My mother, Patricia Neal, loved everything about Martha’s Vineyard. She mostly loved the Islanders and our close knit community. Her favorite pastime was sitting out in front of our South Water street house with a glass of wine, heckling the late Rev. John Schule, whenever she spotted him: “Oh Vicar! Come drink with me!”

Her deep husky voice boomed across South Water street.

More often than not, the Rev. John Schule and later, his successor, the Rev. Dr, Jerry Fritz, would happily skip across the street from the parsonage and sit for hours, admiring the beautiful, ever changing light over the harbor, chatting to and welcoming every one of the many residents and visitors who passed by, always offering to photograph them with the magnificent view of the harbor as the backdrop.

I, over the years, spent hundreds of hours sitting with my mother, watching the ever changing light as the boats and people drifted by.

“Isn’t it grand,” my mother would always say, after a sip of wine, almost breathing in the beauty of the harbor.

Which is why I am writing to bring attention to a proposal submitted to the Edgartown Historic Committee by Patrick Ahearn for David Malm, the new owner of 81 South Water street. He proposes to shift the original, historic Mayhew house to its side. This would impede the town view. In addition, he proposes to add another large structure, extending all the way across the lawn, which would entirely block the much loved vista.

Hundreds of people stop daily to take in and photograph the serenity and beauty of the harbor. If this plan is not met with protest, the public vista will vanish, and visitors and residents would no longer be able to see what they have delighted in for hundreds of years.

My mother taught me by example to be kind to everyone, to be selfless, to know that we are all equal, no matter our race, gender or background and to play bingo. But, most important, she taught me to respect our neighbors, our friends, and our community, to always give and never to take.

I believe that most Islanders have these values. This town and this community are worth the effort.

Perhaps some day we can all enjoy a game of community bingo at my house, while admiring the view.

Lucy Dahl