Monday, September 21, 2009

Last floor, the Palms Tea Room!

So popular were teas over the decades that the era of 1930s and 1940s found department stores appointing the greater part of a floor to splendid tea rooms and the devotees of tea! This quiet elegance and genteel service of tea, amidst lavishly adorned palm fronds, became a cloistered oft times all female strong hold.

Oh yes, taking "Tea" was an unspoken gesture to one another that life was good, that beauty mattered, and that order and civil stability, as always, prevailed. A way of life and tea was the security of luxury and social outlet that woman were craving.

And, who were these women who frequented these splendid tea rooms?

Contrary to "then" popular opinion, frequenters of tea rooms were not always a cadre of humorless, pious, etiquette minded harpies that eschewed pleasure. However, it may not be implausible that among a good portion of these generous, kind hearted community leaders there may have bristled a painful twinge or the irritant of a feather or two ruffled amiss with the public's appropriation and pre-occupation of the pin-up girls during the WWII era!

Yes, true among these women tea goers, there did indeed remain a great gasping breath of resuscitation in conservative attitudes which still prevailed strong and stalwart in the 1940s. But, as the war loomed onward, and women's roles changed, a change in Tea goers could also be seen. Tea rooms were becoming more and more frequented, as scarce monies and time would allow privilege, by the working women whose heart quickened with patriotism at the mere mention of Rosie the Riveter.  These working women too, were longing for "the tea of tranquility"!

While tea was intended for a few moments of reprieve from stresses of life in the war era, the overall experience was not an affair for the faint of heart. Social etiquette took second place to none within the boundaries of tea court! Etiquette was observed and noted discreetly, from beneath lowered lashes of onlookers, if not practiced precisely. And, there, in the tea room, genealogy pedigree charts were compared with practice born of repetition and shared behind many the petite and gloved hand.

Gloves, oh indeed...from hats, and clothing (shoulder yokes and waist of contrasting color, ladies!) to gloves, all were worn purely to impress. Oh surely, one must often times have endeavored and aspired, worrying themselves to tears and vapors to be the paragon of fashion in the 1940s era!

While it was absolutely appropriate to express appreciation of surroundings, the line was fine in showing officious admiration or serious disdain of the tea room, hostess, service and overall appeal in surroundings. One must surely not glance askew nor allow ones glance to linger too long and covet any one aspect of the appropriated tea amenities!

Lest we not forget, take note that department stores did not have the monopoly in offering the afternoon tea! Remember, if you will please, the valiant women who also appointed rooms from their homes or opened shops (the well connected and fortunate ones) in hopes of earning a pittance of small income. And, daily, many the matron was who served teas on social occasions, from charity events through soirees to ladies and gentlemen alike. To those tea proprietresses, very serious in appropriate etiquette and tea service, equally very important was the offering of appropriate accouterments of a fine tea. Many is the hostess and proprietress who wouldn't serve tea until it was firmly established as to the type of congealed salad these fine women were going to serve with tea. Everything else at the tea, was secondary to tea and congealed salad. Of course, it was necessary to have the proper cream for tea!

Quite The Stir Bungalow...a Bed and Breakfast, ( Click here for Bungalow Website or contact the for details) is most pleased to announce the first in a series of  themed "Bungalow Teas" coming Thanksgiving week, 2009 (Rosie The Riveter and Pin Up Girls are also welcome)!  Proceeds from the first in a series of inaugural "Bungalow Teas" will be donated to an Assisted Living/Nursing Care Facility still housing brave men and women who proudly served during WWII!