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FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010 VINEYARD GAZETrE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. ELEVEN VINEYARD GAZETTE OPINION & ANALYSIS Sam Low of Spring in the Camp Ground By PEGGY STURDIVANT WHEN WE CLOSED THE CAMP GROUND COTI'AGE for the winter 40 years ago, it was serious busi- ness. The braided wool rugs were rolled, the refrigerator was cleaned and propped open, the water had been turned off and the pipes flushed, the delicate glass pane windows nailed shut. An official sign was affixed: No Trespassing. Oak Bluffs Police Take Notice. My grandparents always dosed the house before returning to Illinois for the winter, but it was my family that unlocked the once-a-year padlock and entered the cottage as though unsealing a tomb. Invariably it was twice as cold on the inside as the outside, where daffodils dared to bloom. The dead coldness of the air made your fingers ache and your breath visible. We went from room to room, rediscovering favorite items like a treasure hunt. The copy of Caddie Woodlawn on the shelf; the grandfather's clock Was, shrouded but we could bring it back to life. For a week in spring the cottage would crackle by night as wood burned in the Franklin stove. In the morning we'd crawl out of sleeping bags to the leftover wood smoke. If a single car drove down a Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting" Association lane by night, our heads poked up to look out the windows by our chilly pillows. We'd sweep banked oak leaves off the front porch, but not yet put the cushions on the chairs. We kids grudgingly toted water buckets to the garden where the dirt was as poor and sandy as ever. A generation later, my parents retired in their turn, come and go from the cottage is more casual than in my grand- parents' day. Despite warnings from the plumber, they risk returning to the cottage for Thanksgiving, closing off rooms with wool blankets nailed between doorways. By December they are gone, but the rugs are still on the floor and the cot- tage looks temporarily empty, not abandoned. But the oak leaves still bank on the front porch and the yard gets covered in debris from the assault of winter winds on the big old trees. Opening the cottage is still a process of discovery and one that seems like staking a new homestead claim each year, even if it is the 50th year in a row. During the summer, with traffic flowing on Dukes County and Circuit avenue, the Camp Ground seems part of a bus- tling whole, but in the spring you realize it really is still one step above tent-camping. The streets are dark, only a few cottages are lit. There's the thwack of an axe, a bluish wisp from a chimney pipe, evidence of a woodstove insufficiently battling the damp. Among the few spring pilgrims there's a sense of home- steading, reclaiming a ghost town. Bearing spring annuals and off-Island provisions, the seasonal residents arrive to remake their shelter. It's so quiet in the Camp Ground in sprirLg.The trees and bushes are still just budding so there's no continual rasping as the mature leaves rub at each other night and day. No plunking of acorns on the tar paper roofs, no last-ditch sanding before November rains, fewer sirens, no bicyclists calling to one another as they ride home in the dark. In the spring you can almost hear each cottage as it opens, as the Camp Ground collectively sweeps off its supports, uncovers mandatory front porch rockers and opens stuck windows. Months before the first choir practice in the Tab- ernacle or the flash mob of Illumination Night, the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association parallels its origins as a revival meeting. Closed cottages are opened one by one, with each owner annually restaking their claim-- and preparing for the Wednesday nights when families will once again sing their way home. Peggy Sturdivant lives in Seattle and has summered in the Camp Ground for 48 years. the Web Editor's Note: The following is an edited selection of reader comments from the Gazette Web site on the story that appeared Tuesday about Brazilian- born seniors at the regional high school who were told they may not wear scarves in their birth country's colors over their gowns at graduation. Many comments were posted, but the vast majority were unsigned, and by the newspaper's policy cannot appear in the print edition. O I think the students are completely correct in taking their scarves and put- ting them on as they walk across the stage! It shouldn't be just the Brazilians to wear the scarves; anyone that wants to show where they're from should be welcomed to do so. Good luck guys! Rebecca Barbosa Vineyard Haven $ My problem with the decision is re- ally only the fact that the Native Ameri- cans and the African American kids are allowed to wear the things that they feel show pride in their background, and we as Brazilians only want to do the same. If we were the first to try to do this, I wouldn't have taken it so hard, but they have been wearing their colors for years now, and for us to not be allowed to is just stupid to me. Can someone tell me how that is fair? And not just for Brazilians. Let anyone wear something that represents nationality, even first-generation Americans. Fillipi Comes Vineyard Haven My first comment could not be pub- lished about this Brazilian issue I see, so hopefully you will at least publish this: I am not happy! Woody Williams Vineyard Haven I teach at an urban high school with, I can assure you, far more ethnic diversity in my homeroom than the entire Mar- tha's Vineyard Regional High School. I have never heard of a student asking to wear anything to show their country of origin on graduation day. To an outsider, this just looks like a copycat sort of trend that is merely a tempest in a teapot. School colors for everyone, period. Wear what you like on your own time. Get over it. Sheesh. Jackie H. Quincy I emigrated to this country and have raised two children here, have taken great pride in the U.S., and have served my community well. That said, I am very proud that I am Irish as well as American. I think many writers miss the point of the greatness of America and that is its ethnic diversity and the celebration of heritage. While living in the U.S., I have seen many St. Patrick's Day parades, enjoyed linguica at many feasts of Queen Isabella at the CA. Club, cofounded the African American Heritage Trail, and my heart always misses a beat when I hear the very moving drumming of the Wampanoag people of this Island. I could go on, but my point is that this country is a unique mixture of great traditions from every part of the world, and I would argue that all of the people I refer to consider themselves loyal citizens of the United States. There is a saying that if you don't know where you come from, you can't know where you're going, and I believe that to be true. Each of us made a journey whether it was our parents, grandparents, ourselves or 390 years ago when the Pilgrims stepped off that boat in Plymouth, Fdipi Comes and Andora Aquino are exactly the kind of young people who grace the U.S., embodying the best values of this country. They are hard- working, creative individuals who play sports, attend our classes and whose contributions to this country will be of great value. It has been my great pleasure to be their teacher for a large part of their high school careers, and I am so very proud of them as would anyone be if they knew these fine young people. They have embraced the best of our traditions and have excelled. They merely wish to remember their origins in the same way as do all other ethnic groups in the U.S. Elaine Cawley Weintraub West Tisbury Show your pride, wear your colors .. be who you are. This is your day, students, and no one can take this away from you. A long time ago, a good friend gave me this advice: "Act first, ask for permission later." Congratula- tions, and be proud. Arthur Hardy-Doubleday Oak Bluffs and Beacon Hill LETTERS TO THE EDITOR From Page Ten those who are in need of hope and comfort. This event will be taking place on Sunday, June 6, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Martha's Vineyard Bible Church table, during Inspiration Weekend at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. The Martha'sVineyard Cards of Hope and Comfort Ministry would like to in- vite the Island community to contact us if they know of anyone who may ben- efit from receiving a card. Only the first names of those receiving the cards will be on the cards. Last names and addresses will not be available to the public. Our contact information is: e- mail: mvbiblechurch@gmail.com; 508-693-3832; M.V. Bible Church, CO. Box 8,Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or just stop by our table and ask us to have a card made available for someone in need of compassion. Anyone wishing to touch the heart of someone in need of emotional and spiritual support is invited to stop by our table to sign a card. L'mda M. Guilford Vineyard Haven Lifeless Utility Path in Tisbury Raises Herbicide Questions The following letter was sent to the Tisbury board of health: WITH ALL THE SPRING FOLIAGE in full array, it is eVident that much of the plant life along the utility company's right of way through our town is dead. All of the oak, pine, sassafras, and chokecherry are without leaves or buds. Only the poison ivy and some ferns remain alive. q-his could 0nly have occurred through the application of herbicides.While I as- sume the utility company owns this strip of land, it is open to and used by the public. Children play there;joggers run there, people walk their dogs there. The property and gardens of many towns- people abut the tight of way. I have spent most of my career train- ing firefighters about hazardous materi- als and am the producer of an award- winning film on pesticides. So I can tell you that all pesticides have potential unintended harmful effects and it can be assumed that this is also the case with the herbicide that'was evidently: used along the power line. It was strong enough, after all, to kill trees 10 and 12 feet tall. Here are some questions which I would count on you to answer and to provide those answers to the public. People who live near the power lines need to know the answers: What organization or company carried out the herbicide application? Was any permit required to allow the herbicide application and did the company have such a permit? Is there any requirement to flag or mark the area after the application of the herbicide? If so, was this done? Was any notification given to abut- ters prior to the application of the herbicide? For example, were abutters to keep children and pets indoors while the application was in process? i What precautions were taken to avoid drift during application? What was the herbicide that was used and what are the active and inert ingredients? Some inert ingredients are more harmful than the pesticide. What are the symptoms of acute and chronic exposure to this herbicide? Once the product is identified this in- formation can be obtained through the EPA's Web site. What are the potential effects on wildlife and bird life? What bodies of water or town well fields might be endangered by storm water runoff following this applica- tion? This has left an ugly scar through our town. From personal observa- tion, it appears that the local skunk population, denizens of the right of way, has all but disappeared. The large flock of wild turkeys that has frequented our neighborhood for years and which is frequently on the right of way is now reduced to one sickly looking bird. Does the utility company plan to replace the flora with something else, or is it just to become sand and poison ivy? What erosion issues will ensue? In prior years, it has been the util- ity company's procedure to cut the right of way every five or six years. Now apparently, that honest labor has been replaced with the widespread application of chemicals. This may be cheaper for the utility company, but is it the best thing for our town and our Island? Gordon Massingham Vineyard Haven This is our last Sophomores Speak Out, and first understand. Racism is a crime and it is inhuman. People we would like to thank the Vineyard Gazette and all are different from each other, but special in their own of our readers, and then we want to wish everyone a way and habitat. The fact that they are from another safe and happy summer. Our thoughts this week are country does not make them any less human. It does on what we have learned this year and all the people not mean that they should not be treated equally. who played a part in our lives. Enjoy! Thanks for Listening The Human Race By COURTNEY MUSSELL By ANA NASCIMENTO The Vineyard Gazette generously allowed us to Last week, the Martha's Vineyard Times published have our own space in the newspaper to show Island some pictures of the Brazilian Day at the high school, readers what is going on at the high school, and our Some of the pictures were posted online, and many opinions on whatever is occurring in the world. Per- racist comments were posted. At first I was quite mad, sonally, I think it would be very interesting to see who and very hurt, by the comments but then I realized that is reading Sophomores Speak Out, and to know what it was not even worth it to be angry. I will defend the their opinions are. I think it would be great to have a immigrants from anywhere as much as I defend the reflection section the week after we publish written by country of my birth and as much as I defend America. people who had read our writing. Some people might think that all immigrants are illegal Everyone has their own opinion on everything, and aliens, as they like to call them, but many are not. fortunately for our U.S. History II class, our opinions As James Madison stated long ago,"This is a nation have been heard. I would really like to hear other of immigrants." Everyone who is not Native American people's opinions, because everyone needs a chance came from somewhere else. There were 45 comments to be heard. on the Martha's Vineyard Times Web site the last time I looked, and I realized that the cruel, racist and preju- diced comments were from the same people. It helped Learning About World War II me very much to realize that most of the really unkind By TYLER ARAUJO stuff that was said was from the same people posting Our U.S. history class had the pleasure of having Mev over and over again. Good talk to us about his experiences in World War II. I believe people are beginning to accept each other I found it very interesting because we have been used no matter where they are from; after all humans are to learning about people and events through textbooks, humans and that's how they should be treated. Calling and not through people who have actually been part of immigrants names and teaching hate is not the way to it. We learned how he was a mountaineer and all of the teach the kids from the next generation to do better. How can we ask for a better world if we ourselves preparation he had to go through to get ready for the don't start making it better now? Our next generation war. He told us that one of the hardest parts was that every day he would find out that one of his friends was should not have to learn racism through the comments that are made all around. Words are only words, but dead or one of his family members was no longer there. they can hurt more than physical aggression. One of I learned a lot from Mr. Good, and I think this was a the posts said that back in the day they separated ira- great way of learning about the Second World War. migrants from Americans. Is that really the way to do it? Do some people really think that immigrants are Respect that different? But how are they different? They work hard, they sleep, they eat, they go to school, they love By PHILIP JORDAN their children and they love their nation and embrace Having Mr. Good come into our class to talk about this one. his war experiences was a great experience for us. We I would like to make this simple so that everyone can appreciated hearing from him, and from Capt. Gene De Felice, who came in with him. These men really deserve our respect. Lifetime Story By DENVER MACIEL This week my class was honored by a presentation from Mev Good. He talked about his experiences in World War II. He showed a film about what the war was like and he also gave us a book that he had put together showing what he did and how the war had affected his whole life. I Want to Serve By KYLE FRANCIS The question is always asked:is war the right thing? To me war is a necessary part of survival. If there was no war, things would not be how they are today. I am 16 years old and I have been thinking about the Army and Marines for a long time now, and I have realized that I want to go in. My grandfather is a retired army officer and he has told me many stories to try to scare me off, but the stories only make me more interested. I have had the feeling that I belong in the Army or the Marines since the Twin Towers were hit and I started watching the news more. I have learned about soldiers in Iraq and how they are fighting, and I want to be there to help. Disaster Closes In By KUNAL DA'ITA On April 20 there was an explosion on a BP oil rig.At Mark LoveweU that time, they estimated there was going to be a leak SOPHOMORE COMMENTATORS IN ELAINE WEINTRAUB'S U.S. HISTORY II CLASS. of a 1,000 barrels a day, but the leak has been spurting out 5,000 gallons a day. On Tuesda President Obama learned so much, not just about the history of the world, concentration camps. I will never forget that. I would announced that he has directed federal authorities to but also to appreciate what you have because in the recommend this class to the whole high school because the Gulf of Mexico. This disaster has come very close blink of an eye it could all be gone, especially someone you learn a lot, and in a fun and interesting way. to land and this is a desperate attemat to save the coast you love. I have learned to hope and believe that others from being covered with oil. I think it is a good idea to will be there for me at a time when I need it the most. Time Flies help BP take care of the oil spill, butthey alone should Thank you, Mrs. Weintraub! be responsible for their mistakes and the damage that By ANDREW RANDALL they caused. History Class As we reach the end of our school year and begin to type our last Sophomores Speak Out, I am realizing Can't Spell Her Name By CARLOS GUZMAN how fast this year has actually gone. It seems like winter Entering this class was a new learning experience, break was just a few weeks ago, not months..Overall By ALEXANDRA MARK The way things are done is great. I learned a lot through this year just flew, by which is unusual because I don't I still can't spell my teacher's nara correctly after a doing research projects and watching movie clips. usually think of school as fun. I hope junior and senior year in her history class. But after a year during which It helped me to learn. What I remember the most is year go by just as fast and don't drag on the way I we raised funds to send to the people of Haiti, I have learning about the Nazis and the Jewish people and the thought school would.