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Report on the 2002 Autumn Dinner

by Marilynne McKay

The Autumn Members Meeting of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes was held on Friday, November 8, 2002 at Moran's Alehouse in the Battery district of Manhattan. I was reminded by at least two members that my first ASH dinner was at this very venue, lo these many years ago (over 10, anyway.) As far as I could tell, none of us had changed a bit!

Evelyn Herzog, our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, opened the festivities with “Ladies and Peter [Blau]," and we were off. Announcements included the unveiling of the ASH website (with gratifying cheers for the webmistress, yours truly). There was more in store for me as well as sister Adventuress Susan Rice as Evy shared with the world at large our major accomplishment at reaching yet another Significant Decade. (It's surprisingly easy... you just look up one day and there you are. May you all share it -- and many more -- with us!)

The programme consisted of a light-hearted series of Canonical Toasts and mini-papers on all the usual suspects and some unusual ones, too. As always, Mickey Fromkin led with the traditional toast to the Queen. Next was Marina Stajic, who managed to work Aunt Clara and ASH William Baring-Gould's outrageous insinuations regarding a certain famous Montenegran into her toast to Irene Adler. Lynn Walker recalled the best qualities of Victorian individualism as she did the honors for the Great Detective.

Trish Pearlman's hilarious toast set off a capella responses from the assembly as she reported consumer research from women on three continents regarding "Dr. John H. (or James) Watson." Jan Stauber reminded us of the many other facets of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as she toasted his contributions to (among others) spiritualism, divorce law reform, and skiing in Switzerland. Peter Blau then entertained us with a discussion of St. George's Chapels he has known (along with a list of monarchs he has not known) as he toasted her majesty, Queen Victoria.

The next group of toasts commemorated stories first published one hundred years ago. Maribeau Briggs (right) invoked 3GAR as she enlisted the willing help of Elyse Locurto (in the role of "Miss Direction", left) to demonstrate the ingenious talent of "Prescott's Press." Kate Karlson chose to memorialize ILLU by toasting neither Violet de Merville or Kitty Winter, but Baron Gruner, who exemplified the vile hobby of "collecting." (Kate's observations caused some ASH present to squirm in recognition.) The hero of BLAN (Sir James Saunders, of course) was celebrated by another great dermatologist, Marilynne McKay, who offered rhyming tips on skin care.

Other highlights included Susan Rice’s thoughts on the occasion of the 161st anniversary of the birth of King Edward VII -- Susan's examples reinforced her proposal that Prince Albert's practical jokes made him deserve his contemporary reputation. Laurie Fraser Manifold pulled out all the stops by distributing a Kitty Winter paper doll with eight (8) outfits and a bibliography! She then went on to present (with Sue Vizoskie) a series of amusing limericks on various canonical characters.

The evening concluded with the traditional songs: Reindeer, Uffan Carol, Ashenpoof, and (thanks to songleader ME Rich) the world’s fastest rendition of Aunt Clara.

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