April 2016

Grandparents' Tea
Daffodils and Tea
Grandparents are a joy, but there is no law that says they have to be joyful.

Mary Faith Hall’s Irish-born grandfather, for example, was a firm believer in the principle that “every day is a day closer to the grave,” and he enjoyed sharing that belief with impressionable grandchildren. He also enjoyed sharing his heritage with them. As a child, MacLaren’s Head of School sat at his knee and tried to soak up the language of the old country. Yet somehow all she retained was the Gaelic for “Sit down and be quiet.”

In honor of the convergence of St. Patrick’s Day and MacLaren’s inaugural Grandparents’ Tea, Mrs. Hall related these and other comic tales of Irish “guilt and morbidity” to a room of 260 students and their grandparents this past March.

Amid laughter, the students filed into the Student Center during 7th hour to discover the space, ordinarily their (very ordinary) cafeteria, transformed into a lovely space filled with good smells and greenery and loving faces. The latter belonged to their own grandparents, who awaited them at tables graced with pretty daffodils and shamrocks from Twigs and Posies. The good smells were due to Angie Stattman, the Business Manager, and Ms. Caneff, the Director of Development, who circulated with tea, and plenty of it: black tea, green tea, herbal tea, served hot in china teacups. 

“The aroma,” says Ms. Caneff, “was seriously splendid.”

The students were naturally interested to learn that their Head of School was once a little girl. They were perhaps more interested to learn that, in addition to the gift of their grandparents, there were treats—really, really good treats, little chocolate cakes and fruit tarts from Boonzaaijer’s Dutch Bakery.

One grandparent (and member of MacLaren’s Board of Directors), Melissa Nussbaum, recalled that the cakes didn’t last long: “You didn’t have a chance to look at them too much because they were pretty much gone. The children have the metabolisms of cheetahs, so they swoop in and eat.”

After Mrs. Hall shared her stories, Michael Hanson, a veteran MacLaren teacher and the concertmaster of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, led Orchestra V in selections from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites and Gustav Holst’s English Folk Song Suite. While the music issued from the British Isles, more or less, Mr. Hanson noted that it was a subversive repertoire for St. Patrick’s Day: The composers were a Norwegian and an Englishman. “These were the people who raided Ireland,” Mr. Hanson observed dryly.

Irish or not, for the grandparents, the real treat was getting to visit with their grandchildren.

“You know how it is when it’s your child,” Mrs. Nussbaum said. “They just glow. There’s sort of a light emanating from your own child. But, you know, there was a lot of light emanating from all the MacLaren kids. They’re a pretty shiny bunch.”

We couldn't agree more.
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