Guest Post: Tea at the Mayflower

Please make a note to join us in toasting Emilie Loring on her birthday, September 5th. Send your photos and captions to:  contact@pattibender.com  

My husband has to stay home and work (Thanks, Sweetie!), but I’m heading to New England to visit some of my favorite spots, double-check a couple of references, and toast Emilie in style. 

Imagine my glee when Peggy from Illinois sent in her second guest post! It’s actually two-for-one, because she has her own blog and wrote a fun post there showing some of her Emilie Loring art projects. You’re going to want to grab a paint brush… See that post here.

I still have packing to do, so thank you, Peggy, and enjoy her posts, everyone! 

Mayflower Hotel entrance
The historic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Tea at the Mayflower

Emilie Loring’s heroines were such great role models for me.  I wanted to be like them in so many ways.  A few of her stories took place in Washington, D.C., especially during World War II.  Influenced by Emilie Loring’s books, I dreamed of living and working in that vitally important city of Washington, D.C.   So many places were discussed in Emilie’s books.  For example, Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, though unnamed, is clearly the historic tavern where a USO dance took place in Keepers of the Faith.  Of course, the Pentagon figured in Keepers of the Faith as well, since Nancy Barton worked there. Other monuments like Washington’s Mt Vernon Estate were featured in characters’ tours around the city.  (see them in this post: Keepers of the Faith in World War II)

One historic place featured in Emilie Loring’s novels set in the nation’s capital stands out–the Mayflower Hotel.  Vital events occurred at the Mayflower in Emilie Loring’s world.  And as tea is essential in Emilie Loring’s world, her ladies were usually having tea at the Mayflower.

Mayflower Hotel polished interiorThe Mayflower first opened in 1925. The Mayflower’s own site describes the historic hotel:

As one of the most historic hotels in Washington, D.C., The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection, has welcomed locals and visitors alike into its elegantly gilded hallways and gloriously appointed spaces for nearly a century – playing host to inaugural balls and ladies who lunch, the famous and the infamous, decades of society weddings and legions of guests who just wanted to be in the center of it all.

(http://www.themayflowerhotel.com/history/)

Happily, my career did lead me to Washington, D.C. I attended industry meetings and soirees, visited regulators and clients across the city regularly.  I could not wait to set my eyes on and enter the Mayflower. I had the good fortune of attending some events at the Mayflower during my years there.  (We did not have smart phones in those days to take selfies and other photos. And I was in telecom, pursuing policies to make all this neat stuff possible!)

Here are some memorable moments in Emilie Loring’s books that took place at the Mayflower:

  1. Love Came Laughing By(1949): Vance Tyler dropped Wendy Adair at the Mayflower Hotel, where she freshened up from a long train ride and awaited for his return from delivering a vital message to the State Department.

 

 

“Later in a deep chair in the palm-sprinkled lobby where she could be seen from the entrance she watched the glass revolving door til her head threatened to whirl with it.” …

Wendy had hidden the vital message in the lining of her hat.  Van left her hat with a bell boy who told Wendy:

“A gentleman came to the desk, pointed you out, said it was yours, he found it in a cab you left in a hurry.”

Palm Court at the Mayflower 1925
Tea room at the Mayflower, ca. 1925
  1. Keepers of the Faith (1944): Nancy Barton frequented the Mayflower for tea. On a Sunday afternoon outing with Major Bill Jerrold, who was to be her leading man for a secret assignment, Nancy says that she’d like to go:

“Where there’s music and a chance to see some of the Big Names of the Capitol.”

Bill suggests: “Let’s take a chance on the Mayflower.”

Over tea, Bill asks whether Nancy likes rings.  “Mad about them.  Big splashy ones that are out of place on my job.”

As they leave, Bill and Nancy discover that Bill’s boss has taken tea with the red-haired Suzanne Dupree and the supposed Francois Bouvoir.  He has withdrawn and Bill tells Nancy that he’s “wondering why he was there—with them. He’s the higher up under whose orders you and I are working.”

****

Mayflower ballroom
Mayflower ballroom
  1. Across the Years (1939): The Mayflower had quite a central role during a course-changing afternoon for Faith Jarvis, her family and her boss, Senator Teele.

First, Faith Jarvis attends a reception at the Mayflower with her boss, Senator Teele, his sister Kitty, and other staff.  The reception is for a recently elected senator to introduce his new bride. Faith breaks a date with Duke Tremaine, our hero, to make the tea:

“Tell him the Senator’s orders changed my plans, that I must attend a tea at the Mayflower.”

Duke finds Faith at the Mayflower and takes her to dinner at an Inn outside of town.

“Any reason why you and I can’t dine at that chicken and waffle place now?”

“It’s a date.”

“Then we’ll do a quick fadeout. Get your coat.  I’ll tell Kitty where we’re going, otherwise she’ll set the F.B.I on your trail.  Make it snappy.  I’m starving.”

That same afternoon Madam Carr moves to the Mayflower to escape the tension in the home of Ben and Irene Jarvis.

Meanwhile the Senator returns home to discover a break-in of his study.  He is quite alarmed as top secret plans for a military weapon, in this run-up to World War II, are contained in his study.  And Faith’s brother is suspected!

 

 

My box of Emilie Loring books with their stories of the Mayflower in tow, I arrived in Washington, DC, where Emilie’s heroines walked and faced intrigue, danger… and romance.  It was now my turn to experience adventure against such an historic backdrop!

I so enjoy guest posts, don’t you?  Keep them coming, everyone! 

And get your toasting glasses ready.  Emilie’s birthday is just around the corner, and I’m going someplace special to celebrate! 

 


5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Tea at the Mayflower

  1. I was at the Mayflower once. A company I worked for had a convention dinner there. I remember staring up at the giant chandeliers in the room where we ate and the bacon wrapped stuffed mushrooms for appetizers. No recollection of what the convention was for.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting post! I very much enjoyed reading about the Mayflower and its role in several of Emilie’s novels. When I re-read them, I will have a different perspective. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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