They’re Here!

The fabulous new MV license plates have arrived, and I couldn’t be happier! With an early bird opportunity to select my favorite number (yup, this one is mine, no doubt about it), and a small donation to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (the place that keeps the island ticking), over 1,000 applications had been received, which was more than enough for the special state-issued plates.

IMG_5378Hooray!

But this is not an ordinary RMV story. (Surprise!)

This morning was my day to go to the registry and get my new plates. I pulled myself together early and packed a few essentials: ice water, a book I’m reading for the Edgartown Library book group, a notebook, pen, much-needed glasses. I was, after all heading off to the island RMV and, well, sometimes there’s a wait. ☺

I arrived around 9:30, gathered my daypack, and headed inside. I stood in the middle of the open room and surveyed my surroundings. Aside from one young woman who stood on the opposite side of the front door, no one was around. Not a soul. It seemed she was sorting license plates.

I stopped, turned back to the door, and rechecked the HOURS. I thought the office might not open until 10:00, and that someone had left the door unlocked. Either that, or it was a holiday. Where were the lines? Where were the people parked on the long benches? Where was the click-click of the Take-A-Number machine?

The young woman turned to me. “May I help you?” she called from across the room.

“Um,” I replied. “Yes. I’m here to pick up my Vineyard plate?” I said it as a question because I had begun to wonder if, instead of the RMV, I had wandered into the Twilight Zone.

The young woman, whose middle name, as is happens, is Jean, smiled. “I can take care of you.”

Three and one half minutes later I was out of there with my new plates. Wow.

But not so fast. When I got home and put on the new plates, I noticed a small flaw in the front one: someone at Walpole State Penitentiary, or wherever it is that license plates are IMG_5379now made, had failed to paint the “J” in “JUN,” which I guessed stood for “June,” the month the plates were actually made. It was a small glitch, but it made me smile to think that I will renew the registration in UN of next year.

Well, nobody’s perfect, I suppose. Not even the RMV. But kudos to the Vineyard office!

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I Wore a Santa Hat!

FullSizeRenderI first stepped inside the Edgartown Library the day after Thanksgiving 1995. Wow! Twenty years ago! I was there to do research for my 4th novel, PLACES BY THE SEA, which later turned into one of my 6 (almost 7!) books that take place on this magical island.

Back then, I knew no one here. I stayed in an Inn across from the library on North Water Street. Each day, I spent hours in the library’s tiny research room, making notes at the round oak table under the big Boston fern. I did not have a laptop (not sure if they existed yet), but I had lots of pens and a few notebooks. After the third day, the librarians called me by name.

By late afternoon, I walked a block down the street to The Newes, the congenial pub at the Kelley House. I ate lunch by the fireplace, scribbling notes of characters, plots, and the charm of the Vineyard.

Over the years, I came and went from the library (and The Newes!) many times. When I spent the winter of 2010-11 here, I sat nearly every day at that round oak table. By then I wasn’t sure I could write a “Vineyard book” unless I was parked in my favorite spot.

Soon the big, new, beautiful library will open, and it will be magnificent, though a bit bittersweet. But in the meantime, there was the “Christmas in Edgartown” parade to tend to.

When Lisa Sherman, the Library Director, asked if I wanted to walk with them down Main Street alongside their “float” (actually, a decorated dump truck), handing out cards for “Fine-Free” days and tossing candy into the crowd, I jumped at the chance. After all, I owe them. I happily donned the Santa hat and, with every step on the parade route, I was reminded that without the library, I might not have had such a long and wonderful writing career.

I only hope that when they move to the new building, someone remembers to bring the big Boston fern.

Happy Holidays to all!

Top 10 Things to Do on a Rainy Day on the Vineyard


I have my own kind of Top 10 List. What to do when I’m bored. What to do when I’m happy. What to do when it’s sunny. Today’s selection is What to do when it’s raining, because it is absolutely pouring.
1. Go to the Edgartown Library!
2. Go to the movies.
3. Go to The Newes and sit by the fire with a bowl of soup.
4. Drive up island and look at the Gay Head Cliffs in the rain.
5. Go to the MV Museum.
6. Go to Chappy because it’s fun to be on the little ferry when the current is whipping this way and that.
7. Go to Vineyard Haven and watch the big ferry load and unload. (I admit it. I’m a little weird.)
8. Go to Chilmark and watch them make chocolates. (Then eat a bunch and get a massive sugar rush.)
9. Do laundry. (Bleccch. Can’t believe I said that.)
And the MOST fun thing to Do on a Rainy Day on the Vineyard
(you already guessed this from the picture):
STAY IN BED AND READ A GOOD BOOK!
Which is where I will be if you need me.