Loyal Daughters carry on time-honored tradition
"Good afternoon ladies and...." Ben Thomas Jr. began, opening yet another function of Old Home Week in his role as president. As he looked around the room at the Greencastle-Antrim Loyal Daughters Triennial Meeting, he realized he could not finish the sentence in the traditional manner. The women and girls filling the Special Events Center laughed, fully aware that the organization was open to just one gender.
Thomas welcomed everyone to Greencastle and encouraged them to participate fully in the special reunion week activities, with many remaining after their Tuesday, Aug. 3 meeting.
Sylvia Bonebrake, a State Line resident but native of London, was the featured speaker. Her talk, titled, 'When Tea Cups Talk', embraced the theme of the meeting, 'Friendship Tea'. The treasure of a cup of tea with friends or family, who were truly also friends, was a valued part of her life.
"In England as a child, afternoon tea was a cherished tradition," she recalled.
At 3 p.m. the dining room was set with a lace tablecloth and linen napkins. Her mother served finger sandwiches and sweet dainties. The time together was special, an opportunity to talk, to relax, to enjoy each other's company. During World War II her parents invited Allied soldiers into the house for tea and also expanded the welcome by allowing them to telephone their families back home.
When Bonebrake was older and in the workforce, she and her female peers would take a late lunch in order to rush to a nearby hotel for the 3:00 tea dances. Servicemen were their dance partners.
Tea for laborers differed. It was held later in the day and included heavier food for the hungry men. But the importance of that quiet time in each day has lingered with Bonebrake yet, and she still observes the custom with British friends living nearby once a month.
"It's not the tea, it's the love in each cup, and a little bit of sugar," she said.
The Loyal Daughters, begun in 1920, was initially open to every "gal" or "daughter" of Greencastle, especially those married to one of the "old boys". The purpose was "to advance the welfare of Greencastle and to mold the past with the present". Currently, any present or former resident of the Greencastle-Antrim community may join by paying $3 in dues. The money cleared after expenses for the meeting is used for projects within the community. After OHW in 2007, the Daughters made contributions to Pregnancy Ministries, Inc., Greencastle-Atnrim Education Foundation, the G-A Veteran's Memorial, and Cedar Hill Cemetery for tree trimming. The designation of the 2010 funds will be determined by the Board of Directors.
Marcie Zimmerman presided over the gathering. New officers were elected: Barb Nicarry, president: Anne Larew and Patti Divelbiss, vice presidents; Donna Wolfe, secretary; and Dotti Zimmerman, historian.
During the afternoon session, music was provided by Sallianne and Maggie Rose Crawford and Anna Nowell.
A memorial service was held for members who passed away since the last meeting. They were: Eilene Sowell, Hazel Sellers, Betsy Fleagle, Jane Miller, Ruth Fox Bowders, Nan Conrad Flaherty, Matilda "Tillie" Wine, Evelyn Myers, Helen Myers, Marie Conrad, Stella Thomas, Brenda Uccellini, Charlotte Lutz and Isabelle Miller.
Refreshments included iced tea and the tiny sandwiches and desserts typical of English teas.