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Behind the Scenes

By Staff | May 25, 2012

Shepherdstown’s annual Back Alley Tea was another fantastic success. The weather was glorious, people were out in droves, we had lots of help and wonderful food. As the Tea Coordinator, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers who helped me again, many of whom have been with me from the very beginning. I could never have done it without my faithful team. The committee consists of Shirley Derr, Martha Young, Cindy Reeser, Sheri Garner, Vicki Lanham and Diane Cushing. Shirley is the kitchen coordinator, supplement- ed by Martha and Cindy with the help of Ann Small, Anne Eden, Judy Jenner and Didi Champion. Nothing could be done without the fastidious and extremely careful cup washers, namely Ron Reeser, Chris Duewel, Lanie Reichardt, Didi Champion, Ann Wayt, David Startzell and Diane Kradel.

Probably the most popular part of the tea, besides the food is our group of “flower” servers. Libby Howard and her son Nathan helped me find the group 5 years ago and they are still with us , having added a few new recruits. Most of them work all day both days. This year the servers were Nathan Howard, Sierra Grabowska, Katy Super, Anya Wallace, Zoe and Milo Levine, Claire and Josie Lo. It would be impossible to find a nicer, politer, more hardworking, not to mention cuter, group of teen-agers anywhere.

The “Tea Ladies” are an important group who help make the tea such a success. The two coordinators are Vicki Lanham and Sheri Garner, who insisted on taking her shift despite recovering from foot surgery. They were assisted by Vicki Thomas, Diane Cushing, Shirley Huddleston, Catharine Wilson and Katy Super,

The fast paced “plate fixers” were Pam Arnold, Cindy Keller, Jane McSwain, Roy Winkle, Betty Snyder, Anne Eden, Judy Jenner, Didi Champion and me. The Tea ticket takers were Virginia Janes, Marge Losch, Winnie Bernat, Carol Johnson, Carol Rosewag and Eunice Earle.

The theme this year was “Let’s Garden.” Special guests for the fourth year were “Mae,” and her guests “Aunt Rosa” and “Guido,” life-sized manikins who are owned by Judy Olsen. They had their private table in the corner with their gluten free bagels and iced tea. Gerber daisies graced the center of the tables with an assortment of garden tools, gloves and seed packets. The room was further enhanced by the addition of paintings of outdoor scenes done by Mike Austin, a member of the “Friday Painters.” Judy Olsen designed our flyers, cards and tickets with her usual capable cheerfulness. The focal point of the tea was the beautiful antique teacups generously loaned to us by Donn Marshall and his Shelly A. Marshall Foundation.

Forty-one wonderful people were willing to bake for the tea and provided 1714 cookies and 375 scones. They are: Rebecca Ayraud, Pam Arnold, Carol Asam, Bonnie Austin, Winnie Bernat, Aileen Boyd, Judith Briod, Pat Brown, Sue Brown, Denise Campolieto, Margaret Coe, Sue Collins, Diane Cushing, Marit Davis, Honnor Dorsey, Anne Eden, Sheri Garner, Mina Goodrich, Libby Howard, Judy Jenner, Carol Johnson, Joan Keith, Cindy Keller, Cris Kinsella, Ann Knode, Vicki Lanham, Jane McSwain, Wendy Moseley, Esther Murphy, Barbara Null, Judy Olsen, Cindy Reeser, Linda Reynolds, Carol Rosewag, Anne Small, Vickie Smith, Vicky Thomas, Vicky Walker, Ann Wayt, and Martha Young. Shirley Derr made 200 pieces of Biscotti , Mina Goodrich baked 200 pepper cookies and the “Tea committee” each made 75 scones.

The worst part of having a big event like this is the clean-up. It was compounded by the fact that contractors were coming in first thing Monday morning to continue with the floor refinishing project. The servers unset the tables and Vicki Thomas, Diane Cushing, Didi Champion, Jack and Martha Young, and Cindy Reeser scrambled to wrap up the cups, and box up everything. Cindy Reeser stayed to the bitter end and wouldn’t leave until I did. A huge thanks to my husband Mike ,who had to load his truck and my car while closing down the Friday Painter’s art exhibit. Lastly, I could never attempt bringing in all of the things we need for the tea without the help of Terry Rouse at the Police Dept. who sees to it that two parking meters are bagged off for us for us so we don’t have to single-handedly support the dept. with our parking meter quarters. If I missed anyone, I am truly sorry. Now you see why I say it really does to take a village to put on a tea. I nearly forgot ! We served 305 guests.

Bonnie Austin

Back Alley Tea Coordinator