My grandmother Lillian always kept a jar of teaspoons on the kitchen table, along with other appurtenances to the daily serving of tea. As a little kid I was allowed to drink tea only in a weakened version, with plenty of milk and sugar. We usually had cookies of some sort…biscuits as my UK friends might say…and on occasion the most luscious cheesecake ever baked! The cheesecake came from the bakery on the corner of the street, from which most of the bread we consumed originated. More accurately the delicacy was a cheese kuchen, baked inside a kuchen-like crust. ooooh…
My great-grandmother had arrived from England when she was ten years old, along with her parents and siblings. It was she, Ann, who had continued the custom of “Tea” as served by her own mother, Mary. One of the special tea guests was a woman called “Aunt Frank” which was always a great source of amusement to me (and to my Dad, who had grown up in this household.) Her name was Frances, and she was my grandmother’s sister-in-law, Uncle Will’s widow.
Ann lived to be 93…a remarkably advanced age in those days of the 1930s. When I knew her she had already retired from her active church life, and the long history of women’s causes…especially the WCTU, Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU was the famous Carrie Nation’s organization, which on occasion had experienced members with axes attacking the bars and terrorizing drinkers.
At the time I was three years old, so my memories are dim and certainly embroidered with endless tales related over the subsequent years by relatives. So every time I think of Tea, or England, or yummy Cheese Kuchen…I think of Great Grandma Ann and Gram Lillian, and the glass jar with the tea spoons.