From Gazette editions of August, 1986:
In the middle of what will be his last long summer on the Vineyard for some time, Angelo Bartlett Giamatti enthusiastically compares ballet star Mikhail Barysnikov with the baseball Wizard of Oz, Ozzie Smith, who works his magic in the infield of the St. Louis Cardinals, one of 12 teams over which Mr. Giamatti will now preside as chief executive of the National League of professional baseball.
“Imagine what a baseball player Barysnikov could have been!” says Mr. Giamatti, who stepped down after eight years as president of Yale University. “He has the discipline to use and refine his immense gifts. Not just the great reflexes and strength, but the mind to learn, to understand, to interpret music — and to expresss it all with his body.”
He says the same of shortstop Ozzie Smith. “And Ozzie Smith, now there’s a ballet dancer. He’s got the same extraordinary powerful legs, the same uncanny reflexes. To me, each of them is equally thrilling. And if you can’t do it like they can, at least give yourself the pleasure of watching.”
Bart Giamatti has found on the Island the breaks he needed to write speeches, magazine articles and scholarly works on the Renaissance; to scour Island bookstores; and to read “history, fiction, biography, junk, self-help junk and whatever obsession I have at the moment.” He adds, “And the water, especially the water off State Beach. It’s just lovely.”
Along the wet and grassy shores and deep within the spongy perimeters of the Island salt marshes, the sea lavender has begun to bloom. A member of the leadwort family, sea lavender is a fitting name for this herb-like plant whose tiny violet flowers occur in pannicles. Sea lavender thrives in marshy areas where it receives a salty watering with each rising tide of the day. The first minute blossoms are open, and the rich green August marshlands are now tinged with the lightest shade of lilac. The sea lavender lasts and lasts; it will continue to bloom into October, when cool green and pale purple will finally give in to a brown autumn rust. Take notice.
Franco Modigliani, Nobel laureate in economics, insists that his work is not beyond the grasp of ordinary people. When the Modiglianis first came to the Vineyard, they stayed with Pauline Vanderhoop at the Totem Pole bed and breakfast in Gay Head. “The thing that was particularly attractive to us was that there were so few people here. You could go to the beach and see nobody.”
In his writings on how individuals save money, how nations grow and how corporations finance themselves, Mr. Modigliani has frequently set established economic doctrine on its ear. “It is true I am not prone to accept the established views,” he says. On the subject of savings and debt he says he is appalled at the deficits of the United States government. “It’s a remarkable thing that the president should think we mustn’t raise taxes,” he says. “It simply means that in the future people will have to raise their taxes twice, first to balance the budget, and then to repay the deficit. It’s terrible, it’s bad, it’s just incredible.”
Art Buchwald returned for auctioneer’s duty at the Harborside Inn yesterday after missing 1985 on account of illness. The sun returned to the Vineyard too. Together Art and Sol made Possible Dreams come true for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services to the tune of $44,485. On his way home to his own harbor in Vineyard Haven Mr. Buchwald accepted thanks as auction volunteers collected checks from winners of the bidding wars on behalf of the 25-year-old social services agency. “Thank you,” Mr. Buchwald replied. “Did everyone pay?” Mr. Buchwald, a lot of peer pressure and a river of spirits made sure nothing went cheap.
Summer reading is a distinctly marked species in the great genus Reading. Everybody understands the term, but nobody can tell exactly what it means. There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work, and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor that summer reading belongs. A book that floats you up out of sleep, which yet throws its spray over you as the sea does on men who lazily float in a summer breezy day — a book that now and then drops you, and then takes you up again — this is a summer book. You never know where you left off, and do not care where you begin. It is all beginning, all middle and end everywhere.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner