I had my first birthday in Boston, and the next day I came to the Island. I have only one summer that I did not come here . . . And now, of course, I live here year-round. I write for the Gazette, you know, my Oak Bluffs column; I was the cashier at the Harborside, and I do my own writing. This is where I can write . . . .
When I was a child, I lived in Brookline. And there were not many black people in Brookline; there were just a few black families. And when I went to New York, we rode the subway and got off in Harlem, I guess it was 135th Street. And there were all these black people all around. I had never seen so many black people in my life; it was just wonderful!
We stood there, and I remember asking one of them, "When is the parade going to pass?" And they said, "There's no parade." Well, it was the first time I had seen a congregation of people idling on the street. Because in Boston, there are never any people idling in the streets, you see. But anyway, that was my introduction to Harlem. And I moved there about 1929 . . . .
Wherever I was, I did always want to come to the Vineyard and I finally moved her in the 1940s. I was in Europe a couple of times and whenever I thought of home – although this was still our summer home then – I thought about the Vineyard. I remember writing in the little journal I kept when I was touring in Russia. I wrote, "It's September first on the Island," and so forth, and, "What is this place compared to the Vineyard? Nothing, nothing!"
Quoted in Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People, ed. by Linsey Lee (Martha's Vineyard Historical Society, 1998).