“I will introduce you” [PRIO]

Study in Scarlet illustration by George Hutchinson

(Part of this entry will also appear in the Spring 2016 issue of The Watsonian)

As our “Carla” posted last week, I am taking on the role of “Boy-in-Buttons” for the John H Watson Society.

Typing that sentence still leaves me a bit awestruck, in the fullest sense of the word. To say that I was surprised when my name was suggested would be an understatement. I had long been content to remain in the background, keeping our digital home on the web tidy and functional.

I still see myself as a new arrival among you, having found my way to Baker Street late compared to many, and somewhat sideways at that. I must confess a twinge of jealousy toward those who can tell of falling in love with the Canon at the age of 10 or 11. Somehow I missed meeting Holmes and Watson at that tender age. But, as they say, when the student is ready, the Master appears.

In my case, he appeared as Benedict Cumberbatch, accompanied by the ever-amazing Martin Freeman. I watched the first six episodes of the BBC series (all that existed at the time), which proved enough merely to whet my appetite for all things Holmesian. I picked up a two-volume paperback edition of the complete stories at my favorite used bookshop and started exploring the many and varied opportunities to connect with other fans.

That was how I found my way to the John H Watson Society site, and it quickly became one of my favorite places online. The weekly quizzes were challenging and the weekly discussions were interesting, but it was the blend of people that made the magic.

The roster of members included people who had been in the Sherlockian world for decades, who published scholarly articles and books, and who led scion societies. It also included people who were newcomers (like me), who created transformative works of fanart and fanfic, and who were active on twitter and tumblr. There were people who fell into any and every possible combination of those categories. Somewhere in this glorious mingling of old and new, traditional and ultramodern, I found a place that felt like home.

These years later, it still does. The quizzes are still challenging, the forum discussions are still engaging, and the Treasure Hunt is still fiendishly difficult (and I mean that in the very best possible way). Most importantly, the people are still an amazing community of individuals with different backgrounds and worldviews who can come together to discuss the life and times of that eminent gentleman, Dr John H Watson. Amongst his many fine qualities, he was the best friend one could ever wish to have.

I take to heart these words “About the Society“:

We are an open and inclusive Society, seeking the collegiality and conviviality of Members worldwide and at all stages of involvement in Watsonian, Sherlockian and Holmesian interests. Mostly, we are about having fun.

As I adopt the moniker of “Selena Buttons”, I am inspired by Don Libey, who was the kind of person I hope to be: friendly and welcoming and encouraging to all, no matter how you found your way here. I look forward to hearing from you!

This week, in lieu of a Canonical discussion topic, please introduce (or re-introduce) yourself in the Comments section.

The Legacy of Buttons

Today is a day of significant importance for all of us in the John H Watson Society, so I will not host a discussion forum, as is our usual custom.

On March 15, 2015, Donald Libey went beyond the terrace. That was one year ago today.

I haven’t lost sight of this day as it neared. I knew that, once the day arrived, I would want to mark this first anniversary in a significant way. Up until recently, I wasn’t certain of what exactly to do or say when this day arrived. Thankfully, I now know what I can offer everyone that will be the best for Don’s memory, for myself, and for the John H Watson Society:

As of today, I am stepping down as Carla Buttons.

It is important to me that I not lose sight of the fact that taking up this position was done to honor Don, his legacy, and his promises. Once “The Adventure of the Doctor and the Duellist” sees print this spring, we will have worked hard together to fulfill the last of Don’s promises that he made before his passing. I believe that this is the best time for me to step down and welcome new leadership, so that the John H Watson Society, as a community, will be able to focus ahead to whatever may come next.

This past year was one of the most memorable and exciting series of events in my life. Thank you all so much for your warmth, patience, and support. I offer my deepest gratitude to all who stood up and volunteered in the wake of tragedy, and my warmest respect to all who continue to work so hard to make the John H Watson Society such an active and welcoming community.

Although I am no longer a Buttons, I am still a “Carla” and I will continue to be an enthusiastic member of the JHWS. I intend to continue to do what I love so much: designing the JHWS publications, especially The Watsonian, for Pippin & his amazing Editorial team, as well as being an active member of our community.

Please join me in celebrating Don’s legacy by welcoming our third Buttons to assume the mantle. This is someone who I feel that most of you know and trust, someone who has put countless hours into ensuring that our community has a home here on the internet. Please show your support for our webmistress and dear friend to our community: Beth Gallego, JHWS Selena.

May we honor the memory of our dear Buttons by carrying on his warm enthusiasm for the good and loyal Dr Watson.

May we look to our future and raise a glass to welcome Selena Buttons!

The Legacy of the Boy in Buttons

It’s been a few days and I’m still reeling from the pain of our loss. It is hard to get one’s equilibrium back in this sort of situation. One thing that haunts me terribly is that our dear Don Libey was apparently anxious over the fate of the John H Watson Society while in the hospital. He loved the society so much and he did everything he could over the years to make it a warm and welcoming corner of the virtual world. So even as things were not going well for him, he still thought of us and the community he built for us with such affection and care.

I wish I were there at that moment in time to convince him that everything would be alright for the JHWS. I wish I could have had a way to set his mind at ease – that I could show him the proof of my vow with solid, undeniable evidence as Sherlock Holmes would do for Dr. Watson whenever in doubt of the truth. Since I couldn’t be there to do that for Don, I feel strongly obligated to do the next best thing for him: Make certain the JHWS will turn out alright.

Shortly after the devastating news reached me on Sunday, I began a discussion about the JHWS with Don’s dear friend, Bob Katz “Willow.” He explained to me that Don had been thinking about passing on the torch of leadership for some time now and had been hoping for someone to take up the moniker “Buttons II” to continue the legacy of his work.

Unfortunately, there is one clear fault in this plan: no one else could be a “Buttons.” There’s only one true “Buttons” and that will always be so. I can imagine no one else who could match the enthusiasm, love and dedication that Don Libey offered to the John H Watson Society every day since its inception. This is a fact I believe we must accept.

Yet there is one other fact that we must not overlook: Our “Buttons” had a knack for gathering talented and enthusiastic people together. He could see the special qualities in a person’s spirit and draw it out of them with warmth, encouragement, and inspiration. As a result of his innate skill, I believe that the John H Watson Society is composed of some of the most talented, driven, and inspired individuals I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.

One person cannot be to the JHWS the same as Don Libey was and always will be to the JHWS. However, when we band together as a community, we become everything that our dear “Buttons” stood for and thus become a reflection of all that he wished the JHWS to represent.

By continuing the John H Watson Society, we would allow it to keep flourishing beyond all expectations. In doing so, I believe we can show any who encounter our society what a good man our Buttons was and how lucky we were to know him.

Now, the question is… how do we do this? It is one thing to say “we can continue” but it is another thing altogether to get up and do so. Buttons took on so many roles and accomplished so many tasks, that no one else can fit that much into their schedule easily. Yet as a community, as a Society, I believe this is a goal we can achieve together.

So, with the blessing of Bob Katz “Willow” and our dear Andrea Stewart “Asta,” I will do whatever I can to coordinate the John H Watson Society. I won’t be a true “Buttons II,” as I don’t have the talent nor the skill. Please consider me as “Carla Buttons” instead. I cannot create quizzes, act as treasurer, or perform many other tasks that need to be done, but I can organize people and I can design the journal… so that’s what I’ll do for the JHWS. I’ll act as the main switchboard, a fixed point to turn to for questions, suggestions, ideas, and feedback.

The Watsonian will continue. The details for future volumes will need time to sort out, but the April volume will go to the printers without any problems. Also, I’ve seen the printed editions of the new Fiction Series and the latest edition to The Monograph Series, which just arrived from the printers this week, and I think they both turned out rather well.

I’ll finish the design and layout of the April 2015 edition of The Watsonian in a few weeks – it’s quite a hefty volume, full of amazing contributions and one of Buttons’ finest editorial accomplishments as far as I’m concerned. Once The Watsonian is submitted to the printers in early April, both The Watsonian and The Fiction Series will be sent to every member’s doorstep. The Monograph Series will also be available soon, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement here in a week or so.

The entire working structure of the John H Watson Society is still in the process of forming, but I’m happy to announce a few who have officially taken up specific roles:

Andrea Stewart “Asta” shall continue to handle the treasury, which she is currently managing quite admirably. I have no words for how amazing she is to do this both for her beloved Don Libey and for the sake of the JHWS.

Beth Gallego “Selena” will continue to maintain and care for the website, as our lovely and talented Victorian Webmistress.

Margie Deck “Gwen” will host this year’s Annual International Treasure Hunt, because she is both devious and incredible. She has also taken to calling me “TheBiB,” due to that aforementioned devious streak.

Denny Dobry “Kirby” shall be our Eminent Supreme Exalted Grand High Master of Inquisition (wait a second… what?) our gracious Quizmaster. We’ll work out the details and regularity of new brilliant quizzes to challenge your mind, so please anticipate seeing them in the near future.

There are several other tasks and necessary roles which I shall address in the coming weeks, so I will announce any and all news here on site whenever I can.

It’s quite obvious at this point that I wish to ask for volunteers to keep the John H Watson Society active and enjoyable. Indeed, quite a few generous people have already reached out to offer use of their time and talents without any reservation. However, I am not here to ask each of you for all of your time and all of your talents. Instead, I ask that each of you take time to reflect and consider what you would like to share of yourself with the Society: perhaps a haiku about 221B, perhaps a monthly update of interesting Sherlockian & Watsonian news, perhaps a word of good advice, perhaps photos of a trip to London, perhaps an essay pertaining to bowler hats… it really could be anything!

Whatever comes to mind, never hesitate to send anything to me at: carla@johnhwatsonsociety.com

If everyone here offers a little bit of themselves to share, then slowly but surely the JHWS will continue to flourish and it remain a place to visit with irregular regularity for new posts, new discussions, and a shared affection for Dr John H Watson.

Just as our “Buttons” would have it: We can but try.

With great affection,

Ariana Maher
“Carla Buttons”
The Boy in Buttons

A Word from “Asta”

Andrea Stewart (“Asta”) left this as a comment on March 17th. I’m copying it here to share with all of you.

Dear, Dear Watsonian friends,
Thank you so much for all your warm and beautiful comments about our “Buttons”. He was an extraordinary man and he loved this society more than I could possibly tell you. The three days he was in the intensive care unit he always had me get out my notebook and take down my assignments regarding things going on with the Watson Society. I am going to do whatever I can, with a great deal of help from the membership, to assure a smooth transition and continuation of this most marvelous endeavor. If any of you travel down Florida way, please contact me. My love and thanks to you all.

Upon the Terrace

Dear Friends,

We are greatly saddened to advise you of the passing of our beloved “Buttons”, Donald Libey. Don was a wonderful friend and a great Sherlockian. We send our love and best wishes to Andrea.

We will notify our membership of the disposition of society business via this website in a few days. We ask that all provide their support and cooperation at this difficult time.

Condolences can be sent to Andrea via the comments section of this post.

Society News

“Buttons” is taking a brief hiatus from Society administrative duties for personal reasons. As ever, this site is the place to check for updates.

The production of the April issue of The Watsonian is ongoing. And don’t forget to check out our Forum page for this week’s discussion topic.

Best wishes to all.

A Warm Tribute from our Chair to Joanne Yates

Dear Fellow Watsonians:

I am very pleased to see that The Watsonian has had such an enthusiastic reception among its readers. Many people, of course, have contributed to its success. Our “Buttons” has been a tireless cheerleader for the journal and the dozens of authors of the pieces included in the first two issues have borne out the belief that the time has come to turn more critical attention to the role of Dr John H Watson in the creation of Sherlock Holmes saga.

From the outset, my wife Joanne M. Yates has served as The Watsonion’s editor. I think that perhaps no one could have brought more consistent good judgment and taste to the preparation of the first issues of this new magazine destined for its many subscribers.

Anticipating a first issue of at most 80 pages, I was amazed to see that the two numbers of Volume I consisted of 152 and 172 pages, respectively; and the third number, due out this fall, gives promise of extending quite a bit beyond these totals to nearly 250 pages.

From its inception, Joanne has given her level best in establishing and maintaining the quality and readability of our journal, but its gratifying success has understandably required more time and energy than she had expected and she has come to realize that her attention was being drawn away from other previous commitments that she has made, especially that of serving as president of the non-profit 4Paws Learning Wellness Center.

I am sure that her achievements as editor of our magazine’s early issues will stand as a lasting tribute to her talent and devotion to our Society. When I realized that she would not be able to continue in her editorial capacity, she said that she had unhesitatingly devoted all the time necessary to the journal because it was, in a way, a birthday gift bestowed on her husband by Don Libey and other Napa Valley Napoleons back in 2013. She added that the friendships she has formed with so many contributors has been more than ample reward.

I have long received the benefits of her loyalty and dedication, so I am expressing my deep gratitude to her in this way, on our JHWS blog, where all our fellow members can acknowledge her service over the past two years.

With warm regards,

Don Yates “Pal”
The John H Watson Society
The Society joins in Dr Yates’ tribute To Joanne:

All of our Members join in expressing their sincere appreciation to Dr Joanne Yates for her wonderful creation of The Watsonian.  It is entirely due to her talent that the journal has become so well-regarded and appreciated by all of the Members. Thank you!

Just a Quick Observation

Buttons wanted to observe:

The recent earthquake was “Situation Room Breaking News” for six hours; a disaster for reporting for one day; an afterthought on clean up and damage estimates for one day; and GONE by the third day.

This is the biggest earthquake to hit the US since 1989, and it did about $4 billion in damage, injured a score of people, and destroyed about 10% of the California wine inventory.

How quickly we forget what takes place this week. But, how long we remember and tell over and over all of the adventures of Holmes and Watson.  Buttons LIKES 1895! Please Mr. Verne, get me out of 2014!

We’re Back!

We have Internet service and the Society is open for business!  We have monograph and pin orders, but have not found those boxes yet, so please bear with us.  We will be totally unpacked and ready to mail things out in a day or two.We bought our home sight unseen and in the week since closing have had the interior totally repainted, all new carpeting, new window treatments, new air conditioning, multiple repairs, new lawn irrigation system, termite prevention treatment, pest control, total landscape trimming and overhaul, bought new appliances, got driver’s licenses, got a new car, met the neighbors, and have tried six new restaurants!  Buttons is ready for a big, comfy chair and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes!

Back to Society business . . .!  The journal is being edited and finalized. It will print in early April and we should have it mailed to members by the end of April.  It’s Big!

Business Hiatus Taking a Bit Longer Than Expected

“Buttons” and “Asta” aree in Florida and moved in to their new home, but won’t have Internet access for another few days. Therefore, our normal Society business will be offline for about another week. Thanks for understanding!  Please use the “downtime” to read through the Canon once again!  Thank you for your patience!

Brief Hiatus on Society Business

“Buttons” and “Asta” will be moving from California to Florida beginning March 3, 2014. We would ask your patience on Society business until we arrive and get moved into our new home in Ocala, Florida. We anticipate being able to fulfill Society business about March 15th, 2014. Until then, memberships, monograph orders, pin orders and other requests will be forwarded to us via email and we will respond as soon as possible after March 15th. Thank you for your understanding.

Of course, anyone having a burning question, idea, or comment can always leave a comment on this page and others can reply as if we weren’t here (which we won’t be)!

Brief Hiatus on Quizzes

Buttons and Asta are moving next week from California to Florida. We would ask your patience until we get there and get moved into our new home. The quizzes will resume in late March. Please watch for the return.  Thank you.

Society Activities Through April 2014

During February and March, our Editor, Dr Joanne Yates “Sandy” and Buttons will be busy working on the next issue of The Watsonian scheduled for mailing on or around 15 April 2014.  We are anticipating an issue even larger than the inaugural October 2013 issue, so there is a great deal of work to be accomplished.

During this period, we may have to slow our Weekly Quiz to a Bi-Weekly Quiz. Buttons will try to keep them coming every week, but there are other complications, as you will learn next.

Buttons and Andrea Stewart “Asta,” our Membership Director, will be relocating from Sonoma County, California’s wine country to the beautiful Horse Capital of the World, Ocala, Florida, where they look forward to embarking on another of their many life adventures at age 70.  As you may imagine, the details of home buying and moving will be a bit time-consuming, so we may not be quite as responsive as normal. We are foregoing the seven-day, 3,000 mile drive in favor of a direct flight in seven hours (which is a major concession by Buttons as he had sworn NEVER to fly again for ANY reason after 40 years of  flying 200 days a year). We hope to be in our new home and fairly settled by 15 March 2014.

There will be some periods when we will be out of communication; unfortunately, some of it will be during the final days of getting the journal off to the printer, but we will persevere and doubtless all will go smoothly. If, for some reason, Buttons is unable to reply to your emails quickly, your patience will be greatly appreciated.

The John H Watson Society has been designed as primarily an online Society, so it will continue to operate as it has so far, only partially from a different location. Our activities for 2014 include the two issues of The Watsonian, two published monographs, the Weekly Quizzes, the Second Annual Treasure Hunt, and–coming in October–the First International Invitational Team Treasure Hunt, an exciting worldwide Super-Quiz to challenge Watsonians and Sherlockians from around the globe.

As always, sincere thanks and appreciation is extended to our now nearly 140 members for your interest, your participation, and your continued support of the Society.

A Consultation of the Society: 27 December 2013

Two days after Christmas, as per the Canonical text, a Consultation of the Society was held in Napa, California at the home of Charter Members Andree and Chuck Youngson, “Belle” and “Jeeves.” The gracious hosts prepared the wonderful classic British dinner of roast beef with all the trimmings and additional dishes, appetizers, and desserts, as well as a liberality of wines, were brought by members. Suffice it to say that the warmth of hospitality, conviviality and superb cooking have seldom reached such heights in the post-Christmas quietude.

The afternoon also served as a meeting of the Napa Valley Napoleons of S.H., Dr Don Yates, “Pal” in the chair. The “Blue Carbuncle” radio drama starring Sirs Richardson and Geilgud was listened to and discussion followed.

Prof Yates called the Society’s third Consultation to order. The nine Founding and Charter Members present included Prof Yates and Dr Joanne Yates “Pal and “Sandy,” Andree and Chuck Youngson “Belle” and Jeeves,” Bruce Taylor “Booker,” Alice and Donald Schueler, “Goldie” and “Ascoyne,” Andrea Stewart “Asta” and Don Libey, “Buttons.”

Prof Yates called the Consultation to order at 3:00 p.m. A toast to Dr Watson was offered and celebrated. A motion was made to proceed with Bylaw #5 and to adjourn the meeting as no other business was before the Society. The motion carried and the Chair adjourned the Consultation at 3:05 p.m.  Following the meeting, a fine bottle of aged port was poured and sticky toffee pudding was enjoyed by all.

The Biography and Autobiography of Sherlock Holmes by Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock Holmes

7003364.jpgThe Biography and Autobiography of Sherlock Holmes

By Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock Holmes.

Published by Campbell & Lewis
Publishers Since 1855

Available from Amazon and all Bookstores. Released 12 September 2013 $17.00

A one volume, two book edition of My Brother, Sherlock, the biography of Sherlock Holmes written by his brother, Mycroft Holmes, and Montague Notations, the autobiography by Sherlock Holmes written by the Master himself, edited by Don Libey, JHWS “Buttons.”

Discovered in England in 2008 and  2012 by a rare book scout and subsequently purchased by an American antiquarian book dealer, these two manuscripts are among the most astounding literary finds of all time.  Now, edited and published for the first time in print together, here are the incredible revelations of the timeless questions surrounding the life of Sherlock Holmes and his brother, Mycroft, in their own words. Revealed also are the essential missing insights into the life of Dr John H. Watson. Within these pages are the answers to so many questions of the past one hundred years and more.

This new book, released 12 September 2013, is the First Edition, First State of My Brother, Mycroft and the Second (re-edited) Edition, First State of Montague Notations, previously published in a single volume as The Autobiography of Sherlock Holmes.  The publisher believes having these two seminal works by the Master and his brother together in one volume will prove them essential over the years as reference works for all Sherlockians, Holmesians and Watsonians interested in research, scholarship and The Historical Game.