When We Get Together for Tea

Emilie Loring’s son said to her,

“I like your parties, Mother. I like the conversation.”

I hope you will attend our annual Emilie Loring Tea Party on Thursday, July 7, at 4:00 p.m. your local time.

Come and see the cover of Happy Landings: Emilie Loring’s Life, Writing, and Wisdom for the very first time!

Send a photo and a little description of your tea to contact@pattibender.com. I will post your photos and stories throughout the day.

Emilie Loring’s tea service

Tea and Conversation

“Then, because of the tact and finesse that have made her tea and garden parties so popular, she kept the conversation ball rolling.”  

Boston Herald columnist Olga Owens, about Emilie Loring

Sometimes I wonder what we would talk about if we could meet in person. Emilie Loring, of course, but what about her? In advance of our annual tea, here are a few things you might have wondered about…

Emilie Loring’s Ring

Ring design from Hilltops Clear

Have you ever wondered what Emilie Loring’s wedding ring looked like?

With pincers she laid a large emerald in the center of a ring design on white paper, placed small diamonds. She indicated spaces.

“I want studding baguette diamonds there and there and a platinum setting. When I’ve made my fortune on the farm, I’ll make this ring for myself.”

Hilltops Clear

Or, several books mention a diamond circlet. Is that what she wore?

I searched photo after photo in the Loring family archives, and finally, I found it. In a photo taken for her fiftieth birthday, her left hand rested on her skirt, and my photo sleuthing software brought it into view.

Emilie Loring’s wedding ring

She wore a classic, simple wedding band–no emerald, no diamonds. But never fear, if you hoped, as I did, that she got her splashy ring. She had several.

How did she get the ideas for so many books?

Emilie Loring said that her story ideas came from “everywhere.” Several came from newspaper clippings, including this one.

Inspiration for Lighted Windows

Do you recognize it?

He shook out the evening paper, located the Lost and Found column and ran his finger down the list. “Here it is!” He read the advertisement through twice.

“LOST. Monday evening on Fifth Avenue, black satin slipper with rhinestone buckle. Reward, if returned at once to J. Trent, 0001 Madison Avenue.”

J. Trent. J. Trent. He had heard that combination before. He turned the name over and over in his mind. Click! It slipped into place. Janice Trent! Billy Trent’s sister “Jan.” He remembered her as a leggy child of twelve when he had spent his last college vacation before the war at the Trents’ country place…

Of course there could be two J. Trents in the City of New York, but–

“You have my slipper?”

He curiously regarded the girl on the threshold. Little Janice Trent grown up. The same boyish croak in her voice that he remembered. Who would have thought that the angular child would develop into beauty?

Lighted Windows

Such a little slip of inspiration, and what a story it inspired. Long before words went onto paper, Emilie’s imagination spun the facts of this clipping–this very one, it’s in her archive–into all the possibilities of an adventure.

I’ve tracked down several others: the article about a boat crashing into rocks on the Charles River that inspired the beginning of Give Me One Summer, one about rum running off Portland that inspired A Certain Crossroad, and another about a dam breaking and “swift water” flowing that was the genesis of Swift Water. It’s the storyteller’s magic to create from the barest of beginnings. In this case, we peek behind the wizard’s curtain and find a real magician there.

Where did Emilie Loring write? What was it like?

When she was in Boston, Emilie wrote on the fifth floor of the Boston Athenaeum with several of her Boston Authors Club friends. The Athenaeum’s fifth floor is famous for being almost entirely silent–no speaking allowed. When I visited, I could hear the scrape of pencils on paper, and I didn’t want to breathe too loudly. It’s really quiet.

Entrance to this historic library is limited to members only, so here’s a view of that fifth floor and a drawing that appeared in the Boston Herald of Emilie Loring writing there in the 1930s.

See you soon!

I’m looking forward to our tea on Thursday. I can’t wait to show you the Happy Landings cover!

Get those teapots and cups ready, and Happy Landings, everyone!

Emilie’s butterfly teacup

5 thoughts on “When We Get Together for Tea

  1. Dear Patti,

    CONGRATULATIONS! on your Invitation to Tea as you launch your book “HAPPY LANDINGS!”
    I enjoyed all the teas you posted and it made me hungry for my coffee and pancakes which is my afternoon merienda (snack) common in Spain and the Philippines.

    It was beautiful to see the locations and so creative of you to prepare the audience to view the book cover today.
    I already ordered an autographed copy and look forward to receiving it when it gets published on March 14, 2023. I am so proud of you and glad to know you well.

    Love and thanks for making my day so special with your tea,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Raqui. I so appreciate your congratulations and encouragement. As a successful biographer yourself, I know you understand the importance of each step.

      Thank you for reserving your copy of Happy Landings. We lovers of Emilie Loring will stick together!
      My very best to you,


  2. I also love all these snippets of EL’s life and experiences. I can’t wait to see the cover tomorrow.
    I may have a late tea or Friday tea. I am going into the City for the day–stated in classic EL fashion!

    I am reading a collection of unfinished and early works of Jane Austen in a volume called “Lady Susan and Other Works,” one of a paperback box set of JA’s books. I have a lot of observations about these stories as compared to her final works (many have “punchlines” , ie, ironic outcomes; the relationships are much less formal than in her final works; some of the girls are downright ‘bad” girls or just stupid).

    What is relevant here is that, characters brought in “tea things” as EL would call a tray of hot water/tea, cups, sugar, cakes, etc. One would think there would be a more proper/formal word for “tea things” in traditional English culture.

    Looking forward to everyone sharing pictures of their “tea things.”

    Happy Landings!

    Liked by 1 person

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