• By Cara Godlesky•
After living on Nantucket 18 out of my 21 years of life, I am all too familiar with the narrow streets of the island, the best beach locations and the worthwhile wait of getting an ice cream cone at the Juice Bar. However, when I was young, I didn’t have a true sense of the community.
I always knew we had a tight-knit community. I grew up playing field hockey, basketball, and a little lacrosse at Nantucket High School. I saw firsthand how the community would come out and support us, whether or not they had children of their own playing in the games. I was fortunate enough to be Nantucket’s 2014 Distinguished Young Women, and again the community gave their support through a filled auditorium on the day of the show and donations to the program.
I knew the support and community was there, but young and naive, I did not recognize the beautiful community presence that most of us take for granted.
Sometimes Nantucket residents dread going to Stop & Shop for fear of they’ll see someone they know and be forced to make unwanted small talk. Or they roll their eyes at the gossip that circulates after the most recent police report was published in the paper.
But after going away to school for three years at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and coming back to the island this summer as an intern at Yesterday’s Island/Today’s Nantucket, I find myself viewing Nantucket and the community of this island in a very different way than I had before.
Part of my duties as an intern is writing about local business owners, non-profits, and interesting members of our community. I am conducting interviews with many different people and interacting with the community to shed light on all that they offer to Nantucket. When I am writing, I need to let all the positives come to the surface of that organization or person, and I have yet to find that to be a challenging task.
Growing up here, I wasn’t actively looking at all the beneficial programs and individuals on the island. I was more concerned with getting decent grades and applying to college. I was in my own world and everything else that didn’t come directly into my sphere was just secondary and tossed aside.
Now, I sit and talk to people I interview for hours at a time because I am genuinely interested in who they are and what they do. Yesterday’s Island has opened up a door for me to actively seek out the good in our community and the fascinating people who work behind the scenes to make Nantucket the place it is.
I did not realize how truly remarkable, caring, and giving this community is or how it’s the home to so many wonderful people. After interviewing so many of my island neighbors, I am seeing more clearly why so many people flock to the island in the summer or move here year-round.
Our Nantucket community is so much more than my high school self ever imagined. I used to be one of those people who wanted to get away and never come back—I wanted to escape the small-town feeling. After all, I moved 1,200 miles across the country. Now I welcome running into old classmates or coworkers in the grocery store because Nantucket’s community is one-of-a-kind. We are a unique community overflowing with incredible individuals if we just open our eyes and choose to see who is around us.
I am grateful for this opportunity to be working with Yesterday’s Island because I finally embrace the community of this island. I am blessed to have people willing to share their stories and experiences with me, get to know the individuals I interview and have them pass on their advice to me. I never thought I’d love a small town, but I love Nantucket.