VOLUME 20, No. 2                                                        NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Who Was That Andaman Islander I Saw You With Last Night? 

    Twenty-seven Garridebs arrived at Hastings-on-Hudson Library on November 23 eager to discuss the conclusion of The Sign of the Four. Following the welcome, we took care of some old business by handing out the 2019 Robert N. Brodie Award for best toast to Paul (and Sheya) Astle and the quiz certificate for “The Crooked Man” to Sabina Hollis. Neither had been able to attend the July luncheon, so we were happy to be able to present them with their awards.
    The first toast was given by Al Gregory. In toasting Sherlock Holmes, Al noted that Sherlock is the originator of the steel thread of friendship that binds us all together. Fran Schulz was unable to attend, so Will Walsh read her toast to Dr. Watson. Fran explained that Watson could appreciate a woman in every way—as long as her name was Mary.
    Bob Ludemann offered a toast to “The Three Garridebs,” and in particular Nathan Garrideb, asking, “What’s in a name?”
    There were two toasts to The Sign of the Four. Ira Matetsky offered the first, giving a brief history of the novel and pointing out that a story published in 1890 is still bringing so many of us together today. Len Poggiali’s toast to the meeting’s tale got to the heart of one of the biggest mysteries we’ve considered: How many the’s do we need? But whether we read The Sign of the Four or The Sign of Four, we can enjoy the adventure regardless of its title.
    In the quiz, Margaret Fleesak showed she clearly knows the story well, following up her second-place finish last meeting with the top score this time. Lynn Walker and Sabina Hollis tied for second, followed by Ira.
    Lynn then presented a paper about the jezail rifle and the bullet that hit Watson in the . . . well, somewhere. Paul Astle had us reevaluate poor, misunderstood Inspector Lestrade. Despite common perception, Lestrade was not a bumbling incompetent. Indeed, Sherlock actually offers him what—from Sherlock—is high praise. And there is also a clear friendship between the two men.
    Becca Reynolds took us on a photographic tour of her visit to the Agra fort and the Taj Mahal, while Len presented the second part of his examination of The Sign of the Four. Ben Vizoskie mapped out the chase along the Thames to help us visualize the action.
    Accepting a challenge given at a previous meeting, Greg Darak watched the infamous Jeremy Brett films The Last Vampyre and The Eligible Bachelor to see which was really worse. To save the curious from subjecting themselves to the same ordeal, Greg gave a synopsis of each film. Although both had so many points in their (dis)favor, Greg concluded that The Eligible Bachelor claimed the title. 
    Kicking off the short reviews and presentations section of the meeting, Michael Bush strongly recommended the latest Nicholas Meyer pastiche, The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols. Ira read two poems, “The Inner Room” by Arthur Conan Doyle and “The Old Tin Box” by Jay Finley Christ. Terry and Linda Hunt discussed their new book, “Aboriginals”: The Earliest Baker Street Irregulars, 1934-1940. (Signed copies were available for purchase during the break.) Bob Ludemann rounded out that portion of the meeting by reading Christopher Morley’s “Sonnet on Baker Street.”
    Al Gregory’s contribution to Show-and-Tell was some original framed pages of The Sign of the Four from Lippincott’s. Paul brought in lead figurines of Holmes and Watson, while Troy had a 3-D puzzle of Snoopy as Sherlock. Warren Randall found a period Sherlockian illustration that he was not familiar with.
The Hunts had several treasures to share. Terry showed us a walking stick with an engraved band commemorating his BSI investiture, while Linda had a brooch containing all the jewels and precious stones mentioned in the Canon. They also had an original copy of Frank Morley’s Sherlock Holmes crossword in The Saturday Review of Literature.
With so much happening in the first part of the meeting, we needed to shorten our refreshment break so that we would have enough time for a discussion of the book. Margaret had prepared several thought-provoking questions to spur the discussion, and the group did not disappoint in their participation. Long before we ran out of things to talk about, it was time to close the meeting with announcements and “A Long Evening With Holmes.”

A Carbuncle Carol

    Moriarty was dead: to begin with. But that’s not why 30 Garridebs and guests gathered at J.C. Fogarty’s in Bronxville on December 29. No, we were there to celebrate another triumph of Mr. Sherlock Holmes— “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”
    Following the preliminary mingling and cash bar, Troy Reynolds kicked off the program by welcoming everyone. A special greeting was given to first-time guests Cheryl Hayden, Jacqueline Egan, and Norma Vavolizza. Troy then shared a holiday card that former Garridebs officer Jeanne Nolan sent the scion. As is customary at the luncheons, we asked everyone to sign cards for several friends who were unable to attend. Troy then highlighted the raffle prizes, a 50-pence coin with Sherlock’s silhouette and a 221B Baker Street keychain and key, both donated by Tony and Lorraine Czarnecki, and a copy of More Leaves From the Copper Beeches, donated by the Sons of the Copper Beeches (and hand-delivered by Bob Katz).
    After the salad was served, Becca Reynolds gave the first toast, to Queen Victoria. The toast was accentuated by a picture of Her Royal Highness, given to the Garridebs several years ago by Tom and Olga Hurley. Sue Vizoskie gave the next toast, to “The Three Garridebs”—the story, not the scion. With the tale entering public domain in 2020, she asked us to celebrate “The Three Garridebs” being free at last.
    Will Walsh shared an anecdote about Watson’s Christmas shopping when toasting the good doctor, whose friendship Sherlock appreciated more than any other gift. Tony Czarnecki read from a collection of Charles Lauterbach’s works for his toast to the Holmes brothers. E. J. Wagner toasted that well-loved fowl that made this celebration possible, the goose. Although geese don’t have crops, E. J. finished with a pun that gave a clue to where the carbuncle was really found. And Warren Randall toasted the Three Garridebs—the scion, not the story.
    By then, it was time for the main course. Attendees had a choice among sirloin steak, salmon, and chicken française. When the plates were cleared, Becca introduced Greg Darak to lead us in singing some Sherlockian carols. After a few songs, dessert was served, so we took a break to enjoy the chocolate mousse cake or apple pie, depending on preference.
    After dessert, Troy read a few short selections from More Leaves From the Copper Beeches, an excerpt from an essay on “The Blue Carbuncle” and a short poem.
    We then had a special treat, a dramatic reading of the hat deduction scene from “The Blue Carbuncle.” Michael Bush acted as narrator, while Terry Hunt and Fran Schulz took on the roles of Holmes and Watson, respectively. 
    Next, Becca Reynolds gave out the door prize, a bookmark featuring William Gillette as Holmes. Norma Vavolizza had first-timer’s luck as she won the bookmark.
    We were ready for more singing, and Greg and Terry graciously led us in several more songs. Eventually, it was time to wrap things up, and Troy gave the announcements for upcoming meetings and events. Becca then led the raffle drawing. Michael Bush won the coin, Mike Abelson received the keychain, and Bob Ludemann took home the book.
    Carol Fish gave a lovely reading of “A Long Evening With Holmes” to officially conclude the luncheon.

Puzzling Problems!

    For some reason, most of the Sherlock Holmes stories in which Americans play a significant role are ones in which the characters find it difficult coming to the point without employing some sort of code or other contrivance. And while in these tales Holmes is very good at breaking the codes, he isn’t very good at looking after the innocent parties. 
    In “The Five Orange Pips,” K.K.K. clansmen threaten members of the Openshaw family by sending them pips from Florida’s finest orange crop. Apparently oranges and their pips are able to convey messages and to frighten even the most courageous of British subjects. They also help Holmes to make one of the greatest blunders of his career by sending young Openshaw alone to a watery death. 
    Anyone holding the Red Circle in the story of the same name is obliged to murder some poor soul who crossed the crime organization, also of the same name. In addition, we have a series of coded messages sent from the honest Gennaro to his wife, Emilia, via a London newspaper. Holmes breaks this code, and the good folks in this story survive, no thanks to Holmes but rather to Gennaro’s skill with a knife. 
    The Valley of Fear, which spends an overabundance of its pages in an American setting, begins with a coded message from Porlock, one of Holmes’s snitches and a sometime employee of the notorious Professor Moriarty. By process of elimination, Holmes settles on Whitaker’s Almanac as the text required to solve Porlock’s cipher. Unfortunately Douglas, the hero of the Scowrers tale, like young Openshaw, ends his life in a liquid grave. 
    The hieroglyphics in “The Dancing Men” present a very difficult challenge for Holmes. Most likely they were more of a pain for the villainous Abe Slaney who had to draw all those complicated stick figures to deliver such simple messages as “Elsie, prepare to meet thy God” or “I had cornflakes for breakfast.” It’s a very good story, but Holmes’s client is killed, and his wife tries to kill herself—and I nearly went blind trying to tell the various stick figures apart.

–Len Poggiali

Puzzle Corner: Code Cracking

    In the spirit of next meeting’s story, “The Dancing Men,” one in which Holmes must break a code in order to solve the mystery, The Foolscap offers a puzzle of its own. 
    Directions: Substitute letters for those displayed to break the codes and reveal the quotations, the first from Watson and the second from Holmes, from “The Dancing Men.” (Each quote is a different code.) 





–Len Poggiali

Robert E. Thomalen

    It is with great sadness and regret that we report the death of Robert E. Thomalen on December 5, 2019, at the age of 85.  
    Bob was a very early member of The Three Garridebs. According to his scion history (to be read and enjoyed on our website 3Garridebs.homestead.com), Bob first attended a Three Garridebs meeting in February 1978. He and Peter Deschamps, another new member at the same meeting, were the seventh and eighth members of our scion. Already members were Bruce Kennedy, scion head; Mike Leighton, another officer; Bob Douty; Ralph Williams; Len Gilman; and Bill Schweickert. (Theresa Thomalen, Bob’s wife, was the first female member of the Three Garridebs and was soon joined by Eleanor Schweickert and Adele Cleary.) 
    Bob founded Prescott’s Press in May 1978, writing most of the articles in the inaugural issue and beyond. He continued to edit Prescott’s Press through December 1982. (After a hiatus, Warren Randall assumed editorship in December 1988.) In 1979, Bob became an officer in the Three Garridebs and served until September 1993. During this period, Bob was the master of ceremonies at the meetings, supported by the other officers. In 1986, he was given the Three Garridebs’ Two-Shilling award. This was followed in 1997 with the scion’s Queen Victoria letter and in 1998 he earned the HA HA award for the most humorous paper of the year. 
    Bob attended his first BSI Annual Dinner in 1980 and was invested into the BSI in 1983 as “The Three Garridebs.” In 1988, Thomas Stix Jr. honored Bob with the Two-Shilling Award, the BSI’s highest award, and in 1996, Bob received the BSI’s Queen Victoria Medal.
    Bob, ably assisted by his wife, Theresa, was the creator and impresario of Autumn in Baker Street, an annual weekend conference running from 1982 to 2000 with a reprise as Springtime in Baker Street in April 2006 and a final Autumn in Baker Street in September 2007. If you were an attendee at any of these weekends, you are recalling how much fun you had.  
    We will greatly miss Bob—his sense of humor, his gregariousness, his kindness, and his friendship. For many Sherlockians, Bob was one of the earliest Sherlockians they met. His smile was welcoming as was his greeting, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He enjoyed the Sherlockian world and playing the game, and he wanted you to enjoy it too. 
    He was a mentor to many Sherlockians. He encouraged participation and ideas and new activities. He encouraged many to present poems and papers at meetings. As he listened to an idea, his eyes would twinkle, he’d smile, and then he’d say, “That sounds great. You do it.” And you would. If you knew Bob, you have your own special memories. On a personal note, Bob (and Bill Schweickert) encouraged us to expand a small picnic and tea for four into the scion activity which grew into our Annual Victorian Picnic and Tea, running for 20 years. He encouraged our idea for the Gasfitters Ball as a Saturday evening entertainment at an Autumn in Baker Street, and that activity was repeated twice more.
    And so, dear friends, it is impossible for a Garrideb to know how much of our fun and laughter and enjoyment of our Sherlockian friendships and gatherings we owe to Bob. Those who knew Bob were very lucky, and those in the scion who didn’t know him have benefited from the example set by Bob and the other early officers. 
— Sue Vizoskie

Puzzle Answers
Below is the answer key for the Sherlocku puzzle in the September Foolscap. Beneath that is the solution to this month’s code puzzle.

Code Cracking Answers—Watson: Why, Holmes, it is a child’s drawing!
Holmes: What one man can invent another can discover.

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Upcoming events on the Three Garridebs’ calendar
March 21, 2020: Hastings Library, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”
May 16, 2020: Hastings Library, “The Yellow Face”

And other notable events

March 27-28, 2020. Holmes, Doyle, and Friends, a conference sponsored by the Agra Treasures, Dayton, OH. www.agratreasurers.net/home.html

April 18, 2020. The Priory Scholars, New York, NY. prioryscholarsnyc.wordpress.com

June 12-14, 2020. A Scintillation of Scions XIII, Elkridge, MD. www.scintillation.org

July 11, 2020. The Priory Scholars, New York, NY. prioryscholarsnyc.wordpress.com

July 17-19, 2020. Sherlock Holmes and the British Empire, BSI conference, Bear Mountain Inn, NY. 

For more, see the Sherlockian Calendar. Ron Fish created and, for several years, has tended www.sherlockiancalendar.com, which lists special events (often highlighted in red) and/or meetings on the Sherlockian horizon— with contact information and/or websites.