Monday, February 11, 2013

Tea for Barby


At Sweet Shalom's with Friends of Barby:  Karen, Pam,  Susan,
Chris, Sharon, Beverly, another Susan. 
Some of Barby’s friends had a “Barby High Tea” yesterday afternoon at a picturesque place called “Sweet Shalom.”  I’ve passed the yellow and white house with a white picket fence and old-fashioned gazebo porch many times since I’ve been in Sylvania, always wondering what it could be.  Such a sweet name, too.

I found out it’s a lovely tea room in an elegant old farm house built in 1868 (first owner was a farmer and Civil War veteran).  The house has been expanded several times under different owners. It’s three original rooms now serve as the tea rooms.  We sat at a table next to a lovely fireplace, with pretty table settings and tea pots to match..The almond scones, tea sandwiches and desserts were just as pretty, and delicious. The name was chosen purposefully  for its meaning by the current owners of the tea room, Sara Velasquez and Chris Kruse and their families: peace above all, and harmony, wellness, and completeness.  A perfect place to salute Barby and share memories.  

Pam organized us, “us” being a group of eclectic women (teachers, a dancer, artist, musician, storytellers, travelers, friends from church, university, and olden days) that only Barby could have gathered together.  Pam had also lovingly created wonderful momentos for each of us, from  things she found at Barby’s home, things Barby had collected, like old crocheted lace and silver ribbon.  Very special.  We didn’t remain strangers for long, as we reminisced, chatted, and enjoyed each other's company. "How did you know Barby?" was enough to get us going.   We talked about teaching, literature, collecting things. We talked about where Barby's vast collection of books, especially children's literature, had gone, all to good causes.  I told about giving her yarn (tons of it) and sewing stuff  to church women who made things for the sick, the poor and the homeless.  A few of the women had read my Ukrainian adventure blogs.  A few were with Barby at the end, like guardian angels, taking care of her, massaging her, reading to her.  They recalled that after her stroke,  physically debilitating though her mind was alert, they could tell, she was ready to go. She had seen son Marty, who lives in Toledo, and was awaiting son David from New York City.  Once David arrived, the guardian angels said, she was ready to move on,

We were kind of moving on with her in spirit.  “Let’s do it again, next time at Manhattan's downtown, for a Sunday brunch or, how about drinks. Super!  I think we could all feel Barby's spirit floating around us and through us as we remembered and laughed.    
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