Our mother came from England. She had a few beautiful china cups and saucers that were kept for use when special company visited. In later years, I found this odd because those considered to be special company were probably quite uncomfortable with the use of such finery, as they called it. They preferred to drink their coffee or tea in a mug. The one thing I don’t find as odd is that my early childhood years always included some kind of child’s tea service set. The memories of tiny porcelain cups, saucers, side plates, and tea pots still bring a smile to my face.
I have a collection of tea cups and saucers that belonged to our mom, mother-in-law, and a gift of a complete collection of ‘odds’ from a special grandma who did not have one of her own children or grandchildren interested in her ‘finery’. Again, it is not uncommon for rural living. Thanks to Nana (aka our mother) who served tea to our girls in china cups when we visited, the tradition was introduced to the next generation. One of the girls would not, for years, drink tea or hot chocolate unless it was in one of the cups her Nana had given her.
Times change, but the traditions and memories don’t. An afternoon visiting with friends is just that. Beverages and goodies adorn the table, and conversation prevails. During times when we couldn’t get together in person, we would have a telephone or zoom tea party. Each of us, setting the table as if we were all going to be in one room. At the chosen time, we would pour the tea, and connect. Chatting, sipping, and chewing, we were determined to have our tea party.
Now close your eyes and think about the small child within. The one who had a special tea party outfit…floppy brimmed, oversized ladies sun hat, or a top hat worn at a rakish angle, gloves, and for the boys, an umbrella as a cane. Chatting and listening to toy box friends seated around a makeshift table covered with a towel or blanket. A child’s imagination takes them to the place that serves tea in style. Where the lady of the house takes the time to sew, bake, serve, and join in.