One of the most popular items at the Victorian High Tea besides the fabulous raffle prizes has been the Best Hat and Best Table Contests which started in 2010.
Both events are conducted as “People’s Choice” and the Tea guests take their responsibility as judges quite seriously, touring all the tables and listening carefully as each Hat Lady gives her name and reason for choosing to wear a particular chapeau.
The winners in the Best Hat Contest were: First Place Marilyn MIravette-Smith (4th from the left), Second Place Amy Arroyo (far left) and Third Place Ola Washington (2nd from left).
The First Place Best Table, decorated to honor Relay for Life, was won by Tracy Sisson Philips and Dawne Hamilton while Second Place went to Amy Arroyo and Third Place to Debbie Hernandez.
Tea Hostesses served a record number of guests this year. We greatly appreciate the hospitality provided by Beverly Kelley, Cathy Thomason, Cathy Penprase, Sylvia Munoz-Schnopp, Edna Ingram, Catherine Ingram-Mehari, Tracy; Sisson-Phillips, Natalie Ferentz, Lauryn Jaramillo, Jonnie Lisman, Bonnie Goldstein, JOanne Gibson, Laurie Richardson, Amy Arroyo, Rosemary Tobin, Paula Sullivan, Ellen Rosen, Jackie Lpock.
If you thought the food was delicious, many of our contributors were kind enough to share their receipes. You can find your favorite sandwich, sweet or savory here.
A special thank you to door prize donors: Anacappuccino, Pizza Man Dan, Island Packers, Yolanda’s Restaurant, Karen Reilly, Cathy Thomason, Lani Byhoffer, Loise Adailkkalam, Rebecca Rubalcava, Cathy Penprase, Beverly Kelley, Bonnie Goldstein, Erma Waddell, Carol Melugin, PHo Saigon Restaurant, Chinese Dumpling House Restaurant, and Arlene Fraser.
Excerpted from a booklet titled “Fourth of July Story” by Uncle Al (Gerberding) presented as a birthday gift for Beryl’s 20th birthday on September 19, 1890. Note: This story described a time when there were no laws against exploding fireworks in Port Hueneme. Thomas and Molly Bard raised eight children at Berylwood, a property which included 40 acres of orchard, dairy farm and forest.
“It was the morning of the Fourth, as you know, and all the fireworks lay on the closet shelf taking over the great preparations that had been made,” began Grandma Gerberding.
“Today is a grand day for us. We’re the most important things in the whole world,” said a Roman candle to its neighbor, a slender skyrocket,”of course it will be the end of us, but we can show these children what wonders we were made for.”
“There’s one thing,” remarked a stumpy little firecracker to a torpedo, “when I die, there’ll be a bigger explosion than when you do.”
“But I shall die in the parlor and you’ll die out of doors,” answered the other.
Forgotten over in the corner a Chinese bomb hugged itself in silence as it thought how it could make more noise than both together.
“I shall make a whirr and such a pretty flower of light,” said the pinwheel with satisfaction.
“What are you giggling about?”she snapped sharply at a jolly little pack of firecrackers what was chuckling to itself.
“They may look at you for a moment, but I shall be their playmate. Now I shall make them run,” he exclaimed.
Don’t quarrel,” said the rocket so severely that his stick quivered. “Remember this is nearly our last hour. How I shall mount to the sky and blaze like a star.”
“Yes, for an instant’ then you’ll come down a burnt stick,” said the pinwheel, spitefully.
“I should think your approaching end would alter your disposition to say unpleasant things to people,” said the Roman candle, “You’re always saying mean and unkind things.”
“I’m a great deal older than you,” said a volcano, “for I’m a leftover from last year, and have been lying for a whole year in a dusty store. You don’t know how pleasant it is to fuel clean and to look through that window into that lovely garden. It was horribly lonely in the attic and the spiders were so familiar, spinning their webs all over me, when I know that just one touch of a lighted match and I could blow them all to pieces. Once in awhile, the storekeeper came up with a candle to look for something and I nearly burst with excitement when he brought it near my fuse. You can imagine how glad I was to be taken down and dusted off and brought to this pleasant house. Just look and see those children having a ride in that dirtcart (wheelbarrow). Well, this morning one of the little girls took me out to visit the corral and the pigpen. Then her sister walked off by herself and they said she was sulking, but I don’t believe she’d be that. I think she was just wondering what were were made of . . . ‘
“Gunpowder and lots of things,” cried the bengola.
“Be still,” said the pinwheel. “It is so rude to interrupt a person who is telling a story.” And she thought to herself “I mean to tell one myself when he has finished and I’ll just let them know now that I don’t wish to be interrupted.”
“That’s about all” said the Volcano continuing, “except the grand luncheon they had spread under the trees with the table so beautifully decorated. The little girl put me right down beside her plate and I saw it all.”
“I saw them taking pictures on the lawn,” began the Roman candle, “and one was the most loving one you ever saw of those children’s mother and father. Then there was one of . . .”
“Oh, dear,” thought the pinwheel impatiently, “now she’s going to talk for an hour, when I can say and do a great deal finer things than any of them.”
“There was one picture,” continue the Roman candle, “of the grandmother holding Anna’s hand, and one of the cute little baby in a red, white and blue cap. Then the children’s uncle took a picture of them in a group. He is a very distinguished personage, you don’t know what an elegant walk he has, but he don’t mind being undignified when he is with the children, and keeps all this grand manners for common people who own banks.”
“Quite right, quite right,”nodded the rocket, “the common people have to be kept in place,” and he looked meaningly towards the pinwheel.
“At last I can speak,” said the latter. But just then the door opened and in rushed the children.
“Hoopla. Hurrah for the Fourth of July. Now we can shoot off the fireworks,” they cried.
“Oh Grandma, you’re just making it up. Rockets and Roman candles can’t talk,” cried Beryl.
But her grandmother only smiled. Then all the children fired off the crackers. They banged away in grand style little Tom was frightened and cried, while all the other Chinnies (siblings) laughed.
The dog did not think them at all funny, but seemed to have a lively fear that they would burn his home. The spiteful little pinwheel met with an inglorious end, for by mistake she was set off in the daytime and so no one could see her pretty rose of fire, and she sputtered herself out in a rage.
Everybody dressed up in flags and looked patriotic and happy. One of the children said she wondered whether the birds like the noise or not; so they listened to such a chirping and twittering that was going on in the tippiest top of the trees.
The whole point of the Holiday Book and Gift Boutique is not to make money but rather to make affordable gifts available to those members of our community who want to give friends and family the perfect gift but haven’t acquired the financial means to do so. At the Sixth Annual Holiday Book and Gift Boutique, more than one hundred individuals were able to find something for each and every person on their respective shopping lists.
We always love waiting on the little kids who count out their allowance money. quarter by quarter, and who swear us to secrecy as we wrap up their selections for Mommy and Daddy or Sister and Brother.
This year, however, we were especially impressed with a beautiful white-haired woman in a wheelchair. She was going to wrap up one of the like-new stuffed animals for a 90-year-old friend who lives in a convalescent home because, in her words, she wanted “to spread the smiles around.”
Credit for the success of this event certainly goes to all the people who donated jewelry, scarves, holiday housewares, Christmas books, stuffed animals and all the other goods that covered the 25 cent, 50-cent, $1, and $3-$5 tables. We also want to single out for special mention first, Jonnie Lisman who supervised the pricing of the items over several days by loyal bookies and board members ( Carol Melugin, Nancy Robarge, Carolyn Heiser, and Bonnie Goldstein); second, JoAnn Van Reenan who managed the volunteers (Cathy Thomason, Cathy Penprase, Lorena Arroyo, Rosemary Tobin, Jonnalyn Cabarles, Arlene Fraser, Blanca Smith, Bernadette McDowell and Beverly Kelley) who set up the tables, cashiered, bagged purchases, helped out the customers and restocked the tables as necessary.
JoAnn, who is also our Treasurer, reported that we made more than $630 this year but even though that’s the highest profit we have ever made, it also indicates that we saw the biggest crowds turnout. The sheer number of shoppers told us that even though the recession is supposedly over, it’s not yet time to bring this community outreach program to an end. Our customers also told us that they really appreciated this opportunity to fill stockings and remember everybody at this special time of year.
A very special shout out goes to Debbie Hernandez and Becky Rubalcava who brought in the muscle power needed to set up and break down the tables and to move furniture in order to make a space for the sale.
Finally, a very special thank you is extended to Bernadette McDowell and the rest of her staff for graciously hosting this event at the Prueter Library as well as to Sienna Sydlaske who was simultaneously heading up a Star Wars party in the children’s section of the library and which helped bring in even more shoppers to our event as well.
It all started during the economic downturn in 2008, when frustrated parents told us they could not afford to buy the cherished classics they found under the tree when they were kids.
That’s when we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
Our Prueter Library “bookies” (volunteers who sort, clean and price used books) started to set aside a selection of gently-used donations that would provide an affordable alternative (under $1) to cash-strapped parents and grandparents.
And since it is better to give than to receive, the Port Hueneme Friends of the Library also scoured their jewelry boxes, closets, toy chests, DVD collections and garages in search of nearly-new yet gift-quality treasures that youngsters might buy for less than a quarter or two.
Those of us staffing the sale tables look forward to assisting the young people who show up with a long list of people to buy for and a fistful of quarters. We not only assure them that their allowance will cover their purchases but also provide bags so that Mommy and Daddy (who are still busy shopping) will be suitably surprised come December 25.
In addition, the naming of the “white elephant in the room” has become an unexpected tradition as well. Each year we find an item that we, collectively, are quite positive will never find a buyer—at least not somebody in his or her right mind.
The most memorable, by far, was a toilet plunger decorated in appropriate greenery for St. Patrick’s Day. Sure enough, an adult and her two offspring snapped it up—allowing that it would be ideal for an unsuspecting Irish relative.
So whether you’re focused on the wearin’ or the savin’ of the green this holiday season, the Port Hueneme Library is the place to be on Saturday December 5 from noon to three. The event is only open for three short hours so come early for the best bargains. And bring a fistful of quarters.
The Friends of the Library Board is pleased to report that receipts for the 14th Annual Victorian High Tea (invitation only) which included seat ticket sales (@$30) and the two drawings ($10 tickets and 6/$5 tickets) broke the all-time record this year. JoAnn Van Reenan made a very significant deposit into the FOL checking account to be used to support the various programs we offer at the Prueter Library. In addition, the number of guests was the highest ever (140 men and women) but because of the additional space created by removing several stacks on the library floor, we all enjoyed plenty of elbow room and easy access when we walked between our tables to get food or to check out the phenomenal creativity of our hostesses.
The one thing that sets the FOL Victorian High Tea apart from all others is the food—the quality, variety and generosity are unparalleled anywhere, and explains, in part, the popularity of our invitation-only event. A special thanks has already been extended to our inspired chefs by the guests who either piled their tea plates high or partook of seconds and even thirds. The two food tables actually groaned under the weight of all those delicious bites of baked goods, finger sandwiches, fruit, and candy.
Kudos and credit also goes out to our hard-working board members as well as our volunteer hostesses (Bette Alburtis, Amy Arroyo, Heather Behrens, Donna Breeze, Veronica Centeno, Carol Chapman, Marian Drabkin, Natalie Ferentz, Bonnie Goldstein, Jackie Griffin, Debbie Hernandez, Fran Hruska, Edna Ingram, Beverly Kelley, Marietta King, Miriam Kozlovskis, Colleen McCarthy, Bernadette McDowell Carmen Nichols, Susan Nielson, Mary Neil, Cathy Penprase, Ellen Rosen, Robin Sills, Cathy Thomason, JoAnn Van Reenan, and Charity Winiarski) who made this event such a huge success.
Double Winner Amy Arroyo
Results of the Voters Choice for Best Table: Colleen McCarthy (Halloween Theme), Debbie Hernandez (Golden Elegance) and Amy Arroyo (Mad Hatters Tea Party).
Results of the Voters Choice for Best Hat: Amy Arroyo, Carol Porto and Christina Weiss.