The South Bronx is an odd place to meet up with an expatriot British scientist. But Dr. Shelly Brown was a peculiar sort who almost seemed to fit in at Lincoln Hospital, 149th Street, Bronx, New York. I met Dr. Brown in 1990 when I became the Chief of Endocrinology at the large city hospital and he was still at a junior level despite his advanced degrees. He was one of 5 or 6 doctors who hadn’t been reassigned out of Lincoln after an uprising among the staff almost shut the place down.
During my first year there I was too preoccupied with my new duties to pay much attention to the shy scientist. Slowly I became aware of his intellect and prior accomplishments. He was like an exotic shell washed up on Coney Island Beach. Once we warmed up to eachother he was open and inquiring. Despite our mutual respect he still wouldn’t help me understand why he chose to remain at Lincoln. In fact, I didn’t understand until recently when I picked up the manuscript he casually passed on to me 13 years ago just before I left Lincoln. For all those years that manuscript lay at the bottom of a moving box which resurfaced this past winter in my attic. I had only a vague recollection of the amateurishly bound stack of paper he handed me as I packed up my office. In April I read the whole thing in one night, then frantically tried reaching my old friend and colleague but so far not the slightest trace of Dr. Shelly Brown has turned up. My past acquaintances from Lincoln either don’t remember him at all or those who do, can’t even guess at his whereabouts. The hospital does not have a forwarding address.
My plan is to publish the manuscript bit by bit on this website. Perhaps this will flush out Dr. Shelly Brown. If not, at least others will see as I have, that there was something stirring behind his awkward smile.