Brewster, a 1989 Sherman alumnus from Passaic Park, NJ, went browsing on eBay,
he was simply curious to see what types of chiropractic items he might find. He
never expected to discover a treasured 1953 photo of a young couple he
recognized as Gordon Brown, D.C., and Helen McPike Brown. Listed among several
items passed down from the Palmer legacy, the framed black-and-white photo
quickly became Brewster’s top bidding priority.
Once it arrived in the mail, the photo gave Brewster yet another reason to look
forward to attending Sherman’s Lyceum – returning the photo to its originators.
In a cheerful surprise presentation, Brewster presented the photo to the Browns
that Saturday afternoon as they reminisced about its origins.
Brewster now has a videotape of Helen Brown explaining the motivation for the
photo. “In brief, B.J. was to receive an award [during Palmer Lyceum in 1953],
and Helen was entrusted to have the plaque inscribed and also to make the
presentation,” Brewster says. “Helen recalled much of the poem she wrote for the
occasion. It concluded with: ‘We are each an extension of what BJ is
teaching, and now we know for what we are reaching. So it was with this that we
present to BJ our appreciation and love because we are receiving what you have
She related that B.J. sat “spellbound” and said that he had “never received
anything that meant more to him.” Following that Lyceum, when the couple
returned home, Helen suggested, “Let’s have a special picture taken for B.J.”
What Brewster found on eBay is that photo in its original frame. The original
photo bears Helen’s inscription: “To B.J. Palmer: We have sat at the feet of the
master. Love, Helen & Gordon Brown.” The Browns knew that Palmer’s clinic and
home were “covered” with pictures of friends and celebrities, and they hoped to
join those ranks.
When Brewster presented the photo to the couple, they were “just flabbergasted,”
Helen says. “I couldn’t believe it. When I saw the picture, of course I
recognized it; but I had forgotten it was so much larger than the one we have.”
The Browns have kept a smaller version on their desk at home to show to visitors
when tours of the Brown House and Museum are given.
“It didn’t hit me until after that morning with Dr. Brewster,” Helen says. “All
these emotions kept coming back to me, and I realized that we always felt very
close to B.J., but perhaps never realized until that moment that we had been one
of his kinspeople too. So many memories flooded back.”
From left, Maryann Ciba,
C.A., Gordon Brown, D.C., Helen McPike Brown and Alan Brewster, D.C., with the
photo Brewster reclaimed on eBay.