I saw the movie Chappaquiddick earlier this month.

In July 1969 I was on vacation with my family at the home we owned on Pine street, Edgartown. I went to the Dike Bridge the morning after the accident.

In 1972 I would be appointed the probation officer in charge for the Edgartown district court. I held that position until I retired in 1998.

My disappointment with the movie is how some of the town officials (and friends of mine) were portrayed.

I knew Chief of Police Arena as being very professional in his duties, knowledgeable of the law, a trim and handsome person. Doctor Nevin was a very skillful and professional physician. On Christmas Eve, he and his wife Esther would host a party in their home (across from St. Andrew’s Church near Main street). We would sing carols around the evergreen behind their home and his office. The Hon. Walter Steele (Edgartown district court prosecutor at the time) was portrayed as being uncertain and withdrawn. In fact, he was a highly educated lawyer, respected in his profession and became a superior court justice.

See the movie if you wish, and see familiar Vineyard sights. Disregard the character presentations.

Rev. Jack C. Burton
Edgartown and Gulfport, Fla.