So, our garage is a mess. I actually had everything pretty much sorted out earlier this past summer, but apparently I overloaded the shelves I’d assembled, and eventually, with a loud noise, everything fell down in a heap. I didn’t leave it that way, obviously, but one of my projects this year will be to implement a better storage method for things that are obviously heavier than I thought.
And what was this stuff? Fishing tackle boxes, cases of fishing flies, containers of baby clothes, boxes of old school papers, letters, all of my old (and generally horrible) writing, some toys, trophies, record albums, and quite a few comic books. We are not really an outdoor family; all of the yard stuff and tools fit nicely in a corner. Everything else is, essentially, memorabilia.
So. Did Sherlock Holmes have such souvenirs tucked away among the clutter of 221B? Did Dr Watson? The Turkish slipper had to come from somewhere, as did the portraits of Beecher and Gordon. Do the indexes count as memory books? Are the scrapbooks used for more than just reference? We do know that both Holmes and Watson keep records of cases stored away in boxes, tin or otherwise, and Holmes has a ring, a tie pin, a snuff box, and a certain cabinet photograph.
Sometimes I look at this stuff, and realize that, one day, it will pass on to those for whom it will have little meaning. Within one or two generations (or even before), my school themes, the ticket stubs from our honeymoon, and my husband’s astronomy notebook from his summer at Harvard (where he went instead of continuing to date me in 1985) will either be in our descendants’ garages, in a flea market somewhere, or they may have ceased to exist altogether. I know this, but still I hold on to them.
But…occasionally…some ephemera take on value apart from what they held for the people who first owned them. It dawned on me, one day, as I bought a magazine featuring Jeremy Brett for a friend’s birthday, that the only reason it was there for me to shell out five times its original value for was because someone once bought it new–and kept it. I took this lesson to heart, and guys, this is how I know that, one, day, my massive Benedict Cumberbatch magazine collection (not stored in the garage, thank you) will send someone to college.
Today’s prize is just such a piece of ephemera. It recalls one special moment in time for, I think, the seller’s mother. She attended a play on Broadway one day in 1965. Baker Street starred Fitz Weaver as Sherlock Holmes, and Peter Sallis as Dr. Watson. Inga Swenson played Irene Adler. She saw Tommy Tune as a criminal, and Christopher Walken in one of his earliest roles as one of his confederates. On the day she attended, Bert Michaels replaced Teddy Green as Wiggins. During the intermission, she could look at the Holmes memorabilia in the lobby, and perhaps buy a souvenir other than the Playbill she definitely took home with her. If she was (Heaven forbid!) bored, she could read the filler articles about theatre in India, and peruse ads for Sammy Davis Jr’s new album, “Golden Boy,” or decide she wanted to see Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof instead. Ads for higher-end cars, cigarettes, perfume, and liquor added to the glamour of the occasion.
Well, obviously, the Playbill is the prize. Unfortunately, it is not autographed, but it is complete and in good condition.
If you’d like to take your turn as Curator of the Playbill, then tell me where in the Canon one can find the following quote:
“It’s the Baker Street division of the police force,” said my companion, gravely; and as he spoke there rushed into the room half a dozen of the dirtiest and most ragged street Arabs that ever I clapped eyes on.
Just send you answer in to me via blog comment or message me on the Well-Read Sherlockian FB page! Happy 12th Night! You know what comes next!!
Day 12 Winner!
Congratulations to Gary Henderson, winner of the Holmes & Watson game. The answer was “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman,” one of the darker stories in the Canon. After reading it, you might want to go back and re-read REDH, just to cleanse the palate, so to speak.