Winter is upon us. As I started to write this column early Tuesday morning, the temperature was 24 degrees with a wind chill factor of 8, while the wind is howling outside. We had a little more than a dusting of snow on Sunday evening, leaving two to four inches in most places with trees in a winter wonderland state with the snow and ice. Boats have been cancelled, snow plows and sanders have been busy, and now a major snowstorm is expected over the weekend.

The steamship City of Columbus left Boston headed to Savannah and went down 132 years ago this week in the early morning hours just off the cliffs. Members of the United States Lifesaving Service from Gay Head and Chilmark were awarded medals by the Massachusetts Humane Society for their heroism. Monetary awards went to members of the community for their efforts. There were 132 passengers and crew, only 29 were saved; no women nor children survived. The United States Lifesaving Service was formed in 1878. There was a boathouse at Dogfish Bar and one at Squibnocket with crews of men from Gay Head and Chilmark. Jane Slater and yours truly often discuss this special piece of maritime history as we each had a great grand uncle who were rescuers, Jane being related to James Mosher and my relative being Thomas Manning. Our great-grandfather Francis Manning had served in the USLSS, as did many Wampanoag men when the station was built atop the cliffs in 1895 and in 1915 as well when the United States Coast Guard was formed.

The present day Station Menemsha was floated over from Cuttyhunk in 1952 and rolled up the hill to where it rests today. The building officially opened in 1954. Many Vineyarders have served at Menemsha just as they are serving today. We were proud of those who have served our Vineyard community over the years and just as proud of those who serve at the present time. In the early hours of Friday morning, crews were called out to assist fishing vessel Sasha Lee taking on water south of Noman’s. The two units at Station Menemsha participated in this mission and went to their rescue. Four souls were saved. There was an immense sense of pride and professionalism around the station over the weekend and rightly so, they all deserve our accolades for a job well done.

Aquinnah Public Library will have storytime and the after-school program as usual. Saturday, weather permitting, will be kids’ craft time, making button trees. On Tuesday at 5 p.m. there will be adult coloring. The Martian will be shown on the 28th. Farewell to Rosa Parker who has maintained the circulation desk over the past few years. She will be greatly missed for her sense of calm and efficiency.

In the Heart of the Sea will be shown Saturday at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center at 4 p.m. The story of the whaleship Essex of Nantucket, written by Nathaniel Philbrick.

In December at the Howes House, the West Tisbury School fourth graders performed Christmas songs following the holiday luncheon and then presented each elder with a handmade Christmas card. Thank you to Sgt. Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter for treating those present by covering the cost of the luncheon for all. The stats are in, 44 per cent of the summer and year-round residents of Aquinnah are over the age of 60, for a grand total of 184.

During December, Martha’s Vineyard Museum docents Nancy Cabot and Bonnie George presented the art of Lois Mailou Jones. By special request, Nancy and Bonnie will return on Monday, Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m. with Lois Mailou Jones Part II, discussing her life on the Vineyard and presenting a collection of her Island art.

Get well wishes to Nancy Caldwell, who has remained in Aquinnah over the winter while receiving medical care. Her husband Duncan Caldwell is expected to arrive this week from their winter home in Paris.

Sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Lillian Kellman, who died last week. Lillian was a wonderful storyteller, especially with the children of Aquinnah and Chilmark, at the school and at both of our libraries. She shared her stories with Aquinnah children one Christmas Eve, captivating her audience in a program they will never forget.

It was nice to catch up with Wayne Kurth on Monday and to reminisce with him for nearly two hours while he was in Menemsha.

Get well wishes to our dear friend Joseph M. Spinelli, who is undergoing medical care near his home in Miami, Fla. He would appreciate cards and calls while being housebound at this time. John McKinstry flew in from Manhattan on Wednesday evening to oversee the multitude of medical appointments and tests.

Happy birthday wishes to Savannah Elaine Hooe as she celebrates a major milestone on Jan. 23. Shaun MacPhail will party on the 23rd. Louis Paciello will party on the 25th, as will Ivan Vanderhoop. David Vanderhoop celebrates on the 29th and shares the day with Mary Vanderhoop and Keyshawn Devine.

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