Monday, Jun 01, 2009

Tea-Inspired Memories

This past Saturday my younger daughter Gina, a close friend of ours, and her five-year-old little daughter had tea at a quaint and delightful tea room in Mullica Hill, NJ. For those of you who do not know Mullica Hill, it is a picturesque, southern New Jersey town, not far from my home, that attracts thousands of visitors each year to its 75 antique shops, cafes’, and its famous Old Loft bookstore full of antique and out-of-print books. I could easily get lost forever in that bookstore and almost did once! 

Anyway, we were there to visit the place where we are planning to hold my older daughter’s bridal shower in June. It was wonderful to be in an atmosphere of lace curtains, porcelain teapots, and veiled hats for the wearing. As we were transported back a hundred years in time, I imagined what life must have been like back then. Of course, I’m closer to 100 than I’ve ever been, so some of my imaginations were rooted in reality. Indeed, many of the artifacts in the tea room were items that formed part of my childhood past. 

Like the old credenza, just like the one in my Grandmother’s dining room. And the old Victrola like the one on which my Dad used to play 78rpm records. (For those of you who don’t know what a Victrola is, it’s the precursor to the CD player. 

Outside the tea room were three wide-trunked, gnarled trees that must be at least two hundred years old. I wondered how many teenage romances started out on a swing under those trees. Or how many little boys (and even little girls in dresses climbed them. I imagined outdoor picnics on the expansive lawn, and quiet summer nights sitting on porch rocking chairs, listening to the chirping of the cicadas while the children chased lightning bugs. 

Those were special times, when people understood the difference between living and existing. Times when relationships formed the center of life and not its perimeter. Times when faith and family were at the heart of one’s worldview. 

Some of us, like me, will write about these times through the venue of historical fiction. Others of us may use our writing skills to call our present generation back to the simplicity that our hearts long for. Still others may put our hands to the plough by actually streamlining our own lifestyles and returning to the quiet pace of those former days. 

Whatever we choose, may we do it all to the glory of God.

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5 thoughts on “Tea-Inspired Memories

  1. Dearest MaryAnn, what a lovely piece about a lovely place! I could picture several of the things you mentioned. Good memories. I am getting closer to that 100 mark every day, too! LOL Rose, who is getting ready to leave for Chicago tomorrow morning for the WTP conf., but just had to tell you how much I loved this!

    June 1, 2009 at 1:29 PM

  2. Old, gnarled trees are perfect hiding places for fairies, gnomes and pixies. 🙂 Things like that always inspire my fantasy writing.

    June 1, 2009 at 1:48 PM

  3. Aw, MaryAnn, you made me so nostalgic. When I go into antique shops and find items I remember from childhood, it transports me back. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I love walking up and down their aisles.

    Someday, I’ll write about that time period. I already have a folder with ideas. 🙂


    June 1, 2009 at 8:46 PM

  4. Oh the good old days. Who said we can’t go home again? They are wrong. We can read and write our way into the good old days of innocence, simplicity and real living.

    June 2, 2009 at 6:36 PM

  5. There may be an audience for someone who will write the simplicity of halcyon days.I remember the Sunday Pearl harobr was bombed. I was nine. I rmember the patriotic atmosphere among the neighbors and the kids. It was important to take the empty toothpaste tube to the “Drug Store” because it was lead. And tin cans and newspapers saved and taken to a collection site. the parades on Memorial Day,July 4th.The excitement in the movies watching the Pathe news and our soldiers winning in the Pacific, MacArthur returning to Corregidor.I don’t get that today.Even in this very small town of Avalon,N.J.there is hustle and lbustle and everyone taking care of “Moi.” The culture is saturated with sex. Inthe paper theother day Brooke Shields declared that she lost her virginity at 21. Today she would be laughed at by her celebrity peers. Technology has taken over.There is an aura of evil today that is smothering,frightening. Gangs who kill for fun. No one gets robbewd anymore. They get raped or tortured and then killed for no other reason than they exist and on the wrong turf. Perhaps I don’t trust God enough, but I see no return to the early days of the 20th century.God has allowed us our free will and look where our culture, our intellectuals, our entertainment industry.There are an overabundance of people with very small minds. Beyond the filth on TV, Blackberry’s, Face Book, UTube etc they have no lives.There lives are external.They exist in a hedonistic world and have no idea that there is A God who loves them and is available to them. That is too much owrk. Where’s the easy way. It’s TV, addicition, external displays of “This is who I am.”
    I’m cynical and I pray not too be. I want to be what God wants me to be. I have helped some people in my lifetime with marriage choice, career choices, personal decisions etc. but THIS…this is too big. The politicians lie to us. our church leaders lie to us. Nobody wants to sleep on a cot. They went the Temper Pudic space age mattress that conforms exactly to their body and the reward is when they get out of bed they can see the impression they’ve made. It’s the only impression they will make all day. jim connelly

    June 3, 2009 at 5:11 PM