Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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If you’re reading these words and you’re on-island, join me and the other few dozen folks that stayed behind during school vacation week. Many island dwellers appreciate the desolate nature of Nantucket in winter. For this week, we have desolate, squared.

To cap off the winter week, on Monday we woke up to (maybe) an inch of snow on the ground, with minimal fine flakes barely adding to the accumulation on our lawn. We watched a dozen cardinals vying for a spot on our bird feeder. I enjoy cardinals for their bright coloring which shows up among the brown foliage at this time, and more so when snow in the background highlights them.

Another bright spot at this point is the elementary school artwork being displayed in town. Second-grade children in Karen “Miss O” Olszewski’s art class have their recent work hung in the window of Pollacks (South Water Street, where Hardy’s used to be) and in the Town & County Building. There will be more to come and Rob Head will be hanging his kids’ work in Pollacks as well. If you have a downtown store that is empty and would like to add color to the window, please contact me. My addresses are at the bottom of this column.

Here’s a great way to spend an early March evening while being enlightened and amused. The second Nantucket Historical Association History Quiz Bowl will be held at the Whaling Museum March 5 at 6 p.m. Nat Philbrick will host that evening, and there’s no charge to attend. Last year was amazing, both from the knowledge elicited and an overflow crowd that had plenty of laughs along the way. If you would like to participate, the fee for a team is $50, and the prizes awarded were worth at least half that much. For information, call Melissa Kershaw at (508) 228-1894, ext. 117. Bye the bye, Melissa is a recent hire for the NHA.

The Point Breeze was another Bob Matthews failure and for now, the bank is left holding the bag. I recently received an article about the failing condition of the unfinished building. Seems there is mold and mildew starting to take hold in the basement. Well, that’s no surprise. It was built on a swamp and underground parking was proposed. That idea made as much sense as the futile attempts to “save” the Sconset Bluff. This is more ruination of nature, for the sake of the ultra-rich. It didn’t and won’t work.

You may have noticed over the years that I have a bad attitude about people who visit for a day or a week, and then write about our tiny sandbar. In the past couple of weeks I’ve received two articles about spending a few days here. Both were written by our British cousins. After reading these pieces, I’ll bet the writers refer to us (privately) as colonists.

The first is titled “Nantucket: Quaint U.S. East Coast island is magnet for rich and famous.” The author – Vivian – then went on to say that she and her husband stayed at the Wauwinet where after a trip to Great Point, she had a massage and met her husband for port and cheese in the library. The next day, they went and stayed at the White Elephant, where her husband had a burger by the pool that cost $28. Vivian noted that “there’s a helluva lot of name-dropping on Nantucket.” Looking at the title of her article, it appears she’s calling the kettle black.

A few days later, Jessamy chimed in. She came here in the fall with her son and daughter (Alabama?). They had spent a few days in New York City and then came here to stay at the Wharf Cottages. The director of Nantucket Island Resorts picked them up at the boat and gave them a short tour along the east side. I’ll bet you weren’t aware that “Nantucket is a city, town, country and an island all in one.” Yikes! The NIR director took them to dinner at the Brant Point Grill. There seems to be something going on with British travel writers hanging out at NIR hotels and restaurants.

In between the jabs at this country and inaccurate “facts” about their former colony, one comment by Jessamy really stuck in my craw. “Thirty miles south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts lies Nantucket. Nantucket is quite a bit larger than nearby Martha’s Vineyard, which is much closer to Boston, more developed and a good deal more chic.” I don’t think any of that, other than how many miles off Cape Cod we are, is the least bit truthful.

Today, at noon, the NHA has Dr. Margot Hartmann speaking at the Whaling Museum. This is another in the Food for Thought series. The topic for this week is “Nantucket’s Hospital in Its Hundredth Year.” There is no charge to attend and Dr. Hartmann is certain to be a most interesting speaker.

Two days from today, the Boston Red Sox split their ranks and play Boston University and Northeastern. The following two days they go up against the Minnesota Twins. This is only the beginning . . .

Should you wish to get in touch, my phone number is (508) 228-4325, e-mail me at, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 1263, Nantucket, MA 02554.
– Goodman’s Gam appears regularly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror

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