From the May 29. 1953 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Memorial Day slips in with a sweetness of the new season and a return of memories. The lilacs this year have for the most part gone by, and their fragrance will be missed, but the occasion will not lack for other flowers.

The end of May is appropriate in various extra ways for the memorial observance of the Vineyard. This is the weekend upon which summer householders come to get things oriented for the season. Vineyard young people who have been away at school or in winter jobs on the mainland are apt to come back for Memorial Day. The result is a larger number of spectators and participants for the exercises, a greater air of expectancy and interest, and if the day is warm and clear, a golden interlude.

Now to cast garlands on the waters, now to march through the streets and the sun bright on the flag, now to stand in the cemeteries and remember the braveness and sadness, the sacrifices and triumphs, of the people and the land that are our own.

The warm and welcome sun, so rarely seen this spring, enticed many persons out for an afternoon drive, and most of them, it would seem, sooner or later went through Oak Bluffs. Certainly vehicular traffic was heavy on that part of the Island. Some of it was bound for the steamer, due in about then from Nantucket, and mingling with the cars, a long line of pedestrians also filed slowly toward the wharf.

There were a few strollers ambling over the freshly cut grass of Ocean Park, and most of them wore coats, for the wind that snapped the veterans’ memorial flag had a chill to it, in spite of the sun.

Down on the long expanse of sandy beach, undaunted by the breeze, were sunbathers, two fully clothed and two in shorts. Three swimmers were in the water. This trio cavorted about in the waves for a time, then came out on the beach, not noticeably blue or numb. A few passers-by, leaning over the rail to watch, pulled their coats tighter about them and shivered.

Although lights indicated that several restaurants were open for summer business, Circuit avenue, above the Flying Horses, that is, was almost deserted. We watched two young Rappaports, Ronald and Susan, their cousin, young Roger Gordon, with grandfather Morris Hall, leave the merry-go-round and head for home, the youngsters all maneuvering into the wind so as best to protect the great cones of cotton candy they were carrying. Practically at his front steps, the wind tore off two mounds of pink stuff from Roger’s cone and sent it flying along like Texas tumbleweed. The child hesitated, obviously torn between a desire to retrieve the errant confection and a feeling that prudence dictate that he hasten to safety with what he had left. He chose to heed the voice of prudence and followed the others into the house, leaving Circuit avenue empty except for two small pink balls, disappearing down the street toward Leonard’s service station.

The first Lagoon ducklings of the spring season put in their appearance last week. Ten of them, as dark as their mother, joined the other ducks feeding around Erford Burt’s boatyard. Bucky Rhodes is down just about every day with a large bag of bread for the ducks. Most of them come out of the water and vie for choice crumbs right at his feet.

The Smith, Bodfish, Swift Co., for forty-three years prominent in Vineyard Haven and throughout the Island as a grocery store and market, will shortly close its doors, according to an announcement this week. Though the grain store will be retained and will continue to operate as an independent unit, the long-familiar grocery store will wind up its affairs.

This decision follows the sale of the Main street property of the store, and the adjoining real estate including the theatre.

The principal owners of the property are the members of the Smith, Bodfish, Swift corporation, Herbert L. Smith of Vineyard Haven, and the estate of his brother, the late Arthur L. Smith.

The company was organized and incorporated in 1910, merging what had previously been three independent markets and groceries. These were the businesses of Holmes and William S. Swift, which formerly owned and occupied the store now known as Brickman’s; Bodfish and Call, located on the present site of Morrice, Florist; and Look, Smith and Co., previously Look Washburn, and still earlier John Look, which occupied the lower part of the Lane block where the Mooring restaurant now is.

To obtain adequate quarters for this new and larger market, the present property was purchased. Here, in what is now known as the “S. B. S.”, was formerly located a furniture store, and before that a smaller store, handling shoes. A certain amount of remodeling and improvements to the front was made by the new proprietors, and the market was equipped with the finest fixtures obtainable in that day. In general, the firm has kept abreast of improvements in market fixtures, accessories and conveniences since that time.

Compiled by Hilary Wall