Having lived in New England for most of my life, I’ve developed an affinity for lighthouses. Whether it’s the Portland Head Light in Maine, the Boston Harbor lighthouses, the five lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard: (East Chop, West Chop, Gay Head, Edgartown, and Cape Poge), or the hundreds of others that dot the eastern seaboard . . . it matters not.
For, even at the tender age of 62 — though still young at heart — I find these timeless structures not only fascinating, but also fraught with stories that are limited only by one’s imagination. If lighthouses could talk, can you imagine what they might reveal?
What is it about a lighthouse that beckons us to it?
A rhetorical question, you say? Perhaps. But, is it not possible that the attraction lies in not knowing?
I happened upon an interesting article about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers . . . check it out.
What was supposed to have been a book for family members and friends has, to my surprise, become much more than I had anticipated. At this time, I’d like to thank everyone who had supported me in this endeavor. The words of encouragement that I’ve received throughout this incredible journey—some of which were from people I’ve never met—is humbling, and I am truly grateful.
I had often wondered where my ability to write The Vineyard We Knew had come from, for, I had never formally studied the Literary Arts while at college. Then, it occurred to me that it must have been a genetic gift from my paternal grandmother.
A little history, if I may:
Back in the 1920s, my paternal grandmother, Marion Parham, used to teach African American children who lived in West Medford, Massachusetts, how to read and write. Though not a teacher by profession, Marion was an avid reader with highly developed literary skills, and, as a matter of routine, she would teach children in the living room of her home (the same home where I had spent my childhood).
One day, Marion decided to enter a writing contest sponsored by The Boston Globe. She was both surprised and elated after having learned that she had won first prize. However, when representatives from the newspaper had gone to her home to award the $100 prize, (a good chunk of change back then) not only was she denied the award because she was a black woman, but, to add insult to injury, they had thought it impossible for her to have written the winning entry.
Prior to writing The Vineyard We Knew—A Recollection of Summers on Martha’s Vineyard, I had no idea that I possessed the ability to write. And, though I had never met my paternal grandmother (she had passed away six years before I was born), my mother used to tell me what a wonderful and giving woman she was. I have Marion Parham to thank for my literary acumen.
After having spent most of my professional life in the music industry, and, recognizing the similarities (and pitfalls) inherent in the music business and in book publishing, I had decided to not only write a book, but also to create a vehicle by which I could publish my books. That is when I had established Pria Publishing.
Instead of relinquishing all content and creative rights to a major book publisher, small press, self-publishing company, independent or vanity press (all of whom will gladly take your money and offer little in return for what you can now do yourself) I had decided to assemble a team of experts (editors, cover designer, interior book designer, book manufacturer, distributors, publicity & promotional staff, etc.) and managed each facet of the production process. The amount of work that was required for this task seemed insurmountable at times, but, it was well worth it!
My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who helped to launch The Vineyard We Knew. Because of you, we’ve gotten off to a great start!
And, we’ve only just begun. . .
This book was inspired by my mother, my maternal grandmother, and our family’s experiences on Martha’s Vineyard. And, as mentioned in the book, there’s a memorial bench (pictured below) dedicated to my mother and grandmother that sits on the grounds of the Oak Bluffs Library—on the exact spot where my grandmother’s house once stood.
With gratitude, I thank all of you—
The Vineyard We Knew: A Recollection of Summers on Martha’s Vineyard
Supported by 33 photographs, Parham, a professional musician, warmly describes the idyllic African-American childhood summers spent with six cousins on Martha’s Vineyard, before it became a vacation spot for the rich and powerful. The memoir is a tribute to Parham’s grandmother, Carrie White, the family’s strong-willed matriarch, who had brought her brood to the picturesque island off Massachusetts since the 1930s, setting up seasonal residence in an old two-bedroom house. Parham details the spirited interaction between his cousins while painting a candid portrait of his hard-working mother and ultra-hip stepfather. His lyrical descriptions of the Vineyard—with its bicycling, boats, fishing, clamming, and crabbing—and anecdotes of youthful exuberance are peppered with classic tunes, dancing, early love, cheap wine, and house parties. (BookLife)
The Vineyard We Knew—A Recollection of Summers on Martha’s Vineyard
is Now Available!
Martha’s Vineyard Isn’t Just for the Rich and Famous. . .
(Boston, MA) When one thinks of Martha’s Vineyard, what often comes to mind are images of movie stars, politicians, and power-brokers—all living the leisurely life of ostentatious opulence.
However, long before Ted Kennedy drove his car off Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick in 1969, and the tourist explosion of the 1980s, this once-remote Island was where a scant number of working-class families escaped the drudgery of everyday life.
The Vineyard We Knew will take you on a memorable trip back in time. It’s a candid, yet engaging story about summers on Martha’s Vineyard during the turbulent 1960s as seen through the eyes of a young boy, his siblings, and cousins who navigate the challenges of a humble existence while under the aegis of their strict grandmother.
This book is for those who know and love the island of Martha’s Vineyard, as well as anyone with fond memories of their youthful summers.
Nikki Giovanni—acclaimed poet, author, and educator, praised The Vineyard We Knew as “A totally wonderful look at a community that has been much too silent about its contribution and possibilities.”
Author Thomas Dresser stated: “These passionate memoirs, written in a fluid style, capture the appeal of the Vineyard.”
Kevin Parham is an author and professional musician who spent every summer as a child on Martha’s Vineyard. As a result, he knows the island as well as can anyone not born and raised there.
Pre-publication copies of “The Vineyard We Knew” are available at: www.priapublishing.com
The Vineyard We Knew by Kevin Parham – First edition (5.25 X 8) 318 pages, 33 illustrations ISBN: 978-0-98494-850-5
Hello Everyone –
I sometimes think of how fortunate we are to have this forum as a means of communicating with one another. It’s inspiring to see the admiration that many of us have for the island of Martha’s Vineyard—it’s truly a special place.
I’ve been visiting the Vineyard almost every summer for over fifty years, and, as a result, I have a lifetime of memories from my experiences there—some of which I’ve documented in my new book:
‘The Vineyard We Knew—A Recollection of Summers on Martha’s Vineyard’
It’s an engaging story about the time I had spent on the Vineyard as a young boy during the 1960s.
Pre-publication copies of the book will be available beginning May 6, 2014 at: http://www.priapublishing.com.
The Official Publication Date for the book is July 19, 2014. We’ll be kicking off a campaign to launch the book soon, and we’d love to have you join us!
For more information about this exciting event, please visit:
There, you can sign up to receive updates and other announcements.
Thanks to you all!