Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By C.M. Swanson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Grandma hosts tea in Wonderland


C.M. Swanson

Verlena Jones (center) hosts tea in Wonderland for her grandchildren.

Moose Lake resident Verlena Jones has some very lucky grandchildren. They got to have tea in Wonderland, right in Grandma’s back yard.

Not only did the children see several characters in Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, they got to be some of the characters.

Meadow Pruette, 10 years old, was the White Queen. Simone Pruette, 9 years old, was the short Mad Hatter. Trinity Wilson, 10 years old, was Tweedle Dum. Raven Wilson, 10 years old, was Tweedle Dee.

The Queen of Hearts, a.k.a. Grandma, introduced a special guest at this year’s function. Anakin Wilson, 13-year-old grandson, was the tall Mad Hatter.

“My grandma wanted to see if I would go to the tea party as the Mad Hatter as a surprise for the girls,” said Anakin. “I said yes because they are my little sisters and cousins, and I love them all.”

Jones began preparations for the tea party six weeks prior to its occurrence.

“I sent out invitations early so they had time to get costumes together,” said Jones, “and this year I planned quite a few more things than I’ve had in the past.”

Other preparations included creation of two versions of the Cheshire Cat, one fully visible, one disappearing, cards for croquet hoops, a papier-mâché flamingo croquet mallet, five-foot cardboard standups of Alice and other characters with face holes cut out so partygoers could have their photos taken in them, a three-foot playing-card character painting white roses red, and a custom-made White Rabbit by Jones’ sister Gale Lance. Of course, the entrance to Wonderland was through the hand-constructed looking glass.

Then there’s that special rule about the raspberry herb tea at the party.

“Normally, when we drink tea, we are limited to the amount of sugar cubes we add,” said Jones, “but on tea party day, you get to have as many sugar cubes as you want.”

The day of the tea dawned overcast. At teatime, a heavy mist washed the air. Nothing dissuaded the attendees.

“We still had a good time,” said Jones. “Nobody complained. Actually, I don’t think they even noticed.”

When the tea was under way, everyone adapted to his or her character.

“Happy Un-birthday to you,” said the tall Mad Hatter to the Queen.

“Happy Un-birthday to you, too, sir,” replied the Queen with a nod of her crowned head.

The Queen was also gracious enough to allow a brief interview.

Why did the Queen hold a tea party that day?

“To keep the people in line, otherwise, it’s off with their heads,” said the Queen. “It’s a sad day when it has to be off with their heads.”

As it turned out, the only one who lost a head was the papier-mâché flamingo.

“We are making every effort to overcome the mist,” said the Queen, “but it has really done in our flamingo. Apparently flamingos don’t do well in the mist.”

To round out the gathering, guests played games, exchanged gifts, and ate lots of good food. For a heartfelt, finishing touch, each granddaughter received a charm representing the theme of that year’s tea party. This she will add to the bracelet she was given the year she attended her first tea party.

Will there be another party next year?

“They already asked me what next year’s theme is going to be,” said Jones.

“Yes, I do know, but it’s a secret.”

Why does this grandmother go through all the planning, organizing, preparation, and all the work of creating a themed tea party exclusively for her grandchildren?

“To have fun,” said Jones, and to make memories together. I want my granddaughters to be an old lady like me one day and remember how much fun they had with their grandma.”

After interviewing the grandchildren, it is apparent that Jones’ strategy is working.

“I’ve been to a lot of these tea parties,” said Meadow, proudly adding, “My grandma plans them. I think they’re awesome.”


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