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Category — Tea

Toothaches and Tragedy: The Truth behind a Broken Heart

Waterhouse's Lady of Shallot

Tea: Twining’s Earl Grey

Music:  Vivaldi:  Concerto in D for Lute & Strings, RV 93 – 3. Allegro

Dear Erica,

I just found out that my mother was in love with another man before she married my father. She has been getting on in years and let slip that her college boyfriend died at Vietnam, and she married my father almost immediately in a knee-jerk reaction. When she saw my shocked face, she quickly covered and said she of course loved my father, but I can’t get the story of her young lover dying in Vietnam out of my head. I just feel like deep down she must have been miserable all her life.   Any words of advice?

Traumatized in Tennessee

Dear Traumatized in Tennessee,

I can understand that you are shocked and upset. Your mother’s loss was tragic. But, I don’t believe she was miserable all her life. I am reminded of some wise words, uttered by a character in Anne of Avonlea. Miss Lavendar, an older friend of Anne Shirley, explains that a broken heart is not as dreadful as one imagines.

“I’m really a very happy, contented little person in spite of my broken heart. A broken heart in real life isn’t half as dreadful as it is in the books. It’s a good deal like a bad tooth…though you won’t think that a very romantic simile. It takes spells of aching and gives you a sleepless night now and then, but between times it lets you enjoy life and dreams and echoes and peanut candy as if there were nothing the matter with it….That’s the worst…or the best…of real life, Anne. It won’t let you be miserable. It keeps on trying to make you comfortable… and succeeding…even when you’re determined to be unhappy and romantic.” Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

I wouldn’t worry that your mother was lying to you when she told you she was happy with your father.  She clearly realized, like Miss Lavendar, that life will not let you be miserable. Despite the pain she felt at her young love’s death, I am sure she felt great joy in the family she created with your father.  As we get older, it is only natural that we are haunted by pain and loss in life. But, life is how we treat the ups and downs, how we fight them.  Your mother may have had the occasional bout of nostalgia for her young lover, but like a bad tooth, a broken heart must eventually mend, even if it is never exactly the same.  And as unpleasant as a visit to the dentist is, once the novocaine has worn off, we can always enjoy a nice cup of tea and a cream puff.  Those little pleasures in life never disappear.

February 13, 2012   No Comments

Princes & Pomp


Tea: Mint Medley
Music: Pachelbel-Leppard: Canon

Quote: “Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart it’s pages and betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps… perhaps… love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. -L.M. Montgomery

or put bluntly,
“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” Erich Segal

You may not find Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series next to Jane Eyre at the bookstore. In fact, it would most likely be relegated to the teen literature department. But, Anne’s prickly relationship with Gilbert has to be considered one of the best literary love stories, and provides a number of lessons for us modern day women. What true romantic was not intrigued by Anne’s feisty rivalry with Avonlea heartthrob Gilbert Blythe? Their initial bickering evolved into a warm and affectionate friendship that had you rooting for them from the the first time he called her “Carrots”. However, when he professed his love for her, she turned him away because he did not fit her romantic ideal. Dreaming of drama and adventure, she left home to find a romantic hero, only to find everything she wanted could be found in her small hometown and in the friend she had foolishly brushed aside.

As we look for love in the twenty first century, we should do our best to avoid looking for an unrealistic romantic hero outside of our everyday world (a prince on a white horse). Those princes do exist, but are few and far between. If you are not careful, you may miss out on the real love of your life because you are too busy chasing an illusion. Don’t overlook that childhood friend, that roommate, that colleague or old boyfriend who doesn’t fit into the romantic ideal you have foolishly created for yourself.

January 13, 2011   2 Comments