Most people think of wampum as the Native American form of money, but Berta and Vernon Welch of Aquinnah turn that old chestnut on its head. For the past ten years the Welches have worked as master jewelers, helping revive and modernize the ancient craft of wampum making. Their children Sophia, sixteen, and Giles, twenty, join them in the work, which takes a great deal of time and effort.
In Oak Bluffs, at the turn of the last century, the houses that line Ocean Park had earned the nickname Millionaire’s Row. Philip Corbin, who made his fortune in locks, built what is now a favorite sightseer’s stop – the Peter Norton house – a few doors down from the home belonging to John and Sharon Kelly. The Ingraham Clock Company family once owned an adjacent house, and the Leavitt house next door to the Kellys belonged to the George Weed family, who made their money in automobile snow chains.
Bob Holt of the West Tisbury Fire Department flips burgers at the Agricultural Fair each August. We gave him a disposable camera last year and asked him to shoot what he sees from his perch. “It was bloody hot behind the grill,” says Bob. “Thursday was the biggest day the hamburger booth ever had, and I’ve been doing this at least fifteen years. My two sons Ron and Bobby helped out. When I stepped out of the booth, I was covered in grease.” Bob most loves the shot of the youngster whose arms are stretched out in happy anticipation of a cheeseburger.
Tom Dresser of Oak Bluffs – writer, essayist, and the editor of the calendar in our own magazine – has an interesting day job: He’s a school-bus driver during the fall, winter, and spring, and a tour-bus driver during the summer season.
A former nursing-home administrator on the mainland, he moved to the Vineyard in October 1997 to be with his future wife Joyce. He’s been giving bus tours since the summer of 2002.