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St. Anthony's tea: a place to meet, greet and also eat
By LENNIE BENNETT
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2000
Parties in homes are always a fun change from the usual commercial venues we know so well, especially when the home is a previously unseen one.
All of us who attended the St. Anthony's Auxiliary Membership Tea on Monday had the opportunity to peek -- discreetly and politely, of course -- into the (very clean and freshly painted) nooks and crannies of Priscilla Young's new home in the Pink Streets neighborhood of St. Petersburg.
A widow who wanted to move from her beach house, Mrs. Young has built a Colonial-style gem full of feminine furbelows and soft colors. And four cats who, as only cats can, act like they own the place, or at least the most comfortable seats.
But this party was not about sitting down; its purpose was to meet, greet and eat. The last was aided by Joan Van Middlesworth, who prepared dozens of tiny chicken salad sandwiches decorated like petit fours (I can't imagine how much time she spent on them) and bite-sized tarts she called "cheaters" because "they're so easy."
Oh, really, I thought. But they are and, in an On the Town first, I am passing the recipe along: Bake according to package directions miniature phyllo cups. When cool, put a small piece of banana in each. Fill with prepared instant vanilla pudding. Top with whipped frozen topping (Mrs. Van Middlesworth used a pastry bag to decorative effect on that step) and garnish with a slice of fresh fruit, mint, candied violets, whatever. Chocolate and coconut probably have potential as variations. Try not to consume them all before your guests arrive.
The meet and greet part was equally gracious, with outgoing president Charlotte Krizek buzzing around, urging everyone to eat more (she ordered quantities of cucumber sandwiches and raisin scones from Abracadabra) and incoming president Greta Myers buzzing around with membership forms, urging everyone to sign up for committees.
Seeing Janet Raymond, a woman known for growing beautiful roses, I asked if she had supplied the blooms on the tables. "Albertsons," she whispered.
In the crowd were Mary Catherine Minor, Ruth Burns, Edie Lyster, Anna Collins, Joan Loader, Emily Benham, Virginia Smith, Mary Jean Wall, Jeanne Nelson, Elizabeth Skidmore, Sister Karen Burns, Sister Gladys Sharkey, Edie Spies, Pat Howells and Delores Smith, who recorded the guests' movements with a camera, snapping them as they clustered and dispersed, like flocks of birds.
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Before more extended dispersals to points north and west transpire, scattering all you social types to cooler climes for the summer, please send in party and event dates for the fifth annual On the Town Social Calendar to be published in late August.
Already penciled into my date book are the Masked Ball benefitting Academy Prep at the TradeWinds Resort on Oct. 28, the 25th Hour Bayboro Bash for University of South Florida-St. Petersburg at the Mahaffey Theater on Oct. 29 and the Stuart Society fashion show on Nov. 2.
Please send your information to Lennie Bennett, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33710, or fax it to me at 893-8675. Include the name of the event, sponsoring organization, date, time, place, cost of a ticket, any details or theme, if available, and a contact phone number.
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A front on Tuesday brought what were probably the last chilly days before the humid veil of summer descends. The unexpected temperature snap meant that many attending the St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce spring luncheon had to trade their lightweight frocks for warmer clothes.
Everything else in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club ballroom belied the wintry weather outside, especially the decorations, which relied heavily on spring purple: napkins, flowers, program covers, name tags, baskets, you name it.
Sitting alone at a table far in the back, near a wall of windows that framed a view of the club marina, was Linda Chamberlain.
"I like watching from a distance as people arrive," she said.
Arrive they did, and suddenly the room filled up with chamber members and their guests, including luncheon chairwoman Joan Hazel; Nancy Whitlock; Joan Jaicks; mistress of ceremonies Tina Douglass; Marguerite Dawson and her sister, Juliet Miller; Edie Pace, Nora Pearson, Sarah Lonquist; Helen Mills, Marilyn Gatewood, Mary Eisenhart and Doris Klein; Nancy H. Thomas, Mozelle Bell, Beverly Pankonie, Carol Phelps, Mary Wantland, Mary Heagey and Mary Wheeler.
The President's Promenade honored these leaders of auxiliaries and guilds: Lorraine Danna, president of the women's chamber, who leaves for Italy soon on a Smithsonian-sponsored opera trip; Diane Fair; Ardith Rutland; Louise Chapin; Jennell Tucker; Georgine Kleinfeld; Olive Gunsaullus; Betty Breedon; Charlotte Krizek; Nancy Biesinger and Judy Cuniff.
Usually, each is presented with a single rose as they are announced, but at this event they received a bottle of champagne packed into fabric sacks that were, of course, purple.
ORDER OF SALVADOR DINNER: Annual black-tie event at the Salvador Dali Museum also celebrates the opening of an exhibition of paintings by James Rosenquist. Patrons are seated throughout the galleries and Michael's on East will cater the four-course meal. 6:30 p.m.
PARTY AFTER THE PARTY: Starting at 9:30 p.m. at the Dali Museum, the Zodiac Group loosens things up after dinner with dancing, more libations and light buffet. 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. 1000 Third St. S. Admission to both parties, $175. Zodiac party only, $50. Patrons paying $1,000 also will be invited to a cocktail party at the Snell Isle home of Gerry and Cathy Hogan on April 27. 823-3767.
COUNTRY WESTERN HOEDOWN: A fundraiser for the St. Petersburg Museum of History features the improbable (but probably delicious) combination of barbecue and a martini bar, a reprise of the Celebrity Washboard Band, line dancing and music by Stalled on the Tracks. 6:30 p.m. 335 Second Ave. NE. $50. 894-1052.
ABILITIES WINE TASTING: About 150 California and international wines will be offered, along with food from 30 popular local restaurants and more than 200 silent auction items, to benefit Abilities of Florida, an agency for those with disabilities. Tropicana Field. $50. 538-7370, ext. 345.
PRO-AM TENNIS TOURNAMENT: In its 18th year, this weekend event benefits the American Cancer Society and is sponsored by Raymond James and the Treasure Island Yacht and Tennis Club. Amateur matches on May 6 and post-games cocktail party. It continues through May 7. For sponsorship information, call 384-2525.
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