Letter From New York, via the Vineyard 07 02 2016 Lest the past be forgotten…

It is not quite the magic hour but it is coming, soon.  Jeffrey has just returned from a sail on his boat, Jinji. 


We’re all gathered now on the veranda, looking out over the harbor.  I’m off to the side, writing, while on the other side of the veranda are gathered Jeffrey and Joyce, her niece Julie and her husband, Mark, and Jim, who keeps his boat at their dock.

Their Bernese Mountain Dogs, are alternatively resting and playing.  At the house next door, the owner has rented it to a large group of twenty somethings, who are having a lovely, loud time.

Here I am ensconced with my evening martini, looking over to Chappaquiddick, most famous, of course, for being the place that ended Teddy Kennedy’s hope for the White House and the life of Mary Jo Koepkne.  One of the more popular books this year has been a book about that tragedy, claiming there was a third passenger.  Sells like hot cakes.

When I arrived, the moorings in the harbor were mostly empty; now they are mostly filled.  The sun is bright and the town has been filled with the young and old, mostly well to do or very rich. Cathy, who works at the bookstore, could not come in this evening.  She also works for the Baroness de Rothschild, who could not live without her this evening.

Edgartown is the place where there is no end of pastel.  Salmon colored pants could not be more in style.  It is heaven for preppies.  If one remembers Lisa Birnbach’s “The Preppy Handbook,” you know what I mean.

Of course, while this particularly well ordered world moves on, while the happy voices from next door punctuate the later afternoon, the world keeps moving on its very sad course.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, IS sent in people to an upscale bakery, taking hostages, twenty of whom died, thirteen of whom were rescued, spreading their terror to more places, not that Bangladesh has been unfree of troubles.  Several liberal writers have been hacked to death with machetes in the country in the last six months.

Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, died today at 87.  He was a “messenger to mankind.”  He would not, and for which we all should be grateful, let the past be passed. 

He said, and may it not be forgotten, “Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.”  It especially resonates now as right wing movements rise in so many countries.  He saw horror and his articulation of that horror made him into a spokesperson many.  He took on President Clinton over what was happening in what had been Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

He was the voice against all genocide.

And now we have an Austria that has ordered a new election which will give the right wing another shot at power.  Here in America, we have to listen to the xenophobic sputtering of The Donald.

It is frightening.  Something like eight European countries have far right movements gaining ground.

It is because we are frightened, terrified of the sweeping changes moving around us, much of it coming from the witnessing of the refugee crisis out the Mideast.

And now I am going to sleep, relatively early for a Saturday night.  Tomorrow I will work late at the bookstore, closing every night this week and then I leave, headed home for a week and then to Minneapolis to see my family.

The world is in a wretched place but we still have friends and family that we hold to deeply.  In the end, no matter what, that is what will keep us going, wherever we are.

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