Friday, January 24, 2014

Poodle Ears Becomes Real

Last weekend, it was time once again to gather for our annual tradition of taking the kids to tea.


Though most of them are in high school now, the Littlest is about the age Jack was when we first started going.  In fact, when this all began, she hadn't been born yet.

The Littlest with her Mom, 2014
The first time we went, I took along a few millinery hats that I had in my sewing room for fun...


Luckily, I had an old top hat from my mother-in-law so there was even one for Jack.


The kids have changed a lot since then but the hats have stayed the same...


In fact, here are the two girls pictured above taking a selfie at our very first tea...


They were ahead of their time.  Now that everyone has a camera phone, selfies are a more common occurrence...


The Top Hat no longer fits Jack's head but I'm not sure he would wear it anyway given that his red hat is permanently affixed to his head.  

Except for when it gets taken by one of his cousins...


They eat a lot more now...


Gone are the days when they used to split a tower of treats and we'd have take-home boxes.

And they are able to sit still for a couple of hours, looking pretty and sipping their tea...



For me though, the hats make the party.

The Littlest has only been to tea twice so far in her short life.  By now, I have an entire old suitcase full of hats to choose from so I was curious as to which hat she would choose for the day.

I shouldn't have been surprised.  

She picked this poodle-eared version that I've had since the very beginning.


When I first got this hat, a shop owner had given it to me for free, throwing it in with one of the hats with the pretty pink flowers.  Honestly, I thought it was hideous and I almost gifted it to the Goodwill.  I couldn't imagine that anyone would choose to wear it.

Boy was I ever wrong.  Without a doubt, it has been the most popular "hat" over the years, having been chosen over and over again...


My SIL even wore it as a mustache...


If there's one thing I've learned about hanging with these kids, it's that I am never very good at predicting what will be a hit and what will not.  They constantly surprise me.

By the end of the day, the Littlest had replaced Poodle Ears with Top Hat...


That means that Top Hat is moving up in the rankings, thank heavens.

It's true.  Poodle Ears is still not my favorite "hat" but what I think is irrelevant.   

After all, when children choose a hat over and over again through the years,  it earns a higher status in life.   

Gone are the days when a shop owner didn't even think it worthy enough to charge for it or when I almost gave it away to Goodwill unwanted.  

Today, Poodle Ears is a family treasure which I've grown to respect.  Even if Top Hat were to become more popular in the future, Poodle Ears still rates.  Poodle Ears has become Real.

In honor of Poodle Ears and tea drinkers everywhere, treat yourself to one of the most beautifully-written passages in all childrens' literature.  Happy weekend everyone...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.  
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"  
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.  
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." 
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"  
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."  
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.  
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.” 
― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

19 comments:

Mary Ann said...

A wonderful family tradition. There are too many boys in my family to even go there...LOL What a coincidence. I just pinned some colouring pages today from the Velveteen Rabbit for my granddaughter.

Here's the skin horse.....:)
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/37225134394401438/

Rachel said...

What a wonderful day. I suspect I wouldn't have taken to Poodle Ears, but I think I can almost see why the kids might have taken to it - so frivolous and tactile!

Francesca said...

All this is so lovely and the childrens so beautiful !!

Cari said...

I have fallen in love with your entire family Susan. This is such a wonderful tradition. And Jack…you have to be so proud of him. Always with all the girls and always everyone enjoying each other. Your post today has made me feel all warm and fuzzy (again). Hugs

wendy said...

Once again you have a wonderful family tradition! Do you all go somewhere for the tea party or does someone host it? Looks like everyone is enjoying themselves.

Susan Elliott said...

We're lucky to have a number of nice tea rooms in the Baltimore area so we usually go to one of those. I don't think I have enough teapots for everyone!! Though I wouldn't mind one year doing a Mad Hatter tea party...

Mosaic Magpie said...

Another very enjoyable post that has left me with a smile on my face.

I have spent the last 2 days dealing with a frozen water pipe.....this post was truly a breath of fresh air!
xo,
Deb

Mouse said...

Just love those hats and such lovely faces captured at your tea party the littlest one looks soo cute with the top hat on .. but I have to agree the poodle one seems to have come out on top of the hat stakes :)
next time don't forget the mouse .. I just loveee a tea party...lol love mouse xxxx

Linda H said...

Susan, what a delightful post! You are part of a wonderful family, those nieces are so lucky to have such a special aunt! What a great family tradition, and it's obvious from those fresh beautiful faces that everyone is enjoying themselves. Glad to see Jack is still keen to "hang" with all the girls... I bet all the girls are thinking ahead of which hat they will choose each year... what fun!

Anonymous said...

Best. Pictures. Ever! ~ Sheila

margaret said...

what a lovely day yo uall had, such pretty young ladies. Not come across the book before such a touching passage

Judy S. said...

Another great post, Susan. I seems your poodle hat has achieved "Velveteen Rabbit" status. What a fun tradition! Great photos, too....

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I loved the post and enjoyed seeing the girls at various ages. I've been around so long, I almost feel I could match the then and nows ~lol~

Yes, Tea needs to be at a Tea Room. I used to love to visit a local Tea Room which has since gone. I sincerely miss Terry and my Saturday early afternoon visits. We chose Joe though.
xx, Carol

Linda said...

I wonder if you know how truly blessed you are to be so close-in all ways-to your family? I hope the cousins know, too! I have 6 living children, 16 grands, and 6 great grands, and only 4 of the grands have ever met, and really live too far apart to meet. So much for the Walton's-style family holidays I always hoped for...

I love your posts...all of them. I don't know which ones I love best - stitching or family - but they never fail to delight me. Actually, this one made me cry. I got more teary as it went along, but becoming real is what did it...lol. Keep up the good work,and the good writing! 8-)

xo Linda

nelda said...

Beautifully written; you have such a wonderful way with words. And that last photo made me think of the Mad Hatter himself. Thank you

deb* said...

What a lovely day and a wonderful tradition----they'll always remember this.

Createology said...

Your family has the very best gatherings and events. Every hat is fun when taking tea. What a lovely reference to being "real". Blessings...

Susan Hook said...

What a lovely day, this all looks so much fun with all the nice food and beautiful hats!

Catherine said...

Yay! The tea party post!! Having followed you for a few years, I have so enjoyed your yearly traditions ~ what a fun and creative family!

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