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Sherlocking in Southern California
I had a Sherlockian first happen to me this week. I experienced a Sherlockian overload. I had so many choices of Sherlocking that I actually could not fit everything into a workable schedule. I flew into LAX on Tuesday and headed north to Pasadena. My work scheduled me to be at Glendale Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, stay over the weekend, and be at Alhambra Hospital on Monday. This meant I had a free, all expense- paid weekend in Southern California. I called my West Coast pals, Jerry Kegley, and Chuck Kovacic and arranged meetings. I also notified Leslie Klinger who happened to be teaching his class on Sherlock Holmes at UCLA on Saturday.
On Wednesday, I met my sales representative for coffee before we went into the hospital. Unexpectedly, he asked me if I knew about William Gillette. I said I did and that I had been to his castle in Connecticut. He told me his wife was in a play at The Sunshine Brook Theatre in Oceanside. Ken Ludwig wrote Postmortem that runs weekends through February 14. The play is about a murder in the Gillette Castle and Gillette tries to emulate the character he portrayed on stage for more than 30 years. Eventually this became the odd-Sherlockian event out. I worked on an article Wednesday and Thursday nights after work which I promised to complete by Sunday. Friday night I opened the document to read it one more time. I was horrified to find the document blank. This caused a near-panic end to a perfect Sherlockian day.
Earlier, I had lunch with Maggie Schpak, Jerry Kegley, and Chuck Kovacic at the Tam O Chanter. Maggie’s studio is just across the street from Glendale Memorial Hospital. When I finished work, I headed back to Pasadena in a driving rainstorm. I decided to get some Thai food and eat in my room and put the final changes on my article. This is when I discovered the missing document. I ate, worked, and rewrote the piece. It was my intention to leave from Westwood on Saturday afternoon and drive down to Oceanside but the rewrite erased those plans.
The driving rainstorm from Friday turned into torrential monsoons Saturday morning. I had enrolled in Leslie’s class at the UCLA Extension and needed to be there at 9:00. I found a breakfast place called Jinky’s in Sherman Oaks, that was just north of where I was headed. I was so very Southern Californian, sitting there chowing down on eggs benedict, drinking Named coffee and reading the L. A. Times, even doing the crossword puzzle in ink. I made it to class by 8:45 where I was joined by twenty-seven other enrollees.
Leslie’s class, Sherlock Holmes and His World, was very entertaining and informative. Les is the perfect instructor and is California cool. He kept his tongue firmly in his cheek when discussing the relation before Doyle and Dr. Watson. The class covers a broad range of Sherlockian topics from the difficulties in the chronology of the Canon to the best and worst pastiches. Leslie’s relaxed demeanor put everyone at ease. The morning was over far too quickly but this gave me time to eat lunch with Les. We only saw each other briefly in New York City so it was a good time to catch up with each other. The afternoon sped past in equal rapidity. The class was over at 4:00 and this is when I decided not to go to Oceanside. At least the rain had stopped.
Betsy Rosenblatt and I arranged to meet for brunch on Sunday at Mike and Anne’s in South Pasadena. We spent a couple of hours catching up with each other. Just like with Leslie, we did not get to talk much at all in New York City. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday, we both had made previous plans for the game. I drove up to North Hill and met up with Chuck and Athene Kovacic after brunch. We watched the game and tried unsuccessfully to find a Sherlockian angle. By the end of the game, I was completely exhausted so I drove back to Pasadena. It is a strange feeling, that of being totally Sherlocked-up. I will recover.
Betsy Rosenblatt and Don Hobbs
Chuck Kovacic’s 221b Baker Street
Past 2009 Columns