“S” Stands for Spring, Squires, Squares
On May 16, twenty-three Garridebs met in the Hastings-on-Hudson library for our spring meeting to discuss “The Rei-gate Squires.” This was only our second gathering in the newly renovated meeting space, but the surroundings were not the on-ly thing that may have seemed unfamiliar to some. Ben Vizos-kie kicked off the meeting by welcoming a few new old faces. Ira Matetsky and Paul and Eileen Hartnett were attending their first meeting at the library, Tiffany Knight had attended one meeting at the library a while ago, and Tim Lamorte was back after a long absence. Ira Eliasoph gave the first toast, a belated offering to the Magnificent Mycroft. He had planned to present it at the previ-ous meeting but was unable to attend. Ben made the remaining traditional toasts: to Lysander, that elusive mayor; to Watson’s first wife, whoever she was; and to Sherlock—what can one say about Sherlock? He is the Master. Ben then gave one additional toast, noting that while there were some unhappy marriages in the Canon, there were also many very happy ones. He asked us to raise our glasses and wish a happy marriage to an extra-Canonical couple, Eileen (Reebe) and Paul Hartnett, who missed our March meeting because they were on their honeymoon. Taking care of some unfinished business from last summer’s Awards Luncheon, Ben then announced a new investiture: Frank Ferry—” Dr. Lysander Starr.” With Quizmaster Will Walsh MIA, Sue Vizoskie took over the duty of presenting the quiz. While most of the quiz focused on “The Reigate Squires”—or “The Reigate Puzzle” depending on your edition-—Will added a challenging final section: R.S. or R.P.? Each of the answers to the final five questions had the ini-tials R.S. or R.P., and the questions came from throughout the Canon. Frank earned top honors, followed by Troy Reynolds, with Sabina Hollis and Margaret Fleesak tied for third. Following the quiz, Ira Eliasoph shared a book of photo-graphs of the Himalayas that a friend had given him. Only a few weeks before the meeting, Nepal had suffered a massive earth-quake. Many of the locations pictured in the book—locations a certain Sigerson may even have visited—were affected by the disaster. Frank discussed various aspects of “The Reigate Squires” that struck him. Holmes fakes a fainting spell and later tells Wat-son that he “was sorry to cause you the sympathetic pain which I know that you felt.” But was he really all that sorry? He did this type of thing again and again, even to the point of leading Watson to believe that he was dead for a few years. Frank also talked about the handwriting analysis in the story. While the practice was popular and widely believed in at the time, it has since been la-beled a pseudo-science. That led to much discussion among the group about handwriting and its analysis. Ira Matetsky planned to share seven observations from the story, but since three had already been covered, he focused on the remaining four. * Sherlock is not good at vacationing. * Watson states that Holmes and Colonel Hayter “had much in common.” What in the world could these two men have in common? * Holmes’s relationship with the local constabulary is clear-ly different from that with Scotland Yard. * What legal claim does Acton have on Cunningham’s estate? Len Poggiali’s paper examined the first sentences in the stories. He noted that while some are memorable, others are quite forgettable. He gave us several examples, some of which were in-stantly recognizable (To Sherlock Holmes, she was always the woman.), and others…well, not so much. Len pointed out that just as Holmes has similarities to Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin, some of the first sentences evoke Poe’s writ-ing—if they are not as horrific, they are at least as dramatic. For example, consider the opening to “The Final Problem”: It is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen to write these the last words in which I shall ever record the singular gifts by which my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes was distinguished. Delving even further, Len informed us that the average length of the first sentences is thirty words, although “The Speckled Band” comes in at a hefty seventy-eight. He also provided an analysis of the words used in the sentences and their frequency. But, he concluded, in the end, the most important thing is that we have sixty first sentences to introduce the stories we all love. Greg Darak alerted us to a puzzling exchange between Watson and Mrs. Hudson in The Sign of the Four. When Mrs. Hudson expresses concern over Holmes’s behavior, Watson replies: “I don’t think that you have any cause to be uneasy, Mrs. Hudson. I have seen him like this before.” But why is this behavior disturbing to the dedicated landlady? As anyone familiar with the stories is aware, Holmes is far more than an anonymous tenant to her, and he had been living at Baker Street for seven years at this point. She should be familiar with his habits by now. But not, Greg postulated, if Mrs. Hudson were not the original landlady. Suppose, instead, that she had only recently taken over the role. He then persuasively argued that a close reading of the Canon sup-ports this theory. For example, the landlady’s name was never mentioned in A Study in Scarlet. And the name of the landlady in “A Scandal in Bohemia” is Mrs. Turner, indicating that Mrs. Hud-son was not Holmes’s only landlady during his residency at Baker Street. But even if this is true, to Holmes, Mrs. Hudson was al-ways the landlady. During the break we enjoyed the regular refreshments, as well as a special treat: Sherlockian cookies prepared by Rebecca Reynolds. The cookies were in the shapes of a profile of the Master’s head and a magnifying glass. When we returned (or were herded, whichever the case may be) to our seats, we played a game called “Reigate Squares.” Similar to the classic Hollywood Squares, the panelists provided answers to Sherlockian questions, and the “contestants” had to determine whether the answers were correct or not. We played two entertaining and often humorous rounds, and one thing is clear: Garridebs certainly know their Canon. Next came Show-and-Tell. Margaret brought two small stuffed toy mice figures dressed as Holmes and Watson. Roman Chomanczuk exhibited a Holmes statue with interchangeable Rathbone and Brett heads. He also had a Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defense book. Troy shared the cookie cutters Rebecca had used and two pieces of Sherlockian news. First, the Altoona Curve, a Pittsburgh Pirates minor league team, was having a bobble head promotion with the pitcher Tony Watson dressed as Holmes. Second, the White House is sponsoring an initiative to provide free e-books to children from low-income families, and one of the books on the list is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The theme suggested for this meeting’s Show-and-Tell was “your favorite Sherlockian T-shirt,” and Ben shared a few of his. Other Garridebs then took turns showing off the shirts they had worn or brought, and there was quite a variety. Frank finished up Show-and-Tell with a keychain from the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Then it was Watson Time, a new segment introduced at the March gathering. During Watson Time, we share favorite passages from the meeting’s story. Among those selected by various Garridebs this month were: * A little diplomacy was needed, but when Holmes under-stood that the establishment was a bachelor one, and that he would be allowed the fullest freedom, he fell in with my . . . * Hayter was a fine old soldier who had seen much of the world, and he soon found, as I had expected, that Holmes and he had much in common. * My poor friend’s face had suddenly assumed the most dreadful expression. His eyes rolled upwards, his features writhed in agony, and with a suppressed groan he dropped on his face up-on the ground. Horrified at the suddenness and severity of the at-tack, we carried him into the kitchen, where he lay back in a large chair, and breathed heavily for some minutes. (Selected for the “evocative description.”) * “It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital.” Others, including Bob Zatz, pointed to the general portrayal of Holmes’s abilities as an actor and illusionist and to the odd volume of Pope’s “Homer” that was taken. Having somehow been skipped over during Show-and-Tell, Rich Wein then presented a photo of his son and granddaughter dressed as Holmes and Watson, while Cynthia Wein showcased some of her favorite hand-painted Sherlockian shirts. There were many announcements at meeting’s end, as the next year looks to be full of Sherlockian events. So check your calendars and plan your schedules. Finally, before heading to Maud’s for dinner or to other evening activities, we finished with—what else?—a recitation of “A Long Evening With Holmes.”
Contacts for The Three Garridebs
Jeanne Nolan (Nathan Garrideb) 184 Edgewood Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570 (914) 769-6819
Dante Torrese (John Garrideb) 11 Chestnut Street, Ardsley, NY 10502
Sue and Ben Vizoskie (Howard and Alexander Hamilton Garrideb) 90 Ralph Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606 (914) 948-1376
Puzzle Page Answers
In the last edition of the Foolscap Document, we presented another Sherlockian puzzle. We took 11 story titles, replaced a word or phrase in each with one from a different story, and asked you to identify the new titles from the clues provided. Here are the answers (as if you needed them).
1. I guess hitchhiking was out of the question for him.
The Man With the Twisted Thumb
2. Not who you’d want when negotiating an international deal.
The Crooked Interpreter
3. The low-end version for the visually and financially impaired.
The Adventure of the Copper Pince-Nez
4. The titular individual in this case must have had amazing coor-dination.
The Adventure of the Dancing Cyclist
5. Might have chipped some teeth on Nathan’s fossils.
The Hound of the Garridebs
6. An ironic description, when you think about it.
The Adventure of the Blanched Colourman
7. Holmes to Hudson.
The Resident Detective
8. The smiley one.
The Adventure of the Yellow Circle
9. Scowrers in Herefordshire.
The Boscombe Valley of Fear
10. A dark lantern’s light source?
11. Aka a visit to the Container Store.
The Adventure of the Empty Box
A Local Advertisement
Upcoming events on The Three Garridebs’ calendar.
July 26, 2015. Annual Awards Luncheon. An American Bistro
September 19, 2015. “The Twisted Lip.” Hastings Library.
November 21, 2015. Story TBD. Hastings Library.
December 27, 2015. Blue Carbuncle Luncheon. An American Bistro.
February 6, 2016. “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Hastings Library.
March 19, 2016. Film Event. Hastings Library.
May 21, 2016. “The Solitary Cyclist.” Hastings Library.
A list of some area scions' contacts.
Montague Street Lodgers of Brooklyn. Peter Crupe, 1533 64th St., Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 259-1170, email@example.com. Long Island Cave Dwellers. Warren Randall, 15 Fawn Lane West, South Setauket, NY 11720-1346. (631) 476-1387, firstname.lastname@example.org. Bethpage Library. Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes. Peter McIntyre, 3 Poet Dr., Matawan, NJ 07747 (732) 765-1240, email@example.com. Meets in Chatham, NJ.
Informal gathering for dinner and fellowship. First Wednesday of each month at a restaurant in Manhattan.
....and from our agent in Birmingham ...
Sherlockian societies & contacts - a little farther afield.
The Red-Headed League of Jersey. Steve & Linda Morris. RHLeagueNJ@aol.com (732) 356-9560 Meets in Bound Brook, NJ. Mycroft Holmes Society of Syracuse. Carol Cavalluzzi or Joe Coppola, 103 Kenny Drive, Fayetteville, NY 13066. firstname.lastname@example.org Men on the Tor. Meets in Connecticut. Greg Darak, 20 Spinning Wheel Road, Trumbull, CT 06611 (203) 452-8232. email@example.com Mycroft’s League. Meets in Philadelphia. . Frank Ferry, 885 Marian Road, Woodbury, NJ 08096-3136. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Fish created and, for several years, has tended www.sherlockiancalendar.com (note the new shorter URL) which lists special events (often highlighted in red) and/or meetings on the Sherlockian horizon— with contact information and/or websites. A recent glance at the calendar showed that meetings were posted for 18 states and the District of Columbia—as well as three other countries.
Some Special Events listed on the calendar are:
August 1-2, 2015. Silver Blaze Race at Saratoga Springs, NY.
October 8-11. Bouchercon XLVI. Raleigh, NC.
January 13-17, 2016. Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend. NYC.
April 15-16. Holmes, Doyle, and Friends Three. Dayton, OH.
June 17-19, 2016. Conference. Minneapolis, MN.
September 16-18. Conference, Chautauqua, NY.
Check the calendar for details and contacts.