From the Sept. 11, 1931 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

School opens. We have with us again the smiling morning faces and the reluctant feet. But school is much more than that; it is one of the costliest of all public enterprises and probably the one most worth while. Very likely the children themselves will never be persuaded of the tremendous importance and value of school days, for these qualities can be seen only in a retrospect and tested only by experience, but parents ought to realize in full the advantages which school offers. And so realizing, they ought to keep their children in school as long as possible and lend every ounce of their moral support to cooperate in the enterprise of education.

A school education is different today from anything it has ever been in the world before. There was a time almost within our own memories when nothing was countenanced by the hard headed taxpayers which was not “practical.” Most practical of all were the famous three R’s, the supposed fundamentals of all learning. As a matter of fact the three R’s, like so many other elements of the public school, were never much more than tools — tools to be used in after life for the purposes of thinking and doing. The three R school days devoted themselves too much to the means and too little to the ends toward which the means could be directed.

There is also, in the background the still powerful tradition of learning which stressed the mastery of Latin and Greek conjugations. This sort of thing was supposed to be cultural, and sometimes it was. But it, too, failed to provide the youth of the land with necessary tools for use in later life, and at the same time with an idea as to how those tools should be utilized.

Nowadays we are neither entirely practical nor entirely cultural. Learning dates and Latin verse by heart is at a discount. We do not expect school children to be stuffed with an accumulation of knowledge. Instead we try to bring them to an understanding of what life and the world are all about. An orientation is one of the prime aims, and together with that, an ability to do something; or, at least, a solid preparation for doing something, for putting knowledge into practice. It is recognized that education is not something for the brain alone, but that it must engage the child’s whole body. Schools teach and children learn not only from studying and reading in books, but from working with their hands and carrying out lessons in different forms of activity, under the general heading of manual training, domestic science, physical education and the like. The result is that the education in public schools really prepares a child for life instead of filling him with information for which he frequently can discover no use.

Fortunate are the school children of today, and enormously significant is each reopening of schools in the early fall.


“Green to green and red to red,
Perfect safety, go ahead.”

So go the lines of the old, old jingle composed by the forerunners of the first traffic regulation signals. They relate to the colored side-lights carried on all boats and vessels, green on the right, or starboard side, and red on the port.

Everyone who has ever spent any time around the coast has noticed these lanterns, oil-burning or electrical, placed on the tops of launch cabins, or carried on the lantern-boards, or boxes, in the fore-rigging of larger vessels. These are not by any means the only lights carried on vessels, but they are the best known.

Verily the men of older day who wished to “cast a gleam across the wave” accomplished their desire with apparatus that were many and varied, and one would suppose, that more attention has been paid to improving and inventing ships’ lights than any other equipment in any business, since so many improvements have been made in so brief a period.


To the departing guests of summer Martha’s Vineyard says farewell and utters a wish for a happy and successful winter. The summer, although it has been depressed by the depression and wet with more fogs and rains than one likes to see, has been enlivened nevertheless by the presence of visitors many times welcome, whose presence has been much appreciated. The Island seeks to attract such guests to its shores, and when they come takes pride in their enthusiasm for the place and their determination to come again. May the friends of 1931 be the friends of 1932.

The first summer resident came to the Island long ago, soon after the Civil War. Since then his example has been followed, year in and year out, by a steadily growing number of men, women and children who love the Island and the sea.

The Vineyard of the future holds countless pleasant vacations for summer visitors yet unborn, if only we who dwell here now can preserve the attractions which mean so much. There is a destiny all about us which will exact of us only a reasonable degree of wisdom and care.

Compiled by Hilary Wall