On Saturday, September 30
Jenna and I hosted a lemony tea party
With china cups, scones and fancy sandwiches
Eight gathered around the table
One of them was a birthday girl
What I learned . . .
- Be flexible.
The party date was moved twice from the original. Hurricane Irma blew in and caused a ruckus. And then guests’ schedules didn’t jive. The third try was a charm!
We finally settled on a date corresponding to my sister Jan’s birthday at the end of September.
- Don’t do everything yourself.
Grand-daughter Jenna was my wing-girl. We’ve teamed up together baking before. (Remember the rainbow cake?) This time she chose the theme, made the lemon loaf all by herself at home and then came to my kitchen 3 hours early for last-minute prep, here assembling cucumber sandwiches.
3. And by all means, use the good china!
Here’s a link to writer friend Jenn’s blog post about how the wrong teacup can ruin your tea.
Another tip: Wash your teacups the day before, so you don’t feel rushed.
- Invite guests to pick their own teacups
- It’s okay to take shortcuts
The last time I had a party a tea strainer was involved. This time I used tea bags instead, much easier, less fuss.
6. Life is short – celebrate!
Three generations gathered to sip tea and honor my sister Jan’s birthday, her grand-daughter Emily sharing a merry moment here.
Her oldest grand-daughter, Tori – then and now. Drinking tea at age 11 in 2010 and now a grown-up 18.
We told stories, including another teacup tale.
My teacup count was down a few because of an explosion years ago in my dining room. In case you missed it or want to read it again: Moments of Extreme Emotion: Explosion in the Curio Cabinet.
You are invited to the story circle . . .
A memorable party with or without tea where things went right – or wrong!
Add more tips
Coming next: Memoir Writing, Myth and Mystery
Such beautiful photographs, Marian. You and Jan look so much alike. I have a sister named Jan too.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis
The C. S. Lewis quote drifted through my mind as I wrote this post. Thanks for writing it down here, Jill, and thanks too for the compliment.
I went back and read about your china cabinet explosion and will benefit in the event I ever get the same idea! (I can imagine I maybe would have.) How heartbreaking to lose those precious heirlooms but I know you were able to get over it, and still have plenty of special items that stir up memories.
This tea party is precious and the young ladies just beautiful. I’m sure you enjoyed it all–once you were able to work around schedules and the weather. Perhaps you recall when I wrote about my grandson’s first birthday party having to move because of a snowstorm and not having electricity. Which of course reminds me of how many folks are still dealing with no electricity in Puerto Rico. (And I love Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote.:-) ) ‘Scuse my rambly response.
I love rambles because they connect so many dots. Yes, I do recall the party without electricity. Was it Owen’s? Snafus always spice up memories. I told that to one of my grandsons, who missed the bus twice in one week. He can make something of that embarrassment for a writing assignment, I said.
We were out of electricity for 32 hours with Irma. I even had a relative to take my frozen items to so I could avoid spoilage. However, it may take weeks and weeks for Puerto Ricans to have power restored. The entire grid blew up, as I understand. I pray the island will end up with a better infrastructure now that the storm has exposed serious weaknesses. Thanks, Melodie, and happy harvesting!
Good morning, Marian! I would love to have attended your delightful tea party. I was wondering what a “lemony” tea party was until I read about the lemon loaf and saw the lemons on the table. I love your collection of china tea cups, too–even if the collection is down a bit. There is a definite family resemblance in all these beautiful women.
There are so many tea quotes. This seems to fit your party:
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” –Henry James, “Portrait of a Lady”
Thanks for adding to the stock of quotes here and for other keen observations. Now that your manuscripts have been turned in, I hope you can allow yourself some idle hours, maybe even have a cuppa tea. 🙂
ALWAYS A DELIGHT TO READ YOUR POSTS, MARIAN!
Thanks, Jack, for tuning in to the conversation today. It’s so much fun hearing from the other side of the screen.
What a lovely post about making memories and time well spent. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” ― Marcus Aurelius
Thanks for quoting a Roman here – spot on!
What fun! You’ve inspired me to plan a tea party! Thank you for reminding me how important it is to make room for pretty little happy moments. And to use the china!
Oh, how exciting! I wonder where your imagination will take you – theme? cups? menu? I see a post brewing, Tracy. You have lots of experience in the hospitality industry and you’ll put the china to good use.
It’s been a while since I posted a comment, but I’ve been busy. Sometimes I envy my retirement community neighbors who seem to have time to just sit and enjoy the sunshine on a outdoor bench. I just shared your post with June (remember those LMS days many years ago?). She asked about you in a recent email.
What a delight to see your name in this column. Thank you, Verna. Yes, I do remember June and recall our shopping trips into Lancaster city to gaze at fancy stuff in the Watt & Shand windows.
I know you are busy, and we’ll have to catch up soon. I wonder if I really could like sitting on an outdoor bench day after day. Only if I had someone to talk to – or maybe a book to read.
Marian — I love the photos and the celebration reasons for them. Most of all I love that the teacups and saucers aren’t from a matching set. Rather, they’re uniquely individual — and the guests got to select the set they wanted to use. It’s clear that a great time was had by all.
Both the younger and older set seemed to enjoy acting like little girls again. Not a one of the teacup sets matched. I even had one cup set with an unmatched saucer. Everywhere I see you online, Laurie, you are broadcasting peace and joy. Thank you for that too.
Marian — It’s been said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
3rd time lucky it seems Marian! It is always worth waiting for all that is excellent and good. Anticipation builds and the occasion is all the sweeter.
The last time I had a tea party was the end of July to welcome my American friends. I so enjoyed the build up to it, ensuring all was as it should be and putting out my nicest bits and pieces. I put out what I have left of my pretty china cups but most have been long gone.The others were pretty enough but they’re not bone china ..
We South Africans are great tea drinkers. The day cannot begin until the first cup is drunk in bed. Thereafter coffee. Many have their elevenses mid morning and 4.00 p.m. is of course time for the afternoon cuppa. Not for me I have to say, a cup of tea in the morning suits me well.
Your photographs are lovely!
“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
― Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book
I like your tea rituals. It’s calming just to read about them. Surely your American guests must have enjoyed your tea party. Who cares if the cups are not bone china.
Thank you for the Bill Watterson quote, Susan. That’s one I hadn’t heard before.
Oh Marian, It’s a tea party to read and see details of your party. Your sister’s appearance always gives me a jolt, because she looks like my close relatives…I think it’s the Longanecker connection. Also I was so happy spending two weeks in a country (Switzerland and briefly Ireland) that also loves and takes time for tea. Thank you!
When we visited the Langenegger clan in Langnau, Switzerland (Canton of Bern) we were treated to fresh tea, Emmental cheese, and of course homemade bread. Our Longenecker branch traces its ancestry from Ulrich Langenegger, who migrated to America in 1733. Up until recently, there wasn’t much inter-marriage, so family facial features have persisted through the generations. I’d like to know more about the Longenecker connection to your family, Dolores.
I agree, tea speaks of refinement and a slower pace, which Europeans seem to have a much better handle on than we do.
Ulrich is also the immigrant in my family tree. My ggg grandparents moved from Lancaster, PA to Whiteside County Illinois; they are Jacob Longanecker (1814-1890) and Lydia Showalter (1819-1916). Jacob’s parents were Jacob Longanecker (1783-1843) and Elizabeth Brenner (1787-1875). Any connections?
There may be parallels but not too much intertwining that I can see. The family line from Switzerland goes like this: Ulrich–> Christian–> Christian, Sr.–> Christian, Jr.–> John B. who married Nancy Garber–> Christian (again) who married Lavina Bender.
Genealogy is fascinating and gives families a solid footing in the earth. I wonder what Ancestry.com would reveal.
Lemony loveliness! I’m so glad it went well and I love your teacups! Wish I lived closer. 🙂 There are so many great tea quotes (which you will probably see some Monday on “What’s In My Cup” but I like this simple one: Tea (n) A hug in a cup!
Thanks for the 5-word quote, love it! I’ll look forward to Monday’s post, Jenn.
How lovely, Marian and I love your collection of tea cups …It was lovely to see the different generations enjoying tea and it is great to see your grandaughter enjoying the preparations 🙂
Honestly, Carol, it took more effort than I had the energy for. I told Jenna I could not have done it without her. And meant it.
Fortunately, her family lives close by, so it is easy for us to collaborate.
I think most gatherings like that do take some energy I know it does me now I am getting older. Luckily I have a live- in helper ( my grandson) lol
Yes, lucky you, with a live-in grandson, certainly a mutually beneficial arrangement. 🙂
Nothing like a good old fashioned tea party. It looks like you had a wonderful time. Nice to have some help as well. Too bad about the explosion.
The explosion happened many years ago and confirmed my belief that things, however precious, are just things. Yet I feel sorry for hurricane victims who have lost everything, including irreplaceable photos and mementoes from relatives.
Jenna’s help was wonderful. I told I couldn’t have done it without her and I meant it!
I forgot to add a quote. “Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
― Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book
I couldn’t agree more. My grandkids love Calvin and Hobbes, but I bet they don’t know this quote. Thanks for the addition, Darlene.
Even though I looked at the Lemony Tea Party draft and pictures I enjoyed hearing from many of your friends who wished they could have been party to this event.
When I used to travel more in different states with my art and music performances it gave me great joy when I had a few moments to check out antique shops in small towns. Some of the tea cups held in high esteem (and hot water) likely came from those times when I surprised you with a new cup and saucer. My only regret is that I wished I had photographed and documented where I purchased the tea cups.
A cup’a tea to you, Dear Lady! (English accent)
I’d recognize that British accent anywhere. 🙂
Of course, I still have many I treasure most from your scavenging, but one or two sets may have victims of the explosion. It’s the thought that counts – right?
A lemony tea party sounds just lovely! Loved the lemon centrepiece. Our granddaughter has a birthday the day after Christmas, and she and her mom always have a birthday tea with the good china for the aunts and cousins and grandparents. It’s a special occasion every time!
The day after Christmas is sometimes a let-down. A tea party would be just the ticket for a pick-me-up. What a lovely family tradition! Tea gardens abound in Victoria, BC where we took tea on our wedding anniversary. I wonder if Winnipeg celebrates tea time too. Thanks, Elfrieda!
Glad it all went well. It all looks wonderful. 👍
Thanks, Fatima. I’m glad you have great weather for your travels this week.
Lovely shots. And I love the idea of a lemony tea party.
Thank you, Fiona. If I could press a button and get you from Sweden to Florida, you could join us at the tea table.
What a delightful event- I’m taking tips from you and hope to have a lemony tea party sometime soon. Great excuse to use my grandmom’s china too. Tipping my tea ☕️ to you.
I love these little tea emojis – try to use them as often as possible in iPhone texts. I’m delighted this post inspired a lemony tea party of your own. Why in your hands it could turn into a story of mystery and intrigue! 🙂
haha – the only mystery will be – “will the lemon bread turn out?” 🙂
I just now read the ending to your Aurora mystery ono your website. Master of suspense you surely are, Pam.
Just a note: Jenna made the lemon loaf bread; I did the scones. Both turned out but one of the items stayed in the oven a little too long – ha!
Scones are difficult – they can come out too dry. A British friend of mine gave me a small beautiful ‘scone’ cookbook many years ago. . . I open it to look at the pretty pictures. 🙂
Mine turned out okay even though I don’t pride myself in the baking department. The main flaw: They were horribly mis-shapen, but each guest took just one and I doubt that they compared. Opening a cookbook to look at the pretty pictures – a brilliant idea!
Oh Marian I adore tea parties especially lemon 🍋 ones . Best China at all times, I agree life is too short for substitutes . I do hope you held up your little fingers as you sipped, just for the hell of it . Cucumber sandwiches…mmmmmmm love em . Lovely to see your delightful family enjoying themselves 🍋✨☕️🎂
Yes, the little fingers popped out, curved slightly at the tip – ha! I honestly wonder whether I got to sample the cucumber sandwiches or not. They went fast, and what with trips to the kitchen to freshen the teapots now I doubt . . . .
Um, let’s see. Some left-over cream cheese and cucumber shavings in the refrigerator. Ah, that’ll do. Thanks, Cherry, for savoring the menu with us. We also enjoyed pimento cheese and celery & walnut sandwiches. Yum!
Just wondered…when is your next lemon tea party ? so I can book a flight 🍰
This party almost did me in, what with the planning, shopping, chopping at the kitchen counter. Baking too. But I’m making a note now to alert you to future party plans. It may take awhile, and I would draw you into the menu choices. A guest from Wales would surely have some favorites to try out. Yes?
Reading your post took my mind off family sadness today. It lifted my thoughts to remember past tea parties with my sisters and nieces. We never know when life as we know it will change…all the more reason to put together a sparkling tea party and celebrate the moment!
Although I know you have a loved one with serious health challenges, I don’t need to have all the details to join you in hope and good wishes. Prayers ascend too for you and your family, Kas. And thanks for taking the time to read and respond here. I’m glad the post evoked pleasant memories.
I love seeing your family gathered to enjoy this precious event. 😍😍
Rent Free. Sustainable. NYC.
Thank you for joining into the conversation here, Jennifer, much appreciated.
Gorgeous china! Who needs everything matchy-matchy, the profusion of styles is glorious!
I do have match-matchy, the pure white with silver edging in my wedding gift set. But, as you imply here, it would be boring. “The profusion of styles is glorious” – that I can agree with. Thank you, Alex.
Beautiful, Marian. Such a pleasure to do this with granddaughters and family members. It’s an honor you were the chosen one to help the hostess–and remain flexible. My doggie world doesn’t work with China tea cups. My advice? Don’t invite the dogs or they’ll devour the scones. A joyful break from a suffering world.
Yes, hurricanes, fires, naughty men – the list never ends. We have to chose carefully what to focus on these days.
Yes, I’m sure Willow would wreak havoc with the tea cups. I guess that’s why only kitty cats get invited.