It’s that time of year when the color in the trees fades, the air is frosty in the mornings and the Hale House has been put to bed for the winter. But we at the Matunuck Preservation Society are already at work on next summer’s programs.
We had a very successful 2018 and want to thank you, each and every one, for your participation and support of our program, “Patriotism/Protest”. There was a lot of feedback, and most of it was very positive.
The summer started with a rousing sing-a-long in the gray parlor of the house, under the newly revealed American flag painted across the entire ceiling. For many of us, it was the first time we had seen the flag although it was painted 50 years ago by a returning Viet Nam veteran. Many of you gathered in the room and sang the old patriotic tunes we love so well under the direction of Kristine Wilbur, who encouraged everyone to participate and we all did with great gusto!
An interesting lecture by Maury Klein, “Dissent and Loyalty: What the Civil War Teaches us about the Meaning of Patriotism” was very well attended; and a wonderful program by Nancy Hood entitled “I’ve Got a Song” about her youth as the daughter of a Communist leader in New England during the McCarthy era had the audience spellbound. Nancy sang the protest songs of the day and soon had the entire audience singing along. By the end of the show many were ready to march around the room singing “This Land is Your Land”.
In the middle of the summer, we were fortunate to exhibit a moving tribute to Father Daniel Berrigan and his time on Block Island during the Viet Nam war. It was on the island that the FBI found and arrested Berrigan. Many people learned about our exhibit and came to the house just to see it and the movie that accompanied it. One of our first visitors was a man who had been a mate on the Block Island Ferry when Berrigan, in handcuffs, was brought off the island. He was moved to tears when he saw the exhibit. Of course, those who came to see the exhibit also stayed to see Hale House and heard the story of another great protester, Edward Everett Hale!
Every summer there is a classical music program and this summer Jane Murray, principal oboist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic orchestra returned with the Hilltop Trio once again to perform for the dedicated enthusiasts who never miss the opportunity to see and hear the trio.
There are many people to thank for their efforts; first among them all the wonderful docents who meet and greet all of the guests who make the trip to see the house. They are the backbone of every single thing we do all summer and we sing their praises as often as we can.
Thank you also to all the friends who contribute time and talent to our programs; to the owners of the Berrigan exhibit who entrusted us with their property and to all of you who visit and encourage us to keep on growing.
2019 will be here soon-we will close and get to work. See you in late spring!
Matunuck Preservation Society