‘Library’ was really far too grand a word for that cramped, cluttered little upstairs room, stacked with precariously balanced books. What had started life as their mother’s study, with space only for mathematics textbooks and the occasional novel, had quickly grown into a way to indulge their brilliant boys’ peculiar interests.
A childhood had passed in that tiny room. It was where Mycroft absorbed foreign languages and memorised the dates of every king, every battle, every case of political scandal. It was where Sherlock learnt the properties of Molybdenum and first read of the case of Jack the Ripper. It was where Sherlock had first found The Black Corsair, buried underneath a stack of sociology journals, and where Mycroft read Machiavelli, Spinoza and Nietzsche and began to form ideas of a career he could pursue. They gathered books on every topic; apiaries and espionage and linguistics and pharmaceutics. The atlases were covered in annotations. Sherlock cast anything that could not hold his interest down on to the floor, kicking the books beneath the shelves. Mycroft would always retrieve them, but anything deemed tiresome by them both would be hurled out of the window, knocking over their mother’s potted plants in the process. The books climbed up towards the ceiling.
There was never enough space in that small room for the two of them, but they made do.
On the rare days when both of them find themselves back at the family home, they gravitate back towards that room and lose hours in the depths of the pages of a book on some obscure topic.
They still argue over who gets the armchair. They still throw books out of the window.
United States Marine Corps F4U Corsair fighter-bombers on Tarawa Atoll in the central Pacific. Such was the demand for this plane that Vought, the original manufacturer, was soon being supplemented by Goodyear and Brewster. Eventually the Corsair won a record as the one plane with the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history (1942–53).
The end of an era for the group formed by Maj. Boyington.
**** Harry Johnson, the last of the original members of the Black Sheep squadron formed by Greg “Pappy” Boyington, passed away in his home in Destin, Florida on the night of December 3-4. Nicknamed “Skinny,” Harry joined the squadron in November 1943 as a young replacement and participated in their second combat tour, which included the rough missions over Rabaul. He claimed his one and only victory–a Zero–on the last day of the 6-week tour.
Harry was not only the last survivor of the 49 pilots and two ground officers who formed the original Black Sheep, he was the last member of VMF/VMA-214 to shoot down an enemy aircraft in any conflict.
Those days of combat and camaraderie were among the highlights of Harry’s long life, and he was justifiably proud of his membership in one of the world’s most famous fighter squadrons. But there were more important elements to Harry, such as his successful business practices, the decades he spent with his late wife, Dorothy, and the children they raised together.
Rest In Peace, Harry Cecil Johnson, you have slipped the surly bonds of earth.