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The View from the East End (46)

By Inspector Hopkins

August 27 , 2006

Old Faces, New Places (or vice-versa)

by Inspector Hopkins 

Ever get that deja-vu feeling?

Well, I got it in spades this past weekend out here on the East End at a social get-together at the home of John C. Sherwood and Katari Brown!  I understand it seems to be a tradition for first-time visitors to get lost on the way to their house, and I can assure you that I did not disappoint anyone in that respect. I found myself almost mired in a gravel path in front of an old farmhouse before I pulled out the cell phone and sent an SOS for directions. Sure enough, I had taken a wrong turn, but that wasn’t all. As I backed out of the predicament I was in, I just knew that I had been in front of that same old farmhouse before  . . . it just looked and felt so familiar.

With telephone directions from John (similar to an air traffic controller bringing in a lost plane for a landing) I quickly located their residence, and gratefully parked my hansom on a paved driveway.  A small group of people were gathered on the back deck behind the house, and although I recognized several of them as fellow Sherlockians and Tin Boxers members, I also somehow felt as if I knew the others already.

Although I have known John C. Sherwood for some time now, and previously described his abilities as a Sherlock-Holmes-impersonator extraordinaire several times, this was the first time I had ever socialized with him outside the Sherlockian circuit. His longtime spouse and partner, Katari Brown, is a very intense-looking woman with arresting blue eyes whose gaze held me riveted to the spot I was standing on when I was introduced. And yet . . . and yet . . . I could not shake the feeling that somehow I already knew her.

This feeling followed me everywhere about their house that evening. Each and very room held some item, some picture, some object or memento that veritably screamed out its familiarity to me! John took all the Sherlockian guests aside for a brief tour.  Although their house is deceptively small on the outside, it is indeed crammed with no less than three small libraries within it. One of these is completely devoted to Sherlock Holmes, and also serves as the area in which “Mr. Holmes” gets dressed when he comes over to visit.   ;-)

The group of friends and relatives on the deck outside had several talented musicians among them. These included an elderly black blind man named Jerry Burruss whose self-taught guitar playing technique included playing chords by reaching over the guitar neck.  He looked as if he had come straight out of a New Orleans jazz club. Also playing guitar and ukulele was Don Kushon, and a woman named Edit who played the violin. Again, all these folks seemed eerily familiar to me. When Katari also joined in by playing the flute, I fully realized what Sherlock Holmes meant by “spirituality about the face” in his description of Violet Smith.

John gave me several more demonstrations of his magical and psychic abilities, and we launched into a long conversation which revolved around him and around Sherlock Holmes. In addition to “The Pocket Sherlock” (a summary of the Canon in a 4” x 5” x 0.25” format which literally fits in your pocket), he has also invented his own version of “Trivial Pursuit” based solely upon Sherlockian trivia.  This man has real insight into people’s minds, and he explained a number of things to me including logic, perceptions, attitudes and expectations. I am certain that these sorts of insights and skills were part of what made Sherlock Holmes the great detective that he was (and still is today)!

Accurately dubbed “Willowshade”, John and Katari’s  home  is situated on two beautifully wooded acres with very mature blue spruce and weeping willow trees. It has a feeling of utter serenity throughout, and is exceptionally quiet.  This makes it completely conducive for meditation, study, and other pursuits that they undertake, both together and with their clients . . .

I still can’t explain the feeling of deja-vu I had all that night, but I do know that I didn’t want to leave!

For more information about this fascinating couple and their interests, please visit their website:

Until next time, and thanking you for your attention, I am indeed,

Yours faithfully,