Commentaries | WCAI



WCAI is committed to airing local voices and stories. In addition to our news stories and sonic vignettes that air throughout the day, and our weekly features, we occasionally broadcast  "slice of life" and "sense of place" essays from members of our community. 


A Doctor with the Patience of a Fisherman

Feb 4, 2019

The New Year has brought with it a major upheaval in health care on the Upper Cape.  It has nothing to do with insurance rates or preexisting conditions, but it’s resulted in the loss of  the quality of care hundreds of patients have received for decades.  After 47 years in practice, Dr Arthur Crago has retired.

Ed Jerome, Educator, Fisherman, Gentleman

Sep 21, 2018
Nelson Sigelman

If a community is lucky, it has an Ed Jerome. A “go to” person.

Ed Jerome of Edgartown died suddenly Tuesday, September 18. The news rippled across Martha’s Vineyard in small Island waves: word-of-mouth, Facebook posts, conversation in coffee shops.

For Father's Day: Holding on to Memory

Jun 15, 2018
Dinesh Valke ~ Flikr Commons

When I was a little girl I used to lie in front of the kitchen door at five o’clock every afternoon and wait for my father to come home from the shipyard.  Every day, he’d open the door, pretend not to see me and step gently on my stomach before I’d squirm away in laughter, so proud of myself for fooling him again.  Then he’d pick me up in the air and tickle my belly with his bald head until I begged him to let me down.  I remember the faint smell of engine grease on his clothes, the roughness of his hands and the wrinkles on his forehead.   

L. Lerner

JoAnn Nadeau is a retired pre-school teacher who is still wondering about the Code Red Drills being taught in schools. 

Cape Cod National Seashore

As dawn broke on the morning of February 7th 1978,  I was one of the first people to gaze upon what was left of Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. After a night of howling 100 mile per hour winds, intense rain, and a 4 foot high storm surge, a landscape once familiar to me had been completely transformed. 

Tim Sackton /

Nantucket Island was formed by an ancient glacier and continues to change with the ocean. In this commentary, Ian Petty remembers when he first realized the island’s impermanence.

A Father's Influence

Jun 18, 2017

My father loomed over my athletic life, and I suppose he still does. He is long gone, dead almost twenty years now, but he lives on in me in middle age whenever I bitterly lose a ping-pong game or fret to myself, the next day, over not having tossed a bocce ball better. His peculiar brand of competitiveness–cocksure, slightly crazed, nearly constant–marked my childhood in a thousand ways.

Time to Practice

Nov 8, 2015
Jason Hollinger - Flickr Commons


When I finished my medical internship, I decided to take violin lessons.  My life had become defined by a career that threatened to consume all my time and energy, and I thought playing the violin would help keep me sane.

Hodophobia - There's No Place Like Home

Aug 2, 2015

Not long ago, I was having dinner with some people from work, enjoying eggplant smothered in rich tomato sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  Disrupting my stupor, Ellie turned to me and asked if I’ve ever been to Italy.  I swallowed a large mouthful of Chianti and braced myself.  This was not the first time I’ve been asked that question.  It’s a recurring nightmare and my answer is always the same.

Memories of Prom... For Better or Worse

May 8, 2015

Some people still believe that being gay is a choice.  That young men and women can choose to be heterosexual; the way God meant them to be.  When prom time rolls around, I remember all the choices I had when I was young. 

When Ed Grant asked me to our prom, I had a choice.  I could go with him to the dance, or sit home alone, while my friends went out on the most magical night of their lives.  It never occurred to me there might be a different choice.


Mar 6, 2015
Michael J. Moeller (

Strangers come up to Shelley and me and ask if we’re sisters.  Shelley has light brown hair with more curls than she’d like, and only a hint of gray.  Her nose is a little ski jump, and her skin is so dry it needs to be moisturized every night.  My straight dark hair has become more salt than pepper, my nose is what my Latin teacher called “aquiline”, and my skin exudes olive oil.  I like to think of myself as much taller than Shelley, and she thinks of me as much thinner, but we’re probably off a bit on those scores.  Our friends and family don’t tell us we look alike.

Two Ways ( in Marriage )

Feb 24, 2015
Dominique Cappronnier /

    Every morning when I go to open my laptop my husband has not hidden the fact that he was there the night before. He goes to sleep two hours after me and often spends the time surfing the web. What I am confronted with first thing in the morning - even before breakfast, even before coffee, even before orange juice -  is not a porno site, not a TED talk, not the credits of the movie he had watched but complicated graphs accompanied by impossible to understand  articles usually on some kind of damage that is being done to the planet.

In the Grieving

Jan 30, 2015
dirtboy /

The other day while driving down to Vineyard Haven I tuned into one of my favorite NPR radio talk shows. The topic was grief, grieving and comeback. The guests were a renowned Rabbi and a therapist who specializes in loss. The host’s wife had died two months ago and when he describes his marriage, it’s story book. He asks us - the listeners - to call in and share our experiences but most of all he’s looking for a road map to heal. He wants advice to help him negotiate his pain.

I’m an expert on grief. I’ll call in, I think.

On New Year's Day

Jan 1, 2015
H.H. Bennett

I used to see every January first as the day the newest year’s model of ME would appear in the showroom. I think we all tend to do that to a greater or lesser extent -- it’s how we motivate ourselves to make New Year’s Resolutions. One year I debuted non-smoking Norbert, then it was exercising-every-day Norbert, then losing-50-pounds Norbert.

A Christmas Note ~ Faded, Worn, and Irreplaceable

Dec 25, 2014

The holidays can be rife with stress about gift giving and endless lists. Dr. Natalie Mariano writes to us about her Christmas shopping list. It's a short one.

I have a three-by-five scrap of yellowing lined paper sitting in my wallet. It’s been folded so many times it’s ready to fall apart. On it, my father’s shirt and pants sizes are listed in my mother’s handwriting. “16-inch neck, 33-inch sleeve, 36 waist.” Though my parents have been gone for years, I can’t give up this piece of my Christmas shopping history.

Utopia... the Vineyard in January

Dec 3, 2014

I think I’m partially responsible for the winter population explosion here. And this is my formal apology.

Over the years when people have asked in that incredulous voice, well I mean how are the winters out there? Isn’t it freezing? You get away for a few months, right?

Listening to Your Intuition

Sep 1, 2014

Remember when how you FELT was the biggest part of you? When you had a feeling and no matter what your mind said you trusted your gut more? My grandmother left Germany in 1931 on such a feeling. It s not going to be good for jews here anymore, she said . And she sent her husband to America and then a year later when he had found a job she joined him with her two children; my mother and my uncle.

The Wedding Dress

Aug 31, 2014


When we made plans to elope, we didn’t think much about what we would wear.  Shelley wanted to wear overalls.  She’s always planned to be buried in them, so why not get married in them.   

What the Mind Forgets

Aug 19, 2014

Mom woke from a nap and asked Rhiannon and me, “Have you seen Rico?”

My daughter and I had never heard of him but mom is 92 and her mind has become like a kaleidoscope of the last nine decades, randomly clicking memories into focus that become her current reality.

“No, I haven’t seen him, who is he?”

“He was my old boyfriend. He was here earlier. I think he’s upstairs now with Savannah. I think she stole him from me.”

A Doctor Disposal

Aug 12, 2014

 I came home from work on a Monday night in September and pulled the car into my usual parking spot.  The headlights lit up a blue dumpster that had been delivered earlier that day, announcing the start of our renovations.  On the front of the dumpster was a white sign that read:  “Doctor Disposal”, in big blue letters.  The T was replaced by a caduceus, the outline of a staff with 2 serpents that symbolizes the medical profession.  The sign sent a chill down my spine.

Do Drop In...

Aug 11, 2014


I grew up in New York City, there was no such thing as “stopping by for an unexpected visit.” There is no “stopping by” in New York, period. If you’ve decided to pay someone a visit, you have committed to much more than that. You have committed to walking down a New York City street, to going underground for a subway ride, to having a conversation with a doorman, and to riding the elevator with strangers.

Staying Focused in Summer

Aug 6, 2014
Dan Tritle

Summer is packed with a million things to see and taste and do - not exactly a recipe for a crisp or calm presence of mind. Nancy Slonim Aronie writes to us from Martha's Vineyard  about her own struggle to stay focused. Nancy teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop, and is the author of Writing from the Heart.

The essay was edited by Viki Merrick of Atlantic Public Media and recorded by Jimmy Parr at Parr Audio in Oak Bluffs.

The Story of the Rings

Feb 14, 2014

Years ago, in the days before the words gay and marriage were ever joined together, the best a same sex couple could do was to have a commitment ceremony and wear matching rings.  Shelley and I have never been ones for ceremony, but over the years, we occasionally did think about rings.  In the end, I was always afraid someone would ask me about my presumed husband, and neither of us felt comfortable in jewelry stores, so our fingers remained bare.  

Just Dancing Birds

Jan 4, 2014
Vern Laux

The end and the beginning of every year inspire us to make resolutions -  or -  at the very least, reflect on the way we move through the world.

Nancy Slonim Aronie teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop and is the author of Writing from the Heart.

Gratitude in the Air

Dec 1, 2013
Sara Piazza

Is it better to give than to receive?  Commentator Nancy Slonim Aronie of Chilmark has found that it's often a tie. Nancy teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop and is the author of Writing from the Heart.