Monday, May 01, 2023

Spring Meeting Report

 The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit kicked off its spring meeting at the Commonwealth Club in Warren at 6:15 p.m. on April 22, 2023.

AMS Gasogene John Kramb welcomed the evening’s 44 members and guests by noting it is the society’s 77th year. He then introduced the members of the board and the planning committee, adding that members Michael Ellis and Rob Musial weren’t able to attend due to prior commitments.

Kramb then welcomed new members Charlotte and Bob Wilks from Mason, MI who had braved freeway construction and driven three hours to attend. They were members of the scion, the Greek Interpreters of East Lansing. Since the Greeks appear to be on hiatus, they found the Mendicants through an internet search and decided to attend.

The Gasogene then asked for a moment of remembrance, reprising the Holmesian quote, “Let Us Stand on the Terrace,” to recognize longtime Mendicant Bobbi Gorevitz who had recently passed away. He also welcomed Bobbi’s daughter, Andrea Stierna, husband Alex and grandson Ethan who attended the meeting as guests in honor of their mom and grandmother.  

Also noted were the Baker Street Irregulars present this evening, who included Roy Pilot, Regina Stinson, and Christopher Music.  

Dispensing with the last bit of club business, he added that the society no longer collects dues but that contributions and donations would be welcomed.  

As dinner was readied, the traditional Sherlockian Toasts were offered by the following: to The Woman (by Patience Nauta), to Mrs. Hudson (by David MacGregor), to Mycroft Holmes (by Al Calderini), to Watson’s Second Wife (by Beverly Sobolewski) and a second toast to The Woman (by Bob Wilks).

Dinner commenced at 6:35 p.m. which included herbed chicken breast, roast sirloin, potatoes, pasta, vegetables, a salad, rolls and dessert. 

The assigned story for the evening was “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which Holmes and Watson meet the King of Bohemia and soon find themselves bested by a beautiful and talented woman.  Instead of having talking points on the story, a poem that summarized the story was read by AMS members.  

The poem, titled “I Can’t Endorse This Czech,” was written by Mendicant founder Russell McLauchlin. It was read by Chris Music, Christine Jeryan, Christine DelGreco, David MacGregor (using his best Scottish accent) and John Kramb. 

Next, Christine Jeryan read a short paper prepared by Rob Musial titled “A Look Behind the ‘Scandal in Bohemia’”. The paper was well received by the membership when it was revealed that a descendant of the Count von Kramm may be active in the Amateur Mendicant Society.

“A Brief History of the Early Baker Street Irregulars” was prepared and presented by Christopher Music.  The focus was on four prominent early Sherlockians (Vincent Starrett, Christopher Morley, Edgar W. Smith, and Russell McLauchlin) that helped establish the Baker Street Irregulars and other scions, including the AMS.  

Also, former Gasogene Roy Pilot brought a few rare books from his vast collection of 1,000-plus Sherlockian volumes.  The collection was started 50 years ago and the books he shared with the audience were either signed by the author or were extremely rare.  Roy is known for annotating the Conan Doyle novel, “The Lost World.”  

For the meeting, Natalie Katkowski donated a lovely piece of Sherlockian art.  A lively auction ensued, and the winning bid was won by David MacGregor. The proceeds were then donated to the AMS treasury.

As the evening wore down, the traditional drawing for door prizes was held. They were won by James O’Keefe, Kate Gilbert, Bob Wilks and Don Sobolewski. 

A fall meeting of the Mendicants is being planned.  

As the meeting drew to a close, all in attendance sang “God Save the Queen,” Christine Jeryan read the Vincent Starrett poem, “221B” and the meeting was adjourned at 9:03 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,

Christine DelGreco & Rob Musial