Thursday, July 06, 2017

June Meeting Report

Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit - meeting report for June 17, 2017

The annual spring meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit lured 44 erstwhile members and guests to the society’s unofficial home base, the Commonwealth Club, in Warren, Michigan, on June 17, 2017.

Commissionaire Chris Music called the evening meeting to order at 6:34 p.m., welcoming the crowd and introducing the society’s board and the first-time guests – and the guest who came the farthest, Mary Miller, from Indianapolis.

The traditional toasts were offered with George Vanderburgh (in absentia) saluting The Woman, Rob Musial toasting the long-suffering landlady Mrs. Hudson, Eddie Stein raising a glass to Mycroft, and Bev Ellis saluting Watson’s Second Wife.

In addition, Al Calderini toasted Basil Rathbone’s recent 150th birthday and Jerry Alvin saluted Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire of Lebanon, Pennsylvania who so bounteously provided for the Red-Headed League – and making sure that was one of the tales that was “well-read.”
Rob Musial also recited a limerick written by the late sci-fi great Isaac Asimov about the evening’s story, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.”

Which led to the evening’s main event, with a short detour for a tasty repast of ginger pork, chicken Marsala and all the usual fixings.

Next, Michael Ellis rose to the podium to offer a brief recap of the “Creeping Man” story. Since it concerned a deluded older man’s affections for a younger woman, Ellis next led the multitude through the evening’s presentation, May-December romances and how they’ve been interpreted both in the Sacred Writings and the great mass of writings that followed Watson’s tales.

In the wide-ranging presentation, Ellis touched on gold-diggers, the Fountain of Youth and such romances as seen by Hollywood and songwriters. The highlight was the playing of a recording of “Aunt Clara,” as sung by Sherlockian James Montgomery more than 60 years ago at both Baker Street Irregular meetings and those of the Amateur Mendicants. The multi-versed song concerns an “adventuress” who’s done quite well though the chorus notes that “her picture is turned to the wall,” a chorus that most in attendance were soon giddily singing.

Ellis continued his overview with a look at Laurie King’s popular Mary Russell series about a girl who is befriended by an aging Holmes in retirement. He also touched on early 20th Century spurious research into the use of monkey glands, drug use during the Third Reich and actress Emma Watson – though not in that order.

Next, commissionaire Music presented the society’s annual Beggar’s Cup award to Anne Musial for her long dedication to the current iteration of the club, from welcoming attendees and producing name tags to obtaining the prizes and running the prize raffles that highlight each meeting. In addition to many other unsung duties, Anne also suggested the Commonwealth Club as a suitable venue for the Mendicants.

Then the door prizes were drawn with James O’Keefe winning the Big Book of Holmes’ stories, Eddie Stein taking home the special Life magazine issue on Holmes and Natalie Katkowsky winning the collection of Sherlock DVDs.

As the meeting wore down, all in attendance sang the traditional “God Save the Queen” and actor John Sherwood concluded the evening with the reading of the poem “221 B” and the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Addendum: The next meeting of the Mendicants will be Sunday Oct. 1 at Station 855 in Plymouth, MI and the speaker will be George Vanderburgh.

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