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Dedicated local volunteers made 2009 Back Alley Tea Party a great success

By Staff | Jun 12, 2009

Shepherdstown heralded spring’s arrival with the annual Back Alley Tour and Tea. As the Tea chairman, I would like to acknowledge and profusely thank all the volunteers that enthusiastically made the tea such a success. It was truly a labor of love, or at least labor, by a huge segment of not only Shepherdstown but involving people from Harper’s Ferry, Martinsburg, Charles Town, Keedysville and everywhere in between. My committee coordinators, Shirley Derr, Martha Young, and Sheri Garner plus Mary Stanley and Diane Cushing spent many weekly meetings helping plan it .

As one can see, there was a huge number of volunteers involved in making the Tea a success. Judy Olsen did flyers and posters. Meg Spurlin did all the spectacular flower arrangements which were a definite highlight of the tea. Diane Cushing made the signs that were found all over Shepherdstown and spruced up the front of the Volunteer Caregivers office, the front and back of the library and the flower pots in front of the Men’s Club. A tea wouldn’t be a tea without the beautiful cups loaned to us by Donn Marshall and his Shelly Marshall Foundation. Sheri Garner, now known as “the Tea Lady” and her faithful “cold tea ladies”, Vicki Lanham and Vicky Thomas helped slake the thirst of those hardy souls who braved the heat on the tour. Sheri also made the headdresses for our servers. Eunice Earls , Cris Kinsella, Sylvia Boyer, Margie Blostone and Jim Surkamp took tickets.

The kitchen was most efficiently run by Shirley Derr, Martha Young and Kelly Duncan. Sandwich makers, plate fillers and general all-around “go where needed-ers” were Diane Cushing, Cindy Keller, Jill Schatkin, Roy Winkle, Annie Knode, Peachy Staley, Pam Arnold, Anne Small, Alice McCarthy, Anne Eden, Bill Butt, and Liz Kyle.

We worked hard to create an ambience in which to enjoy a respite from the heat. Suzy Yates made the aprons and painted the name tags and the door decorations. The child’s table and chairs belong to Jane McSwain and the dolls were loaned by Lillian Kinser. “Sculpy” bees and Mae’s mini petite fours were made by my committee. Flowers in pots belong to Liz Kyle. The Friday Painters provided many works of art to help create a welcoming touch, both upstairs and downstairs.

Our faithful “flower ” servers, who have returned for the third tea were recruited by Nathan Howard and organized by Libby Howard. In addition to Nate, they included Kylen and Danielle Ford, Anya Wallace, Katie Super, Sierra Grabowska, Stella Barrat, Zoe Levine, Meredith Stains, Anna Beckett, and Nell Barber, several of whom worked both days and both shifts.

A total of 30 local bakers cheerfully donated the baked goods when I asked. They are: Martha Young, Suzy Yates, Shirley Derr, Honnor Dorsey, Libby Howard and her mother, Aileen Boyd, Marty Bowen, Vicky Thomas, Rozzy Garner, Pat Grinnen,Vickie Smith, Christine Parfitt, Nancy Kautz, Joan Keith, Nan Broadhurst, Suzy Spencer, Lolly Martin, Diana Eldridge, Alice McCarthy, Anne Small, Vicky Walker, Nancy Strite, Anne Eden, Ed Moore, Vina Vaughn Parmesano, Jill Schatkin, Linda Reynolds, Esther Murphy, and Cathy Malast.

I can’t thank enough my hard working clean-up crew, consisting of Tom and Diane Cushing, Kelly Duncan, Martha Young, Liz Kyle and Anne Eden, who stayed to the bitter end. Tom and Diane also loaded my car and Diane’s truck and made numerous trips home with all my stuff. Thanks Mary Stanley and Liz Kyle for your support and my husband Mike who ate a lot of soup for a lot of days and made a lot of “help, I need” trips. If I have missed any one, I am truly sorry. As you see, tremendous number of people were involved in making the Back Alley Tea a success.

Bonnie Austin

Back Alley Tea Party Coordinator,


Men’s Club

Hospitality Chairman