I have a cold and everything tastes like library paste, so I'll just share a story about a dear friend, Dorothy Connelly, who loved tea. She is gone now, but she was a delight in many ways. She grew up with “old money” and was the only person I ever met who could peel and eat a banana using only her knife and fork, no fingers. She had lovely huge brown eyes, but her mother didn’t consider her either beautiful or brainy, like her sisters, [she could so the Sunday NY Times Crossword in pen in one sitting] so she was the one assigned to be “amiable”. Her attitude concerning housework was “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow,” one which I heartily endorse.
I truly admired her taking tea with children. Walter and Dorothy never had any, but they opened their home to the children of the neighborhood at tea time. She would make a large pot of tea in her best teapot, get out her porcelain teacups and saucers, add the sterling spoons, and the creamer and sugar bowl. These, along with some lovely treats, would all be put on a grand tray she would carry into the living room.
Soon, all the kids would arrive. They had to wash their hands and often their faces and maybe, comb their hair. Then they would be served tea and everyone would tell Walter and Dorothy about their day. They had to behave like ladies and gentlemen. Some of the smaller ones would usually play with Walter's hunting dog or listen to one of his tales about fishing or hunting. After an hour, they would all go home. Most of those children came for tea until they went to college or got jobs elsewhere. Whenever they were home, though, they arrived in time for tea.