Monday, September 19

A Touch of Elegance

My apologies--I'm not feeling well and just wasn't up for writing a post, so I dug out an old favorite from 2012. (It's also about the setting of an old favorite book, Jar of Dreams. If you haven't read it, it's still available--even on audio!) I'll be fine--just needed some down time. Have a great week! - Liz

 I don’t remember exactly how old I was or the name of the store. I don’t know what I was doing there or who I was with or what I was wearing. I have no idea what time of the year it was. How’s that for an auspicious beginning to explaining where the setting for a book came from?
          Well, better than you’d think. No, wait, I’m the author, so I’ll be a little less arrogant and say more logical than you’d think. (This is still arrogant, to tell the truth—logic and I are enemies from way back.)

         The place in general was a big department store in Indianapolis, and the place in particular was a tearoom. I had lunch there. I don’t know what I ate or drank, but I remember the clink of shiny, unspotty flatware against thin china with gold or silver around its rims. I remember that the waitress—who wore a starched and attractive uniform—held up a pie plate as a shield against splashing when she poured hot beverages into pretty cups that fit women’s hands. I remember real cream in glass pitchers and ice tinkling in sparkling glasses of water with slices of lemon in them. I remember cloth napkins and table covers, though not what color they were.
          I remember—and here’s the logical part—how I felt when I was there. I was a country kid who was happy to be one. Elegance had had no part in my life and it wasn’t anything I’d missed. But I liked that hour or so of thin china and crisp linen napkins and quiet socialness. Elegance. It created a restful place in my tempestuous adolescent soul that I went back to time after time over the years.
          Segue into…oh, a long time later.
***
   When Lucy Dolan’s rusty blue van broke down in front of the Victorian house belonging to the woman she’d driven to Taft, Indiana to visit, it was the last straw. If Lucy had been the pulling-her-hair-out and wailing “why me?” sort, she’d have done just that. Instead, almost before she knew it, her restaurant experience combined seamlessly with Gert Taylor’s business savvy and Tea on Twilight was born. The tearoom had cloth napkins and table covers, thin china, shiny flatware—sound familiar? It had, in the little river town, just a touch of elegance.
      
          But then Boone Brennan, Gert’s oh-yeah-gorgeous nephew, comes to town for the summer, and he’s not at all sure how he feels about tearooms. Or about Lucy Dolan.
          How about you? What do you consider a touch of elegance?
***
A note added in 2016. With Nan's help, I remembered that the tearoom was in L. S. Ayres. It's still alive, operating, and elegant at the Indiana State Museum, and one of these days I'm going back.

13 comments:

  1. The tea room used to be The Place during Christmas shopping on Black Friday:) I miss that place! And yes, it was LS Ayers:) We also ate at the one in Castleton Square Mall. I took my BFF there in 1989 when she was shopping for a wedding dress.

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    1. I didn't know there was one in Castleton. Is it still there?

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  2. We definitely have to go to the Tea Room at the museum one day when you're in Indy. It's a treat, especially at the holidays. Sure hope you feel better quick, Liz! ((Hugs))

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  3. I love tea rooms, although I'm not such a fan of tea - the hot kind, anyway. I drink it in the winter occasionally, but iced tea is more my thing. However, I love tea cups and pots and quiet little restaurants where women talk about...everything.

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    1. I like tea, but I'd like tearooms anyway, because they ARE those quiet little restaurants where women talk.

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  4. I can't say I've had a whole lot of experience with tea rooms, but yours sounds delightful, Liz. For me elegance is a really nice hotel with fluffy towels and even fluffier robes, and lovely lotions and shampoos to indulge in. Ah. I feel more relaxed already!

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  5. Feel better, Liz. I grew up in Columbus Ohio. So for us it was the Lazarus Chintz Room. It was quite a special event to go there especially at the holidays. The Tea Room at State Museum during the holidays is almost as good.

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    1. I think it's on Nan's and my list--maybe you can join us!

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  6. I love the tea room we go to here in Washington. It's in a small town in our county--and it's nice to get away with just the women in our family. I don't drink tea any other time except when I go there and I drink a pot and a half by myself. LOL.

    And I love the tea room in Jar of Dreams!

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