Stirring the Memory Pot – A spot of tea.

I’m going to stray from the beaten path just a little today for this Grandparents Day post. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you long ago learned that I have plenty good to write about my beloved grandmother, but nothing good to say about my grandfather. He was ornery and cantankerous and completely devoid of personality – not the kind of grandfather who wanted you to sit in his lap and read you a book. When I was a child he said I was stupid because my pronunciation of French words I learned in grade school was incorrect and unlike his Quebecois pronunciation. He was born in Quebec and lived there until moving to Toronto as an adult and he spoke fluent French. After calling me stupid, I simply slid down off my chair and bit him on the ankle, like I was the family dog who was ticked off because it begged for food at the table and was rebuffed. He let out a yelp and swore, then said I should be punished. My grandmother found the incident amusing – my parents not so much.

I actually had a post bubbling around in my brain, complete with photos, that I planned to write yesterday for Grandparents Day. But then Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday. I felt sad to hear of her passing and, in the past few days, I have been engrossed in watching several retrospectives of her life and read a lot of heartfelt comments about her extraordinary 70-year reign. Many of the comments from around the world were from folks that wrote or said that “her passing was like losing a grandmother.” I took those comments to heart and yesterday decided to change the subject of today’s planned post – it is evergreen and will keep until next year.

In writing about the late Queen Elizabeth and today’s subject of tea, this post is the perfect opportunity to share the video of Her Majesty and Paddington Bear and their tea party during this Summer’s Jubilee celebration. Click here – it is guaranteed to bring you a smile. I first saw this video after fellow blogger Hugh Roberts and I were discussing our teddy bear collection and he sent me the video, which has gained more popularity following the Queen’s death when Paddington Bear tweeted this simple message:

Looking back a little … okay, more than a few decades.

As most of you know, I am a Canadian citizen who lived in that country until my parents and I moved here when I was 10 years old. In the five years I attended elementary school in Canada, my classmates and I had a daily morning ritual after the school bell rang. We stood up straight, faced the Union Jack flag (and later, after 1965, Canada’s own Maple leaf flag), then we sang “God Save the Queen” our young voices echoing through the halls of E.A. Orr Elementary School.

Yes, the British influence upon Canada was very much a part of my childhood.

I saw a lot of people curtsying to the Queen in the videos I watched and, like every little Canadian girl, I learned to curtsy back in the day. My mom, due to orthopedic issues from being hit by a car at age 11, could not bend her knees to squat down, nor to curtsy, but she wanted her little girl to be the epitome of genteel, so she recruited my grandmother to show me. Nanny, as I called my grandmother, with her arthritic knees, made a clumsy attempt to teach me, almost falling to the ground in a heap amid some giggles on my part (and hers as well). I remember that tutorial like it was yesterday. So, I learned and practiced my newfound skill and made everyone proud, picking up the sides of my dress and executing the perfect petite curtsy, but to this day I have never curtsied to anyone, though I may have taken a bow after an accordion recital or two.

Last year for Grandparents Day I wrote about how my grandmother brought me presents of lavender as a preteen, so that I also might enjoy that scent as much as she did. Yardley’s of London Lavender soap, bath salts and toilet water permeated my grandmother’s bedroom and bath and even today, lavender is a scent I will always associate with Nanny. However, the preteen Linda, was not so enamored with smelling like potpourri. I politely accepted her gifts, never once hinting that I did not surround myself in a vapor or cloud of lavender scent. After all, I only saw my grandmother four or five times a year when we made the 500-mile round trip from our house to Toronto after moving to Michigan.

Drinking tea is just “not my cup of tea” as the saying goes.

When I got older, my always-thoughtful, tea-drinking grandmother decided it was time to start me on a collection of bone china teacups. I received my first teacup one Christmas and then the next teacup for my birthday.

Perhaps, while sipping her own mug of tea, Nanny pictured her granddaughter sipping tea and eating dainty cakes, or lost in thought like the young woman in the painting by Daniel F. Gerhartz found on Pinterest and pictured in the header image.

Each teacup gift was wrapped in a layers of tissue paper in a fancy-schmancy box and adorned with a ribbon. There were, of course, no instructions on how to enjoy this gift, nothing like this meme found on Twitter.

Again, I never would have hurt Nanny’s feelings, but truly, this gal was not the prim-and-proper, crumpets-with-tea type. First, I loathe tea and even struggle to swallow green tea which I only drink because it is good for you.

My “cuppa” preference is a strong cup of joe, with some flavored caramel-vanilla creamer in it … now that’s my treat. And, I prefer to drink it in a mug as you see those flowered and teddy bear cups flanking the tea cups.

Of course, writing about these teacups and how they have been stacked in the cupboard over the fridge for decades, unused (and seemingly unloved), makes me sound like an ingrate, which I’m not. Nanny stopped buying me teacups, perhaps because my mom said I didn’t use them and was saving them for “good” but every so often I open the cupboard and look at them.

I have mused about making them into bird feeders like I saw on Pinterest. Now THAT is more my style and I am sure my grandmother, similarly a nature and flower lover would approve.

Here are some photos below of her flowers and plants, her pride and joy for many years. My grandmother was famous for visiting a friend, swiping a “slip” of a houseplant on the sly and tucking it into her purse to start her own plant at home. She’d often tote along a wet Kleenex in a plastic bag in her purse, then she’d stick that slip of green into a glass of water and soon it would take root and flourish. In some of these old pictures I wonder if a few of those houseplants on her back porch and/or trailing vines at 24 St. Clarens Avenue (all the B&W pics) were once slips slyly gleaned from friends. When my grandparents moved up the street to 86 St. Clarens Avenue years later, there was still a garden, but houseplants filled the back kitchen instead of the back porch. Her Christmas Cactus was huge and graced an old Singer treadle sewing machine.

Minnie Goddard – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto
(date unknown)
Pauline Schaub (nee Goddard) – back garden at
24 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (date unknown)
Omer Goddard – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto
(date unknown)
Linda Schaub – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue (1957)
Linda Schaub – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue (1957)
Minnie Goddard – Irises, backyard at 86 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (1985)
Minnie Goddard and me – Hollyhocks, backyard at 86 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (1984)
Hollyhocks close-up, one of Nanny’s favorite flowers.

Yes, Minnie Goddard did enjoy her flowers.

Happy Grandparents Day to you if this applies!

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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62 Responses to Stirring the Memory Pot – A spot of tea.

  1. rajkkhoja says:

    Very interesting write up you. Very hard work your grandmother & grandfather. You have good knowledge sharing. So beautiful photo. Nice Black & white photography. .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie says:

    Thanks for sharing your grandma stories with us, Linda. I hope my grandchildren have fond memories of me when they are our age! I enjoyed reading about the teacups your grandma gave you. Some of the gifts I received from my grandma I didn’t appreciate until I was older.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you like my grandma stories Laurie. Once a year I can reflect on those times and yes, just like you, getting older does give us a better appreciation of those gifts. I look at the teacups, but not being a tea lover, it seems impractical to use them for coffee, so there they sit. I like how I could put them to good use. Your grandchildren will remember either how you drove cross-country to visit, or for your local grandsons, they will remember going to the park or making peanut butter pine cones for the birds and going for nature walks. You and Bill, being such young grandparents, have been very active in your grandsons’ lives and have made a great impression on their young lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LaShelle says:

    What a stunning share!! Oh my goodness how I loved those old pictures and gorgeous flowers. Those tea cups are simply spectacular and as a tea drinker myself I’m in total envy. The tea cups are precious. Your grandmother sounds wonderful 💗 I’m sorry you couldn’t connect with your grandfather but I loved the story of you biting him. Beautifully written stories. Thanks so much for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you LaShelle – glad you liked this post. I always try to do a post every Grandparents Day and share a memory, even including some pictures – in this case, it worked out perfectly to share the teacup story and tie it in to my grandmother’s love of flowers. With your love of flowers, one day you will sit your grandchild out in the garden for a more colorful picture and hopefully that little tyke will not have the grumpy face that I was wearing that day. I included the similar pictures as I wondered if my mad look was due to the “ferocious dog” yard ornament. I’ll never know since there is no one to ask now. 🙂

      Like

  4. I didn’t know my grandmothers. I only met one grandfather and he died when I was too small to remember much. He also never spoke English. You are lucky to have these memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I am grateful for the memories of my grandmother Kate. I never met my father’s parents – they died when he was a teenager. He had an aunt and uncle that he was close to and I met them when we visited Germany. They didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any German.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A charming story of your past Linda! Our relations from the past are important for our future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed the peek into my past Wayne. I wish I had gotten to spend more time with my grandmother and would have, had we not moved here when I was ten. Sadly she died just after turning 80 years old. We had spent her 80th birthday with her (November 1985), then returned the following month at Christmas as we had good traveling weather, so we made an impromptu trip. My grandmother did spend two Summers over here in Michigan after my grandfather died and really enjoyed visiting here. My parents tried to convince her to stay here all the time, but she missed the few remaining relatives she had, now all long gone.

      Like

      • when was the last time you were in Canada?

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That would be 1990 Wayne. My mom and I went to visit my aunt in Toronto as she was ill from cancer and she passed away a few weeks later. She was cremated and we did not return as there was no service. Right now I cannot go to Canada without having a valid passport. I want to get a passport before I renew my green card which has to be done in 2025. I thought it might make the green card renewal process easier than it has been the last several times due to my lack-of-fingerprints issue.

        Like

      • 32 years! Wow, when you do go back everything is going to be very alien to you I bet!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – it’s almost half my life! Sometimes I mention something, even a brand name to my friend Ilene, a former co-worker of mine from years ago. She lives in Kingsville and used to commute to Detroit every day. So I learn lots of things are now obsolete.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jessica says:

    Oh my goshhhh!!! Your pictures!!!! Love, love, love!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pam Lazos says:

    A walk down memory lane! Lovely photos and flowers and I do love that Paddington Bear video with the Queen, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Pam – I love taking those walks down memory lane, especially when I can share them here. My grandmother did love her flowers and gardening. The Paddington Bear video brings a smile to my face. I started collecting teddy bears as an adult. I was allergic to stuffed animals as a baby. I have one photo of a big bear next to me when I was a baby, then my mom had to get rid of them all. So, many years later, after being on allergy shots since 1975, my mom and I were shopping and she bought me a bear “because you were denied as a kid” and that prompted me to start a collection.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ally Bean says:

    This is delightful, your memories and your photos. It’s interesting how you had a relative start a tea cup collection for you, so did I. I got rid of all but one of mine, but you still have it going on… even if tea isn’t exactly your thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ally – glad you enjoyed the post and the pictures. Yes that is interesting about the teacups collection. I am positive my mom intervened because my grandmother was gung ho on helping me collect these nice cups. Perhaps she saw it as my dowry? I look at them and think the teacup feeder might be the way to go as mugs are more my style.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. trumstravels says:

    Love the photos! Such memories. I do not like tea either, only drinking Camomille tea if I don’t feel well. Coffee is what I like! I have so many teacups/saucers and other dishes from both my Grandmothers. No one wants these anymore, so sad really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the photos and my shared memories Susan. I never took a liking to tea and when I was young, my mom would make me a weak tea with cream and a hint of sugar, hoping to get me interested in it – nope. I don’t think I’ve even tried any herbal teas and I’ll do the green tea for a few days, then conveniently seem to forget about it. I only drink two cups of coffee a day, but that is my preferred hot drink. I don’t think people collect plates, china, etc. like in the past. It likely does not appeal to younger people.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. peggy says:

    Ah – so many memories of your grandmother. You don’t like tea. I drink tea everyday and have totally given up coffee. I had one sweet grandmother, but was not around her much. My other grandmother was mean and onery. So sad that your grandfather was a mean man. Such a shock to see Queen Elizabeth had died. She did have a long life at 96.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, very nice memories of my grandmother Peggy. I often wonder how my grandparents got together and really the same was true for my great-grandparents whom I never met, or even my own parents. They were all strong women but with spouses I don’t think really loved or appreciated them. I never knew my father’s parents – they died when he was a teenager. I wish I had spent more time with my grandmother, but after we moved to the U.S., there were just the four or five visits a year, mostly in good-weather months. She did spend two Summers with us after my grandfather died in April 1969. I knew the Queen had mobility problems in recent years and had a bout with COVID, but it was a shock that she had died so suddenly. She did have a good life, born the same year as my mom – 1926.

      Liked by 1 person

      • peggy says:

        I never lived near any of my grandparents. We visited them every year or two. They wer in Missouri – we were out West.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s quite a long distance from you. We went from almost weekly Sunday dinners to four or five times a year. My mom was very homesick for Canada, her mom and her friends, some good ones she had most of her life. My father was an orphan and did not understand her sentimentality at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Aww, what a sweet tribute to your grandmother and a very timely tie-in to Queen Elizabeth, Linda. I did not know you were a Canadian citizen 🙂 I get that about tea…used to LOVE ice tea when kept getting stomach aches. After child #2 was born in 1988 and I had to go back to work 6 weeks later, Starbucks iced mochas became my best friend for years! I love coffee and it has never bothered me to this day. I literally drink it all day sort-of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Terri – I thought it was a perfect time to do my teacup story with the tie-in to Queen Elizabeth. My other topic will keep until next Grandparents Day. Yes, I’ve been living over here 56 years and I am still a Canadian citizen. I have to renew my green card every ten years, something that is a bit of an ordeal now and used to just be sending in a postcard to the Immigration and Naturalization Service every January to confirm my/our address. I have tried regular as well as green tea in every way, but it holds no appeal except that I know green tea is supposed to be good for me. I enjoy coffee more for the taste than for the caffeine – when I was in college I could drink coffee and go to sleep without a problem. Our office was above a Starbucks for several years and I’d treat myself to their darkest roast every morning before work. With their brew, I’d be humming along til mid-afternoon on that one tall cup of coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sarah Davis says:

    A friend of mine used her grandmother’s china cup yo hold succulents. She then gave some to the people she loves most. I’m looking at mine now. I use my grandmother’s chins regularly as after me, no one will care it was hers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That’s a nice way to display succulents Sarah. My late mother was not a flower fan, but liked succulents and had several cacti gardens on the window sill. You are right – people don’t care about passing down heirloom china etc. like thy once did.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing your childhood memories, Linda. I didn’t know Canadian children sang “God Save the Queen” at the start of the school day. I loved seeing the pictures taken in your Nanny’s garden, especially the 1984 one of you with your grandmother and her hollyhocks. The teacups were pretty even if not very useful. I’m wondering about my own gift giving as a grandmother… I think I gave my granddaughter too many books last year. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked seeing these memories Barbara and especially the flowers. She gave me some hollyhock seeds to take home but they didn’t come up. I had a couple more pictures in the backyard, but not too many flowers in them so I left them out. She used to have rhubarb in the corner of the yard and when it was in season, we’d walk to the back of the yard and she’d whip out a paring knife and cut a few stalks off. We’d go back into the house, wash off the stalks and she’d pour out a cup of sugar and we’d dip the wet stalks into sugar. My parents discouraged sugar so not to get cavities, so we did our sugar dipping on the sly. Yes, I agree about the teacups and she used sturdy mugs, so I’m not sure why she started buying them for me. Books I would have liked because I loved to read as a child. I think I had those Golden Books series memorized, plus liked the Bobbsey Twins and nature stories as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mother used to grow rhubarb and she made fresh rhubarb pie with it. The rest of it didn’t care for it so she would have the whole pie to herself over the course of a few days. Then she would harvest some more rhubarb and make another pie. Probably for the month of June if I remember correctly…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        My mom loved rhubarb pie too Barbara, but she was the only one too, so she used to also stew rhubarb and strawberries together and we’d have that over ice cream or on toast until it was gone. She never made enough of it to “put it up” though. I do think it was early Summer as the strawberries were usually the nicest in June as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That June timing makes sense since strawberry picking comes in June here, too. Somehow the idea of stewed rhubarb and strawberries doesn’t make my mouth water, though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        It was quite tart and I recall my mom putting a lot of sugar into that mixture to sweeten it up, despite the strawberries. We also used to eat it over hot biscuits for a treat for breakfast. The nice-tasting treats of my past – everything I eat is boring now.

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  14. Dave says:

    I envy your detailed memories of your grandmother, Linda. I was the second-youngest of five, so my memories only linger from my own early childhood. Your grandmother looks very much like mine in the first color photo: her stature, glasses, and hairstyle. I also associate a particular soap smell with my grandmother (something more run-of-the-mill than Yardley’s) but darned if I can remember which one. Also, I find it interesting how people seem to be in the tea camp or coffee camp… but not both. I’ve never given tea a fair shake the way I have coffee. I’m sure it’s an acquired taste and I like the pomp/circumstance associated with it (including crumpets – delicious!) but I’m not willing to part with my coffee to give it a chance!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Dave, I felt badly when we moved to the States because we went to my grandparents for Sunday dinner all the time, so all of a sudden the visits were limited to four or five times a year. The first year we went at American Thanksgiving as my father was off work and I was off school. We were going to leave Sunday morning and a sudden snowstorm blew up and they advised not traveling on the 401 Highway and eventually closed it down – it was the main thoroughfare from Toronto to Detroit at that time. We had to stay another day and so rarely went back that late in the year. I enjoy coffee too much and find tea weak and tasteless for my liking – even more so that green tea which I drink only for its health benefits. In later years, my grandmother was using baby powder, Noxema skin cream and liniment on her bad knees, so a whole new set of smells to remember her by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        PS. I still buy and use Yardley’s English lavender soap, which I buy at the dollar store. I like the fresh fragrance and have used it for years, and yes the unopened boxes scent my drawers.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I wonder if my grandmother ever used all hers up because the last few years of her life she smelled of baby powder, Noxema skin cream (her face was like a baby’s bottom) and liniment for her arthritic knees. Whenever relatives came to visit for the Ex, they generally stayed over, so the Yardley’s English lavender kits was what they brought for her.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………….you are such a good story teller!!………………………..you looked a lot like Minnie when you were a toddler!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Joni says:

    What a lovely post Linda! So much to comment on. I also remember singing God Save the Queen in grade school. Your grandmother looks like my grandmother. That’s how they looked back then, dresses and aprons, not track pants and yoga pants! I remember tea cups being popular back in the 70’s and 80’s, and my mother actually used them after our big Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, even the men drank from them. I always had my favorite ones. As for the poster advice about how to drink your tea – well that’s exactly how they do it on Downton Abbey! Great post, and thanks for the ecard and your message. Today was the first day I didn’t get any new welts, but when I went out to do errands for an hour I covered up from head to toe, including face mask and sunglasses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Joni – I thought you might like it as you enjoyed Downton Abbey and I know you are a tea drinker. My parents had some nice china, nothing fancy, but I’ll bet they only used it about five times through the years when friends of the family were here for the holidays. The rest of the time it was the stoneware. My mom used to make me take down all the china and the glasses every year when we did the cleaning and it was always an argument as I protested “but we never use it – if we have someone visit, then we’ll wash it” to which she would roll her eyes and say “I can imagine what this house will look like when I’m gone Linda.” Well, she was not far off on that – I do not keep the house as nice as I should. I think the only time my grandmother took off her apron was for pictures and for church. The rest of the time it was her house dress, apron and scuffs. You’re welcome – I’m glad you liked the card. It was a beautiful day, so I’m glad you got out a bit, even if you had to be covered up from head to toe.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love the clever title you chose and all the stories you told. And, of course, the photos!! What a beautiful tribute to your Nanny. I’m guilty – I chuckled when you told how you bit your grandfather’s ankle. Look how tall you were compared to your Nanny. I bet when you stood up you towered over her and her flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Timelesslady says:

    Terrific post. I love the bite on the ankle…well deserved. I also love the vintage photographs, and the gardens. I have old photos of my great-grandmother in a patch of zinnias. I might have posted it in the past, but perhaps I need to pull it out again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      One of my favorite things I’ve done since I began blogging was to scan in all the family albums and photo albums and scrapbooks back in 2017. It has been fun to use them for various blog posts. My grandfather, whom I’ve written about before was a real tool and you’re right – he sure deserved that bite on the leg (his way or no way). My grandmother had a green thumb – the hollyhocks were her favorite plant and she gave me seeds she collected to put in my garden, but they didn’t make it unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. J P says:

    I have never acquired the taste for hot tea, though my wife has. With no significant British in my background, there were no tea drinkers in the family. One grandmother, a nurse and farm wife, drank coffee and the other, an affluent lady who belonged to clubs, drank bourbon.

    I always enjoy your reminisces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Perhaps because tea is so bland we don’t care for it. I like coffee for the taste and the smell, more than the lift to be honest. A lot of difference in your two grandmothers. It was a running joke about my grandmother and her glass of sherry at bedtime. Her heart doctor recommended she have a glass of sherry at bedtime because she said she could feel her heart racing and there was a pounding noise when she laid down, like it reverberated from the mattress. So she had her sherry bottle and a glass on the nightstand. There she sat on the side of the bed in her flannel nightgown and scuffs, with her glass of sherry. She’d down it, climb under the covers and be out like a light and snoring five minutes later. Thank you JP – I like writing these reminisces.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Such a lovely post Linda ❤. Such beautiful descriptions of your link to your grandmother in your childhood memories ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Zena – I really loved my grandmother and was sorry we moved to the United States when I was 10, so I only got to see her a few times a year after that. I probably should not have bashed tea as I am sure some fellow bloggers from the UK were aghast I said that. 🙂

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