Grindstone Island - Judy Bacci, one of several new year-round residents of Grindstone Island, an artist who has turned the old post office into her home and studio, hanging its walls with pastel and oil portraits, called all the residents young and old to celebrate with her on June 15, her daughter Elizabeth's graduation from elementary school, and the beginning of a new summer. Elizabeth's father, Anaeus Bacci, owner of a starred restaurant in Southbury, Conn., brought lasagne, Italian meatballs, a wealth of salads, and loaves and loaves of good Italian bread to the feast.
The pleasure of new beginnings greened like winter wheat in spring over the old post office yard. Teenagers played volleyball and croquet, adults exchanged news, and old folks just enjoyed reunion. There were new babies who made some wish the island school could, maybe (?) open again some day. As the party was going on, Tommy and Susie Marshall were moving a house over to the George Matthews property on Grindstone Island from Clay ton ... another sign of new life.
Old timers welcomed young Stephen Boss, from the Potter-Kendall clan, to good times to come. (Few beaches in all the islands rival Potter's Beach where his forebearers' farm meets the river.) Bruce Faust was there, with a friend he made in Saudi Arabia who stood, very able at the grill. (Everyone eagerly awaits Robbie Lashomb's return from his tour of duty at the end of the month.)
"Sis" Matthews just couldn't stay in the chair Nancy, her daughter in law, brought for her; she had to sit on the bench at a table where she could talk to everybody face-to-face. Young men and women who radiated confidence and new hope, Elizabeth, Tom, Harry, Maggie ... all of them, shone yellow sunshine on the party, new girlfriends and new boyfriends bringing great curving smiles to the day.
Dr. Richard Withington of Round Island brought a group of islanders together for a more sober purpose on Wednesday, June 12, at 8 p.m. On the town dock of Grindstone Island, about a dozen people listened intently as the doctor, accompanied by two members of the Clayton Fire Department and Rescue Squad, gave first aid instruction, taught what to do in case of accidents, in case a child swallows kerosene, in case someone has a heart attack, falls out of a boat and nearly drowns, breaks a bone ... knowledge of first aid is so important on Grindstone that several people hope Dr. Withington and the firemen can return later in the summer to instruct a wider group.
As islanders return from their winter retreats, Sis Matthews of Clayton, Marj Gamsey, Leon and Marjorie Rusho of Florida, Ralph and Marie Bergen from the Hudson River, Bill and Fred Faust of Toronto, the Chester Taylors from South Carolina, the Southside and Northside Rueckerts of Geneseo and Hanover, Josephine Murray, Emily and Sheppard Holt of Boston, (where does the Sun not rise?!). We remember Belva Lember who died this spring. Belva, Annie Couch's sister, spent her summers in the trim little house in which she was bom. Her little house in the middle of the island will seem lonely without Belva's gardening and canning going on, without her greeting.
We remember, too, Mary Anderson who also died, but we trust her pretty ice house at the head of the island will be livened with grandchildren ... shades of Mary, lively Mary.
Philip Boyer died this winter, and will be buried later this summer on Grindstone Island. Whisky Island won't be the same without Phil's graciousness.
Services at the Grindstone Island United Methodist Church begin Sunday, June 23 at 10:30 a.m. The Rev. William C. Gipson, the assistant dean of the Chapel at Princeton University, will be minister this summer. A graduate of Colgate Rochester Divinity School, with experience as a local pastor in Rochester, Mr. Gipson is ordained into the ministry of the AME Zion Church and will bring to Grindstone the commitment, the goal sense, and the warmth of its pastorate.
Willette Gipson, also an ordained minister, and director of Community House, a remedial teaching institution supported by Princeton University, will add her own strengths and spontaneity to the life of the church. Their two little girls, 3 years and 18 months, will charm all passersby!
On this first Sunday of the summer, the congregation will honor the 1991 Grindstone Island graduate of the Thousand Islands Central High School, Laura Cuppemall!
So it is.