The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Jan 29, 2012
Courtesy of: Willis Brown l-r: Brentley, Nicholas, Reina, Dad, Ashley and fiancé Richard

About town

Block Island’s very own Groundhog Day census gets underway at Poor People’s Pub, 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 2, so come on down, help with the count, have some fun and don’t neglect to join the betting pool!

Not just about town, but all around the world, people are celebrating the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens on February 7. Dickens began his writing career at age 23. Celebrations of this bicentenary year will take place in 50 countries, reports Smithsonian magazine, with exhibits, festivals, a new film adaptation of “Great Expectations,” and Dickens readings “from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe.” Block Island students and literati, take note.

Marilyn Bogdanffy’s exhibit of island portraits at the Island Free Library was such a huge success that the Friends of the Library have put out a call for people who want to showcase their creations, pastimes or hobbies and share them with others. “We are particularly interested,” said Mary Sue Record, “in works not previously shown at island galleries, the Farmer’s Market or art fairs.” Those interested in displaying crafts, photography, or other collections may contact Socha Cohen at, or Mary Sue Record at

Block Island everywhere

In early January, your columnist enjoyed a trans-Atlantic crossing to England on the Queen Mary 2 with Rick Batchelder, daughter Monique and grandson Liam. Liam, at 2 1/2 years old, dined in the formal Princess Grill, where he became a favorite of the waiters. He also attended the World Club champagne reception in jacket and tie and made friends with quite a few of the ladies. Earlier in the week, he boarded an elevator alone and closed the doors, but was quickly retrieved by his mother and grandfather before the elevator descended to a lower deck.

Returning stateside to New York, yours truly caught up briefly with Jane and Tony Musante, who mentioned that they were standing in a line at Italy’s Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome last August when someone nearby said, “Ah Block Island!” The comment was a response to the jacket Jane was wearing, with a tiny island, but no words, embroidered on it. The Musantes fell into conversation with the couple who had commented, and it turned out they live on Block Island. All were too busy chatting to make a note of names — so if anyone remembers that encounter in the Rome airport, do make yourselves known!

John Lehman reports that he and Sharon spent a few days around Christmas in Bristol, R.I. with daughter and son-in-law Kristin and Rob Browne and grandsons Oliver and Benjamin, then enjoyed “A nice quiet (OK, somewhat quiet) New Year’s Eve in New York City, and we’re back in Atlanta just in time for the deep freeze. That, too, will go away and spring will soon be here. Sharon’s foot/ankle is (hopefully) on the mend. We’ll see you in mid-April!”

“We were amused,” write James and Betsy Bailey, of Pilot Hill Road and Arlington, Mass., “to see that Betsy is the subject of one of the photos featured in the January 8 Boston Globe Sunday Magazine "Best Photos of 2011" feature.” The pic is a gardening photo, but alas, can only be viewed at the Globe website if one is a subscriber.

Barbara MacDougall, wintering in Tucson, Ariz., writes, “Anybody coming out this way is invited to visit. My address is 4525 E. Camino de Oro, Tucson, AZ 85718, and phone number is 520-577-0263. Have a happy winter!”

Bound for Italy in the spring for several weeks are Rosemarie and Jon Ives. “We are definitely not interested in 5-star hotels, we much prefer B&Bs, agriturismos, or similar accommodations where there is interaction with the locals,” says Rosemarie, who would love to have recommendations for Venice, Florence, Cinqueterra, Umbria/Tuscany, Naples, Sorrento area and maybe Rome. Rosemarie and Jon will also go to Barcelona, Spain, then fly to Paris with a possible detour to Brest, and would appreciate recommendations for those stops as well. “Hope the new year is going well for everyone on Block Island,” she added.

Willis Brown and his family celebrated Christmas on December 30 this year, as it was the first day that Brentley, Nicholas, Reina, Ashley and Ashley’s fiancé, Richard, could all get together with dad. The remarkable clan had much to celebrate, reports Willis, and here are a very few highlights: Brentley, graduating from junior college in 2013, hopes to be a hospital medical assistant, perhaps in radiology; Nicholas, who turned 29 on December 31, has a well over six-figure income job in electrical engineering technology on a land based oil rig, and is looking for a home to buy; Reina loves her work as a mortgage broker with an international financial institute; medical student Ashley was one of only 19 medical students chosen, of 250 applicants nationwide, to work at The National Space Biomedical Research Institute. She and fiancé Richard became engaged just before Christmas.

Of cakes and candles

Dunn Town Road's Aloyise H. Pomeroy celebrated her 92nd birthday with family and friends on January 23 in Newport, advises Larry Pomeroy, and Aloyise looks forward to returning to Block Island in the summer.

Mania Ritter turned 90 on January 11!” reports her daughter, Kathryn Ritter-Smith. Kathryn and her sons, Ben and Gregor Smith, will fly to Kentucky this weekend for a belated celebration with Mamine, as Mania is affectionately known to her grandchildren and all their friends.

Happy birthdays also to: Michelle Leone, January 28; Sarah Barkley, Julia Butcher and Charlie Pyne, January 29; Cheryl Blane and Ryan McGarry, January 31; Margaret Millikin, who turns 97 January 31; Roy Rowan,who turns 92 February 1; Cindy Pappas and Diane “Lady Di” Jones, February 3; Sandy Greenman, February 4; Debbie Filkins, February 7; Sue Littlefield and Carol Hill, February 8; Ellen Jacke, February 9; Elliot Taubman, February 10; Joan Dolan, February 11; and Julia Gasner, who turns 11 on either February 10 or 11 — I wrote her name on both those dates in my birthday book, for whatever reason.

Let us know what’s happening! Visiting relatives, special occasions, updates on friends near and far, projects… Deadline is Tuesday morning, and Fran can be reached at 466-2892 or

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