August 1 at 5 p.m., the Granary Gallery is hosting an art show for the Vineyard Conservation Society with the specially created works of 13 Island artists in support of and inspired by conservation efforts. You can still make it to the exhibition after attending the book festival tomorrow!

Nancy Nevin is pleased to announce that beginning Tuesday, August 4, and on Tuesdays through September 9, our American Legion Post 257 on Martin Road in Vineyard Haven will be featuring lobster rolls, clam chowder, and camaraderie from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Take-out or dine in. All dinners come with a choice of beverage, bag of potato chips , and luscious watermelon for dessert. This has been a staple of Nonna’s and my Tuesday nights on-Island for several years, and nothing was more fun than attending with Tamma Willoughby and her mom, Anita Cimeno. The chowder is $4 and the lobster rolls hold steady at $17. I cannot mention or think of this weekly summer event without remarking on the wonderful spirit and hard work Ed Colligan always put into this.

Anniversary bouquets go out to my favorite son and daughter in law, Chris and Lilly Clark, on August 6. Although she grew up in the Midwest, Lilly’s favorite colors are purple and white, keep that in mind if you are sending cards or flowers! Our MVRHS colors were in abundance at their wonderful wedding.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Gale Grain Monk and Tony Radoszewski Friday. August 1 belongs to Gisele Nascimento and Charlotte Lowell-Bettencourt. August 2 honors Sam Marlin and Seniel Seward. August 3 is a party for Tom Colligan the elder, Lucas Brunelle, Will Sherman, Greg Cimeno, Sharon and Patty Roddy, and this reporter. August 4 shines on Elaine Klein and Barack Obama. August 5 starts a new year for Janet Alley, Jen Kaufman, Susan Klein, and Alicia Maciel. August 6 celebrates Angelo Stoudemire, Virginia Jannace Malara, Ashleigh Poirier, and Janete Sabin. And on August 7 Arlinda Graves, Travis Baptiste, Sandie Corr-Dolby, and Luisa Tassiana take the cake. Many happy returns.

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