The Great Hiatus lasted from 1891 to 1894. The Foolscap’s hiatus has been almost exactly as long. But like Sherlock during his own disappearance from the public eye, the Garridebs have been far from idle during that time. Those three years have seen many meetings, discussions, games, and quizzes (not to mention the untold number of groans the questions generated). It’s also been a period of change, with new officers, new activities and toasts, and a new restaurant to host our luncheons. We’ve stood on the terrace to remember old friends who have passed beyond the Reichenbach, and we’ve welcomed new friends into the scion.
For the scion’s 45th anniversary, we prepared a Foolscap Omnibus edition that covered the three missing years. Below are the details on the two most recent gatherings.
May 19, 2018, was a red-letter day for people around the world, and not only because the Garridebs were holding their May meeting that day. It was also the day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Twenty-five Garridebs gathered at the Hastings-on-Hudson library to discuss “His Last Bow” and to celebrate the royal wedding with a special tea. Troy Reynolds called the meeting to order and welcomed the attendees. Terry Hunt gave the first toast, to “The Three Garridebs,” praising Sherlock’s knowledge of American speech. In honor of the day, Charlie Blanksteen toasted Watson by noting that he was sure the good doctor was focused not only on all things Sherlockian, but also on all things “aristocrian.” He then listed many of the royal marriages that took place during Watson’s watch. Troy gave the requisite toast to Sherlock.
Apropos of this month’s story, Paul Astle toasted the fallen of the Great War, asking us to “remember those who went out to defend their homes, and those who never came home.” Sabina Hollis then earned first prize in Paul’s challenging quiz, followed by Margaret Fleesak and Charlie.
Before the papers were presented, Peter McIntyre gave a short toast to Sherlock.
Hats off to Fran Schultz for her entertaining paper on fascinators and women’s hats. With a host of actual hats and PowerPoint slides as examples, Fran addressed our burning questions about women’s headwear of yesteryear and today. She also gave us her opinions on some of the hats worn at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Charlie shared the little-known details about how Sherlock got to America to begin his infiltration of Von Bork’s network. Many historians are unaware that Holmes and Watson set sail to New York aboard the Titanic. Paul took a look at how those thoroughly untrustworthy papers that Sherlock supplied to Von Bork affected naval warfare during World War I. The German navy was surprised by the British capabilities in several engagements, which Paul attributes to the false information that Sherlock provided. In a presentation that may have been unsettling for many Sherlockians, Tony Czarnecki informed us of a hijacking taking place at 221 Baker Street. Foreign investors have been obtaining property on Baker Street, possibly for money laundering purposes. At that point, Ben shared an e-card from Fran Schulz that toasted the royal couple of the day, which served as a perfect segue to an afternoon tea to celebrate the royal wedding. We moved to the small room where tea and an assortment of delectable edibles were waiting for us. The Czarneckis had supplied Royal Blend tea, shortbread in tins marked H & M from the Buckingham Palace gift shop, and a framed photo of the couple. Becca Reynolds had baked cheese scones and double orange scones, accompanied by orange butter. Eileen Curtin also baked traditional scones, served with strawberry jam, and chocolate chip scones. Fran Schulz brought a fruit plate, petit fours, and a cake of many layers, each a different color. Sue Vizoskie baked cream cheese brownies and prepared cucumber sandwiches and chocolate-dipped strawberries. During the tea, we heard two short presentations. Eileen shared some tea experiences in China and noted that afternoon tea was first served by the Duchess of Bedford. Ben pointed out that the flag adorning the room, a quartering of the Stars and Stripes with the Union Jack, had been commissioned by Bill Schweickert. A hat contest was also held during the tea. Troy and Becca Reynolds were given the difficult task of selecting the winners. Fran Schulz received dual recognition for best feathers and most hats. Joan Abelson’s headwear was deemed the best fascinator. Peter McIntyre earned the award for tallest hat. Tony Czarnecki was recognized for best overall ensemble. Linda Hunt garnered accolades for the most lace with her hat. Jane Weart took home the prize for most stripes. Sabina Hollis had the best summer hat. Paul Astle’s headgear was judged the best to go into trench warfare with. Ben and Sue Vizoskie were praised for best duo/pair of hats. And since the judges struggled to find a suitable Sherlockian category for Margaret Fleesak’s hat, her deerstalker received the honor for purplest hat. Each of the winners was able to select a prize from a tableful of offerings. Having filled our bellies and enjoyed some pleasant conversation, the group regathered in the main room for Show-and-Tell. Charlie brought a Scottish quaich, or friendship cup. Linda donned yet another headpiece that would certainly have earned a prize in the hat contest, a snake-shaped speckled-band hat. Terry shared a ceramic mug and a picture of President Eisenhower with a copy of John Dickson Carr’s Arthur Conan Doyle biography. Margaret then led the group in an engaging discussion of the story before we wrapped up the day with announcements and “A Long Evening With Holmes.”
Despite the area’s devilish roundabouts, 27 Garridebs managed to find their way to J.C. Fogarty’s in Bronxville for the 2018 Awards Luncheon on July 22. After some time for conversation and enjoying the cash bar, Becca Reynolds asked the guests to take their seats and gave the welcome, thanking everyone for being on time so we could start a very busy schedule promptly. She greeted first-time guests to the luncheon Anna Walsh, Paul and Sheya Astle, Suzann Zullig, Frankie Sands, and Dennis Terminello. She also gave a special welcome to our guest speaker, Will Walsh.
She then asked the guests to sign cards for some friends who could not be at the event: Nancy Pond, Olga Hurley, Thom Utecht, Bob Thomalen, and Dante and Camille Torrese.
Becca also pointed out the excellent raffle prize for the day, a basket including a bust of Napoleon, a bronze replica of the Eiffel Tower, a set of brandy sniffers, and a bottle of Courvoisier, all donated by Tony and Lorraine Czarnecki. She then introduced Ben Vizoskie to present the year in review.
Ben provided an overview of the highlights of the year as well as a look to the scion’s future. He noted that we continue to be a very active group, having met 12 times since the last awards luncheon at An American Bistro in 2016. We also continue to evolve. This coming year we will again read a series of stories sharing a common theme. The theme for this year will be women in distress, beginning with “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax” in September. In addition, we are moving beyond the traditional toasts to give us more room for creativity and variety. He also noted that we remain the only scion in the area in which the floor is open for anyone to present a paper at every regular meeting. Ben wrapped up by reminding us that August marks the Garridebs’ 45th anniversary.
Will Walsh then took over the hosting duties, asking Lorraine Czarnecki to lead a responsive reading of the Musgrave Ritual. Becca read the always popular Constitution and Buy-laws.
Paul Astle gave the first toast of the day, to Watson’s First Wife—an understanding woman. However, as Paul related several episodes in Sherlock and Watson’s adventures, he received some slightly different perspectives on the Watsons’ marital harmony. (Those responses came in a voice eerily similar to Sheya’s.) Nevertheless, Paul toasted the gentle flower who understands her husband’s needs.
In a sign of the times we live in, Warren Randall presented a Twitter toast to Mycroft. Jane Weart asked us to toast the powers of imagination and Lysander Starr. Anna Walsh reminded us that “everything unknown is magnificent” as she gave a toast to Sherlock, a man always investigating the unknown.
For the suitable toast to an unsuitable Canonical character, Tony toasted Von Bork, the last criminal brought to justice by the Master. Tony read a toast from Selected Rhyming Canonical Toasts by Donald Izban.
Carol Fish gave the toast to absent friends, explaining that she has met many people at our meetings who have enriched her life. She noted that as she looked around the room, she missed the faces of many of the friends she has made. But she also pointed out that one of the wonderful things about our scion is that we are always welcoming new people, allowing her to create new memories. Bob Ludemann then gave a short toast to Bronxville, "The Bruce-Partington Plans," and Arthur Cadogan West.
After the toasts, lunch was served, and we enjoyed our choice of salmon, chicken Française, or sirloin steak. The delicious dessert options were chocolate mousse cake or apple pie.
As we dug into our desserts, Sue Vizoskie gave the first awards of the day. She presented the Jan Stauber Blue Carbuncle Rubber Goose Award for 2016 to Sara Schepis Scoggan for her poem “A Night Before Sleuthing.” She also handed out the certificates for the quiz winners for 2016/2017.
Ben then presented the remainder of the 2016/2017 awards. He announced that Paul Astle received the Georgia Amick Award for best scholarly paper for his presentation on baritsu. The Robert N. Brodie Award for best toast went to Len Poggiali for his toast to absent friends. Troy Reynolds earned the James Cleary Award for multimedia presentation for his paper examining an old postcard and actors in the play Sherlock Holmes.
Before taking a short break, we had an extra special treat, as everyone received a Three Garridebs chocolate bar with an image of the Master.
Following the break, Becca introduced the guest speaker, Will Walsh. Will’s presentation on “The Empire Held Hostage: ACD, Holmes, and the Submarine” examined Doyle’s activities at the beginning of the Great War, with particular emphasis on the submarine and its direct threat to British maritime control of the globe. A short discussion and Q&A period came after.
Troy thanked Will and then handed out the first of the 2017/2018 awards. He began with the certificates for the quiz winners for the year, then presented the Jan Stauber Blue Carbuncle Rubber Goose Award to Sue Vizoskie for her seasonal tribute to Mrs. Hudson. He also presented a letter from Queen Victoria to Lorraine and Tony Czarnecki in recognition of such things as their suggestion of and help in organizing the May tea for the royal wedding, and for their frequent donations of raffle prizes.
Becca continued handing out the year’s awards, presenting the Brodie award for best toast to Greg Darak for his toast to the architect who designed the Foreign Office building in “The Naval Treaty.” Paul’s paper on Von Bork and the thoroughly untrustworthy papers earned him the Amick award for scholarly paper. Fran Schulz took home the Cleary award for multimedia presentation for her discussion of fascinators and women’s hats. Troy received the Dr. Joseph Fink Award for humorous paper for his theory on the Mrs. Hudson/Mrs. Turner dilemma.
Will then gave one of our more prestigious awards, the William P. Schweickert Fellowship Award. The award is given to an individual exhibiting the qualities of Sherlockian fellowship and gentle(wo)manly conduct exemplified by the man in whose honor the award is named. Will had the pleasure of presenting the award to the very deserving Margaret Fleesak.
Next it was time for one of the most anticipated parts of the luncheon, the announcement of investitures. Troy was honored to present two investitures this year: Fran Schulz as “A Twinkle of Amusement” and Bob Zatz as “The Penalty of the Law.” Both seemed very pleased with the recognition.
Will then presented another of our most important awards, the Robert E. Thomalen Two-Shilling Award for “remarkable contributions to Sherlockian scholarship,” for “exhibiting those qualities so exemplified by Dr. Watson,” and for “tireless dedication to the continued well-being and growth of the Three Garridebs.” The long overdue award went to the very surprised and gracious Ben Vizoskie.
After a hearty round of congratulations to Ben, Sue thanked Ron Fish for maintaining the Three Garridebs’ website and Sherlockian calendar, and discussed upcoming meetings and events. Rich Wein gave a brief Show-and-Tell presentation, sharing some Sherlockian mugs, DVDs (featuring William Gillette), and socks. The penultimate event of the day was the raffle drawing, with Fran Schulz taking home the bottle of Courvoisier to celebrate her investiture with.
Finally, we closed the meeting as we always do. But this time, it was a very special rendition of “A Long Evening With Holmes.” Ben shared a recording of the poem recited by well-beloved former Garrideb Bill Schweickert. It was the perfect way to honor the past while looking to the future.