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The 2004 ASH Autumn Members Meeting

Sue Vizoskie

The rainy weather did not deter 28 Adventuresses and friends from assembling for the ASH autumn meeting at Pete’s Tavern near Gramercy Park in Manhattan on Friday evening, October 15, 2004.

Evelyn Herzog, our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, called us to order and welcomed several guests: Lee Neuman, of the Tropical Deerstalkers (Miami) and Carol Russell and Roz Katz, both members of the Scowrers and Molly Maguires (San Francisco). With sadness we raised a glass to two Sherlockians who have passed beyond the Reichenbach: Gus Dallas, well known in the New York area, and Betty Pierce, a long-time Muse subscriber. Next, Evelyn welcomed our newest member, Lynn Walker, who will be known as The Head of a Private School at Walsall. This happy news was greeted with thunderous applause. “Get well” cards were signed for Francine Swift, Francine Kitts and Carol Fish—we wish each of them a speedy recovery! We all admired our song sheets and paper dolls as Ev thanked Laurie Manifold for her outstanding illustrations (see reindeer below).

After announcements, our traditional toasts were presented. Becky Robare toasted the Queen; Sue Vizoskie saluted Irene Adler; Sabina Hollis honored Sherlock Holmes; and Mickey Fromkin raised a glass to our favorite medical man, Dr. John H. Watson. In her toast to Arthur Conan Doyle, Bev Wolov revealed to us what she had learned through her experiences with sheep on Dartmoor, and, in his latest toast to unique Canonical females, Peter Blau paid homage to Holmes’ one successful female opponent, Irene Adler, and the woman Peter suggests was the “real” Irene.

Next, in toasting Canonical Friendship, M. E. Rich focused on absent friends, sharing news of distant ASH and remembering our lost ASH—bidding them farewell as they depart “from Charing Cross for the Continent, never to return.” Our programme highlighted our venue, Pete’s Tavern, from public and personal perspectives. Susan Rice informed us about O. Henry and his connections: historic, Sherlockian, and adventurous. Historically, O. Henry (William Sidney Porter) was a well known and frequent patron of Pete’s Tavern and wrote “The Gift of the Magi,” sitting (and imbibing) at a front table at Pete’s. He also wrote several pastiches, one entitled “The Adventures of Shamrock Jones.” These, perhaps, are best forgotten, but what is to be remembered is his connection to Adventuresses: his expression of the pure spirit of adventure in “The Green Door.” On a very personal note, Doré Nash reminisced about Pete’s and regaled us with memories of her schooldays and of Pete’s as a haunt she shared with classmates.

The programme continued with Lee Neuman’s presentation, “A Victorian Bedtime Toilette.” She demonstrated and offered for our inspection an array of elegant objects of adornment and personal care unique to the era.

Next, we all were amazed, delighted and transported by the debut performance of “Raincoat Theatre.” Ably assisted by Catalina Hannan and Sabina Hollis (who held the ends of the raincoat curtain), Laurie Manifold presented Holmes and Watson hand puppets. Completely made and dressed by Laurie, our charming heroes were true to character: Holmes listened intently to Catalina’s remarks at stage right, while Watson flirted shamelessly with Sabina at stage left.

Singing closed a terrific evening. Evelyn, with M.E.’s assistance, taught us two new songs, “Landlord” and “London’s Burning.” We sang our traditional four, concluding with our usual raucous and speedy rendition of “Aunt Clara.” Finally, Mickey Fromkin, composer and lyricist, treated us to a sneak preview of her new song, “ASH Was Born to Boogie,” to great applause.

As we parted company outside of Pete’s Tavern, we observed that the skies had cleared; perhaps our high spirits had pushed away the clouds.

 

 

 

 

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