From the April 6, 1951 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

The history of Martha’s Vineyard is thickly set with characters who are designated by the title of “captain.” Authorities on such things have frequently said that these characters had no right to the title, but were, in fact, “masters” or to be more precise, “ship-masters.”

However it may be, a new one has been added to the list within the past, in the person of Mrs. Roland Authier of Vineyard Haven, who is now a regularly licensed master, authorized to command and operate gas power-screw vessels up to sixty-five feet and to carry passengers for hire. As such a master she has fully as much right to call herself “captain” as many another Vineyarder has possessed.

Mrs. Authier, the former Dolores LaBell, is the only woman master in this Coast Guard area, which includes all of Massachusetts and portions easterly of other states, and is, moreover, the youngest licensed master in the area. She is 29.

Her husband is master and owner of the Vineyard Maid of Vineyard Haven, a party-boat of distinction. Mrs. Authier has spent much time in the boat with her husband and her knowledge of her duties as master has been obtained through practical experience. However, she does not contemplate operating the boat herself, but feels that in case of any emergency, the license may be well worth while.

“It was an awful experience,” she said, referring to the examination which she took at the Coast Guard Base, Customs Department, Boston. “They really put me over the ropes. But they also told me that they had no doubt whatever about my ability to operate a boat up to the size designated on my license.”

Mrs. Authier lives with her husband and two small children on Tashmoo avenue, Vineyard Haven, and conducts a private kindergarten attended by about a dozen other children. It is a part of each morning’s program for this school to go to Bass Creek and feed the ducks, and the majority of Vineyard Haven people are familiar with this sight.

“The spring returns! Triumphant through the wider-arched cope she comes... and at her coronation she opens the prisons of the mind and man is free.” So hailed the Gazette’s top line last week, and if anyone thought that was an exaggeration, even allowing for poetic license, he had only to note the change in the populace wrought by the magic of a perfect weekend.

It was nearly noon on Saturday before the weather had made up its mind what it wanted to do, but when it once did, it was steadfast and the result was a warm to hot afternoon, guiltless of the usual strong breeze, with the intoxicating feeling of spring in the air and in the heart. Not to be outdone, Sunday, slightly cooler, was glorious all day long.

It would be impossible to count how many lawns were swept and raked, how many buds burgeoned, crocuses passed their prime, daffodils showed color, garden beds were started — how many dreams of summer were dreamed, how many winter coats and wool shirts were packed away, how many summer garments dragged down from the attic. Not much of the latter work was done, however, for no one, literally no one, wanted to stay away from the blessed sunlight and balmy air for even a minute.

Monday started well, but failed as the day wore on, and the night and early Tuesday morning saw a heavy rain enlivened by thunder and lightning. Tuesday was on the raw side, Wednesday picked up, and Thursday was on the way to real spring again. As for today, it starts well.

Daniel Johnson Whiting, six-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Everett D. Whiting, of Whiting Farms, West Tisbury, doubtless has many careers open to him, in this era of easy communication and transportation, but if it is farming he turns to, he has an early start.

A visitor to the farm saw young Dan, grandson of Johnson Whiting and the late Emma Mayhew Whiting, founders of the farm, perched on the tractor. This was not unusual, since Dan has been interested in farm machinery for most of his six years, but it was a remarkable sight to see him start the tractor, back it away from the truck garage, down a hill, shift gears, and smoothly drive down the ramp which led to the tractor garage. All in the day’s work for Danny. Mary and her storied little lamb have nothing on Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson and their three weeks old pet Lucille. Lucille is a lamb who will follow them anywhere. On Wednesday afternoon she was on Main street, Edgartown, following them into the First National Store among other places. Cute as the famous button, she was a sensation.

As tame and friendly as any pet, Lucille, her tail wagging, was calmly receiving the attention and petting of young and old, turning good-naturedly to the commands of her masters. “Lamb on the hoof,” said Bob Kelley, manager of the store, looking on, a remark which in its non-intentional and worst implication, well, heaven forbid!

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox