Have had medieval times on the brain of late. Doesn’t everyone?
My friend, June, has been buried in the middle ages for the past two weeks as president of the Woman’s Club of Vineland in my hometown. June also serves on the Board of Directors with me for the Friends of Historic Vineland. We had been chatting at an historic Vineland event last month about her Medieval Nights theme for the Woman’s Club end of year Summer Salad Supper.
She wondered if I knew of any musicians that could supply entertainment. Alas – the only fellow I knew who could do it is finishing up his master’s degree in medieval history in Canterbury England at the moment.
Not available til September, I’m afraid.
So, I told her if she was in a pinch, I could do a dramatized reading to suit the purpose. Wasn’t I surprised when she called me for the job! Actually – surprised is NOT the word. I was, in fact, delighted! With all my plans for the unit study I’m doing in the fall semester for homeschool students on medieval history and literature, and our Parable Players medieval morality play . . .
I had plenty of material at hand – AND, any number of appropriate period attire at the ready in my closet.
Upon arrival at the clubhouse I was greeted in the foyer by a marvelous display that whet my appetite for what glories might lay within the main room.
I was NOT disappointed! June was brilliant as a “set” decorator – covering the walls of the clubhouse with a backdrop that transported one to a castle dining hall at once!
A dragon, of course . . .
Why, there was even the sword Excalibur of Arthurian fame!
And, speaking of Excalibur – that is the name of her dry cleaners, from whom she borrowed their business mascot – a full size Knight in Shining Armor –
With whom we simply HAD to get in a snapshot to memorialize the occasion!
The tablesettings were simple and clever! Sandcastle sand toy buckets, sprayed with a “sand” effect from the craft store, and then spray painted over that in gold – with jewels glued on for embellishment.
The royal purple and golds were lovely and welcoming to the ladies as they arrived.
The center of the room boasted a table filled to overflowing with all manner of salad fixings and more – PLUS the main meat course of filet mignon tips in mushroom gravy. Delicious!
Desert was served – far too much scrumptious sweetness prior to my speaking, though! I MUST control my sweet tooth until after my short presentation.
I decided to do two related monologues from the Amy Schlitz Newbery Award winning book, Good Masters, Sweet Ladies – presenting two views of women in the middle ages from very different social classes, yet, at the heart of their womanhood – very much the same.
It was a perfect fit with the prayer written by Mary Stewart in 1904 and adopted by Women’s Clubs across the country titled, A Collect for Women:
I loved the message here – seeking to always be “others” and “service” minded, knowing that in the greater scheme of our human hearts, we are more alike than cultural and class differences would suggest. The Woman’s Club of Vineland seeks to minister to the needs in our community through their fund raising activities that provide scholarships and charitable donations to needy recipients and organizations, seeking to build up women and their families – and they’ve been doing so in Vineland since the club’s founding in 1899.
A good time was had by all might be an understatement.
I’m afraid my full plate keeps me from more actively participating with the Woman’s Club as a member, but I am happy to have opportunities to support their activities on occasion – and build friendships with some of the ladies I meet there.
Thanks for the invite, June – hope we can do it again!