Happy 244th Birthday Jane Austen!
To celebrate Jane Austen’s 244th birthday, thirteen of us met at Laurie Nienhaus‘ home on Fort Myers Beach on a beautiful sunny Florida afternoon. In addition to hosting, Laurie prepared a magnificent Afternoon Tea. She brewed a China Black tea, Keemun, which we drank in lovely delicate teacups, and she made a variety of tea sandwiches: Maple Sugar with Brandied Pecan Butter, Chicken with Rosemary Tomato Butter, and Port Wine Cheese with Basil. There were also scones with jam & mock Devonshire cream and cookie selections as well as shortbread cookies contributed by member Rosemary Purdy.
A Satirical Reading by Author Laurie Nienhaus was a Big Hit!
We sat at small tables and conversed with our fellow Austen enthusiasts before returning to the living room for a reading of Woe, But It’s a Wicked World, from Steeped, The Wanderings & Delights of a Tea Adventurer written by Laurie, and read by her and Karen Auriti.
What if Jane Came to Florida Today?
Dividing again into three groups, we came up with answers to a theoretical “What if Jane came to Florida today?”. Created by Meg Levin (JASNA NY Metro), she graciously allowed us to use her “ice breaker”. As for what Austen would find different in today’s FL: we all agreed that women are more independent, better educated and have better health. They can join the military and they can vote. As for, what is still the same? It’s still a man’s world. Men and women both still marry for money. And of-course $ is power. The last question asked us to ponder on what is worse now than in Austen’s day: Manners and personal interactions have been lost. And then there are those sequels!
Cheers to our Dear Jane!
No birthday tea is complete without a toast to our favorite author. Rosemary toasted Austen while we drank Constantia Wine out of adorable little sherry glasses that Laurie had been excited to break out again for just such an occasion.
Who Doesn’t Love Gifts?
We were also favored by gifts: Rosemary shared handmade and hand painted greeting cards with the group and thanks to the thoughtfulness of our RC, everyone left with special edition Austen tea created by Anja Carlson of Jane Austen Novel Teas.