From the Editor

Our friend Phyllis Meras turned ninety recently and used the occasion to write to me inquiring about the current status of her most recent piece for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. She wanted to let me know she was happy to work on any edits or rewrites I thought the piece might need. Her writing was solid as ever and needed neither, I assured her, and the story was safely in the pipeline for later this summer.

It was classic Phyllis, who remains a consummate professional after more than seven decades of writing for publications. She got her start as a published writer in 1946 when she was fifteen, with a poem published in the Vineyard Gazette. It was the first of many, many pieces by her, including more than forty annual holiday poems that have become as much a part of the season on the Island as the parade in Edgartown or the lights in Ocean Park. She was an intern at the Gazette in the 1950s, a reporter at the Gazette in the 1960s, and the managing editor of the Gazette between 1970 and 1974. She contributed a commentary to the paper as recently as this past spring, “proving yet again,” the Gazette noted, “that her lineage with the paper has no peer – her first published piece and her most recent piece span 75 years.”

Along the way and in between those pieces, she wrote more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles for various publications, including The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, and especially the Providence Journal, where she was on the staff for a quarter of a century. She traveled the world, interviewed many of the great authors of the twentieth century, and had countless adventures. But she always returned to the Island where she had summered as a child.

I first met Phyllis a few weeks after taking over as editor of this magazine, more years ago now than I care to count. I can’t remember what story she was pitching at the time or which anecdotes from her long life she shared. Or, truth be told, whether I jumped at the first story idea she pitched. But Phyllis, who, after graduating from the Columbia University School of Journalism in the 1950s, was informed by the dean that there were no journalism jobs for women in New York and went on to have a staff job at The New York Times, is not easily dissuaded by slow-responding editors.

That’s fortunate for me, because over the course of my editorship here she has written some of my favorite pieces – profiles mostly, capturing some of the Island’s most iconic characters as only a bona fide fellow iconic Island character could do.

Happy birthday, Phyllis. Here’s to many more.