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.