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A debt of gratitude

By Staff | May 31, 2013

The first thing I must do is apologize for the length of this letter. I feel it is very

important for the community-at-large to become aware of how many dedicated volunteers it took to put on the Back Alley Tea. They have cheerfully responded to anything I have asked of them and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their support. The planning committee consisted of Shirley Derr, Martha Young, Cindi Reeser, Diane Cushing, Vicki Lanham and Sheri Garner.

An integral part of the tea were the tea urns and the beautiful cups that were again so generously loaned to us by Donn Marshall and the Shelley Marshall Foundation. They always add such a touch of elegance.

Our teen servers, always a favorite part of the tea, were recruited by the very visible Nathan Howard and his “not so visible mother” Libby. Many of the servers have been with me for the past 6 years. They were Nathan Howard, Katy Super, Molly Briggs, Clara Lo, Zoe and Milo Levine, Josie and Gracie Valentine and Olivia and Maggie Lana.

The kitchen crew consisted of Shirley Derr, Judy Jenner, Cindi Reeser and Martha Young. The cup washers were Susan Brown, Ron Reeser, David Startzell, Max Derr, Bill Butt and Susan Brown.

The Tea Ladies were Sheri Garner who was the “hot” tea lady. The “cold” tea ladies were Diane Cushing, Vicki Lanham, Sue Hamilton, Anne Small and Carol Rosewag. The “plate fixers” were Angela Severson, Bonnie Austin, Roy Winkel, Didi Champion, Carolyn Robel-Litwack, Judith Briod, Pam Arnold and Jane McSwain.

The ticket takers were Marge Losch, Carolyn Robel-Litwack, Eunice Earle and Virginia Janes.

One can’t have a tea without “sweets and savories”. Assisting with the baking were Carol Asam, Bonnie Austin, Rebecca Ayraud, Judith Briod, Pat Brown, Susan Brown, Margaret Coe, Sue Collins, Diane Cushing, Marit Davis, Shirley Derr, Anne Eden, Rozzy Garner, Sheri Garner, Mina Goodrich, Libby Howard, Judy Jenner, Joan Keith, Cindy Keller, Cris Kinsella, JoAnn Knode, Sue Lane, Vicki Lanham, Wendy Moseley, Jane McSwain, Roy Null, Suzie Patrick, Cindy Reeser, Linda Reynolds, Carol Rosewag, Anne Small, Vickie Smith, Louisa Sonnik, Vicky Thomas and Martha Young.

Diane Cushing helped me put up decorations, Don Davis climbed the big ladder, Don and Tom Huddleston and my husband Mike put up the tables and chairs and moved the screen. Denise Capolieto loaned us the “trees” on the walls.

The Potomac-Mechlenberg Garden Club came through for me when I asked them if they would make “Faerie” Houses for decorations. The members who spent two days making them were: Suzy Yates, Nancy Kautz, Rebecca Ayraud, Linda Reynolds, Noreen Albright, Aileen Boyd, Charlotte Porter, Suzy Patrick, Sheri Garner, Janice Smith, Ruth Whitlock, Diane Cushing, Marge Losch and I We sold three of them and the money was donated to the Garden Club.

There were so many people helping me clean up that I lost track of who they were. Suffice it to say, I couldn’t have done it without their help and without the help of my husband Mike who made what seemed like a gazillion trips with his truck…both bringing in the stuff, going back after forgotten items and taking everything back home at the conclusion. He was unfailingly cheerful when I became cranky which I certainly appreciated.

It is with mixed emotions that my “Tea Committee and I have decided that this will be our last Back Alley Tea. It is an exhausting job to organize and put on and frankly, after six straight years, we are burned out. We truly appreciate the support we have gotten from the community and beyond. We wish our successors all the luck for future Teas.

Bonnie Austin

Back Alley Tea Chairman