Farewell Tea Party for Tale Spin Stories

Don’t miss the details on entering my FIRST GIVE-AWAY – at the conclusion of this post!!

Seven years ago – almost to the day – I donned an eclectic costume dripping in costume jewelry and topped off with a 1950’s red hat – something Lucy Ricardo might wear.  I stepped out of the back room of the bookstore where my husband worked at the time, with a handful of storybooks and a little cat toy mouse I called, Toby Talespinner.   I was the new story lady, entertaining just three preschool children in my first Tale Spin Stories performance.  I scarcely knew at the time what an adventure of creative writing and performance this would launch me into.

Today, I ended a successful seven year run as the “story lady” performing center court at the Cumberland Mall in Vineland for about five and a half of those seven years.   My little storytelling mouse friend, Toby, has been with me the whole time.  We sing his song and wake him up at the beginning, then sing him to sleep at the end til the next week.  Through Tale Spin Stories I have been privileged to be allowed a place in the lives of so many families.

Some of those kids who started with me back in the early bookstore story days were with me today to bid farewell to Miss Kathy, Toby Talespinner and Tale Spin Stories.

My mission has never changed:  To be salt and light sharing a love of learning and literacy through story with children of all ages that they may grow into productive, responsible, citizen servants in their homes and community at large.

Today’s farewell performance overwhelmed me as I greeted a sea of faces – young and old – all come dressed for tea in a grand finale of the annual Victorian Tea Party.

Arriving early, I set out the tea things.

I always bring my most whimsical tea pots as centerpieces, amid a sprinkling of festive flowers.

Tea cups and saucers are spread for a large party –

. . . though we don’t actually use them anymore – there are always more children than place settings, so we go with the “look” of the party, and stay practical:  Auntie Anne’s pretzels provides lemonade in small lidded cups while I provide cookies in colorful cupcake liners on a napkin.  I make sure there is more than enough to go around – today I prepared for one hundred children.  Good thing, too – we came in just under the mark!

I sang my “good morning” song – a little something I adapted from the “Good Morning” song in Singing in the Rain.  I fear my voice cracked off-key once I came to the middle part as I realized this was my last rendition of it in this venue.

Our storytime routine includes a big thank you to the mall for hosting us each week.  I brought our marketing director, Miss Maria, to the front with me and had a farewell thank you gift for her (unfortunately no photo!).

Then, we “wake up Toby” in time for the story.  Usually, I would take the little rabbit fur mouse around and allow each child to pet him, calling them by name.  I always tried to learn all the children’s names.  They are each so very special.

Today, being a tea party, we reviewed tea table manners with a favorite picture book of mine, Tea for Ruby, by Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York.

After our story, we “became one” with a hot teapot, singing and acting out the nursery favorite:

I’m a little teapot short and stout.
Here is my handle – here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up then I shout, 
“Tip me over and pour me out!”

The tea would be arriving shortly, and I was ready to move to the tables, but one of my long time Talespinners, Catie, shouted out, “Miss Kathy!  I wrote you a goodbye song!”

Catie has been coming to Tale Spin Stories since the early days in the bookstore.  She was always after my job in her preschool days – and now that she is a rising fourth grader, she is well on her way to becoming a “Miss Catie” someday!  She did, indeed, write me a song, along with a little help from her little sister.  Michaela.   They came to the front and sang out loud and clear – a little ditty to the tune of Good Night Ladies and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

Tea had arrived and children gathered around the “V” shaped table – sipping their cups and chomping their cookies.

Time for the speech making.  Time to pass the baton – I mean – the tea cup – to the new story lady, a sweet young and talented friend of mine, Miss Naomi.  She will be bringing “Miss Naomi’s Adventures” each first Tuesday of the month beginning in September.  Perhaps next year she can expand to the weekly segments.  

Inspired by my Blogworld tea ladies, paper-crafters, and vintage artists, I came up with an idea of doing something with a tea cup and saucer.

I found a couple of sweet second hand teacups and saucers and purchased photo holders from Michael’s.  Put it together with some super strength glue dots, greenery, and tiny pink roses – and I think we have a lovely memory catcher to display.  I utilized some of the free graphics we get online and created photos and greetings – embellished with ink pads and glitter – then, slipped them into the photo holder to personalize the keepsake.  Both Miss Maria and Miss Naomi received one. 

The parents and families of the children were so very generous to me with so many lovely parting gifts and cards.  Miss Maria provided a huge “Looney Tunes” card that everyone took turns signing throughout the morning.  I was especially blessed by the little signatures from the hands of children just learning to form letters!

We were coming to the end of the event.  I knew tears were restless at the gate – especially when I noted that my family had come out to support me.  My Aunt Anne – she of a recent tea party post (click HERE to view that) – my mother’s sister – so good of her and Uncle Martin to come.

And my Uncle Matt, Aunt Jo, Aunt Maryann – they came – and my daddy, too!  He’s the one wearing the NAVY hat.

They brought me roses.  My poor husband and daughter could not get off work – they were with me in spirit, though.

Suddenly, it was time for the dreaded “Goodnight Toby” song – my adaptation on the tune of Good Night Ladies.  To be sure, this was the last of our Toby, holding him up for all to see, and then placing him in his book box for the last time.

But, all was lost on my last stanza as I sing “so long” and “farewell” to the children – admonishing them to, “Remember, I love you.”  I barely choked those last words out.  Tears all around.

Composing myself and taking a seat, the children gathered around for their “Miss Kathy Sticker” – another weekly ritual.  Stickers and posing for pictures with each one.  Many hugs.  Goodbyes.  And then, clean-up.

Center Court is empty – but, my heart is full.  I have loved sharing all our storytime adventures over these seven years and will take everything THE CHILDREN TAUGHT ME into my new classroom teaching venue at the charter schools.  I’m still telling stories and my mission is unchanged.  Just doing it in a new place.

Praise God for goodness and beauty in memories!  Thank you, Lord . . . and Tale Spin Stories . . .

Craig from The Daily Journal took a series of wonderful photos of the event.  You can view them HERE.


This coming week is one with many changes in my life.  One of the first posts I wrote at The Writer’s Reverie was about “Re-Arranging Furniture“.  God has been preparing me mentally and spiritually for all the new “decor” in my career and activities.  Blogging has played a big part in that preparation.  Over the next week I will celebrate a birthday, celebrate my six month Blogoversary, celebrate breaking the 100 Followers mark, celebrate a career change, and celebrate all the precious children and families I have known and loved through Tale Spin Stories. 

Of course – I must do my FIRST GIVE-AWAY – and here it is:

I just loved making that teacup photo holder parting gift for Miss Maria and Miss Naomi – so I wanted to make one for my first give-away, too!  I’m giving new life to a sweet Staffordshire tea cup – found alone in a thrift store – that I matched with a lone saucer.

Secured together, they are home to a photo holder rising up out of sweet pink roses echoing the delicate tea cup pattern.  In addition, a tiny butterfly flutters to the left while a petite cluster of crystal grapes hug the cup’s handle, resting on the saucer.  I’ve placed a vintage postcard in the holder which will be embellished and personalized with the winner’s name and a blessing.

TO ENTER the give-away POST A COMMENT on any posts I write beginning with this one and continuing on til noon on September 1, EST.  I’ll post the winner later in the day.  I’m so excited and hope you’ll participate!

Thanking God today for the blessing of knowing so many inspirational people.  I cherish all my blogger friends – and my precious Tale Spin Stories’ family!

Sharing my Farewell Tea Party with:
Sandi on Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Wanda Lee’s Tea for Two at The Plumed Pen
Wanda Lee’s Tea Pots & Tea Things Tuesday at The Silken Purse
Trisha’s Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology
Kathy’s A Return to Loveliness Tuesday at Delightsome Life
Terri’s Teacup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations
Martha at Martha’s Favorites
Trish at Lily-Rose Cottage on LACE Wednesday 

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and blogs at PageantWagonPublishing.com.


  1. OH my word…speechless..actually moved to tears. How do I express in words what this post made me feel? Warm, full in heart…happy…your journey as the story lady was amazing…what a neat experience and so many lives you touched. I took Sophia to Borders for story time for the first 4 years of her life until they ended it and it was always a time to look forward to and learn new things (including good behavior/listening etc) reminded me of those precious days. Those little girls were just in awe of you, I could tell….that GRAND tea party…well fitting for a GRAND lady such as you. Wow. Some people only dream to be the kind of person you don’t even have to TRY to be….sorry for the babble, just loved loved LOVED this post! WIshing you well on your new adventures and that teacup craft was AWESOME…so much wonderful in one spot! HUGS!

  2. Kathy,
    Wow! I feel as though I were actually there with you at the tea party. The photos are wonderful, the children in their pretty party dresses look adorable, the table set for teatime with your special teapots – everything looks amazing but YOU make it look so easy! Congratulations on your successful seven years past and I’m wishing you much happiness in your new venture. I KNOW you will be a smash hit!


  3. Oh, I am such a softie and sentimental…this post touched my heart. I was the ‘story lady’ at my daughter’s elementary school from the time she was in 1-6th grade at lunchtime in the school library. The delight in the children’s faces was my constant reward. It was so satisfying to read aloud to them. Bless your heart for devoting your time and love to share affection and comraderie through stories.

  4. What a blessing you are. . .I was sniffling right along with you reading through the story of your last day with the children. . .at least in this capacity. Only the Lord knows how many lives you’ve impacted, but you can be certain you have! How sweet for your family to be there (those who were able.) I just love the gift you made for Miss Naomi and was headed to the comments to let you know just how beautiful it is when I saw that you’re giving one away! How very sweet! I’m so thankful to the Lord for His gift of you! May He give you much wisdom and grace as you seek to serve Him! Blessings!

  5. Hello Kathy,
    it was wonderful to see all those photos. I would have loved to join such a cute tea party with stories in my childhood. How delightful to see all those little girls, nicely dressed, even with gloves, who attend this fabulous event. How exiting! They will miss you a lot, I am sure. But they will never forget the time, you spent with them. I believe they will tell their grandchilds still the story of Toby Talespinner. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tea partyy.
    Best greetings, Johanna

  6. Good-byes are always hard. This one was a sweet and emotional one. The faces on some of the little ones’ are precious. Love how you always opened and closed each Tea Party in such a touching way.
    Each party was a gift of love and it shows in the turn out of all the children, friends and family.

    Here’s to a new beginning.
    Blessing to you for all your love sent out.

  7. Hello Kathy,
    I was so drawn in to your farewell story – you’ve apparently touched so many lives – they’ll remember you for a good time to come! I know you’ve been such a blessing to their lives – I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting through blogging and have been inspired by you – congratulations on your milestones – it is fun to celebrate and to realize the blessings. I pray God’s blessings to you as he leads in these upcoming changes in your life – I know you’ll continue to shine for Him – thank you for sharing this with A Return to Loveliness and for offering this wonderful giveaway!
    Always a joy,

  8. Kathy, this post just poured out your love and gratitiude for the wonderful years spent telling these stories. Very sentimental and touched my heart, what a wonderful tea party, and photo’s. Your voice has touched so many little people, with your caring heart and fun spirit. And here’s to new beginnings and adventures! Lovely post.

  9. You are a treasure…the world needs more of you!! What a gift and thanks for sharing with the little ones…how precious!! Blessings on your new journey God has for you…may His seeds you planted bring forth fruit in due season.

  10. Oh my goodness..pass the tissues please!!
    Kathy this was just so special and lovely – you melted my heart.
    What a blessing you are, my friend!
    What a blessing the sweet children have been to you too!
    I’m sure it was hard to say goodbye.
    Beautiful photos of your farewell to them!
    How charming they all look dressed like real little ladies and gentlemen 🙂
    You have given them a beautiful example to follow!
    Congratulations on all your new adventures and milestones too.
    I am certainly praying the hurricane dissipates away from you over the next few days!!
    Take care and keep safe, my friend.
    love in Jesus..Trish

  11. So charming. So sweet. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I am picturing myself sitting here in my very best tea party dress. I am enraptured at the wonder of this post. And I am so touched by it.

    I love the pictures, Kathy! What a wonderful work you have done over these past years – I know that you have touched the hearts of many, many children (and their parents) – not just inspiring them to love to read, but also to be better people. I know that your example was a very bright *light*.

    Praying for your next venture in the classroom – I’m sure that you will continue to be used mightily of the Lord.

    And please tell me that Toby will get to visit your students…that would make me feel SO much better!


  13. Hello Kathy,
    Oh my, what a touching post! You held me spellbound and I love all the little ones gathered around you. What lovely times you’ve had with them all. I’m sure you have been a blessing! I love your giveaway teacup! Please count me in. Thank you for sharing this with Tea Time and I’m sorry I’m late with my visit. It’s been quite the week for me. All kinds of things going on.


  14. I had tears in my eyes reading this post. It all looked so lovely. Just reading here in the past few months, I feel as if I have gotten to know your heart. This farewell tea was perfectly YOU.

    I’m glad that I found this blog when I did. I will be able to be a first row seater as the next phase unfolds.

  15. Hello Kathy – thank you for sharing your heartwarming post with A Return to Loveliness this week – I am keeping you in my prayers – hope this hurricane swerves out towards the sea!
    God Bless,

  16. Hi: I would have been a wreak! What a wonderful thing you did. I am sure God is going to use you in a very special way on your new adventure. Thank you for sharing this wonderful time with us. Blessings, Martha

  17. Hi Kathy,
    What a lovely Farewell Tea Party for you and the children.Knowing the Story Time tradition will continue …even in a once-a-month format … shows what an impact you have made in these young lives, giving them an appreciation of reading and the pleasure of chatting over ‘morning/afternoon tea’
    Good One!! You are a Special Lady !!
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

  18. Well, Miss Story Lady, you are quite the amazing woman! I totally enjoyed reading your post. I hear how much you loved what you did, but you also sound happy to have a new beginning. The tea party looks a treat! How fun!
    Best wishes on your new journey : )

  19. Being a TaleSpinner Mom and present at the event, I can tell you all what a beautiful time was had. “Miss Kathy” held a special place in the heart of my oldest. She’s right that Catie always had her eyes on Kathy’s job. I used to find her in a chair reading to her dolls and animals all dressed up with her own rainbow “spinner.”

    Similarly to when a special loved one passes, and you regret that you hadn’t been able to spend as much time with them in the years immediately before their passing, I was not able to take my youngest, Michaela, to Tale Spin stories anywhere near as frequently. Yet she was no less saddened by the end to the era. And I know that the love of life and reading taught to Catie will be passed on to Michaela – sister to sister.

    Thank you Miss Kathy and Tale Spin Stories. We will never forget.

    Love, Amy, “Miss Catie” and Michaela

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